I’m Candle Obsessed, and After Testing 15 Scents, This Is My Summer Fave

For many—alongside blankets aplenty and holiday baking marathons—it’s a candle’s captivating glow that epitomizes winter. The season marks the peak of hygge’s comforting allure as we happily retreat to our candlelit havens. But the best summer candles prove that the cold-weather season isn’t the only time we’ll happily welcome a captivating fragrance into our homes. If you consider yourself candle-obsessed as well, then you know: there’s little more soothing than something that evokes the essence of the season.

With the summer solstice fast approaching (tomorrow!), we’re doing all we can to soak up the most of these sun-kissed days. Entertaining outdoors, eating all of our meals al fresco, and applying our efforts to our backyard living space. It should come as no surprise that we’ve been busy checking off our summer bucket list. But if you already find yourself mourning these easy-breezy days, take heart: we have a simple, affordable answer. Truly, there’s no better way to bottle up these soothing scents than with the best summer candles that transport you to abundant gardens, beaches, and any space that for you, screams summertime

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

15 Best Summer Candles to Buy in 2023

After combing the internet and testing the truth behind their labels’ purported burn times, we found the best summer candles to elevate every day. The roundup below has it all: summery citrus blends, fragrant floral scents, and candles to ignite your imagination. No matter your preference, you can trust that this list has the best option for every candle lover. Yourself included.

It’s no secret that we’re all huge fans of Summer Fridays here at Camille Styles. From the cult-favorite Lip Butter to its award-winning Jet Lag Mask—Summer Fridays’ viral status is well-earned. And because the beauty brand can do no wrong, Summer Fridays decided to explore the competitive world of clean candles. To no one’s surprise, we’re all obsessed. While many vanilla candles can come off as overly sweet, this one is softened by the floral fragrance of almond blossom. I love to burn mine while I’m working, as it’s simultaneously soothing and energizing—helping me focus and while enjoying the task at hand all the more.

This is also one of those unique candles that hold its own in a space even before it’s lit. The scent is natural, beachy, and perfectly captures the freeing essence of a summer Friday. Burn, baby burn.

  • Fragrance: Vanilla & Almond Blossom
  • Size: 8 ounces

This summer candle is pure romance. It’s deeply sensual, with top notes of apple blossom, peony flower, and baby’s breath evoking a secret garden of sorts. While I wouldn’t burn this at a backyard barbecue or even simply while eating, it’s perfect in the bathroom, to burn while reading or journaling, or to light while you indulge in a self-care evening. What’s more, the clean and modern, black and white design supports nearly any aesthetic, making this candle right at home in any space.

  • Fragrance: Peony & Blush Suede
  • Size: 10 ounces

I’m a recent convert to Enlighten Candles, but the discovery makes me wish I’d dived deep into the brand’s extensive library of scents long ago. I love that each candle is thoughtfully crafted with 100% soy wax for a clean burn and natural cotton wicks, allowing the scent to move evenly throughout the space. The intentional design makes the most of each candle’s 50 to 60-hour burn time. At under $30, you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth—and then some.

Onto the scent itself. I love citrusy, grapefruit candles because while they certainly give off a sunny, summery vibe, I find that they lend themselves perfectly to any home, any time of the year. This unique and energizing blend is fruity, toxin-free, and sure to boost your mood upon first burn. (Be sure to also treat yourself to the Egyptian Moonstone and Lavender. I have the candles in my bathroom and beside my bed, respectively, and I’ll never tire of their scents.)

  • Fragrance: Peach, Grapefruit, & Mango
  • Size: 12 ounces

Like Summer Fridays, it just makes sense that one of our favorite names in the skincare space would expand to candles. Who wouldn’t want to capture the fragrance of their favorite lotion and soak it up in their home all day? And truly—with a 55-hour burn time, I do mean all day. This candle was one of my first swap-ins when I set out to detoxify my home and burn only clean fragrances. Not only did I notice the scent shift immediately, but I no longer experienced headaches at the same rate as before.

Not only is the light, amber-colored glass beautiful placed on any surface or tucked into any nook but it also further elevates the candle’s all-encompassing experience. It’s pure, California surf vibes, complete with the salt water, occasional rain, and an easy attitude about it all.

  • Fragrance: Grapefruit & Hinoki
  • Size: 8.5 ounces

The name is perfectly apt: this candle delivers a fragrant touch of summer magic with each burn. It’s distinctly fruity without being overwhelming, tempering the sweet coconut and mango with the tangy heat of chili salt. The resulting scent is creamy and bright, creating an innocent sort of summer joy you simply have to lean into. I like to think of it as the nostalgic blend of your favorite sunscreen mixed with the fresh summer scent of the season’s best fruit. The impact is a vivid olfactory experience, whisking you off to a summer world of gold-flecked days.

  • Fragrance: Mango, Coconut Cream, Chili Salt
  • Size: 8 ounces

If you’re like me and leaning into the maximalist style that’s at its peak in the summer, this is your candle. Of course, there’s the high-vibe, technicolor packaging, but beyond that, this candle is simply just extra—in all the best ways. Its notes are perfectly tailored to soft living, sending you through a field of wildflowers with a picnic basket in hand. And if you’re hesitant to hop on the tomato scent trend, this candle may be the best place to start. The Tomato Leaves lend an “ethereal freshness,” playing up the fruit’s savory-sweetness that blends perfectly with blackcurrant, rose, and lychee. Who knows, you might be tempted to make it your signature summer scent.

  • Fragrance: Turkish Rose, Baies & Blackcurrant, Lychee
  • Size: 8.4 ounces

Nette candles are gorgeous, end of story. The brand pays ample attention not only to the scents, but the minimalist vessels that stand as works of art on their own. Lighting this candle is a study in indulgence. The intoxicating blend is driven primarily by verbena, offering an uplifting, crisp, and clean scent that leaves you feeling energized and refreshed. I love that it’s grounded with cedarwood, balancing the verbena’s vibrance with an earthy warmth. As a result, this candle is perfect for summer, with a sophisticated composition of fragrance fit for any space.

  • Fragrance: Verbena, Pear, Neroli, Linden Blossom, and Cedarwood
  • Size: 10 ounces

Come for the widely-loved linen sheets, stay for Brooklinen’s collection of carefully-crafted candles. While the brand offers eight different scents, it’s the Happy Hour candle that has my heart. Why? The scent is described as fresh, floral, and woody. Like the Nette candle, this summer pick seamlessly incorporates scent descriptors that span the fragrance spectrum. Alongside its citrus and cedar notes, this candle incorporates rosemary and eucalyptus to imbue a little much-needed calm into your bedroom.

  • Fragrance: Mandarin, Lavender, Oak
  • Size: 8 ounces

Many of the best summer candles come from brands that have only just recently expanded into the world of fragrance, applying their expertise from scent-adjacent industries. Follain is no different. The clean skincare brand is known for using sustainable production practices and naturally-potent botanicals to create its celebrated beauty products. Follain’s candles employ the same innovation. Each blend is custom-crafted and features packaging that makes for the perfect hostess present or gift to yourself. And while this scent includes a few summer favorites, it’s the fig leaf that immediately sends me seaside on a Mediterranean escape.

  • Fragrance: White Tea, Fig Leaf, Basil, Lavender
  • Size: 10 ounces

Tomato candles are both one of the most popular and polarizing candle scents. Personally, I love the fresh, garden-like fragrance that’s pure Italian vibes. Paired with a spritz and perhaps a bowl of pasta to come, it’s a true play of scent and sense. This candle would be right at home in the kitchen—and I would think any character in a Nancy Meyers movie would agree.

  • Fragrance: Tomato Vine, Holy Basil, Black Pepper
  • Size: 8 ounces

I know, I know—if you’re like me, I imagine you’re tired of all the celebrity brands circulating just about every industry. (Skincare, beauty, alcohol, non-alcoholic alternatives… you get it.) But when I come across a brand I truly love, I won’t pass it up even with the celebrity endorsement. Alongside Rhode by Hailey Bieber, Frenshe is a fave—and the sophistication and nuance of each scent is proof that Ashley Tisdale is far from her High School Musical days.

While the brand spans beauty and personal care, it’s the candles I truly can’t get enough of. And because they’re available at Target, I’ve been known to stock up on several every time I visit. Infused with essential oils, each candle supports a specific energy: calm and relaxed, awakened and uplifting, and this cashmere vanilla scent to help you reset. It’s the perfect final piece for a truly restorative self-care evening.

Leave it to my favorite clothing brand to craft one of my go-to summer candles. This candle is an extension of the Madewell ethos, exuding all of its easy-going, but elevated vibes. It sets the mood instantly, with Neroli’s refined complexity leaving an alluring trail of bitter orange mixed with honey. There’s a lot at play with this affordable candle, but it all blends in seamlessly to create a single cohesive scent.

  • Fragrance: Bergamot, Neroli, Orange Flower, Sea Salt, White Moss, Amber, Musk
  • Size: 8.8 ounces

I’ve long searched for a candle that captures the comfort of a summertime campfire. While other summer candles often lean either floral or sweet, this candle pairs sandalwood’s serenity and warmth with the spice of cardamom. Lighting it invokes a feeling of inner peace, and I love pairing it with a good beach read or any moment when the season calls for a little cozying up.

  • Fragrance: Cardamom, Lemon, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Amber
  • Size: 8 ounces

Handmade and small-batch, Formulary 55 candles are wholly unique and it’s obvious that every detail is considered. I love that the vessel is kept clear without any branding, allowing the candle to seamlessly elevate any space. Gardenia is a deeply romantic scent, and while it can easily overwhelm if not checked by other blends, lemon’s fresh and invigorating fragrance lends a multi-dimensional aroma to the candle’s overall impact.

  • Fragrance: Gardenia, Lemon
  • Size: 8 ounces

You’re probably seeing Vacation everywhere thanks to its social-friendly packaging and wide array of SPF goodies. And though I love both of these aspects of the brand, it’s the candles that had me hooked. As a writer, I appreciate the clever copy (scents include “Well-Tipped Pool Boy” and “Partial Ocean View”)—but the writing really nailed it with the “High Ceiling Resort Lobby” candle. It’s resort style at its finest, capturing the essence of quiet luxury and packaging it up in an aesthetic glass cylinder. One look at the fragrance notes (see below) and it’s hard not to imagine the exact vibe this candle encapsulates.

  • Fragrance: Fresh Cut Flowers, High Gloss Magazines, Air-Conditioned Ocean Breeze
  • Size: 8.5 ounces
Image by Michelle Nash

Our Favorite Candle Accessories

Ingrid Taper Candle Holder Set

When I’m setting a summer table, I love adding a little depth of interest by incorporating different candle heights into my tablescape. I scatter a few tea lights in between taller taper candles. These holders incorporate a nice modern and sculptural element that I can soften up with simple florals.

Tenn Prairie Striker Match Holder

How darling are these little match holders? While many of us use a lighter, I love the whimsical look that a colorful set of matches adds to a coffee table or bookshelf.

Skeem Match Cloche

This handblown match cloche and striker pairs function with timeless style, adding a beautiful touch of luxury to your mantel.

Botanica Earth Flameless Lighter

If you’d rather use a lighter, this flameless pick offers a butane-free ignition. It comes in a variety of bright, poppy colors and recharges through a simple USB port.

Williams Sonoma Snuffer and Trimmer Gold Set

If you haven’t yet committed to properly caring for your candles, now’s the time to start. You should be trimming your wick regularly to prolong the life of your candle and prevent any soot from gathering in the wax. This classic gold set is a beautiful reminder to make it a habit, allowing you to enjoy your summer candles all the more.