You’ll Melt for Happy Wax’s Flame Free Candle Alternative

Credit: Happy Wax

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A few months ago, I had never heard of a wax melter. Today, my home is completely candle-free. There are two primary reasons I’m always on the lookout for candle alternatives: 1) I don’t trust myself to remember to blow the flame out, and 2) as good as they smell, candles are terrible for air quality. For a moment, I thought the home-influencer popularized lamp-style candle warmer was a genius hack, but I was shocked to learn that even unlit candles can be harmful if they contain certain (very) common ingredients.  

For anyone who suffers from a candle addiction, a wax melter (and soy melts) may be the key to helping you snuff the habit for good.

What Is a Wax Melter

If you’re craving the warmth and scent of a candle, Happy Wax makes an array of wax melters that are safe (and equally atmospheric) substitutes. I discovered the brand after first stumbling upon Happy Wax’s “melts,” which are adorably gummy bear-shaped.

A cardboard “eco-tin” of vanilla bears.
Credit: Happy Wax

You place 2-3 bears in the silicone dish on top of the melter and select a temperature (low/medium/high). The ceramic dish gets very hot, so it should be kept out of children’s reach. I tested the Mod Warmer ($45) and found that high heat completely liquefied the bears after roughly 45 minutes, but I began smelling fragrance much sooner (around 10 minutes).

An above view of my melter shows three early-stage bears and a few hardened disks of previously used bears.
Credit: Sanibel Chai

Editor’s note: some colors (Dark Stone, Iridescent Blue, Iridescent Pink, and Copper Dipped) of the Mod Melter do not include temperature settings on the timer so make sure to double-check.

No-Scrape Cleaning

The beauty of the Happy Wax melter is the blissfully easy cleanup. Other wax melters (usually ceramic) require scrubbing and scraping to completely get rid of wax residue. If you stick with one type of melt, this is less of an issue, but if you want to change up scents, you need to start with a clean slate (otherwise the fragrances will mix). The Happy Wax silicone dish sits on top of a ceramic heating plate and removes easily. After the wax has cooled and hardened, you simply pop out the disk of wax.

I cracked this disk to show how flexible the dish is, but it’s easy to keep the disk intact.
Credit: Sanibel Chai

The control dial has the option to select an automatic shut-off for three, six, or nine hours. I usually pick three or six hours because I appreciate the peace of mind when I leave in a rush that it’s not heating indefinitely.

If you set the dial to low, the bears will melt much slower but the scent will permeate even if they aren’t completely liquified.
Credit: Sanibel Chai

Bears, Bears, Bears

There’s something fun and ritualistic about selecting bears and placing them in the dish. It feels more whimsical than lighting a flame. As cute as they are, the most important selling point of these melts is that they’re made from 100% all-natural soy wax. This material is free of parabens, phthalates, and paraffins, and known to be a non-toxic, sustainable, and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional paraffin wax melts (and candles).

The soy melts come in a wide-ranging variety that covers seasonal scents like Pecan Pie, Pine Forest (my personal favorite), and Mulled Cider as well as classic candle smells like Lemon Verbena, Calming Lavender, and Fresh Cotton. I’m a fan of the more out-there fragrances that get super specific such as Champagne Fizz, Apple Jam Donut, and Bronzed Coconut.

Before and after.
Credit: Sanibel Chai

The bears are sold in 2 oz bags (approximately 16 bears), 3.6 oz containers (approximately 24 bears), and 8 oz bags (approximately 60 bears).

You can re-melt disks, though the fragrance will fade. You’ll smell just the base notes if you keep reusing them. Happy Wax advises that you use the bears for 9 hours maximum for the best fragrance experience. If you abide by this recommendation and melt three bears at a time, a 2 oz bag will last 45 hours, the 3.6 oz container for 72 hours, and the 8 oz bag for 180 hours.

A Melter For Every Room

The Mod Warmer works great for large rooms because it can melt 6-8 bears for serious fragrance. But if you have a smaller room or prefer a cordless option, consider the Tabletop Warmer ($35). It can run for two hours on its rechargeable battery and has the same convenient timer settings as the Mod Warmer.

The Tabletop Melter can accompany you (for two hours) completely cordless.
Credit: Happy Wax

Some of the melters, like the Himalayan Salt Warmer ($60), give off a soft ambient glow to further simulate a candle. Whatever your decor, you’ll be able to find a look that complements it with options like iridescent, stone, white marble, and matte finishes.

The Himalayan Salt Lamp is available in pink or white.
Credit: Happy Wax

If you’re not looking to draw attention to the melter itself, there’s a more compact and discreet plug-in version ($20). These 4-inch by 3-inch wax warmers are perfect for bathrooms and other tight spaces. Next time you throw a party, you don’t have to agonize over whether your guests are trustworthy enough for an unattended bathroom candle.

There’s nothing a candle can do that a Happy Wax melter can’t. It’s capable of replicating everything from the soft glow to the fragrance, even simulating the gradual permeation of scent throughout the room. The small dose bears allow for frequent scent rotation, which is great to change the mood from energizing to relaxing and back again. Even long-time candle users won’t be able to deny the convenience of a wax melter and the endless scent opportunities posed by the unique system: I’ve taken to experimenting with mixing fragrances (Bonfire and Cinnamon Sticks are amazing together).

5 More Reasons to Melt for Happy Wax

  1. If you’re not totally sold on wax melts, Happy Wax makes candles using the same 100% all-natural soy wax and essential oils.
  2. Not sure which fragrance makes sense for your space? Take the Scent Quiz and get personalized results depending on whether you want to mask odors, be transported, or more.
  3. A starter kit makes a great gift and includes the melter itself alongside a selection of melts within a matching theme.
  4. All of Happy Wax’s melts and candles are handmade and poured in North Carolina.
  5. With Happy Wax’s 100% Happiness Guarantee, you never have to settle for a scent you feel so-so about. They’ll swap your melts free of charge if you’re not satisfied.

Shop Happy Wax here.

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