This Candle Company Just Taught Us a Shopping Trick You’ll Wish You’d Known for Years

updated Sep 13, 2019
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Name one fall staple more iconic than a perfectly-scented candle to set the mood for the changing seasons—we’ll wait. But searching for “the one” can be an arduous (not to mention slightly headache-inducing) process. Plus, when you’ve already smelled half a dozen Pumpkin Pie-themed candles, everything starts to smell like Pumpkin Pie, which makes the journey even more complicated. Don’t worry, though. There’s a solution. 

When you’re testing out scents, you should “reset” your nose after each candle—essentially, “cleansing the palate.” You might already know this tip from seeing jars of coffee beans sitting out at perfume counters—the coffee is there to smell between each scent you’re trying to reset your olfactory sense and experience each one afresh.

Sure, that trick works in theory, but who carries coffee beans on them at all times? What are you supposed to do when you’re impulse-purchasing from a fall candle sale?

Credit: Iakov Filimonov/shutterstock

Thanks to the folks at Vancouver Candle Company, we have an even better method for helping you avoid this annoying problem as you look for that perfect candle: Smelling your own elbow. It’s so smart because not only do you always have one handy if you have elbows, you will also likely get a better sense of the candle’s scent by smelling your own body, rather than an external scent.

Why You Should Smell Your Elbow When You’re Candle Shopping

According to Nick Rabuchin, Vancouver Candle Company’s founder and creative director, the phenomenon of when the olfactory glands in your nose work overtime to recognize smells is called olfactory fatigue, or “nose blindness”. Eventually, your body will stop alerting you to smells, making you think there’s no fragrance there. Bummer when you need to pick out a candle or perfume!

Rabuchin confirms that the elbow method is a tried-and-true industry standard, and for good reason. “Perfumers will sniff the crook of their elbow to reset the system,” he says. “You are always performing olfactory habituation to your own smell, so it is a perfect baseline.”

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