So! While this review set is flagged as 'press sample' only the Ember & Mallow candle here was a press sample - The Butterbeer candle and lip balms I grabbed off the Suc indie marketplace because 1) I've been impressed with Sihaya's quality and 2) SpArKlY CaNdlEs. Since these were purchased through the IM they're the vegan versions of the lip balms - the non-vegan versions (which might have a different texture!) can be found [ here ].
I'm still trying to figure out how to best photograph candles for review - so bear with me. I want to get pictures of them lit but trying to balance the exposure with an open flame is uh, a challenge. But I want y'all to know Sihaya Candles are gorgeous when you first crack open the tin.
Apologies for smudging on the E+M label - this is what happens when you light candles while in the bath!
All products in this review were allowed to rest for several days ( a couple of weeks for these scents) after arrival. The products were kept out of direct sunlight - either on my bedside table or in my bathroom. I did crack them open to sniff them directly after arrival, and with a couple to do an initial test. The reviews are not based off of these initial impressions - though if a rest did change the smell I’ll note that.
Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off). I also am often wearing scented lotion on my feet and ankles (that I do not wash off). Sometimes I wear scented hair products simultaneously. Theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
For products other than perfumes the testing procedure for that item will be covered in the review itself if necessary. If the item has a standard use procedure just assume I am using that unless stated otherwise. E. G. for soaps assume I washed my hands or took a bath with them, for lotions assume I used them on my skin and gently rubbed them in, etc.
Each review is written without looking at the notes in that moment (insomuch as that is possible). Frequently I will glance at a perfume’s notes beforehand. At the end of the review I will list what the official notes are and comment on how I think they interacted.
The lip balms are packaged in a standard Chapstick-style tube. This seems to work quite well for them. They were sealed to show they hadn't been tampered with when I got them. The design of the labeling on these looks very professional and tasteful... while still holding on to the whimsy of its inspiration.
The candles are packaged in metal tins. These tins seem to work fairly well - however, with their size vs the wick I have had some issues with candle tunneling (that I go into later). With multiple wicks these tins would work very well.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Ember and Mallow
Unlit: Rich woodsmoke and toasted marshmallows. The toasted marshmallows are nutty, almost like skin musk - very soft and mildly sweet (think about the sweetness level of roasted nuts). The woodsmoke is further forward than the marshmallows. This is an atmospheric with a soft, comforting edge that lives in a gourmand place somewhere between roasted nuts and toasted marshmallows.
Freshly lit: After a few seconds of burning the candle has a soft scent-cloud around it. I’m mainly getting the woodsmoke which is enhanced by the scent of the warm wax and flame. There is a faint undercurrent radiating out from the candle of the toasted, nutty marshmallow, which, when lit, has some additional deep toasty-sweetness. It’s not a deeply sugary candle - more rich dark golden scent colors underscored with a brighter, warmer gold from the marshmallow.
After half an hour: Getting nice waves of scent sitting a couple of feet away. It smells about like how the candle smells unlit. That woodsmoke/burning wood smell is really nice and contrasts well with the ultra-toasty marshmallow. It’s a simple combination but it works very nicely for simulating a bonfire… without having a bonfire or you know, smoke blowing in your eyes and stinging you while someone smugly comments ‘Oh, don’t worry - smoke follows beauty!’ and you’re like ‘Gee, Sharon, I thought it was the wind that smoke followed and you took the upwind seat’.
After an hour: My bedroom is suffused with soft woodsmoke and toasted marshmallow. Most of the time the two are balanced - but every so often there’s a bit of excitement when I get a waft of almost pure toasted marshmallow or pure woodsmoke. It’s really nice.
My husband wandered in at one point and went ‘Oh, that’s nice. Smells like a cabin in the woods”.
Official notes: Vanilla marshmallows toasted over a smoky Autumn bonfire
Yup! Both are there. The marshmallows are very toasty.
Verdict: Really like it! Will definitely be burning this one during the fall and winter - though for me it’s more of a cold weather scent. Richly smokey, soft, mildly sweet, and woodsy. Keeping my candle.
Update: I’ve since burned this one several times and it’s dawned on me that the wood in it is specifically kind of a birchy wood. So think burning birch and evergreens for the burning wood portion.
Unlit: Butterscotch with an undercurrent of a kind of grain scent… but mostly butterscotch.
Freshly lit: Fresh Quaker brown sugar and maple syrup oatmeal with edges of butterscotch and maybe some whipped cream.
As a candle this one begins throwing odor exceptionally quickly. It’s very rich.
After half an hour: The smell is fairly stable butterscotch, whipped cream, and that brown sugar-and-maple-syrup oatmeal. This candle has filled the space around it with the scent which rolls over in waves. Very nice for lovers of gourmand/candy room scents.
After an hour: Scent is still going strong, and it’s still stable (butterscotch/whipped cream/oatmeal. One thing I will note is that the melt from the center is only about an inch away from the flame at this point. As I mentioned above I’m having a tiny bit of an issue with candle tunneling with these candles - and it looks like this one is starting to tunnel instead of melting straight across. I do think with the diameter of the melted circle ( about 2 inches across) a second, or even third wick would get an even melt going.
Official notes: A delicious butterscotch concoction with marshmallowy foam and the slightest hint of rum.
So the butterscotch is the butterscotch, the marshmallow is what I was reading as whipped cream. The sweet alcoholic scent of the rum must be what smells like brown sugar oatmeal to me.
Verdict: I like the scent, and I like Sihaya candles but I don’t know if I’d repurchase this candle specifically… it’s very pleasant, but it’s a pure, straight sugary sweet gourmand. Which is fine for a room scent! I’m going to use the whole candle. But for future purchases from Sihaya I’ll probably go for other scents because of my personal preferences re: gourmands.
A Note On Lip Balms
Lip balm, moisturizer, and sunscreen are about the only makeup I wear apart from the occasional lip gloss. The last time I even put on foundation was at my wedding 6.5 years ago. That said I’m lip balm fiend because my lips are just… always dry these days. Even if it is 500% humidity, even if I’m well hydrated, my lips are determined to take on the texture of a shriveled plastic grocery bag.
But before getting back into indies I was just a Burts Bees user. I mention all of this to explain my experience (and lack thereof) so people can keep that in mind with these reviews. What I’m comparing these lip balms to are the lip smackers I used when I was 12, cherry Shapstick, and peppermint Burt’s Bees.
Official Scent: Red velvet cake
Scent in tube: Chocolate cake - a little on the dry side - and cream cheese icing.
Scent applied: The cream cheese icing dominates with edges of the chocolate cake. The cake still smells slightly dry, but not unpleasantly so. It’s kind of nostalgic for me - it smells like the cakes made from boxed components.
Texture: When applied thickly it’s a slippery, smooth, thick lip balm. However, this is one where you have to make sure to apply a good amount of it. When applied in a thin layer my lips kind of waxy and they actually end up having some friction when rubbed together.
Performance: I get a good couple of hours of moisturization - longer if I don't eat/drink or give anyone kisses.
Verdict: Would definitely try Sihaya’s lip balms in the future! I’m hoping in the future they add a sweetener, and perhaps make it so thinner layers of the balm are as slippery as the thicker layers. However, the scent is great.
Official scent: Vanilla latte
Scent in tube: Sugared, creamy vanilla with faint hints of coffee at the edges.
Scent applied: The coffee really comes out here - but this is firmly a latte with lots of cream, sugar, and vanilla in it. Very sweet, creamy and light.
Flavor: While technically unflavored the scent of this does give me a mild coffee ‘taste’ while I am wearing it.
Texture: See notes on Courage’s texture.
Performance: See notes on Courage's performance.
Verdict: I find this one a little harder to wear than Courage because of the fact that the coffee scent can be a little harder to layer (combining with certain other scents maximizes the earthy quality of the coffee). Additionally, if I’m about to eat food the fact that I can “taste” the coffee can interfere with the food flavor. I probably won’t be repurchasing in this scent… though I will be using my tube up.