About Holly

Sierra Sun Newspaper Article
Candles: What are you burning?

by Holly Redpath
Special to the Sierra Sun
Tahoe/Truckee, CA.
January 2013

Candles have been used for light and to illuminate man's celebrations for more than 5,000 years. The progression what they have been made from is very diverse: from animal fats (tallow) to beeswax, bayberry wax, whale oil, stearin wax (animal fatty acids), paraffin wax and on to soybean, palm hemp and other plant oils. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of choices: from what it is made of, how it is scented, what kind of wick is used, additives used to how the candle is packaged. Here are a few things to consider when making a candle purchase!

Paraffin is a byproduct of other products produced by the refining of petroleum. Petroleum is not a renewable source. When it is gone, it is gone! Vegetable waxes are made from plants which are a renewable resource. They help to clean the air and create the oxygen that we breathe.

Soy candles produce 95% less soot than paraffin candles. Clean burning soy wax does not pollute the air. Petroleum based candles release petro-carbon soot that can coat walls and furniture and other surfaces and linger in fills the air that you breathe! This soot, according to the American Lung Association, contains 11 documented toxins, two of which are known carcinogens. A much healthier alternative to petroleum based candles.

Soy and other plant waxes are biodegradable: Unlike paraffin wax that actually pollutes our water systems and the air, soy wax breaks down in water and spills are cleaned up easily with hot soapy water.

Soy wax candles can last up to 50%-75% longer than petroleum-based candles. That's a lot of candle!

Soy wax candles distribute more aroma: Using soybean oil lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates to cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion. The lower melting point results in a larger pool of the liquid wax around the candle wick. It is from this liquid wax pool that the aromas evaporate into the air.

Plant wax is good for your skin: You can rub the melted candle wax into your skin. Go ahead and give a little hydration those dry areas (hands, cuticles, elbows, knees and feet), or just put it on your pulse points to get the aromatherapy benefits.

Stick to candles that are made with cotton wicks and not metal of any kind. Also, additives and colorants can emit toxins into the air when burned.

Candles may be scented with essential oils, fragrance oils or unscented altogether and should be labeled accordingly.

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic extracts distilled from a variety of plant material including grasses, flowers, leaves, needles & twigs, peel of fruit, roots, resins or bark. Essential oils have the ability to improve memory and alter our mood, heart rate, body temperature and to ease pain and symptoms of illness.

Fragrance oils are made synthetically and mimic aromas found in nature. Though appealing to the 'nose', they are unable to produce the same effects on a psychological or physical level. Because some aromas exist that are appealing, but cannot be duplicated with essential oils or have an environmental impact to use them, some candles are scented with fragrance oils. These will not burn as clean as those made with essential oils.

Although there are can be environmental impacts to the use of both, it should be your choice as to what makes 'scents' to you!

As consumers, we all make purchasing decisions that can affect the environment around us!
-Holly Redpath is owner at Sierra Essentials in Truckee, CA.

Why Sierra Essentials™?

  • SOY WAX CANDLES
    TAHOE HANDCRAFTED!
    100% soy bean wax...good for you, your skin and the planet! (See more details below)

    Our candleholders are made of metal or up to 40% recycled glass. They may be re-purposed from a previous candle, and are recyclable.
    Candle Holders can be repurposed for home or office use, recycled, or traded in with our Candle Recycling Program.
    100% cotton wicks dipped in vegetable wax made without dyes and other additives.

    We use primarily high quality essential oils and a few fragrance oils.

    Candles wrapped in re-purposed jute fabric from coffee bean bags, boxes are 100% recycled content paper and tied with 100% natural hemp cord.

  • SOAPS
    TAHOE HANDCRAFTED!
    Made in small batches, hand poured into handcrafted wooden molds and individually hand cut. Instead of using petroleum derived ingredients, harsh detergents and chemicals, we use plant-based skin nurturing ingredients. We use primaraly 100% natural essential oil aroma, natural botanicals (most of which are wild harvested), and natural preservatives (grapefuit seed extract and vitamin E). Boxes made with 100% recycled content paper, wrapped in re-purposed burlap coffee bean bags and tied with 100% natural hemp cord.

    Our Basic soap recipe contains organic olive, palm and coconut oil and is available in a varitiy of different aroma combinations.

    For extra hydration we have 2 formulations to choose from.
    The shea butter soap (available in woodsy EO and aroma-free for sensitive skin) is made with organic olive, coconut, and palm oils with shea butter. The cocoa butter soap is made with organic olive oil, coconut, palm and castor oils with cocoa butter. The vanilla and clove essential oils blended combined with the cocoa butter is AMAZING!

    The kitchen soap is made with organic olive, palm and coconut oil combined with double strength coffee and coffee grounds (locally roasted)blended with peppermint EO: helping to eliminate orders such as onion garlic and fish from hands when cooking: the grounds also work as a mild abrasive. This soap is also great to use after working in the garden!

    Our shave soap formulation(available in a lavender mint EO or vanilla patchouli EO)is made with organic olive, coconut, palm and castor oils with bentonite clay. No hydro-carbon propellents or petroleum here! Won't leave your skin feeling stripped and dried out. Just a great amount of slip that allows your razor blade to remain in close contact with the skin. This means a smoother, close shave without a bunch of nicks!

  • LIP BALMS
    TAHOE HANDCRAFTED!
    Petroleum-free and chemical-free. This plant-based formula is made with a perfect blend of sweet almond oil, palm oil and cocoa butter along with a touch of beeswax (for added protection and lasting power). We use vitamin E for a natural preservative system. If you would not EAT it, you should not put in on your lips! 100% natural essential oil aroma/flavor or aroma-free and available with or without natural sun protection (titanium dioxicde. Lip balm tubes are made with 35% post-consumer content and are recyclable.

    NEW! 'Girly' Lip Balm
    VABAMM! Our regular sun protection formula with a touch of shimmer from mica (a natural mineral ground into a fine powder).
    'Girly'-fy your lips while protecting them from the elements! Daywear for work (even over a lip liner), running, or ripping it up on the single track or the slopes.

  • AROMA SPRITZERS
    TAHOE HANDCRAFTED!
    Petroleum-free and/or chemical-free aroma on the go! Spritz your home, office, car and body with these aromatherapy sprays. Mist liberally on body or in hair. Use at home, in the car or office. Enjoy on bed linens before retiring. Made with distilled water and 100% natural essential oil aroma or high quality fragrance oils.
    Surround yourself!

  • FUSION OILS
    TAHOE HANDCRAFTED!
    These fusion oils are made with 100% essential oils or high quality fragrance oils. For use in bath water or shower floor for an truely amazing experience. Also used in aroma diffusers and to customize our aroma-free body care products. Caution-not for use directly on the skin.
    Surround yourself!

  • BODY CARE
    Blended in Lake tahoe, CA.
    Both our essential oil scented body care, aroma-free body care and Baby Body Care products are made from ingredients that are between 71%-87% organic
    Surround yourself!

  • BABY GEAR
    Tahoe Handcrafted!
    Fun and functional!
    Baby blankets and adorned burpcloths are made by hand in very small production quantities, so you won't see them everywhere!
    The baby blankets are made with organic printed cotton or reclaimed cotton fabric paired with hemp/organic cotton fleece.
    The burp cloth are adorned with organic printed cotton or reclaimed cotton fabric paired with unbleached cotton pre-folded diapers.

Why Soy?

Soybean wax is a renewable resource
Soybean wax is made from the soybean plant. Plants are a renewable resource. Petroleum is a non-renewable resource: when it is gone, it is gone!

Using Soy in making candles promotes American farmers
Soy beans are grown in American Fields, and processed into soy wax in the United States as well. Help the farmers and everyone benefits!

Soy wax is good for your skin
You can rub the melted soy wax into your skin. Go ahead and give a little hydration those dry areas: hands, cuticles, elbows, knees and feet. Or just put it on your pulse points to get the aroma benefits!

Soy candles last longer
They can last up to 50%-75% longer than petroleum-based candles. That's a lot of candle!

Soy wax is biodegradable
Unlike paraffin wax that actually pollutes our water systems and the air, soy wax breaks down in water and spills are cleaned up easily with hot soapy water.

Soy candles produce less soot
Soy candles produce 95% less soot than paraffin candles. Clean burning soy wax does not pollute the air. Paraffin candles release a petro-carbon soot that can coat walls and furniture. This soot, according to the American Lung Association, contains 11 documented toxins, two of which are known carcinogens. A much better, healthier alternative to petroleum based candles.

Soy candles distribute more aroma
Using soybean oil lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates to cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion. The lower melting point results in a larger pool of the liquid wax around the candle wick. It is from this liquid wax pool that the aromas evaporate into the air.

Candle Recycling Program

When you are finished enjoying your candle, repurpose it, recycle it or trade it in at a participating retailer for a $1 discount on your next Sierra Essentials™ candle purchase. A program similar to this will be available shortly on website purchases.

Reclaimed Bottle Candles-COMING SOON!

Instead of recycling glass water bottles consumers, friends and local businesses give them to us. We transform these beautiful green glass bottles into truly ‘green’ candles!

Reusing Candleholders

When you are finished enjoying your candle, the empty candle holder can be used around the home/bathroom or in the office. Use as a flower/bud vase. For plant starters. House barrettes, hair ties, coins, pens/pencils, paperclips, rubber bands, jewelry or even food preparation! (maison plas) Organize/house anything that fits!

Wholesale Information

We are eager to expand our distribution to other markets in the United States. If you would like to see Sierra Essentials™products in your favorite store or you are a retailer interested in carrying Sierra Essentials™ candles, soaps, aroma spritzers, essential oil fusions, body care or lip balms we would love to hear from you.

Wholesale pricing and opening order information are available upon request. (Reseller Tax ID # is necessary to release this information and to finalized an order) We offer low minimun opening orders to enable retailers to resell our products without a large investment.

Please email or call us through the CONTACT US button at the bottom of this page!


Message from Holly

" As a mother of twins, I know how important it is to take care of your family. This is why I started making handcrafted products that are eco-friendly! Sierra Essentials encourages you to surround yourself with aromatherapy lifestyle products inspired by nature and made by hand. From soy wax candles to artisan soaps, lip balms, aroma spritzers, salt soaks, hand & foot balms, hand/body wash and lotion, fusion oils, baby care and dog care products. I hope you enjoy your Sierra Essentials™ products as much as I enjoyed making them!"
(Holly Redpath | Owner)

Some KUDOS!

My daughter and I LOVE the soy candles-they burn so clean! I use my lip balm every night and FINALLY got rid of my chapped lips! All of Sierra Essentials are quality products made with love!

-Sandy Bethe Voran Meslis


I didn't realize how much soot I was getting from my old candles until I tried to clean a wall! The Sierra Essentials™ candles do not leave that residue behind so I feel better about burning them and they smell great! I also love that I can recycle the candle when it is finally done! I like to buy them as gifts and have received heartfelt thanks from the recipients!

-Heidi Reynaud


I love the Sierra Essentials™ soy candles. One of my favorite things about candles is the scent, and TahoeEco candles retain their wonderful scent much longer than any candles I've had. There's such a variety of aromas, it's great to have a few around for different moods.!

-Linda George


I have been loving the Dreamsicle EO lip balm! It is so creamy and delicious. Also been using the rosemary mint and emongrass soaps. My skin feels so soft and my bathroom smells incredible! I LOVE the Fresh lip balm as well! The scent is so natural and clean. I find myself craving the scent throughout the day when I need a little pick me up!

-Jaclyn Woznicki


Sierra Essentials™ soy candles are the best, there's a great selection of fine aromas, they are so soothing and create great ambiance. They make great gifts too!

-June Lane


Cannot live without the lip balm! Having sunscreen is such a bonus. The hand & body lotion is simply the best! Looking forward to lighting my soy candles this fall( so healthy and green).

-Salita Armour


Sierra Essentials™ soy candles are wonderful. I love to light a candle when I get home from work and the aroma is immeadiately relaxing!

-Debbie Brown


I will never buy a candle from anyone else again.....I love my Sierra Essentials™ candles! They are beautiful and smell so fabulous, whether they are burning or just sitting on my desk giving off their lovely scent. I'm hooked on your candles for sure!! The vanilla lavender hand & body lotion has become my favorite scented body lotion. I wear it nearly every day (so make more I'm almost out!!).

-Alison Bermont


I love the vanilla patchouli soap!

-Janet Atkinson


On behalf of my daughter... dreamsickle lip balm!

-Sherrill Bounnell


I love the coconut lime verbena (I swear, it IS the smell of vacation!) or thai lemongrass. Both are AMAZING and fill my house with the most relaxing, calming scents (needed as a mom of two little ones!)! Right now I'm rockin' the 'Girly' lip balm in cafe latte with sun protection - use it every day!

-Sonja Martin


Sierra Essentials™™ Soy candles make the greatest gifts for friends and family and yourself. What a great way to get these unique aromas in such a beautiful package.

-Kari Rust


How great are these Sierra Essentials™ candles and they are clean burning, long lasting and come in a number of fun scents (or if you are allergic, they come scent free too!). Whether it be for holiday or everyday, for yourself or a gift, these are the best candles at a reasonable price. If you haven't tried them, you don't know what you are missing.

-Roseann O'Malley


Bought a vanilla lavender from Nevada City, good stuff!

-Nate Moore


I have Sierra Essentials™ candles all over my house. Whenever I walk into my home, even without lighting the candles, my house smells fantastic without being over powering. I have three dogs and a fragrance sensitive spouse, so scent is extremely important to me. TahoeEco candles always deliver a high quality product made with recycled and earth friendly materials, they're long lasting and burn cleanly, and the variety of fragrance is unparalleled. When I am feeling down or I have low energy, I light them and they immediately alter my mood. I get compliments every time I have guests over about how wonderful they smell.

Sierra Essentials™ candles has become my go-to for present giving for nearly any occasion. I am proud to share this wonderful company with my friends and family! Love you guys! Keep up the great work : )

-Lucia Lake