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Ear candles are hollow cones made of fabric covered in paraffin wax, beeswax, or soy wax. Most ear candles are about a foot in length. The pointed end of the candle is placed in your ear. The slightly wider end is lit.

Proponents of this treatment, called ear candling, claim that the warmth created by the flame causes suction. The suction pulls earwax and other impurities out of the ear canal and into the hollow candle.

To prepare for the procedure, you lie on your side with one ear facing down. The practitioner inserts the pointed end of the candle into the hole of the ear that’s facing up and adjusts it to create a seal. You shouldn’t perform the procedure on yourself because it can be dangerous.

In most cases, a circular guard of some sort is placed about two-thirds of the way down the candle to catch any dripping wax. These are often flimsy and made of aluminium foil or paper plates.

Cautious practitioners will cover your head and neck with a towel for more protection. Guidelines also suggest holding the candle straight so any drippings roll down the side rather than dropping into the ear or onto the face.

The candle is allowed to burn for about 10 to 15 minutes. During that time, the burned part of the fabric is supposed to be trimmed to prevent it from contaminating the tube.