Have you ever poured a candle only to find that it develops white crystals as soon as the wax cools? You’re not alone! This is an effect known as candle frosting or blooming, and it’s completely normal if you are using 100% soy wax. It may also occur in wax blends that contain a lot of soy.
Soy wax frosting can be disappointing to see after you spent so much time making a candle. However, it won’t affect how your candle burns. If you want to know more about why candle frosting happens and what you can do to avoid it, this article is for you!
Why does my candle wax look frosty?
Handmade soy candles can develop a frosty appearance after they cool. It’s called “frosting” because it looks just like frost on a window. Frosting occurs because the wax naturally forms crystalline structures as it cools and hardens. Crystals may form on the top of your wax or along the sides of your container, as shown in the green candles below.
Crystallization is a normal effect in vegetable waxes like soy. While there are things you can do to minimize the effect, it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid crystallization. You can read more about this in the next sections.
Is soy wax frosting bad?
If your candles develop a frosty film, you may worry that they’re ruined and you need to start over. Soy frosting may seem bad, but it won’t affect how good your candle smells or burns. Soy wax frosting is purely cosmetic and will not impact the way your candle performs.
Many people who sell candles worry that customers will think frosted candles have gone bad. While the appearance of frosting might seem unappealing, most customers won’t be fazed by it. Appearances are important, but customers tend to care more about their candles smelling good and burning well.
If you are ever in a position where you need to explain wax frosting in your candles, it’s a good opportunity to educate your customers on natural waxes. In fact, you can actually point to wax blooming as evidence that your candles are made from 100% soy.
Does frosting get worse over time?
Because wax continues to harden for a long time after you pour it, you may notice that more crystals develop as time goes on. Keep in mind that crystals are also affected by temperature changes. When a candle is burned, the wax temperature changes significantly. After the candle wax cools again, crystals may form in different places and be more noticeable.
It’s always a good idea to test your candles to see how the crystals may change as the candle burns down. If your candles develop more noticeable frosting as time goes on, you may want to encourage customers to use their candles within 6 months to a year to prevent this cosmetic issue. Turning over your stock of candles regularly – rather than keeping older candles on hand – might also be helpful.
How to Prevent Candle Wax from Frosting
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to completely avoid candle frosting. If you want to make soy candles, it’s something you’ll have to work around. While there’s nothing you can do to 100% prevent crystallization, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of frosting.
- Avoid temperature fluctuations while your candles cure. Frosting is more likely to occur when the temperature doesn’t remain steady during the cooling and curing process. We recommend curing candles for 1-2 weeks before selling or burning them. During this time, try to keep the temperature consistent where your candles are stored.
- Adjust your pouring temperature. Soy wax should be heated to no more than 185 degrees F, but everyone has their own preferred temperature for pouring. If you’re experiencing a lot of frosting in your soy candles, try pouring at a different temperature to see if that helps.
- Experiment with additives. Some people find that adding 2-3% stearic acid helps the appearance of frosting in soy wax. Even if it doesn’t, stearic acid is good for improving glass adhesion.
- Avoid using too much color. Colorants like liquid dye and candle dye chips don’t cause frosting. However, they can make frosting appear more obvious. Because frosting is white in color, it will show up much easier against a colorful background. That’s not to say you can’t use colorants. You’ll just want to be mindful that darker colors will make frosting more apparent. Frosting is much harder to see in white candle wax.
As you can see in the photo below, frosting is more apparent in darker colors of wax. The candles below are identical aside from the amount of colorant used.
How to Fix Soy Wax Frosting
If you’ve already taken steps to prevent frosting from happening in the first place, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to remove frosting that has already developed on your candles.
When trying to fix wax frosting, keep in mind that soy wax will always be prone to developing a frost. There are things you can do to reduce the appearance of frosting, but some of these are temporary fixes and the frosting may return. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with soy wax frosting:
- Use a heat gun on the top and sides of your candle container. Wax crystals respond to temperature changes, and as a result, you can temporarily get them to disappear using a heat gun. However, this is not a permanent fix. Frosting will almost always reappear. It may simply be in a different shape or location.
- Use colorful or opaque candle containers that may hide the appearance of frosting. The crystals will still be there, but they will be far less noticeable. Using textured candle containers is another great way to hide frosting.
- Use labels to hide frosting. If you have a problem spot on the side of your candle container, try to place your label over that area to minimize the crystal appearance.
Soy wax frosting can be an annoying issue, but hopefully this article has given you some ideas and inspiration for dealing with it. Keep in mind that frosting is a cosmetic issue, and while you might not like the appearance, it won’t affect how your candles burn. By getting creative with packaging and colors, and informing your customers on what to expect from soy candles, you can avoid any major issues with soy wax frosting.