Frosting is the unsightly and hard-to-remove white or grey crystals inside or on top of your candle. It usually forms on soy wax candles. Candles often experience frosting within a day or two of pouring, especially if the candles are not allowed to cure properly and at an even temperature.
How to prevent candle frosting? Maintaining an even temperature while your candle cools down is the simplest way to prevent candle frosting. If you love making your own candles, you can also experiment with different additives to prevent your DIY from frosting.
But that’s not the only way to prevent candle frosting. In this article, we’ll tell you about some common causes of candle frosting and point you to some helpful tips and tricks to prevent this issue in the future.
What Is Candle Frosting?
Candle frosting is the formation of the white crystal coating on your soy candles. This problem can sometimes happen when the wax is melted during burning, but it’s not allowed to cool down evenly and return to its original state, resulting in candle frosting.
That’s not the only cause of candle frosting, however. Basically, any change in temperature after the wax is poured and even temperature changes during shipping can also cause candle frosting. That’s why you also often see candle frosting when the candle has never been burned.
This natural reaction is usually seen in vegetable wax candles, such as soy wax. The white or whitish-colored candle frost typically appears as a coating on the outside surface of the wax, such as on top of the wax or on the side of the wax.
At first glance, candle frosting might seem bad, as it can affect the aesthetic of the wax. But you should know that it doesn’t affect the burning properties of the candle and its scent throw, and it does not compromise the candle’s quality.
In fact, it’s a great way to tell that the candle is made from pure soy wax.
Why Does Candle Frosting Happen?
The cause of candle frost is usually due to the passage of time, as well as the varying temperatures and humidity. It’s also caused by the crystallization process of soy wax, and over time, the wax will become harder and harder.
Candle frosting is a part of the crystallization process, and it’s caused by polymorphism. This condition occurs when the crystals in a substance do not form consistently, especially in less stable forms of wax such as soy wax, palm wax, and vegetable waxes.
Although candle frosting can happen with any natural wax, it’s usually seen with soy. If you see candle frosting, it is usually a good indication that the candle is made from 100% pure soy wax.
On the other hand, paraffin wax doesn’t frost as much. This is because paraffin wax is a relatively inert substance that has a stable crystalline structure, which helps minimize the effects of polymorphism.
Manufacturers of soy wax often use various additives to help prevent candle frosting. Some of these include adding UV inhibitors and other additives to prevent frosting, as well as creating blends with more stable types of wax, such as paraffin wax, to create a more stable wax.
How To Prevent Candle Frosting
Although frosting is a natural process that doesn’t affect the performance of your candle, if you want your candle to look perfect, there are various ways that you can prevent your candle from frosting during the mixing and pouring process.
Let’s take a look at some simple ways to prevent candle frosting below.
Allow The Wax To Cure In A Stable Temperature
As we’ve mentioned, drastic temperature changes, especially when the wax is cooling down, are the main cause of candle frosting. That’s why maintaining a stable temperature when you are pouring and curing your candle is the simplest way to prevent candle frosting.
That means you should pour your wax and allow your candle to cool down to room temperature (around 70°F).
You should also keep your candle away from any sources of heat or anywhere that’s subjected to temperature changes. That means windows, under direct light (sunlight or lamp light), kitchen countertops, heaters, air conditioners, fans, etc.
Most importantly, you should never leave your candle outside, even after the wax is cured. The outdoor is subjected to unpredictable and drastic temperature and humidity changes. You should always keep your candles in a temperature-controlled environment.
While we’re at it, maintaining stable humidity can also assist your candle while it cools down. Too much humidity can cause the moisture to be trapped inside the wax, causing all kinds of issues when you burn your candle for the first time.
That means if you live in a mild climate, you should use a dehumidifier when your candle is cooling down. You should also keep it away from humid areas in your home, such as the bathroom.
Preheat Candle Container
When you pour your wax, there’s a very high chance of the wax sticking to the sides of the container first. This outer layer will cool down first while the rest of the wax is still cooling, which means your candle won’t cool down evenly, resulting in frosting.
Before pouring your candle, you can pop the candle container or the mold in the oven for a few minutes to pre-heat the container. Alternatively, you can also use a heat gun or a hair dryer to heat up the sides of the container to prevent the wax from sticking to the sides of the container.
Pour The Wax At A Low Temperature
To reduce crystal formation, pour the wax at a low temperature (around 100°F). This will help the wax to adhere to itself, which will prevent frosting as the wax cools down. Remember to heat up the wax container first so that the wax doesn’t completely stick to the sides of the container.
Don’t Stir The Wax Too Vigorously
As you mix and pour your wax, you’ll want to stir it lightly to allow all the ingredients to mix together well and remove any air bubbles trapped in the wax.
However, if you stir vigorously, air bubbles can become trapped inside the mixture, which really defeats the purpose of stirring. The air bubbles can also cause other issues with your candle later on, such as candle popping.
Avoid Excessive Heat
If you are using all-natural soy wax, frosting is very likely to occur. When you melt your wax, try not to use super-high heat because the drastic changes in temperature are the number one culprit of soy wax frosting.
It’s best to use a double boiler to melt your wax so that the heat will be applied evenly and there’s less risk of excessive heat. If you are using a microwave to melt your wax, you should use 30-second intervals and stir the mixture in between the intervals to allow the heat to spread evenly.
You should pour the wax as soon as the wax is melted, and try not to ‘cook’ it on the heat for too long because the excessive temperature can also lead to the frosting as the wax cools down.
Cool The Candles On a Wire Rack
The biggest issue that can happen after pouring your candle is when the candle isn’t allowed to cool down evenly, which can create frosting on the sides of the candle.
This can happen when you place your candle on a table to cool down – the sides will cool, but the bottom that’s stuck on the table won’t be able to cool evenly with the rest of the candle.
This issue can be resolved when you place your candles on a wire rack to cool down so that the bottom of the candles will be allowed to cool evenly.
The cooling process can also be disrupted when you place your candles too close to one another, so the heat from one candle can affect the cooling process of the candle that’s right next to it, resulting in uneven cooling.
To prevent this issue, you should keep your candles at least 4-5 inches away from one another as they cool down so that each one can have enough room to cool down evenly.
Candle frosting often occurs in vegetable waxes such as soy wax or palm wax, mainly because these types of wax are not as stable as paraffin wax, for example.
Fortunately, there are some additives that you can add to the wax mixture to stabilize it. Additives such as antioxidants, UV inhibitors, etc., are very useful to prevent natural waxes from frosting after curing.
An all-natural additive like coconut oil can also be a good stabilizing ingredient to prevent your candle from frosting.
Don’t Add Too Much Fragrance Oil
Fragrance oil is a common addition to many candle wax recipes’ because it can add a nice aromatic effect to your candle. Unfortunately, fragrance oil won’t do your candle any favor when it comes to frosting.
This is because fragrance oil cools down at a different temperature than wax, which can also affect how evenly your candle wax can cool down, which we know is the cause of frosting.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use fragrance oil in your wax mixture. It just means that you will need to maintain the correct ratio and don’t use too much fragrance oil. Otherwise, your candle will be severely affected.
Stay Away From ‘Unhelpful’ Additives
Similarly, if you are using soy wax or other types of vegetable waxes, you should try to stay away from other additives that may affect the quality of the wax mixture.
Unhelpful additives such as dye and food coloring can do more harm than good when it comes to preventing frosting. You should stay away from these types of additives to prevent your candle from frosting.
Add Paraffin Wax
Paraffin wax is much more stable compared to vegetable wax when it comes to frosting. If you want to prevent frosting in your candle, adding some paraffin wax to the mixture can also enhance the wax’s stability.
Major candle manufacturers often do this with their soy wax as well, and these candles are often called “para-soy” candles. That’s why commercial soy candles tend not to frost.
There are also pre-mixed para-soy wax options that you can find in the store. These products have been optimized with the correct ratio of paraffin and soy wax so that the candles won’t frost at all. This option will save you from having to figure out a ratio to mix your paraffin and soy wax.
Of course, this may not be an option for you if you are allergic to paraffin or want to use an all-natural wax option.
Allow Your Candle To Cure
The most important step in the candle-making process is curing. You may think it’s enough to wait for the candles to cool down and harden, but your candle actually takes up to a week to cure completely!
The curring process will allow the fragrance oil to spread out evenly into the wax. This will help provide the best possible scent throw and even add to the stability of the candle itself.
Test Your Wax Before Mixing A Big Batch
Unfortunately, when it comes to soy wax frosting, there is no perfect recipe that can prevent the frosting altogether. Sometimes, it can also depend on where you live and what’s the temperature and humidity that you often experience in your area.
That’s why we recommend experimenting with your recipe by blending different types of wax and different additives to create a ‘perfect’ recipe for you. Don’t forget to take notes for each recipe so that you can replicate the perfect candle when you find it!
How To Fix A Frosted Candle
If you want your candle to be 100% natural, unfortunately, the candle will frost sooner or later. However, there are still some things you can do to help with the aesthetic of the candle so that it doesn’t look unsightly when you use it.
Hide The Frost
The simplest way to prevent frosting from getting too visible is to limit its visibility. This is done by using an opaque container or soy wax that doesn’t have a color.
With a colorless blend, or even with a candle with light, pastel color, the frosting won’t look super visible, and it won’t really affect the overall aesthetic of the candle.
If you want to dye your wax a darker color, it’s best to use a tinted, frosted, or even opaque container. The container will help you shield most of the frosting, so you won’t have to look at the frosting even if it happens.
Heat Up The Frosted Area
If the frost settles on top of the candle, there’s a simple way that you can make it disappear – by simply remelting the entire area!
This can be done using a heat gun, a hair dryer, or even a candle lamp. Simply apply the heat on top of the candle, and let all the frost melt back into a nice, even surface, and the top of the wax will cool down to a nice and even surface.
Unfortunately, this is not a permanent fix, as the frosting will continue to happen with time, especially if the wax mixture is prone to frosting. You will need to repeat this step occasionally, every time that you spot frosting on top of your candle.
Candle Making Tips
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to avoid the common woes of candle making, take a look at this video from LadyCIMONNE Candle Co. on YouTube.