Why Is My Candle Wax Turning Yellow? (How to Prevent)

Your candle can appear yellow or discolored for various reasons, like light exposure, fragrances, and overheating your wax.

It can be disappointing to find your once beautiful candles start to yellow or discolor, but there are steps you can take to reduce discoloring significantly.

Let’s first go over why this is happening, and then we’ll cover what you can do to help prevent it.

Why Your Candle Appears Yellow or Discolored

Light Exposure

Ultraviolet light will impact the appearance of candles due to oxidation and degrading dyes and fragrances.

Non-dyed candles will form the appearance of a yellow tint, and dyed candles can fade in color.

Of course, sunlight is an obvious source of ultraviolet light, but artificial lighting, like fluorescent lights, can also have a significant impact.


The color of the fragrance itself can impact the color of your wax. Keep this in mind when choosing your fragrance.

The formula of the fragrance can also have an impact. Citrus fragrances, as well as fragrances containing vanillin, are known for discoloring candles.

Vanillin is used in many fragrance oils as a base ingredient and can cause yellowing. 

Fragrance Bonding Issues Leading to Yellow Bottom 

If the bottom of your candle turns yellow, the fragrance most likely did not bond with the wax correctly.

When this happens, fragrance oil can settle at the bottom of the candle container, causing discoloration.

Fragrance not bonding with the wax can be caused by too much fragrance oil, or the wax’s temperature is not high enough when adding the fragrance oil.

Overheating Your Wax

Avoid high temperatures for extended periods when melting wax.

Keeping your wax at a high temperature for too long can cause the wax to break down and result in discoloration, especially for vegetable-based waxes.

If you’re working with large amounts of wax, for your convenience, it’s perfectly ok to keep your wax in a liquid state at its melt point, and then when you’re ready to make your candles, you can bring up the temperature to where you need it for adding fragrance, etc.

The method you use for melting wax can also be a factor here. If you have direct heat contact with the wax or attempt to use a microwave (avoid it if possible), then heat spots can form, breaking down the wax.

How to Prevent Your Candles from Yellowing or Discoloring

Ivory Dye

An ivory dye may be an option if you have a favorite fragrance that happens to have vanillin.

Use ivory dye to help offset the yellow tint that can occur from fragrances containing vanillin. This dye can help achieve a more uniform color.


If possible, keep your candles in a cool, dark, and dry place for storage. This will protect your candles from outside elements, including harmful UV rays.

Storing candles in ideal conditions isn’t always possible if you have your candles on display or sitting on store shelves, and that’s when a UV inhibitor can be a solution.

UV Inhibitor

As we discussed, sunlight and artificial ultraviolet light exposure can degrade the quality of waxes, dyes, and fragrances.

That’s when a UV inhibitor can help save the day.

This will act as a “sunscreen” for your candles and significantly reduce the harmful effects UV rays will have on your candles.

The UV inhibitor will help prevent colored and non-dye candles from fading in color or forming a yellowish tint while preserving your fragrance. 

Avoid Vanillin

Design your candles around fragrances that don’t include vanillin as an ingredient.

An ivory dye may not fit into your specific project, so removing one of the main culprits (vanillin) can be a major help.

Many manufacturers will list the vanillin content for fragrances making it easy to know which fragrances to avoid.

Avoid Overheating Wax

Overheating the candle wax can trigger oxidation and break down the wax leading to discoloration.

Properly Blend Fragrance

Add the fragrance to the wax at the correct temperature. Typically, 185°F is a temperature that will allow the fragrance to blend correctly with your wax.

When adding fragrance to your wax, gently stir for 2-3 minutes to ensure you properly blend the fragrance into the wax. Avoid vigorous stirring which can cause air bubbles to form.

The max fragrance load you can use will depend on the wax you’re using, which you can verify with the wax supplier. A safe baseline to use is 1oz of fragrance per pound of wax which is ~6% fragrance load.

More fragrance doesn’t necessarily mean a stronger or better scent and can lead to problems like discoloration and wet spots. Remember curing your candles will have a significant impact on your fragrance throw.


To help prevent your candles from turning yellow or discoloring, you can do the following:

  1. Ivory dye. Use ivory dye to offset the yellowing effects caused by vanillin, which is used in many fragrance oils.
  2. Properly store your candles. Keep your candles away from harmful UV rays.
  3. UV inhibitor. Use a UV inhibitor as a “sunscreen” for your candles to protect the wax, dye, and fragrance from degrading.
  4. Avoid vanillin. Design your candles around fragrances that don’t have vanillin.
  5. Don’t overheat your wax. Don’t keep your wax at high temperatures for prolonged periods.
  6. Properly blend fragrance. Mix fragrance with wax at 185°F as a baseline unless otherwise stated by the wax supplier. Gently stir wax for 2-3 minutes. Don’t use too much fragrance oil. A safe baseline is 1oz per pound of wax.