Sometimes we get a candle that seems to last for months and has great value for our money. Other times, we get one that is gone far too quickly. The burn rates vary so much that there are questions over which color and style is the longest-lasting. Some say that white candles are the worst value but, is this true?
Do white candles burn faster than colored candles?
No, they don’t. In fact, white candles can burn slower than colored ones. However, there are different factors to consider when determining which candle will last the longest or burn the fastest. So, there is no guarantee that every white candle has greater long-term value.
Why do colored candles tend to burn faster than white ones?
This phenomenon all comes down to the dyes used to create these colored candles. A lot of store-bought candles contain synthetic dyes to create a nice deep uniform color for better visual interest. There are some of these dyes in white candles too, but not to the same extent as something like a deep blue or bright scarlet candle. The chemicals in those dyes can have an impact on the heat generated and the burn rate of the candle. This might only be a matter of an inch difference over the same period. But, these inches can add up if you were expecting a long-lasting candle.
This issue may not be quite so significant when dealing with botanical dyes in natural products. If it is the chemical accelerating the burn rate in a synthetic pink candle, you may be able to limit this burn time with a natural pink dye instead.
Other factors that could make a difference on the burn rate of your candles.
You may be reading this thinking that this doesn’t add up because the white candle in your living room isn’t lasting nearly as long as the colored candle in the bedroom. But, as with any good science experiment, it all comes down to the variables. If you have two of the same types of candles side by side, such as a blue and a white birthday candle, the white should last longer. However, if they are different in various ways, this can have an impact. So, you also need to consider the following:
- a) the type of wax used in the candle.
- b) the wicks used in the candle
- c) other ingredients that could make the candle more combustible
- d) the dimensions of the candle
The wax used can make a big difference here. The fastest burning wax is paraffin wax, which is what you tend to find in a lot of cheaper synthetic candles. So, if your white candle is one of these cheaper options, that could go some way to explaining the speed. Also, if the colored candle is a different wax, such as soy or beeswax then it will naturally burn slower. Beeswax has different properties to paraffin wax with a tougher form and higher melting point. It is one of the best choices if you want an attractive natural candle that burns slowly.
Then there is the factor of the wicks used. Woodwick candles, especially those with three wicks, are very popular because of their impact on the senses. But, lighting two extra wicks means that the candle will burn faster.
Additional combustible materials could make a difference. So, consider the pretty little additions to the candle, such as flowers and petals, and how that might affect the way the candle burns. On the flip side of this, some producers add salt to lower the burn rate.
Finally, there is the factor of the dimension of the candle. The surface area of a candle will make a difference to the height lost over time. A tall tapered candle will burn down faster because that is the only way for the heat to go. Wider pillars are much slower.
Consider these factors when making candles at home.
If you plan to make candles at home, perhaps using some of the best candle molds highlighted in my other guide, it helps to think about these factors and colors when choosing your design. If you want the longest-lasting candle possible, go for natural ingredients, soy or beeswax, and single wicks within a candle with a greater surface area.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for all of us.