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Do Candle Colors Trump Fragrance?

Posted: August 28, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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A timely example of this strategy is Twenty-Three, a line of soy candles designed to appeal to both design buffs and the eco-chic, released last November by ILLUME Candle of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The line gets its name from the number of stylish fragrance and color combinations it comprises. “We have combined natural ingredients and trend-right design into our newest collection,” said Liz Barrere, vice president of product development and marketing. “The result is a bold fashion statement from Illume.” Fragrances such as Cuban Fusion, Pineapple Cilantro, Pomegranate and Tahitian suggest vivid colors and the candles do not disappoint.

Strategic Choice

Candle makers have a number of options when deciding how to get color into their candles. Generally, candles are colored either with dyes or pigments. According to the NCA, the chief difference between them is that dyes color a candle throughout, while pigments color-coat the outside of a candle.

The choices, according to Dionisio, are either standard pigments or FD&C colors. BleuBay chooses its colorants for their UV stability, so its candles won’t change color if left in the sun. Plant materials are rarely used to color candles because they are not UV stable. An alternative would be to use less stable materials and to add UV protectors, a move BleuBay chooses not to make, stated Dionisio.

In fact, many things found in nature find their way into candle colors including crushed up beetles, which make a soft pink hue, according to Dionisio. Ground up rocks and minerals along with other materials, such as oyster shells, also find their way into candle colorants. The choice is yours. Color over fragrance? Both together? One thing is certain: You can always find just the right colorant for your needs.