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Trouble Shooting

Trouble Shooting

FAQ: Why does my candle have a wet spot?

wet-spot1

Quite an unusual term for a candle problem but never-the-less it is a legitimate term. A wet spot refers to the patch on your glass that almost looks like an air bubble between the wax and glass.

wet-spot-candle

What in fact has happened is the wax has pulled away from the edge of the glass. Once this happens it will not re-adhere. It does not affect the performance of the candle in anyway but is an aesthetic thing.

It generally happens when the candle temperature fluctuates and the wax expands and contracts. You will find it very nearly happens always overnight if you leave your candles out.

It can be controlled by using a good quality wax like GW 464 that has great glass adhesion but also with your pour temperature.

If you find your candle wetspots as it is drying try increasing the pour temperature.
If your candle wetspots overnight make sure you put the candles in a warm place, don’t leave them exposed to the cold.

Sometimes however no matter what you do you will not prevent wetspots. The climate changes both outside and inside, even during transportation or the air-conditioning in a shop can all cause wetspots.

Trouble Shooting

How to store candles for longer without any preservatives!

candle

If you are making soaps, bath salts, butters and balms, bombs, butter bars etc you do not need to use a preservative. A general rule of thumb is if you product is anhydrous (without water) then you do not need to use a preservative.

It is important to remember your products are not going to stay as fresh as commercial products so making them in small batches is the better way to go. As with all products each has a different shelf life so putting a best before date on your formulations would be wise. Six months is plenty of time in which to use your products. Hopefully they will be so wonderful you and your customers will use them well within this time and return for more. It is also a huge selling point to say your products are completely natural and preservative free.

There is not really anything that can be termed a natural preservative. The closest is vitamin E but that only preserves the oils in formulations.

The best way to keep your products fresh and germ free is to:

  • Store them in a dark cool place.
  • Store them in air tight packaging.
  • Make sure you work area is sterile and clean.
  • Keep your hands regularly washed and clean.
  • Use spatulas and spoons to handle your products specifically the end product. This will prevent contamination from fingers and hands.
Trouble Shooting

Diffuser Bottle Care & Use

diffuser-bottle

Remove the cork and plastic bung from the bottle.
Fill the bottle with a mix of reed base and your favourite fragrance (approximately 8ml base and 2ml of fragrance).
Replace the cork on the bottle making sure it is screwed on correctly. Turn the bottle upside down several times until the cork is sufficiently soaked.
Your diffuser bottle is ready to go!

Note: Read the warning on reed base and the article ‘care and use of oils’ Reed base may damage surfaces such as wood, soft plastics and varnished surfaces as well as other surfaces. The diffuser liquid may absorb into the rope past the wooden bead. If your diffuser is hanging be aware of this and what it is hanging on. Tip the diffuser bottle upside down carefully and not over property in case you have not replaced the lid correctly.

Wipe all spills immediately.

Fragrance & Essential Oils Trouble Shooting

The Perception of Candle Fragrances

candles

The perception of fragrance is very personal. Every human grows up surrounded by certain stimuli that they associate with either fond or unsettling memories. Who doesn’t smile (and perhaps start salivating in anticipation) when exposed to the odor of Grandma’s cookies baking in the oven? And who doesn’t recoil from the odor of a smelly gym bag that hasn’t been opened in a week? Unless you are anosmic, which means that your sense of smell has been compromised, you probably are only marginally aware of how much you use your sense of smell in your everyday life.

However, there are many things that can affect your sense of smell. Perhaps you have a cold or allergies and your sinuses are inflamed — you might notice that your sense of smell is not as strong in this situation. You may notice that your first “sniff” of a fragrance will give you the strongest first impression – this is normal! It doesn’t take long for the olfactory receptors to become saturated by a certain odor and then you have trouble detecting it later. How many times have you been near someone who seems to have bathed in cologne and you wonder, can’t they smell how strong that cologne is? The answer is, no, they can’t, because they have become essentially immune to the odor – their olfactory receptors have been overloaded with that particular scent and they cannot smell it anymore. Pregnancy is known to enhance a woman’s sense of smell, and the theory is that it is vitally important to the survival of the human species for the mother to be aware of what foods she should avoid as they might be harmful.

Then there is the role of the brain in odor perception. Perhaps someone gives you a yellow candle but does not identify what the odor might be. Automatically, your brain expects one of certain fragrances – perhaps a lemon or citrus blend, perhaps a citrus-floral blend, perhaps a lemon-vanilla blend. But what if that yellow candle smells like blueberry? How do you think you would respond? You would probably think that something was wrong because your brain was already expecting a fragrance from a preconceived group that your brain conjured based on the candle’s color. Or perhaps your brain goes even farther and tricks you into thinking it’s some sort of exotic lemon.

There is also the issue of scent memory. Perhaps you have used that last bit of your favorite cologne, and you buy a new bottle. You feel that you know this fragrance well as you have worn it many times, but perhaps the day you open your new bottle you feel that it does not smell the same as the old one did. You may have the impression that the manufacturer changed the formulation. The only way to know for sure would be to analyze the fragrance through gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, but most of us do not have that luxury, so we rely on our scent memory to guide us. However, scent memory can be erroneous as it is based on our (often fuzzy) memory about the fragrance. The only way for us to compare 2 scents (other than through expensive analysis) is to put both fragrances on a blotter and compare them side by side, and even that method must be handled with care. Each fragrance should be dipped into the fragrance up to the same amount – if one fragrance covers more of the blotter than the other, the perception will be that one is stronger than the other. Also, you have to smell each blotter with both nostrils as one nostril might be more congested than the other. Of course, it’s always best to do a blind test when evaluating fragrance so that the brain’s preconceived notions do not come into play.

In fragrance evaluation, we are faced with perception challenges every day. We are constantly evaluating fragrances that are very similar or perhaps the same. We find that it is very easy to “trick” each other with regard to fragrance perception. Even something as simple as saying, “Do you think these 2 fragrances smell the same?” can prejudice the evaluator into either looking for a difference or looking for a similarity, depending on what he or she wishes the outcome to be. Naming the fragrances is also deceiving – I can’t tell you how many times we have giving an evaluator the same fragrance under two different names and the evaluator automatically assumed that the fragrances were different because the samples were named differently.

So the next time one of your customers says, “This candle doesn’t smell as strong as my previous purchase”, bear in mind that they might be right – or they might not!