Have you ever left your e-liquid somewhere only to find it has turned brown when you need it? Frustrating, isn’t it? We feel your pain and want to help you. That’s why we’re dedicating this post to answering the question, “Why does vape juice turn brown?”
What is the natural color of e-juices?
Vape juices are usually clear or a little bit yellow when new. This color is because of the content of the e-liquid; water, propylene glycol (PG)/vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, flavor, and other compounds.
Keep in mind that the more nicotine present in the vape juice the easier it is for it to turn brown.
How long do vape juices remain stable?
Depending on the flavor, preservatives, and other ingredients present in an e-liquid, it can remain stable for up to 10 years if stored properly. However, manufacturers usually give these liquids a shelf life of around 2 years to keep you from keeping them for too long.
This reduces the chances of them turning brown and ensures that your vaping experience remains enjoyable. So for best results, stick to the expiry dates indicated on the e-juice bottles.
Do all vape juices contain nicotine?
Some vape juices don’t contain nicotine. However, it can be difficult to identify these because many manufacturers are not efficient in labeling their products.
What does it mean when e-liquids turn brown?
Vape juices can turn brown due to a variety of reasons depending on whether this happens when they’re in their bottles or your vape device.
1. Discoloration while in the e-juice bottles
This has two main causes:
- Exposure to oxygen
When your e-liquid turns brown while in its bottle, it could be because it has been exposed to oxygen. This is known as the oxidation process. It’s a chemical reaction between oxygen and any compound, in this case, those in your vape juice.
While this process alters several ingredients in the e-liquid, the interaction with nicotine is more prominent as it causes a dark coloration. Keep in mind though; oxidation is a natural process that can also cause discoloration in fruits, vegetables, and even metals.
It just means that the compound reacting with oxygen has gained an oxygen atom, creating a new one. In the case of nicotine, it can lose two of its hydrogen atoms and gain one oxygen one, becoming a new compound called cotinine.
- Interaction with UV rays
Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage a lot of objects, changing their color. That’s why the colors of carpets fade when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. In the same way, e-liquids exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time can turn brown.
Apart from the light, the heat applied in this interaction also causes damage to your vape juice and the nicotine within it. As such, it’s advisable to always store your vape oil in a cool, dark place.
While this may not prevent discoloration altogether, it will slow the process down. That’s why manufacturers tend to store their e-juices in refrigerators.
2. Discoloration while in the vape device
If your vape juice turns brown while in your vape tank or vape pen, the most logical explanation is that its ingredients are to blame. To be specific, your vape juice could contain sugar and artificial sweeteners.
So on the application of heat, these ingredients turn into caramel and stick to the coil. As time passes by, this caramel accumulates and gets into your e-juice.
This turns the color of the oil brown; it can even become black with time.
What can make your vape juices turn brown faster?
The two things you can do to make your vape juice brown faster are:
- Mixing two or more vape juices
Even if you buy two bottles of e-liquid at the same time, one is older than the other. And the older one is usually more oxidized than the younger one. Mixing them is just hastening the process for the younger one.
If you want to use a mixture of them for vaping, mix the amount you need in a separate container.
- Shaking your e-liquid
Doing this increases the amount of oxygen your vape juice absorbs, making it turn brown faster.
Is brown vape juice bad for you?
Even if your e-liquid turns brown a short time after you buy it, you don’t need to throw it out; it’s still safe to use.
Do some people let their vape juices turn brown on purpose?
Some vapers deliberately make their e-juices turn brown to create the flavor they want. This is called steeping. Interestingly, some manufacturers have also started steeping to cater to such customers.
However, some of the customers still prefer to further steep these products. They usually do this by leaving the e-liquid bottles open, shaking them, and/or storing them in warm places. The longer they do this, the more the juice’s flavor becomes distinct and strong.
This also evaporates the alcohol present in the flavoring of the vape juice. While this alcohol is a good carrier agent, it irritates users who are sensitive to it.
Keep in mind that a little accidental browning won’t affect your vape juice’s flavor in this way though. Long-term steeping needs to be done for this to happen.
If you notice that your vape juice has turned brown, there are usually only a few things you can do to slow things down:
- Check your e-juice bottle packaging for a label indicating the presence of sugars or artificial sweeteners. If you find one, avoid the brand going forward
- Avoid leaving your e-juice bottle open
- Store your bottles in a cold and dark place
- Avoid shaking your vape juice bottle
- Don’t mix your juices
Do you have any more tips that you have learned on your vaping journey? Feel free to share them in the comment section. We are always open to learning from you.