Why Does My E Liquid Change Colour?

  • 3 min read

Why Does My E Liquid Change Colour?

Most of you will probably wonder why your favourite e liquid may not have the same colour consistency each time you purchase it or that over time your e-liquid begins to get darker - most obvious inside the atomiser when in use . This guide will aim to solve this perfectly normal (and natural) phenomenon.

The Problem Explained


To begin with, let me illustrate exactly what I am talking about. In the below image you will see 2 identical e-juice bottles. Both the same flavouring, mix and strength, yet one is much darker than the other.

Taking a closer look at the image you will notice the one difference between them both - the date. One was manufactured in October 2017 and the other manufactured in April 2017.

congress colour change

Does this mean age has something to do with the colour change? Well, yes, but not only that. take a look at the image below. All 3 bottles were made on the same day. Exactly the same flavour, mix and this time date.

The difference this time being nicotine strength.

E liquid colour change

1) 0mg Nicotine 2) 6mg Nicotine 3) 12 mg Nicotine[/caption]

The sub heading "Problem" is a little over exaggerated as it is not actually a problem at all, rather a completely natural chemical process that occurs due to oxidation.

E-Juice Oxidation

Nicotine is an extremely reactive substance, and can react differently to any ingredient used in the e liquid manufacturing process or even when exposed to air alone. Ever wonder why Banana E liquid turns pink over time? this is all down to oxidation.

The simple English dictionary states,

"Oxidizationing is any chemical reaction that involves the moving of electrons. Specifically, it means the substance that gives away electrons is oxidized."

In Nicotine terms, the reaction causes the liquid to change colour. It doesn't get stronger, weaker, harsher or lower in quality, it is simply a cosmetic change. Some companies use preservatives to prevent this from happening. At Ichor Liquid, we do not.

And Nicotine Strength?

As illustrated above, Before the e liquid has even been made the nicotine has already started the oxidation process. Air and light - other contributing factors -  are also causing the nicotine to change in colour. It is very rare the nicotine we receive for our e liquids is the same colour. More commonly than not, liquid nicotine is light to dark brown in colour.

When adding more nicotine to e liquid the reaction to the ingredients is not only greater, but the darker nicotine colour will also affect the final colour of the e-liquid. The same applies when the nicotine is of lighter colour. An example of this is shown below. Both liquid nicotine samples are VG based at 72mg.

Nicotine Coloours

Oxidation is not the only reason for colour change. You will notice the e liquid in your atomiser  changes colour a lot quicker than the e-juice in your bottle. This is specifically evident with VG heavy vape liquids.

VG e liquid is sweet by nature and will caramelise on the atomiser when heat is applied. the resulting "Gunk" will stain the e-juice. This applies to whether nicotine is added or not.


The most important thing to take away from this guide is no matter what colour your e liquid starts out as or becomes, it is totally normal and is to be expected.

Many people use the colour change to determine how far a long their e liquid has steeped and whether or not it is ready to vape. Steeping though, is another topic and covered in detail here.