I’ve been asked a few times over the past couple months how I colour my soaps. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a store like Lush or The Body Shop branding itself as “natural”, and seeing how many artificial, petroleum-derived colourants they use in their products while still riding that “natural” marketing train.
I tend to use more natural colourants, ranging from naturally coloured oils to iron oxides. The saponification process is a bit of a wild card, in that you never know how a coloured ingredient will be effected afterwards. Apparently rosehip extract, which is bright pink, turns black turning saponification. Whoops, haha. Anyhow, here’s how I colour my soaps, without the use of any artificial dyes.
This oil is a bright, deep orange naturally. I use it in varying amounts to get anything from a nice, mellow yellow colour, to a bright, bright orange. You don’t need much of it to achieve great colour, so you can add it after trace without worrying about your superfat percentage too much. Take care not to stain your clothes with it, though! I find it holds up fairly well against fading, though it will fade quite noticeably after a year or so.
You don’t need much at all to get a nice, pastel tint in your soaps. The bonus with oxides is that you can achieve colours, like lavender or bright blue, that can be quite difficult to achieve with anything else. The negative is that you can really only get fairly soft colours—I’ve found that if you add too much it gives the soap an odd, almost mottled look, known as glycerin rivers. Bars coloured with lots of iron oxide can also leave coloured soap scum streaks on everything.
Note: Oxides fall into a strange sort-of-limbo as far as the term “natural” goes. The compounds for iron oxides and blue ultramarine do exist naturally as rust (or semi-precious stones in the case of ultramarine), but are generally contaminated with heavy metals or are very expensive, and as such the ones we purchase are synthesized.
This is probably one of my favourite ways to colour soap! I always add clay to my soaps anyways, so it’s like multi-tasking. French Green gives a beautiful green tint, Rhassoul adds brown, and so and and so forth (it’s pretty obvious which clays add which colours, and I’ve found they don’t change during saponification).
Spirulina & Seaweed Powder
These green powders derived from seaweed/cynobacteria add great brown/green colour, though it is prone to fading over time as the bars age.
Great for making soap white (or whiter), but not great for much else. For soap making either the oil soluble or water soluble version will work, just be sure to use an immersion blender to break up any clumps so you don’t have white blobs of powder in your final bars.
I’ve had varying levels of success with this one. Blackstrap molasses works really well to get a very dark brown colour, but you have to be careful not to use too much or the sugar content can cause the batch to curdle (keep the temperature low, too). I’ve also tried simmering brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, like cranberries and beets, and then puréeing and reducing the mixtures before stirring them into the soap. That has worked, more or less, but I probably wouldn’t do it again now that I can add oxides instead, especially since the food colouring options are more prone to shifting colour during saponification (usually to something brown) and fading over time as the bars age.
This works well for getting a nice brown colour, though, sadly the scent doesn’t really come through. You can use instant coffee powder or use brewed cold coffee instead of water to add the lye to.
Spices are a great way to add colour, exfoliation, and scent at the same time! I’ve had good success adding swirls of ground cinnamon to soap. You could also experiment with other spices like paprika—just stay away from things like cayenne pepper, which will definitely wake you up during your morning shower, but not very nicely!
And that’s it! With these options you should be able to easily (and naturally) create the rainbow. There are limits, of course—you won’t be able to create super dark colours without bleeding, or neon shades, but I’ve found more than enough variety here to keep me more than happy with the possibilities!
I have used turmeric and cinnamon to color soap. There are other things that you can use, too.
I love the idea of turmeric! I’ve never tried it since I found buriti oil so early on and had yellow all sorted out. I love how creative soap making is—there’s so much room to play with the colours!
Tumeric does not work for Hot process soap. It is lovely golden orange when you add it, after trace…. then when the soap is in the mold, it heats up again and the color turns disappointingly dull tan. Beet juice turned bright yellow with the lye, and then later…. black… bummer.
Thanks for the info, Debbie 🙂 I’ve had luck getting beetroot juice to be a sort of ruddy brown colour, but it was hardly the bright red I was hoping for.
Tumeric worked fine for me in hot process soap. I hear tumeric goes brown when you use too much of it.
it does make the soap a little scratchy, so i would infuse it and filter it next time….
Tumeric does work in hot press soap. I add tumeric in my carrot soap to give a strong orange color. I apply after trace.
Hello from Greece!
Thank you for all your useful posts… I read all of them, which are very inspiring… I’ ve tried green stevia and came out o pale green colour… Also i’ ve tried powdered olive leaves and the colour was dark green. Have you tried Hibiscus? The water turns bright red, but in soap?
Keep inspiring us!
Awesome, I’m never thought of trying stevia or powdered olive leaves (I’m not sure we have powdered olive leaves in Canada, I’ve never seen them here). I’ve never tried hibiscus, either—I will add it to the list! Thanks for the tips 🙂 And thanks for reading! I really appreciate it!
here in Chania, Crete we have olive trees nearly everywhere and herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender etc, lying in the streets, it is definately the place to be for someone who use herbs! We have plenty of olive oil, we collect it from our family trees, but we use it in our kitchen because it’s organic extra virgin oil. For soapmaking i buy olive oil that costs about 2 euros per kilo. The problem is than it’s hard to find all the other ingredients such as butters (i love your handmade lotions!) and essential oils which are very expensive, like 10-15 euros per 10 grams for high quality and 3-5 euros for lower quality… Nobody’s perfect! What is the price of olive oil in Canada?? I’m curious!
Once i’ve tried alcanet infused in oil and came out a pale purple which was perfect for lavender soap…
Keep inspiring us,
kisses from sunny Crete…
Oh! Chania sounds incredible—all those herbs and all that olive oil! Am am thoroughly enamored. You should definitely try making some herb infused castile soap with all those goodies. I think I pay about $20 for 6L of olive oil, but it’s pretty low grade stuff from Costco that I only use for making soap. Nicer olive oils go for around $20-$30/500mL. Sigh. Do you have an online store you could shop from? Essential oils are very expensive in stores here, but if you buy them online they’re far more affordable.
I must find myself some alkanet!
you should visit us, i will be very happy το host you!
I infuse herbs all the time since many people in spring trim their plants and they have nothing to do with branches. So instead of throwing them away, i collect and infuse them…
What a price for virgin olive oil! Here the edible kind is about 4-5 euros per kilo, if buyed directly from the collecter…. i think that the excess price goes for transportation costs.. Unfortunately we don’t have an online store but i can make you a great gift if you visit us…. Tempting???
You should try alcanet, its veeery good in lip balms, if you infuse it in castor oil. It gives a beautiful red-magenta colour…. I use it for my daughter’s lip balm…
Kisses fron sunny Crete…
What a tempting offer! Crete sounds like a dream come true compared to chilly Canada 🙂 I would bet a lot of the cost comes from transportation and tariffs 🙁 Canola oil (a Canadian special) is very cheap here!
Alcanet sounds amazing! Hmm… where to buy in Canada… ha!
Hibiscus does not work in soap. I have tried it and the results were NOT what I wanted.
I am including the blog post I wrote on the subject.
Oh no! Thanks for sharing, Lois—now I know what to use if I ever want brown soap :/ I should also add “find things to do with hibiscus powder” to my to-do list 😛 Any suggestions?
Apparently hibiscus is great in shampoo bars. I have used hibiscus tea (from steeping dried flowers in hot water) as a percentage of my liquid, in a shampoo bar, which I then coloured with Nettle powder and Rhassoul clay – it turned out great.
Interesting! What are the benefits, Helen?
Apparently Hibiscus helps with hair loss; hair growth; dandruff; greying (see http://makeupandbeauty.com/hibiscus-hair-care/ ).
Cool! Pity it doesn’t keep its brilliant colour, but I guess we can’t have everything 😛
I made a very pretty green by taking a few handfuls of spinach and blending it up with a little bit of coconut or olive oil then adding it after trace to my cold process soap.
Cool, thanks for sharing!
Hi Rachel. How did you do that? (make the color with the spinach?)
I’ve used raspberry juice from berries I picked from the yard. The resulting color was a light purple hue (using glycerin as base).
Interesting… when you say you used glycerin as a base do you mean a glycerin melt & pour soap base, or did you blend the raspberry juice into some vegetable glycerin before adding it to a cold processed soap?
Love your ideas and posts I hope you don’t mind if I feature one or two and link back to your blog of course, my readers would love them 🙂
Sarah—I’d love to be featured! I checked out your website and love that you feature photos and some info, but then link off to the website for the recipe 🙂 Let me know when you post, I’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks 😀
I am just getting into the soap making craft. Where do you get all the types of ingredients listed above for the coloring? Would love to use natural instead of food coloring.
Congrats, I love hearing about new people getting into soap making 🙂 I get almost all of my ingredients from New Directions Aromatics, though the spices are from the grocery store and the spirulina is from my local health food store. Have fun!
There are two main methods of infusing oils.
Cold infusion –Add spices or herbs to the oil in a jar and allow to sit 2-6 weeks to infuse. If I’m infusing powdered spices or herbs I infuse 2 tablespoons in 5 oz oil. If I am using dry whole herbs then I’ll fill the jar with the herb and cover with oil. Never use fresh herbs in cold infusions as they contain water and will cause mold and bacteria to grow.
Heat infusion –Add spices or herbs to the oil and heat gently to kick start the infusion. Some spices and herbs infuse easily using the heat infusion method and you can even use the infusion the same day! You can heat using the crock pot turned to warm for 2-6 hours or low heat on the stove for 2-6 hours. You can use fresh herbs in a heat infusion if you plan on using the oil in soap making the same day. Don’t ever store away an infusion made with fresh herbs as they contain water and your infusion will grow bacteria and mold.
My favorite method is to use a hot water bath to gently heat the infusions. I seal the herbs and spices in heat sealable tea bags so I don’t have to worry about straining the infusion before I use it. I just simply remove the tea bag. Here’s how I do it.
I usually infuse 2 tablespoons of any powdered herb or spice into 5 ounces of olive oil.
Step 1 – Measure out 2 tablespoons of your powdered herb into a heat sealable tea bag.
Step 2 – Seal the edge with an iron. Make sure it is sealed and will not come open.
Step 3 – Place the sealed teabag into the canning jar and cover with 5 oz (weight) of olive oil.
Step 4 – Screw on the lid and secure tightly. If you’re doing many infusions at once make sure you label them so you don’t forget what they are. I just use a permanent marker on the lid.
Step 5 – Place your jars into a pan. Fill the pan with enough water to reach about 1” underneath the lid. You want the water to stay plenty beneath the bottom of the jar lids.
Step 6 – Turn the heat on low and let heat for about two hours. You can also do this in a crock pot. Just set the crock pot on warm.
Step 7 – Remove the jars from the pan and allow them to cool away from cool air or drafts. You don’t want the jars to break. I typically put my jars on the counter and cover with a towel to keep out the drafts or air if it kicks on. Check the color of your infusions. Some herbs and spices infuse easier than others. I noticed the alkanet, paprika, indigo, turmeric and annatto all looked nice and dark. But some of the others looked like they needed a bit more time. You can either heat for another hour or two or if you aren’t in a hurry to use them…let them sit somewhere out of the way for a week to get a darker infusion.
Wasn’t that easy? And the best part is that since we used the tea bags to contain the spices and herbs we don’t have to bother with straining which can be a mess!
To use your infused oils simply replace a portion of olive oil in a recipe with infused olive oil. We’ll go into more detail later on in the series.
How funny that you posted this here, I have already written up and scheduled a post on just this 🙂 I’ve never tried infusing oils for colour, but I LOVE the idea! I have to get my hands on some alkanet… it sounds amazing!
Hi Marie! I was just curious if all of your bar soap recipes could become liquid soap as well? I’m waiting for semester break to actually make your “End All” soap. Regarding the clay in the soap, can I use any type of powdered clay? Thanks for all your advice and interesting articles!
Heather—I’ve never made liquid soap before, so I couldn’t really say. I know liquid soap uses Potassium Hydroxide instead of Sodium Hydroxide. From what I’ve read it looks like you’d have to tweak the oil balance towards more liquids as you won’t need the hardening oils. I’m not sure how clay would do in liquid soap, but you can definitely use any kind of powdered clay in any bar soap 🙂
You can make a liquid soap with any homemade or store bought bar soap. You will need 1 cup of water for every ounce of soap. Shave your soap or grate with a cheese grater. Bring you water to a boil. Turn down the heat and add the grated soap. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and let sit 10-12 hours or overnight. Stir together until smooth. If it’s not the consistency that you want, just warm the soap back up, add more soap if its too runny and more water if its too thick. Let sit again and then stir. I like to put mine in empty pump containers. For more ideas, just google homemade liquid soap 🙂 good luck
I have tried this and got a big pot o’ boogers, haha 😛 ‘Twas very disappointing and really hard to use as the slime just slipped through my fingers and down the drain 🙁
so happy to have stumbled upon your site – lots of food for thought here!
I’ve also been exploring some natural colours too – so far, some that have worked are:
Carrot juice used instead of the liquid (cold out of the fridge or half frozen) – light yellow/orange (add carrot root oil to intensify colour);
Paprika powder added at trace (mix with a little water/soap first, before adding to the pot) – turns a beautiful salmon colour;
Parsley powder added at trace (am also experimenting with wheatgrass & nettle powders);
Madder root powder – pink/wine shade (still experimenting with this one – added powder at trace).
Thank you so much for sharing your natural colouring experiments! I love the carrot juice idea—brilliant! It’s got me thinking about other juices as well… beet juice would probably be quite effective! And paprika is also an awesome idea… think of the smokey potential if you used smoked paprika… oooooh. What is madder root powder? I’m very intrigued. So many possibilities!
Unfortunately beetroot juice is one colour that doesn’t transfer well into soap 🙁 I have heard of people using cucumber and celery juice to colour soap though, so theres still hope!
Madder root is a herb (Indian I think), its supposed to be good for circulation but I’ve been using it in my soap instead 🙂
Some other natural colourants to try include Annatto seed (yellow); Gromswell powder (purple) and Henna powder (green).
I’ve just found a new website for ordering herbs in Canada (their shipping is reasonable and so are their prices!), so I am going to be ordering all kinds of herbal goodies for colouring! WOO!
Great article & all the shared ideas in comments–so inspiring 🙂
Just a note on beet root… I dehydrated it, ground it up, and added it to a cp soap at trace. Sadly, it turned brown. Does anyone have any idea of how to get beet root to keep its lovely original color, and have it survive the sponification process? Thanks & again, great post!
Hmm… I’ve had one sort-of success using the purée, but it was sort of a ruddy brown, not a bright red. You may just have to choose a different colourant—you can also get red from Madder root or paprika (thanks, Helen!), or red oxide.
eoe ehat really great soap is this good for hair too ?
I tend to use most of my soaps as shampoo as well, I’m not that picky!
Hola, otra opción es usar aloe, licuando la parte de adentro de las hojas, colando y agregandola al agua en la que se agrega la soda (hidróxido de sodio), luego hacer el jabón. El jabón quedará de un color rosado bastante lindo.
Translation: “Hi, another option is to use aloe, blending the inside of the leaves, straining and adding it to the water in which you add the soda (sodium hydroxide), then make soap. The soap will be a very cute pink color.
This is a great tip, thanks so much!
I was looking through your list of colourants and see no mention of my favourite herbal additive Calendula. It is also one of the most effective skin softeners and has been used for centuries. It has regenerative and restorative properties, gentle cleanser for sensitive skins,natural anti-inflamatory etc.The petals give the soap a lovely colour. I have made a batch recently and it is great. I used the milled soap method (ground some soap ( made with tallow) and used an oven bag in a large pot of slowly boiling water and added some lemon grass essential oil and calendula petals.
I wish I had read your blog on using lye as all the articles I read made it sound like a combination of arsenic and sulphuric acid !!! As you commented it is not that scary just use common sense.
Using the milled soap method can be a way round avoiding lye as the soap has been pre-lyed. All the “posh” soaps are milled and the baking bag makes it so simple. At the end of milling just cut a corner off the bag and pour into the mould as one would decorate a cake. It gives a much better finish than the croc pot method and a “wee bit” easier. Another cold 26C today must not forget to wear a tee shirt.
I love calendula, I’ve just always thought of it as more of an “additive” than a colourant… which reminds me, I should totally do an article on natural soap additives! Things like coffee beans, ground rice, tea leaves, and calendula.
I love calendula infused oils in lip balms, body butters, and healing balms. It’s wonderful! I’ve got a beautiful jar of olive oil and calendula that’s been steeping for over two years now, and I love using it (though I should really start another soon as I’ll be heartbroken when that jar is finally empty).
I must admit I’ve never really looked into milling soap, but now I’m kind of curious to try it with my own homemade soaps. From what I have read it sounds like it can help speed up the aging process as well. Plus, there’s always that added posh factor 😉
We’re heading into a winter storm warning here, sadly. Highs of -15°C and heaps of snow. Booooooo. At least it’ll give me plenty of time to stay in and write. Ha, who am I kidding? I miss the sun, haha.
Red palm oil makes a beautiful yellow orange soap and is full of natural beta carotene. Use 1/3 of total oils or less.
What’s your Canada website for herbs, Marie?
Good tip, Rita—though I won’t use palm oil due to the environmental & social issues surrounding it. If you scroll up to the bog grey box with the green border above the comments you’ll see I link to all my suppliers there. Saffire Blue has the better selection of herbs, I find.
I’ve had success using carrot baby food in a carrot ginger soap. Beautiful burnt orange color.
Fantastic! Great tip, Laura 🙂
Thanks for the great article. I am new to soap making so all your articles are very helpful. I have searched both New Direction and Saffire Blue and I am unable to find buriti oil. I also did a quick search online to try to source it but to no avail. Where do you get this from, any place you know of in Canada? Thanks again.
Sadly NDA discontinued buriti oil last year, and I haven’t found a new source. This natural orange dye from NDA should be a good sub, though. Thanks for reading!
Does this work for HP soap too? Please let me know!
I’ve never made HP soap, so I can’t say for sure, but I can’t see why not.
hi marie 😀
i see you used purple oxide as a natural soap colorant, and i was wondering if you have ever tried using mica as a soap colorant and if so, how did it work out for you.
also, for the purple oxide you wrote: it’s pretty hard to find this colour in nature, so this is a nice and easy workaround.
im a tad confused about oxide colorants and i was wondering do you consider oxides (and micas) natural? like the ones on saffire blue, the way they describe them sounds like they are “all natural” but just crushed purified or refined to make them safe. .. (?)
As far as I know, oxides are found in nature, but are usually tainted with toxic chemicals that the FDA banned mined oxides in the 70s. Now they’re made in labs, with the same molecular composition, just a different process of making them. For me this is one instance when I’m cool with synthetic.
I’m not sure about micas but I heard they are natural but coated with FD&C colors?
This is pretty much exactly what I’ve read, though some sources I found say that micas for cosmetic purposes are also produced in labs as the mined ones are very expensive, and therefore saved for electronics and other more worthy uses. The FD&C coating is correct, though… oh well.
Hi Miss Fanny! I can’t recall ever using micas in soap as a colourant, but I have seen it done, and the result is a nicely shimmery soap, with a bit less of a colour punch than you’d get from an equivalent amount of iron oxide.
As for iron oxides, they can definitely be a bit confusing. There are two classes: iron oxides and ultramarine iron oxides. I haven’t been able to find much info about their differences. The purple is an ultramarine (along with some other brighter colours like blue), while more natural shades like red, brown, yellow, and black are straight up iron oxides. These colours were originally derived from what is basically rust, so colours like a russet red or brown make sense. Bright lavender? Less so. Anyhow, using naturally occurring versions of these minerals presents purity issues, so these oxides are now manufactured so they’re safe and pure, but they are the same chemical composition, minus the heavy metals and toxins.
ok good to know! thanks for the info! im going to try to color soap with some oxides it will be interesting 🙂 i have colored soaps with clays like red reef clay and french green clay and they came out so nice!! i just ordered some french pink clay 🙂 cant wait to try it!
It sounds like you’re building yourself up a nice pantry of natural soap colourants 🙂 It’s always fun to discover new ways to customize your DIYs, eh?
ya i love making this kind of stuff and my collection of clays,carrier oils,essential oils and other products from NDA and saffire blue is really growing ! hahah which is greatly thanks to you and your knowledge on the topic! 🙂 i hope NDA and saffire blue thank you because you must send soooooo many new customers their way!
It sounds like you’re going to need to sort out some sort of organized storage system sooner or later 😛 And I agree, SB & NDA should totally send me a thank you card (or free stuff… that would be ok, too 😉 ).
Hi Marie I love your coloring ideas they are wonderful! I was just wondering about your using clay in your soaps. I’ve got some green zeolite clay and I use it for my homemade face scrub but I know it is drying. Are clays in your cp soaps drying and if so how do you offset that in your soaps. I love the clays but haven’t used them in my soaps yet.
P.S. I just thought I’d mention something that I saw. I saw someone on here ask about using mica’s in soap for coloring. I’ve tried several different mica’s for coloring my soaps and I really wasn’t wild about them myself. The final color is very light no matter how much I added. I wouldn’t spend the money on mica’s in the future.
Thanks, Traci! I don’t find the clays in my soaps to be drying at all, likely because they never get a chance to dehydrate on the skin 🙂 And thanks for the input on the micas!
I also use Red Palm Oil to get from a golden color (6% of oils) to a dark orange color (10% of oils) in my CP soap. The nice thing about using Red Palm Oil is that it does not bleed or make your washcloth orange. I purchased it in a store that carries African and Asian foods. I’m told that Red Palm Oil is used in African cuisine. The smell is not great, but it does not come through the soap. But watch out the oil itself will stain clothes and soap molds. 😉
Great tip, Danni! I’d just add that you’ll want to be sure that your palm oil is fairly and safely sourced—the palm industry can be very exploitative of workers and the environment, which is why I don’t use palm oil in my soaps.
Yes thanks for mentioning the sustainable sourcing. I try to buy it that way but didn’t know about sustainable source until recently. Great point!
Nutiva sells some nice looking, ethically sourced red palm oil, along with lots of other goodies 🙂
Question: I use natural colorants in my products. I use natural ingredients for their noted skin-loving benefits . . . the natural color they give is an added plus! I thought oxides were not natural colorants because they are not found in nature.
Question: Are oxides natural colorants? If they are, I’d like to use them. I’ll have to do more research.
Iron oxides can definitely be a bit confusing. There are two classes: iron oxides and ultramarine iron oxides. I haven’t been able to find much info about their differences. The purple is an ultramarine (along with some other brighter colours like blue), while more natural shades like red, brown, yellow, and black are straight up iron oxides. These colours were originally derived from what is basically rust, so colours like a russet red or brown make sense. Bright lavender? Less so—I have never seen lavender coloured rust. Anyhow, using naturally occurring versions of these minerals presents purity issues, so these oxides are now manufactured so they’re safe and pure, but they are the same chemical composition as naturally occurring rust, minus the heavy metals and toxins.
So, basically, it’s up to you. They’re natural enough for me, especially since I need so little to get the colours I need, but I always encourage everyone to do their own research to ensure they’re comfortable with their choices 🙂
Thanks for responding.
I’ll continue to use colorants where I can identify their source, like alkanet + madder roots, camu camu, turmeric, beet root, etc.
I don’t think micas or oxides are natural . . . however, they make nicely colored soap.
Fair enough 🙂 I do find that oxides end up being necessary for make-up—their concentrated nature and reliable colour is imperative to creating opaque, easily duplicated products. By the time you’ve added enough turmeric to your base, it’s not longer opaque, and the coverage has been seriously impacted. For soaps, though, you can definitely get away with using other things 🙂
Yes, natural colorants are wild cards . . . unpredictable + you never know what color you end up with. The first batch is always a surprise since you don’t know the pH level of the batch; the pH affects the color. Micas + Oxides are more stable + consistent.
Even though subsequent batches could still differ in color, with a consistent recipe you have an idea of the color you’ll end up with.
Gladly, I don’t focus on color . . . I use ingredients based on their noted benefits.
This leads me to my next question . . .
Do you think ingredient benefits survive and are present in the final (soap) product? Like goat milk, honey, oatmeal, etc.?
Yes, agreed—for soap, I don’t particularly care, especially since I don’t sell. And hey, the surprise is always a bit fun! I do find that brown seems to be the most common colour, though 😛
You know, I’ve often wondered the same thing, and I have my doubts. Saponification is a pretty intense chemical reaction, between the heat and the high pH. With anything where you’re counting on living enzymes (like raw honey) I’d say the benefits are likely torched/cooked off. Some physical benefits, like the humectant properties of honey (which come from the sugar) likely do survive. It does seem like essential oils suffer quite a lot (which is likely why we need so much of them for bar soap). So, I suppose my general thoughts on it would be “it depends”, based on the ingredient itself. That’s part of the reason I’m so in love with liquid soap these days—you can add everything after the fact 🙂
I’ve been a little reluctant of making liquid soap and am taking a private class to learn.
Thanks for the liquid soap recipe maybe I’ll try your recipe + won’t need the class!
I felt the same way—everything I’d read online made it sound so complicated and confusing! I was so thrilled to meet Colleen and have her get me sorted 🙂 Do give my way a go, it’s surprisingly fast & easy, and you’ll be hooked in no time 🙂
Have you tried cocoa powder? I made a lovely swirl bar with un-colored (creamy white) soap as the base. When it reached trace, I divided the soap and I mixed some cocoa powder with a small amount of the soap, and also some indigo powder in another portion of it and made blue and brown swirls. It’s really pretty.
I have! I’ve used it in quite a few soaps, and found it gives a nice, mild exfoliating kick… unless you overdo it, in which case you get a sandpaper bar lol. Your swirl soap sounds beautiful! What did you scent it with?
I use Indigo for beautiful blues, going to try Woad soon, Saffron makes an amazing yellow and you only need a very small amount, Matter Root is good for a light red. And they all hold very well , 6 months on still true to colour, But my favorite thing to play with is Walnut hulls, they make soap a work of art. I to use Paprika , Calendula, and Seaweed and love clays.
Great tips, thanks Kaja! I would love to play with indigo if I could find some 🙂
Just an FYI..There is a group on facebook called Natural Soap Forum that talks about natural soaping and natural colorants.
I haven’t made many hot process soaps, but love them. I want a vanilla chocolate scented soap with a white and chocolate color swriled effect using the hot process method. should I use oils that would make a white soap and at the end of the cook add cocoa powder
and fragrance oil to part of the soap batter then gently blend them together for the swiring affect or is there a better way. Can titanium dioxide be added at the end of the cook time? Thanks for sharing your knowlege
From my experience with hot process soaps, they are better suited for wanting soap fast (but still, not that much faster) than wanting a soap with particular swirls due to the vaseline-like texture of the cooked product that you will be trying to pack into moulds. Honestly, to do what you want I would really, really encourage you to go cold process. It’s much easier to control your swirls when you can control your trace, which you simply cannot do with hot process.
That said, if you do go HP you’ll have to add everything at trace—you won’t be able to incorporate anything well after the cook.
oxides and ultramarines are not recognised as naturals for cosmetics, soap or skincare products; sericite mica is natural and titanium dioxide is also natural, but the colored oxides (black, yellow, red, green) and ultramarines (blue, pink, purple) are certainly not natural and it is misleading to say that they are, you cannot make natural claims with these colorants.
For me, there’s a bit of a limbo land here. The compounds for the plain oxides do exist naturally as rust, but are generally contaminated with heavy metals, and as such the ones we purchase are synthesized (minus the heavy metals) for our safety. The ultramarines are definitely another level of lab wizardry. I have added a note to the entry to make this clear—thank you for your concern.
Can i substitute carrot juice for the amount of water required to mix the lye?
I haven’t tried it, but I’ve read that you can. Here’s a discussion thread with photos 🙂
Hi Marie. Your french green clay and spirulina soap is beautiful! Do those add any scent to the soap? I was thinking of trying that for the lovely color, but wouldn’t want anything to conflict with the scent from my essential oils.
Hi Marcia! None of these additives really effect scent—coffee & spices might in larger quantities, but I’ve found you’ll have a soap that’s way too scrubby to be pleasant well before the scent from the additive comes through in the final product 🙂
Thanks, Marie! Can’t wait to try it!
I’m definitely on the NOT natural side for oxides, ultramarines and micas.
If it’s made in a lab. . . .not natural.
I think people argue for it to justify using it in “natural” soap. I won’t touch soap that claims to be all natural and then I see this stuff in the ingredients.
But that’s just me, lol 🙂
Fair enough! What are your thoughts on things like penicillin and insulin? Those things also occur naturally but are synthesized for medical purposes—obviously different/more important than colouring soap, but the same principle 🙂
Better late than never..here’s an odd one that is MOST DEFINITELY NOT FOR USE IN SOAP..Buuuuut..its SO pretty there has GOT to be another application it would work perfectly for: you can get it @ Asian food stores & it comes in multiple forms..Many cultures use the wide, sturdy leaves as plates for food! They are called Pandanu Leaves & i’ve found brilliant emerald green paste & an absolutely gorgeous turquoise/teal paste..the big bummer, of course, is that these leaves, either naturally or not, seem to contain almost nothing but huge butt-loads of the dreaded vanillin..one thing i don’t know, that hopefully you, Marie, or another poster might know: are they browning effects when using vanilla/-in in lotions, body butters, or creams? Or other products? i feel like i used to know this, but my brain is not cooperating..Thanks for any help anyone might offer! Have a great day! Best regards, suki
Ooh, how interesting! I will have to keep an eye out for it the next time I’m at the Asian market 🙂 I have not had extensive browning (beyond what you’d expect from adding a dark brown ingredient) with lotions, but since vanilla essential oil is water soluble I’ve never used it in a body butter. This is an interesting, if not entirely related, read, too!
I really love your soaps. You have some beautiful looking soaps with interesting ingredients. I’ve recently started to make soaps and I’ve been getting a lot of interest. Again, you have lots of great information.
Thanks so much!
What is the purple oxide shown here? Where did you purchase it? It is beautiful! I’d like to find it!
Hey Meggan! I’ve actually labelled it improperly—it’s an ultramarine rather than an oxide 🙂 You can find it and its ultramarine brethren here!