Alkanet Root

What is it? Alkanet root is used as a dye, typically through infusion. It is usually sold in powdered/ground or chopped form. The colour varies with pH; it is a ruby colour around pH 6, purple around pH 9, and blue around pH 10.
INCI Alkanna Tinctona Root
Appearance Dark, slightly purple powder or small flakey chunks.
Usage rate Infuse in oil until desired colour is reached.
Scent Tangy/musty.
Solubility The colour infuses well in oil; solid matter is typically strained out before the coloured oil is used.
Why do we use it in formulations? As a colourant. In cold processed soap it lends a dusty purple hue. Infused in oils for balms and butters it gives a ruby-plum colour.
Do you need it? No
Strengths Stable in soap, beautiful botanical colourant.
Weaknesses Not particularly potent, so not very useful for coloured cosmetics.
Alternatives & Substitutions A coloured mica that is approximately the desired colour is a good alternative, though it will add shimmer. You can also look at pigments like ultramarines, which are available in purples and blues.
How to Work with It Infuse alkanet root in oil until the desired colour is reached, strain, and then use the oil. I’d start with a 1:10 to 1:20 (by weight) infusion ratio.

If you’re using the powder you can add it straight to soap batter, where it will add a bit of a dark speckle-y look and some mild exfoliation, depending on the amount used.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, alkanet root should last three years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Alkanet root shifts colour with pH, from ruby to blue as it gets more basic.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier—shops focussed on soap supplies are more likely to carry it.

Some Formulations that Use Alkanet Root


Posted on

December 12, 2018