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Monday, February 8, 2010

Adding Color to Your Soap - Naturally

If you do not add colorant to your soaps, your soap will naturally be anywhere from a pale white to a cream color depending on the oils you have used. There are two exceptions to this rule. If you use a fragrance oil that contains vanilla, your soap will be tan in color. Your soap will also be tan in color if you use a high perentage of milk (instead of water) in your recipe.

If you are interested in adding color to your soap, there are herbs and flowers you can use to achieve color. There are two methods commonly used to add natural color to your soap. You may add herbs or other colorants directly to your soap mixture at trace OR you can infuse the colorant directly into your liquid oils prior to mixing the oils with the lye/water. To infuse color into your oils, once you have melted your oils, add the herb or other ingredient of your choice to the oil and heat over low steady heat. Once the oils have taken on the color of the herb or flower, strain out the herb or other ingredient out (cheese cloth works well).

Your colors will appear darker and warmer when you first pour your soap into the mold than when the soap cures. Until you know whether you like something and how it feels on your skin, it is best to only add ½ to 1 tablespoon per pound of oil.

Suggested Ingredients and the Colors they Produce

Alfalfa – medium green
Alkanet – steep in oil first - deep purple to muted blue
Annatto Seed – steep in oil first - yellow orange
Bentonite (clay) – beige to green to grey
Calendula Petals - yellow
Carrots, shredded or ground - yellow to orange
Cayenne Pepper – salmon color
Ground Chamomile – yellow-beige
Cloves, ground – brown
Cocoa powder– brown
Coffee/coffee grounds - brown to black
Comfrey Root – light milky brown
Curry powder - yellow
Jojoba beads - come in many colors
Kaolin Clay - white
Kelp/seaweed - green
Paprika – light peach to salmon - can be an irritant
Poppy Seeds - Blue-grey to light black specks
Ground Pumice - grey
Sage – olive green
Spirulina/Blue-Green Algae – blue-green
Titanium Dioxide- bright white
Tumeric – gold to amber *start with ¼ teaspoon per pound of oil