When teaching soapmaking classes, I generally tell the new soapers to
start out with working on creating a good batch of soap that you feel
comfortable in making. In starting out in soapmaking, I think it's
better to experiment in adding colors to your soaps after you have
gained some experience in producing a good soap base, then you can play
around with different colorants. Some soapers use only natural
additives to color with, others use cosmetic grade colorants, such as:
iron oxides, ultramarines and d&c colors.
The following is courtesy of Lori a.k.a. the Pigment Lady. Following
the directions is a link to her site where you may purchase colorants
and micas or e-mail her if you need help.
Before you begin, you'll need to sit down and examine your soap recipe to determine what color, if
any, your particular blend of ingredients brings to your batch. If you use beeswax, wheat germ oil,
milk or even a high percentage of olive oil (and don't forget, some essential and fragrance oils may
also impart color), your soap base may be a shade of yellow. Therefore, it's important to remember
the color of your oils will interact with the colorants.
For example, if you add ultramarine violet to yellow base oils, you will end up with a gray soap
while adding ultramarine blue to yellow base oils will result in a green soap! Even a pale shade of
yellow will affect the final shade of your soap. Therefore, I strongly recommend you test the
colorants with your particular combination of ingredients before coloring an entire batch. The next
time you make soap, simply pour 2 ounces or so of raw, traced soap into a Dixie cup and add color
to just that 2 ounces to see how the colorants react with your recipe.
Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty! Please note the following information is calculated for a one
pound batch. If you are coloring only a portion of your batch or are using a larger recipe,
remember to adjust quantities accordingly.
1. With the exception of some of the Lakes, the dyes in the Un-Natural Pak are water-soluble and
color by dissolution. On the other hand, the pigments in the Natural Pak and the Lakes in the
Un-Natural Pak are insoluble and color by dispersion. Even though some of the colorants are not
soluble in water, I recommend adding the colorants to 1/2 ounce of warm, distilled water as the
water serves as a carrier to disperse the insoluble colorants. (Remember to reduce the amount of
water to be mixed with your lye by 1/2 ounce.)
2. If you are working with oxides or ultramarines, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of pigment to the warm,
distilled water. If you are working with D&C or FD&C dyes, add one .15cc scoop of dye to the
warm, distilled water. Remember, more IS NOT better when using the dyes.
3. Stir until the water-soluble dyes have thoroughly dissolved into the water. Since the pigments and
Lakes will not dissolve, simply swirl the water/colorant mixture around in the container. Please note
the colorants may be added at any time during the soapmaking process.
4. Until you are comfortable working with the colorants, I recommend using a pipette to add the
tinted water. Simply add one dropperful at a time of tinted water to your batch, mixing well after
each addition. This technique allows you to control the final intensity/shade of color. Remember, if
you eventually use all the tinted water, you can always mix and add more. However, if you
immediately pour all the water into the batch and end up with too much color, you're stuck with it!
Have fun experimenting and be sure to try your hand at blending colors as well as marbeling! And,
if you run into trouble or have a question, just give a holler.
The Pigment Lady mailto:PigmntLady@aol.com
and visit The Coloration Station
"A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients" by Ruth
Winter, defines mica as: "Any of a group of minerals that are found in crystallized, thin elastic
sheets that can be separated easily. They vary in color from pale green, brown, or black to
colorless. Ground and used as a lubricant and coloring in cosmetics." And mica is used in a wide
variety of cosmetic products. From lipstick to eyeshadow to nail polish to foundation. It is used to
impart pearlescence to all these products.
More importantly, mica is available in a number of different grades and in a wide variety of
particle sizes. In cosmetic products, a small particle sized mica will yield a smooth sheen. As the
particle size increases, the effect becomes more pearlescent. Do you like the metallic paint finish
on cars? Mica is providing all that sparkle . . . but you wouldn't want to use that mica on your skin!
During my extensive research, I've sampled mica in a number of different particle sizes. One
particular mica, which was a slightly larger particle size, was quite beautiful in the jar ~ pure
sparkle. It also produced a very nice effect in cold-processed soap. Unfortunately, it didn't quite
meet the Code of Federal Regulations specifications for "fineness" (21 CFR 73.1496) ~ even though
it was the consistency of dust! ~ and, therefore, could not be classified as cosmetic grade. Which
means, unfortunately, it could not be used in cosmetics.
Techincally, pure soap is not a cosmetic . . . so, techincally, the FDA does not require the use of
cosmetic-grade mica in soap. And while, techincally, you could use non-cosmetic- grade mica in soap,
you absolutely could not use it in lotions, gels, lip balm, bath products, etc . . . which are classified
as cosmetics. Since I believe quality inevitably creates its own demand, I am commited to offering
only cosmetic-grade products. Therefore, I decided to search for and purchase the largest particle
sized mica I could locate which would still meet all the requirements to be classified as
cosmetic-grade. I will continue this search so be sure to check back for new additions!
There's just one more mica lesson to learn! Typically, most mica obtains its color from a coating of
titanium dioxide and/or iron oxide. However, mica may also be coated with, among other things,
carmine or iron blue. Micas containing these two elements should not be used in cold-processed soap
as they are not stable. Carmine can fade when exposed to high temperatures and iron blue
decomposes (resulting in a complete loss of color) when exposed to an alkaline.
Nice Orange Color
I use carrot oil all the time in my citrus soaps. I only use about 1 TB.
per pound and it makes a light orange nice colour and it is gooood for
your skin too. Add it at trace.
Always test a coloring medium before doing a whole batch. You want to
test if the bubbles stay white and what happens to the color through
the saponification process. The following are some natural additives
that add color that you can experiment with. Keep in mind that in the
use of any additives, some people may experience allergic reactions.
|| annatto seed
|| beetroot powder
|| black-eyed susans
|| licorice root
|| madder root
|St. John's Wort
|| wheat germ
Using natural colorants: If using powder, make sure you dissolve the
particles in a little of the base before returning it all to the mixing
pot and stir well.
When using fruits, vegetables, stems, flowerheads, etc. you can make a
tea of the color by pouring boiling water over the pieces and letting
it steep until you have extracted the color to suit your preferences.
You can use a protion of this strained tea in place of your water when
making the lye solution. First make your lye solution with less water
than called for and when mixed add the tea to replace what water you
removed. Anything that you use will need to fight the lye and you might
not end up with what color you were trying to achieve.
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