natural soap colorants
from the earth and your kitchen and garden
There are many natural soap colorants that you can add to your soap recipes that are earth-sourced. Coloring your soaps naturally has many benefits, it:
- produces beautiful colors;
- avoids unwanted and artificial chemicals (the main reason many people make and seek out handmade soaps;
- does add to the pollution of our waters;
- can bring additional skin enhancing benefits.
Soap colorants come in many forms such as dyes, micas, oxides and pigments I am not going to debate if oxides and pigments are “natural” (this could be a heated debate and is a very personal choice).
soap colored with apple cider, cocoa powder, clove and paprika
This page is about earth-sourced coloring options for soap makers who wish to keep their recipe as natural as possible.
When I began soap making I researched natural soap colorants because I wanted to stay as close to a natural process as possible. Herbs, flowers, spices and clays give nice soft hues and tones, the trade off is that natural soap colorant may seem limiting to those who wish to venture in bold and vibrant colors.
Here are ways to get color using ingredients from your kitchen or garden. You may need want to look into ordering from a soap making supplier for certain specialty natural soap colorants.
words of advice:
- start off with less;
- test, test, test (start with small batches(;
- scent of most botanicals does not resist saponification in cold process and hot process soap making, keep you floral waters for other projects (the only one that I’ve found that does make it through are juniper berries which leave a nice soft scent;
- many oils already offer some color, for instance olive oils come in a variety of hues.
You can infuse your soap making oils with flowers, herbs and spices and powders.
Choose based on the color you want and you can be practical also, I infused some oil with some sage that grew abundantly in my garden.It is best to use dried herbs, spices and flowers.for oil infusions, more information on ways to infuse oils can be found here.See the list below for suggestions.
You can replace the distilled water in your lye solution with other liquids to give your homemade soap recipes some beautiful colors. Instead of water use coffee, red wine,beer, juice and fruit and vegetable purees
Please note that you should refrigerate or freeze the liquid replacement because the sugars in certain of the liquids may burn.
Want to try a recipe using carrot juice as a natural soap colorant? Click here for a recipe on how to make a natural soap with carrot juice, honey and ginger.
Purees can offer some nice color and some soap makers value the antioxidant properties of various fruits and vegetables, especially when they are bountiful in season.
soap colored with pumpkin puree, charcoal and vanilla bean specks
herbs, spices, flowers and powders
Certain herbs, spices are natural soap colorants and can be added to your lye-water, to your oils or at trace. When I add them at trace I do take a bit of my oils to mix the powder and ensure consistency.
Many of these natural colorants add texture and can be exfoliating such as parsley, sage, vanilla bean specks and lemongrass. Be sure that the ingredient is not too scratchy.
This is a starting list of possibilities. You can delve deeper into the world of options with the kindle book.
This is a starting list of possibilities. You can delve deeper into the world of options with the 107 Natural Colorants for Cold Process Soap kindle book available on amazon.
BLUE TO PURPLE
- alkanet root
- madder root
- all spice
- cocoa powder
- sandalwood powder
- vanilla bean specks
- walnut hull
- alfafa (dried)
- comfrey leaves
- green tea powder
- spinach (dried and ground)
- stevia powder
- wheatgrass powder
- tea leaves
YELLOW TO ORANGE
- annatto Seed
- carrots (dried and grounded)
- cayenne pepper
- curry powder
- lemon zest
- mace powder
- orange zest
- safflower petals
clays and minerals
You can color your soap and add therapeutic properties by adding minerals and clays to your soap. Clays also add “slip” which refers to the smooth glide in a soap.The ratio varies from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per pound (454 grams) of oils.
- activated charcoal – very dark grey to black
- bentonite clay – green to grey to brown
- dead sea mud – green to grey
- rose clay – light pink
- kaolin clay – available in many colors (white, yellow, green)
- red morrocan – red to dark brown
castile olive oil soap using activated charcoal powdersoap colored with bentonite clay and activated charcoal
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