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How To Color Your Soap With Kitchen Ingredients

Want to find out how to avoid artificial colorants in your handmade soap? Or you find really fun to use kitchen natural ingredients to color your soap? Find out what ingredients work as good soap colorants. In this post, I am showing you how to color your soap with kitchen ingredients and how my soaps ended up wehn I’ve used them.

Coloring Handmade Soap

It’s really challenging and fun to try how plant-based, kitchen ingredients like spices, herbs and even certain foods can color your soap. Many times they end up being slightly different from what was expected. Sometimes they are radically different and few times they end up exactly how you want.

This is how nature works. By not being very reproduceable, the mix of ingredients – oils, essential oils and colorants – always provide unique soaps, making all of them special and pretty. Why did I mention oils and essential oils? Because sometimes they help change colors.

Ingredients Influence In Color

Yellow oils like olive oil or hemp oil tend to give a natural yellow-creamish color to your soap by themselves, so it’s normal that they change your soap color. Also bear in mind that, from my experience, most of the times these oils loose they color over time (months) and the resulting soap actually becomes almost white. I think it depends on the strenght and quality of the ingredients.

Pure olive oil soap with a yellow color

If you wish for your natural colorants to produce a truer, original color, you should use white, clear oils, like coconut oil, sunflower or palm oil, castor oil, or even lard. In some recipes, I will use a whitish oil base and will let you know about it.

To be honest, I don’t really mind if I get a grass green, a pale green or a dark-forest green on my soaps. I do like the unpredicability of what will be the final soap. I also love olive oil and it’s cheap in my area, so I value more a relatively cheap and good quality, conditioning soap, than one where I completely control colors.

The play of all ingredients, specially if you are using all-natural, is what makes soapmaking so much fun.

Essential oils, especially spicy ones, also might influence the color of your soap. For example, I’ve used turmeric and cinammon essential oil at same time, and I think that was what gave the latte-like color to my soap. Really pretty, but not exactly the orange-like I was looking for. Again, look for the color of the ingredient itself. If it’s clear, most likely it won’t change the color of your soap.

Soapmaking Influence In Color

The soapmaking technique also influences the final color of natural colorants. The results shown in this post are all about cold process for the moment, and while you can use them in hot process and melt and pour, the results might vary.

Glycerin Soap

This is a work-in-progress list anyway, as I will update it while I personally explore other natural ingredients on my soaps. I will end up trying melt and pour – made with homemade soap base! – and hot process and showing you the results here.

Why is it different?

Because when you make cold process or hot process soap, a chemical reaction takes place, also changing the colorant ingredient structure. Hot process also uses heat, something that contributes to chemically change any substance.

Melt and pour only requires heat, there’s no actually chemical reaction. Therefore, the same spice may give a different color to soap, depending if you are making cold process, hot process or melt and pour.

A final word about natural colorants. Some blogs list natural colorants as giving the X color. While that might be true, they don’t give the actual instructions on how to make it work.

Dried Hibiscus

For example, dried hibiscus is listed as giving a rosy color to your soap in several blogs. I was able to observe that hibiscus reacts strongly with high pH (8-9) and its rosy color switches to a dark blue-violet color.

It might work with a syndet bar (most melt-and-pour soap base are actually syndet bases and not really soap bases) as the pH is usually around 5.5 or even below. But it can’t work on soap as a rose colorant.

Micas and Mineral Pigments

I’ve started soapmaking by using micas colored with mineral pigments, and they are present in some of my recipes.

Go ahead if you wish to buy them, they use similar mineral substances as natural clays. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. It’s probably the way to start, as they are very reliable, and won’t make your feel frustrated with the lack of off-target results (you want a yellow soap and you get a creamy or orange one).

Mineral pigments have a good level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural.

Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are usually added dispersed in a bit of oil after trace, but I’ve used them in lye water as well.

Here are some of my soaps made with these mineral pigments, or micas.

Violet Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Violet MicaAdd during or after traceHow To Make Pure Coconut Oil Soap

Blue Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Blue MicaAdd during or after tracePeppermint Soap

Green Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Green Mica (+ blue mica + green clay)Add to lye waterRosemary and Eucalyptus Soap Recipe

Natural Colorants

But let’s talk about the actual natural colorants! What are they afterall?

Natural colorants can be food like honey, milk, pumpkin or carrot, spices, infused water or oil with dried herbs or flowers, powdered dried herbs or flowers, or natural clays.

I do like to use the latest ones as they are the most predictable, and still natural ingredients. But it’s really fun to use a carrot pureé and find out how pretty and yellow your soap gets. It’s so simple, made with very common ingredients, and you get a natural soap!!

You can add these natural colorants in several ways: add the powder to lye water, replace the water with a liquid in lye water, add the powder dispersed in a bit of oil after trace, infuse the oil with dried plants or powder.

Below you can find my homemade soaps, where I list the natural colorant, the recipe, how I’ve uses the colorant, and how the soap turned out to be.

Pink Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Pink ClayPink clayAdd to lye waterPink Clay
Soap Recipe
Red Clay + Pink ClayRed clayAdd to lye water Luxurious Cold Process
Rose Soap Recipe

Yellow Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Carrot PureéReplace water with
carrot pureé in lye water
Carrot Soap Recipe
Dried Calendula PetalsAdd to lye water Lard and Calendula Soap Recipe

Green Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Green ClayGreen clayGreen clay olive oil soapAdd to lye waterCarrot Soap Recipe

Cream Soap

Natural
Colorant
ImageSoapHow To
Add
Recipe
Turmericturmeric spiceturmeric and cinammon soapAdd to lye waterTurmeric And Cinnamon Soap Recipe
Orange JuiceReplace water with orange juice in lye water Homemade Rosemary Soap Recipe For Traveling

This post will be a Work-In-Progress one. I will be updating it regularly with recipes where I use natural colorants, as there are several ones. I will also post the pictures of the resulting soap. Yes, I know photos can be color-changed, but I promise I am posting the colors pretty close to what I see in reality.

If you want to find a good source of natural colorants for soap, check out this post from Lovely Greens, an organic gardener blog.

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2 thoughts on “How To Color Your Soap With Kitchen Ingredients”

  1. Is it safe to colour your soap with kitchen ingredients? I do not want to have an allergic reaction to this. Also, can you use this soap on your body or is it just for your hands? It is actually pretty cool that you can make your own soap and colour it.

    Reply
    • Hello Daniel and thanks for your comment.

      There is a chance that if you are allergic to a certain food, you will have an allergic reaction using it in soap. Otherwise, it’s pretty safe, safer than artificial dyes filled with chemicals that will definitely “attack” your body.

      If you are unsure, skip spices like cinnamon or turmeric, those are probably the most prone to cause allergies. But carrot or pumpkin pureé are quite harmless 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply

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