Friday, June 18, 2010

Question of the Week - Colorants

What colorants do you prefer to use in your soapmaking? Do you use different types depending on your mood, or only use a particular type of colorant? Why?

No need to name brands or colors, just enlighten us on whether you're using dyes, oxides, herbs, etc. and why.

Natural, handmade bath and body products


  1. For my cp soaps, I use oxides and herbs mainly. I love oxides because I love how rich and bold the colors are. I love using herbs for texture. For my M&P soaps, I mainly use liquid oxides that have been mixed with glycerin. That way I don't have to fight the clumps that sometimes form in your M&P soaps...

  2. I currently use oxides as I thought they were as close to natural as I could get. I am a little dismayed at all the controversy over them. I feel as if even though they are "manmade" the composition might be relatively the same(minus the toxic minerals) but, I think that I am going to move over to clays perhaps. I try to make my soap as close to natural as possible sooo I suppose I am going to have to cut oxides out of the mix. I really like them because they can be blended to make other colors and they are very saturated giving nice rich color - although they are a bit cantankerous.

    Erica, I would be interested to know what your views are on the oxide debate.

  3. I make CP soap and use mostly pigments (oxides and ultramarines for rich color) and POP micas (for brighter colors that are infinitely blendable). And a few soaps have other colorants: herbs, clays, carrot juice. I try to match the color and colorant to the scent, whether natural or not.

  4. Tierra Verde, to answer your question, there are both natural mined oxides and ultramarines and synthetically made. Both are widely used so you would have to check with your supplier to find out which ones you are getting. Mined oxides obviously go through intense processing to get rid of the negative elements, which lies another debate.

    I recently wrote an article for the Saponifier that comes out in the next issue that discusses terms like natural, organic, fair trade, etc. and what they all mean. I even touch on the debate of what is or isn't natural and when someone in our business should use the term. I'm going to wait to open this can of worms until after the article releases July 1st. I will then post the article here, so stay tuned.

  5. I too use oxides/ ultramarine's. If I can achieve the same color using a natural ingredient, I'll take that approach. My new favorite is Charcoal Powder!

  6. I use mostly oxides and micas, sometimes FD&C dyes for my CP soaps that are fragranced synthetically. For my all natural soaps, I use clays, Dead Sea mud, and herbs. I've tried quite a few natural ingredients, but it's very difficult to find something that won't fade. Charcoal powder seems to work well, but herbs definitely do not!

  7. Ooh, this is an interesting post! It's amazing how many people use natural ingredients to color. This one's definitely worth sharing!

  8. I'm just sticking my big toe into the "colorant pool", had a lovely experience with Madder Root powder. I will be sticking with the natural colorants, and will post photos of my "experiments" as they happen. I find the changes brought about by saponification to be both exciting and frustrating...and I'm just getting started!


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