A comparison of botanical, clay, ultramarine and oxide colorants

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,298
Reaction score
10,260
Location
Virginia
I used time this winter and spring and during my vacation to improve my techniques for non-mica colorants. I haven’t had time to fully organize the usage information and label the photos, but I’m excited to share the colorful results. For each photo, the top row is botanical colorants, the middle row is clays and the bottom row is oxides and ultramarines.

Top row, all have indigo. For the two greens to the right I also added red palm oil. In the blue, white and green soap towards the right, the faded green is from a matcha tea infusion. Edited to add: all of the soaps in the top row are made with indigo from Nurture, except the middle one that looks aqua/teal. That one is made with Jacquard synthetic indigo from Dharma Trading.
Middle row: processed blue Cambrian clay, unprocessed version of the same, French green clay
Bottom row: ultramarine blue, hydrated chrome green oxide, green + yellow oxide, green oxide
5A25FCD1-3C6A-4F65-9060-38BCD9564474.jpeg

Top row: madder with salt (made last winter), pink indigo spiral just below the madder (made last year), turkey rhubarb, turkey rhubarb spiral from last year (faded), turkey rhubarb square from last year (faded), gromwell, alkanet, alkanet from last year (faded). The sunflower that crosses the top two rows is rose clay + turkey rhubarb
Middle row: rose clay, unprocessed purple Brazilian clay, processed purple Brazilian clay
Bottom row: ultramarine pink, ultramarine violet
C7021D19-503A-4F04-9219-95BB802EB513.jpeg

This next one has one overlapping bar with the one above.
Top row: turkey rhubarb, turkey rhubarb ungelled, paprika, faded paprika from last year (has DOS), turmeric
Middle row: red Brazilian clay, annatto from 2019 (should be in top row), gold Brazilian clay
Bottom row: red oxide, yellow/gold oxide

99274E23-6E65-4232-B087-B1F4D60C45B6.jpeg

For color fade comparison purposes, refer to this post to see the original colors of some of the smaller spiral and square soaps shown above.

This next one is a mix of colorant types, from left to right: turkey rhubarb powder after it was used to color an infusion, white kaolin clay, ashy activated charcoal and an indigo (fail) with activated charcoal and salt.
D4980536-0ABA-4147-822E-C8C7BE1F97C1.jpeg

Edited to add the link for fading/color comparison.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,298
Reaction score
10,260
Location
Virginia
Thanks for the update. Interesting trial! I have been disappointed in the way some if my natural colorants have faded. Even turmeric fades over time.
I personally don’t mind if botanical colorants fade a bit over many months to a year, but it‘s not worth using them if they fade over weeks to a few months. My biggest challenge has been getting the best color out of each kind of colorant in a way that also works for the way I make soap. I don’t want to have to make five batches of soap to get five colors for a design.
 

curlycoat2

Active Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
107
I used time this winter and spring and during my vacation to improve my techniques for non-mica colorants. I haven’t had time to fully organize the usage information and label the photos, but I’m excited to share the colorful results. For each photo, the top row is botanical colorants, the middle row is clays and the bottom row is oxides and ultramarines.

Top row, all have indigo. For the two greens to the right I also added red palm oil. In the blue, white and green soap towards the right, the faded green is from a matcha tea infusion. Edited to add: all of the soaps in the top row are made with indigo from Nurture, except the middle one that looks aqua/teal. That one is made with Jacquard synthetic indigo from Dharma Trading.
Middle row: processed blue Cambrian clay, unprocessed version of the same, French green clay
Bottom row: ultramarine blue, hydrated chrome green oxide, green + yellow oxide, green oxide
View attachment 67744

Top row: madder with salt (made last winter), pink indigo spiral just below the madder (made last year), turkey rhubarb, turkey rhubarb spiral from last year (faded), turkey rhubarb square from last year (faded), gromwell, alkanet, alkanet from last year (faded). The sunflower that crosses the top two rows is rose clay + turkey rhubarb
Middle row: rose clay, unprocessed purple Brazilian clay, processed purple Brazilian clay
Bottom row: ultramarine pink, ultramarine violet
View attachment 67745

This next one has one overlapping bar with the one above.
Top row: turkey rhubarb, turkey rhubarb ungelled, paprika, faded paprika from last year (has DOS), turmeric
Middle row: red Brazilian clay, annatto from 2019 (should be in top row), gold Brazilian clay
Bottom row: red oxide, yellow/gold oxide

View attachment 67746

For color fade comparison purposes, refer to this post to see the original colors of some of the smaller spiral and square soaps shown above.

This next one is a mix of colorant types, from left to right: turkey rhubarb powder after it was used to color an infusion, white kaolin clay, ashy activated charcoal and an indigo (fail) with activated charcoal and salt.
View attachment 67747

Edited to add the link for fading/color comparison.
Awesome colors and great follow up. I have to say I love all of them for they are all beautiful. I could never get blue from Cambrian clay but that blue is stunning that you have.
 

curlycoat2

Active Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
107
I personally don’t mind if botanical colorants fade a bit over many months to a year, but it‘s not worth using them if they fade over weeks to a few months. My biggest challenge has been getting the best color out of each kind of colorant in a way that also works for the way I make soap. I don’t want to have to make five batches of soap to get five colors for a design.
yep me either. I am the ultimate lazy soaper and the thought of the washing up - nope not for me.
 

Latest posts

Top