Choice of colorants - Natural Soap

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Valoucia

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Hi there ! :)

I'd like to make my soaps as naturals as possible. I'm gonna use EO for the scent. But what about colorants ? I spent the last two days to read about it and now I'm lost.

Botanicals, infusions, clays, minerals... Same job ? I mean, do they dye in the same way ?
Actually I was thinking about pastel colors, no bright ones. So what kind of natural colorants will be better in my case ?
 

lenarenee

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I've given up on botanicals as colorants. They're fickle, inconsistent and fade quickly. Some are worth it - but only if you have a quick turn around on your bars. My nettle leaf green soap was very pretty for about 2.5 months.

Some people had good luck with turmeric and annatto. I've only used turmeric and won't again - because I changed to micas.

I would suggest clays; they aren't bright and do fit a more pastel description. I've rarely been disappointed with them. Make sure they are appropriate for soap (I think that means cosmetic grade, but let's let an "expert" state that for sure. Mine come from Brambleberry, a very reputable soap supply company, so I know they've done the checking for me)

I've used carrot puree in soap, the color faded, but after 5 months was still a decent color.
Red palm oil: doesn't make red soap - but a nice yellow. Only small amounts are needed.
 
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Susie

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^ What Craig said!

However, I can give you a short list of what I have tried with decent results:

Paprika-You can either use it directly in the soap to get a speckled appearance (I do not like the scratchiness of it), or you can infuse it into oil. I use 1 oz of paprika in about 6-8 oz light colored olive oil. You can use other light colored liquid oils, but I like olive oil best. I put the paprika into a jar with a lid that is large enough to hold it with a little room left over. Stir the paprika and oil only before you begin the infusion, not after. Then I put the jar in a pan (put it on a rack or dish cloth so it does not rattle on the bottom and break) that is deep enough to have water come to at least halfway up the jar. Then fill the pot with water and bring to gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let it simmer half an hour at least. Turn the heat off, and allow the pot to cool back to room temperature. Then remove the jar. Carefully pour the colored oil off without disturbing the paprika. It is not difficult, as you would really have to shake or stir hard to disturb the paprika. You can use the colored oil in a small amount to get a nice yellow, or larger amounts to get up to a brick red color. Just substitute out the colored oil for uncolored oil in your recipe.

Beta Carotene-The stuff in the vitamin aisle in your local store. Just snip the end off the capsules and squeeze into the oils to get desired color.

Coffee-I use the coffee left over from my morning cup as a water substitution. No, it does not leave a scent. Gives a nice cafe au lait color.

Cocoa-Stick blend powder into the oils for a rich brown. Or you can make cocoa lines through the soap. Looks like this:

DSCN0288.jpg
 

Valoucia

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Isg, thank you for the link. It's very interesting !

Susie, I didn't know that we can "boil" the jar to infuse. I've only read about leaving the jar outside, in a sunny place, for several months. Thank you ! It seems easier and faster that way :D

Craig, you're totally right ! But, you know, sometimes I'm a girly-girl who needs some colors in her life/bathroom... :lol:

Lenarenee, clays seem to be great, yes. Thanks !
 

Valoucia

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Thank you Millie ! There is a lot of informations there, I'm gonna read it carefully :)
 

Gerry

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I've found annatto to be the most stable botanical color I've tried so far, and plus it's so easily infused (don't grind the seeds!). After a few months it lightens up a bit, but it still retains that edible looking orangey shade without getting that muddy look that often happens with other plant-based colorants. It's my go-to for yellow-orange, or whenever I want my soap to look like cheese. :)
 

lenarenee

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Valoucia, if you look at Rocky Top soap shop on Etsy - you'll get a good idea of how clay colors soap. He makes excellent soap, but there is just too coconut oil in it for my taste.
 

Valoucia

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Gerry, if you talk about cheese with my french side, I'm in ! :lol:
Do you leave your annatto infusion outside or do you use the method (is it called double-boil ?) that Susie explained above ?
Can we apply this with every seeds/flowers/leaves..?

Lenarenee, I'm gonna have a look at it, thanks !
 

Gerry

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Gerry, if you talk about cheese with my french side, I'm in ! :lol:
Do you leave your annatto infusion outside or do you use the method (is it called double-boil ?) that Susie explained above ?
Can we apply this with every seeds/flowers/leaves..?

Lenarenee, I'm gonna have a look at it, thanks !
I batch a liter of infused olive oil at a time and just heat it gently to about 160 F on the stove with a couple ounces of whole seeds in there. I stir them around to rough them up against each other now and then. After about 20 minutes, the seed coats look pale and the oil is ready. I strain back into a 1 L bottle, and any fine "dust" settles to the bottom leaving you with a nice clear very dark orange.

It takes about 3 tablespoons ppo to get a deep yellow color or 5 to 6 tablespoons ppo for a very yummy cheddar cheese like orange. I discount it from the rest of the olive oil that I'm using in the recipe.

I brought it up because I'm making a layered soap using annatto right now.
 

Valoucia

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Thank you very much Gerry ! :D

Lenarenee, it's exactly the type of colors I had in mind ! I'm gonna have a lot of experiences to do ^^
 

Arimara

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Thank you Millie ! There is a lot of informations there, I'm gonna read it carefully :)
Anne Watson is chock full of great info. I just read that page just now and learned some new things. I do hope you check out her page a little more.
 

lenarenee

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Okay Valoucia, I blame you. After telling you to visit Rocky Top soaps - I did too. Now I need to find a supplier of Cambrian and zeolite! Thanks a lot! (That Cambrian is a beautiful icy blue!)
 

Valoucia

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Arimara, yes I did ! I took some notes, too :)

Lenarenee, sorry not sorry ! :lol: I'm in love with the Cambrian and Zeolite too... Actually, it's all your fault ! :p
 
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