colorants: olive oil infusion

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amycorn

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I am a newbie that is having such a problem getting colors to not fade thru the first 24 hours. I am adding olive oil infused natural colorants after trace. These oils are infused thru heat(crock pot method) twice.I infused the oil with self-sealed tea bags. The colors look strong in the mason jars but fade during the soponification process. I am using a 0% superfatted recipe and adding 5% colorant at trace to each portion to be colored. What am I doing wrong? I wanted to avoid adding powdered color to the batter to avoid specks and roughness in the soap.
 

jenneelk

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I have 6 or 7 colors but find I have to use more than 5% to get much out of them and mine are quite concentrated. They were heat infused at first but the spice/herb stayed when I put them in containers to continue darkening. They just settle before I use them.
Maybe use less oil next time and more herb.
What did you use? Is your soap very yellow you're having to color over?
 

bodhi

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You may not be doing anything wrong. Some colors just dont survive saponification as well as others. As Jeneelk said though, 5% may not be enough. What herbs are you infusing?
 

savonierre

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What bodhi said, the lye monster takes what it wants and leaves the rest.
 

bodhi

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But it should never have taken the very best...
 

debbism

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The color you get will depend on how much herb you use in your infusion and how much of that colored oil you use in a recipe. Here are my guidelines:

6 tblsp powdered herb per quart jar then fill to the top with oil
Cold infuse for 2-4 weeks, shaking 2x per day

Percent of recipe which should be infused herbal oil:
Annatto: 10%
Parsley: 40%
Comfrey: 40%
Yellow Dock: 35%
Paprika: 10%
Ratanjot: 10%
Turmeric: 10%

These are just my guidelines. If something has infused a bit longer than usual, I can sometimes cut down the amount I use in a recipe. Using a recipe with lighter soap oils will also help with the color. I find that pomace olive is whiter than extra virgin olive even though the starting color is darker. And of course making sure the fragrance oil doesn't discolor yada yada yada...you know!!! lol
Madder Root: 10%
 

kazmi

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I don't wait until after trace to add my infused oils. I've done annatto, paprika, madder root, chamomile, and tumeric so far and each one I've infused in OO for several weeks. I have alkanet infusing right now too. I use the infused oil strained as a percentage of my oils in my recipe. The only one I did more than listed above is madder root which I used at 30% and got a beautiful burgandy color (and no colored bubbles!). And good advise from Debbism - watch you FO since many of them do discolor.
 

soap_rat

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At trace the lye is still totally active. There is no reason to hold off a portion of oil until that point. If you hot-process, meaning cook the soap to completion, then adding oil after the cook will mean that it is all protected from the lye.

If your soap batch isn't very large, you could infuse all or most of the recipe's oil in your crockpot.

Are you aware of which colors stay true, and which change? Many leafy green colors turn brown in cold process--just don't want you to be disappointed once you get the color to stick!
 

amycorn

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thanks for the advise. I am so new at this and maybe I am confused about color........but I am trying to use oil infused natural colorants/herbs to accomplish swirls, patterns, etc in a portion of my basic white/cream soap recipe. So to accomplish this I read, researched and was taught that I should use a basic recipe using 0% superfat, then after trace seperate a portion and add oil infused colorant to that portion. Superfat the uncolored portion 5%. I may be totally misunderstanding the whole concept. Should I just use the oil infused colorants as my superfat to color a whole batch? possibly stick to incorporating powdered herbs/colorants to a small portion after trace using 5% superfat to the whole recipe? surely a small amount will not produce scratchy soap?
 

Trinity

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I tried using the dried herbs in one of my first soaps and you would be surprised at how little it takes to make a really scratchy soap. You couldn't tell to look at it but when I took it in the shower to use for the first time I thought it was going to take my skin off it was like sandpaper so just be careful if you are going to use the herbs without infusing. I use my natural colors in the whole batch or take out what I want to add color to and still superfat even thou I am adding a little more oil with the colorants and so far I have not had any problems.
 

bodhi

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thanks for the advise. I am so new at this and maybe I am confused about color........but I am trying to use oil infused natural colorants/herbs to accomplish swirls, patterns, etc in a portion of my basic white/cream soap recipe. So to accomplish this I read, researched and was taught that I should use a basic recipe using 0% superfat, then after trace seperate a portion and add oil infused colorant to that portion. Superfat the uncolored portion 5%. I may be totally misunderstanding the whole concept. Should I just use the oil infused colorants as my superfat to color a whole batch? possibly stick to incorporating powdered herbs/colorants to a small portion after trace using 5% superfat to the whole recipe? surely a small amount will not produce scratchy soap?
I deleted my post and am re-doing it. The way you were doing this had me confused so i re read and realized i misread what you are doing.

You are making one 0 sf batch, diving it into unequal portions and then adding infused oils or plain oils to each portion to create a colored and a non colored batch which you will mix together to make one batch with 2 colors which are equally superfatted. Yes?

Phew. Ok, if ive understood, then yes you can do that. Im not really sure why as it seems more dfficult than it has to be but yes, if youre careful with your calculations and are comfortable doing it this way, go for it.

I think a much easier way to do this would be to make one larger batch with no color and a separate smaller batch that is colored then swirl them together. You can set your sf in the calculator so you dont even have to think about it for calculations.

So, forget using the colorant or extra oil as your sf for now. If you don't want to use 100% infused oil for the smaller colored batch(or any batch), do this:

Decide what amount/percentage of colored oil you would like to try using. Subtract that amount from the total oil weight for that smaller batch. Measure out your oil minus that amount, then add in that same amount of the infused oil.

example. I want a 100 gram batch for swirling which has 25% infused oil. 100 grams-25%=75 grams plain oil. pour out 75 grams plain oil, add 25 grams infused oil to it. You now have your 100 grams of colored oil to swirl with.

Hope that helps.
 
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soap_rat

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I have not heard of using an infused oil added at the end as both the superfat and the colorant, although it seems like it would work provided your colorant is strong enough to show at 5%.

Earlier in the thread Debbism posted a list of what percentage of your recipe's oil needs to be your colored oil. There were 3 oils that should color nicely at 10%. If used at 5% you should have some color remaining after cure. For pretty much all the other colorants, you need to have much more of your batch's oils be the infused oil. So I'm not sure what resource dictates that 5% of a colored oil will color the soap, unless the person was talking about micas or lab colors. Or was just wrong! :)

One safety/quality point: If you are keeping the superfat out of the entire batch of soap, pouring out half the batch, then adding the superfat for ALL the soap to only HALF the soap...well, that would make half the bar harsh and half the bar super-super-fat. If your scale is inaccurate, half the bar will actually be lye-heavy. I don't recommend any of that.

Or, as Bodhi surmised, if you are giving the uncolored half its uncolored superfat, there is no safety/quality concern. I just wanted to bring this up in case you're doing it the other way.

You could melt together all your batch's oil, including your superfat, then put part of the batch in the crockpot on low (or a double-boiler, or a pot on very very low) and infuse lots of oil at once. When you infused the oils, did the tea bag keep all the material out of the oil? If specks do fall from the tea bags (and you don't want any specks) you could find something to strain the oil -- cheesecloth, maybe?

Lastly, some botanicals are very scratchy, like paprika or anything in big chunks, but some are soft, like cocoa, rhubarb root powder, alkanet root, spirulina (goes brown!) and even parsley flakes (which stay green for awhile).
 

kazmi

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To get a higher percentage of colorant in your soap to swirl it just may be best to make seperate batches. So if you want to swirl a 20% madder root into white to make a total batch of 2 lbs. then make a 16 oz batch of regular soap (colored to white, if needed) and make a 16 oz batch with a 20% infusion rate. Swirl the two together when each batch has been made. I saw this done in a youtube video with 3 different colored layers each with a different infused OO and it seems manageable. And the final soap looked great.
 

debbism

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Just to pop in on this topic again, I can see what you are doing. I would strongly advise that being new to soaping (I assume to soaping and not just the forum) this might be a more confusing method. n After years of soaping, I would probably get confused with this process.

What I do for every batch is to carefully plan it out ahead of time and divide the recipe up ahead of time and just run 3 batches using different oils. For example, if my mold holds 150 oz of oils. If I were to do a 3 color swirl, I'd re-calculate 3 smaller batches, ALL superfatted to whatever I normally do, for argument's sake, 5%. The I would leave one white and the other two I would use the proper infusion % per total recipe and mix up the 3 batches and only stick blend them to the point of emulsion. Then add fragrance etc...the swirl - if its still thin enough, I like to do a column pour. Otherwise, blend a bit more for a thicker pour.

This will eliminate the risk of a lye heavy bar, make sure you are superfatted enough and you'll be at the right percentage of infused oil to get the color you want.
 

kazmi

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I tried the two batch method this weekend. I made two identical batches except one I used infused alkanet for 18% of the total oils and another batch without the infusion and only colored with TD. I'll post pictures but just wanted to say it was relatively easy to do it this way. It's best to keep the number of oils to a minimum so it doesn't get confusing while measuring out two batches. This is a lot easier though than subtracting or adding superfat percentages and worrying about being lye heavy.
 

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