discoloring FOs - can you defeat them with oxides?

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Oct 5, 2015
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I know that some FOs discolor CP soaps, and for the most part I'm ok with that. After all, brown Espresso scented soap seems reasonable. But brown Wildflower Honey? Not so much. I'm trying to limit my use of additives. I'm not opposed to chemicals, per se, but I don't like to add things just because it's easy and the internet says so. So with that being said, I have some questions.

1) If you split your soap into two batches and use FO in half, then swirl/layer/what have you, will the whole batch discolor? I know this would be a simple test, but I hate to waste ingredients on an experiment when I know very well that some of you have already done this and know the answer! My gut says that the FO would bleed through into the unscented portion during cure and the swirls would be muddied more than I would like.

2) Clearly if the FO discolors to dark brown, then dark brown is what I'll get. But if a FO discolors to tan, does it overpower any oxides or micas that you might add? Or can you successfully overcome minor discoloration?

I've been baking cookies nonstop (I swear DH eats them as fast as I can make them) and I'm getting antsy to get back to soaping! I am dying to try some of the FOs that I have on hand, but a bit hesitant to battle the dreaded vanillin monster:twisted:.
We had a challenge to use DFO's (discoloring fragrance oils) here in september. This is the link to the entry thread.


You can most definitely add oxides over the tanning/browning. I found that for the most part, the DFO doesn't bleed but, it will on very thing and wispy swirls. The soap I made as an example for the challenge (pink, brown white) didn't bleed much over the months I've had it. It does give off a colored lather though (yellow)
I make some soaps with swirls that I leave fragrance out of and it doesn't cause too much discoloring
With my dark browning fo, I usually control some of the colored portions by splitting in 4 containers, but not evenly. I want enough main batter to dump in the bulk of the fo. I add TD to one, no fragrance, add a little fo to one of the smaller portions and the bulk of the fo into the largest amount of soap batter. I have one that came out very pretty when I just used the fo for the coloring. In that one I had 4 or 5 different color tones just using the fo, and some td in one. The challenge I did not do, but I have been doing this for several years. Better to work with your color than fight it. Red oxide will show up in dark brown as will some purples and pinks. Just watch how much batter you color for your swirls, since they will usually run color when the color is used strong enough to counteract the dark brown.
We had a challenge to use DFO's (discoloring fragrance oils) here in september. This is the link to the entry thread.


YESSSSS! This is exactly what I need. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a thousand pictures is the best "description" I could hope for. Thank you!
I would also add that if you are happy using FOs (often totally man-made) then oxides (nature-identical, usually) are really nothing to worry about

My apologies good sir, I must have been typing without caffeine and not been clear. I LOVE oxides, micas as well. I prefer to use natural ingredients, or lab reproductions of same. But... I make an exception for FOs because I just can not for the life of me resist the temptation to make things smell good! Fragrance is my kryptonite. I usually use EO's to get my scents, and occasionally no scent at all (for honey soap or those using my garden veggies). But sometimes I get bored and stray to the man-made side of the tracks.
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