Dyes, Micas, or Natural Colorants for Beginners?

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MrsZ

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I think micas are the easiest for a newbie. They mix easily in batter and you can blend micas for a new color. That allows you a large variety in colors with only a few mica purchases. Most micas will result in soap the color of the mica when dry (which is harder to predict with oxides and dyes). The biggest negative on micas are that they are usually more expensive and if you aren't careful you will go down the rabbit hole purchasing every new color you see.
That makes sense. I would like to try Micas at some point. For the moment though, (until I can reasonably afford it) I am going to try the natural Colorants that I already have available. But I have some Micas picked out for some point in the future! :)
 

giulia

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I fell down that rabbit hole when I first started :oops: - there were so many pretty colors and my imagination ran wild. Thankfully I love making soap so they are getting used.
 

ImpKit

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I COULD fall down the rabbit hole of buying all the micas... but I stopped myself by deciding, and following through on it, to get a set of "average" or "mid-point" colors for the 6 big rainbow categories: red, orange, yellow, (edit to add because somehow I missed it) green, blue, and purple. I have a couple other colors, notably white, black, a special green, and a couple neons. As well as a grey/silver and a gold. But by and large for the time being I want to stick with my "average" colors and carefully try to blend what I have to accomplish different colors. That way I'm not buying (and having to store) all the different hues I may want to experiment with. And as a hobbyist, this will challenge me in different ways. How can I accomplish the effect I want with what I have? Learning to think about color theory, blending, saturation, etc.

Now if I ever start SELLING soap, for consistency & time savings I'll buy more colors. I might even pick up some one offs here and there. Like if I ever want to do a pink bubblegum color...
 

lucycat

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I have been soaping since 2005. I started using micas when the POP micas were sold. You could purchase the set and got a yellow, orange, reddish (I have forgotten but was more pinkish red), green, blue (similar to Nurture's blue vibrance) and a purple. I think soap makers fell in love with micas from this set since it allowed so many ways to blend new colors and they looked so much nicer than available dyes. It was the first time I had seen micas in bright colors rather than the muted ones used for makeup and eye shadow. They really inspired the beautiful color designs being seen today.
 

lucycat

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No; I don't think so; Were they micas? I seem to remember some dyes with a similar name; I mainly remember that the manufacturing issues with POPs caused their ending and a lot of angst until new ones and new companies brought out more.
 

stephswan

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I think micas are the easiest for a newbie. They mix easily in batter and you can blend micas for a new color. That allows you a large variety in colors with only a few mica purchases. Most micas will result in soap the color of the mica when dry (which is harder to predict with oxides and dyes). The biggest negative on micas are that they are usually more expensive and if you aren't careful you will go down the rabbit hole purchasing every new color you see.
I would agree with this. I, unfortunately am one of the kids who fell into the rabbit hole of purchasing A LOT of different colors, but i couldn't help myself with nurture's $1.50/sample bag (might be expensive to some, but I'm only using 1/2 tsp at a time as I like my colors to my softer) and it was worth it to me to try a bunch of different colors. I find color combining/designs and fragrances to be the funnest part of soaping so I'm willing to make the investment.

I also agree with don't wait the 6 weeks - last week, I made a new batch every day (they are only small 16 oz batches as I'm just testing fragrances and having fun with color).
 

MrsZ

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I would agree with this. I, unfortunately am one of the kids who fell into the rabbit hole of purchasing A LOT of different colors, but i couldn't help myself with nurture's $1.50/sample bag (might be expensive to some, but I'm only using 1/2 tsp at a time as I like my colors to my softer) and it was worth it to me to try a bunch of different colors. I find color combining/designs and fragrances to be the funnest part of soaping so I'm willing to make the investment.

I also agree with don't wait the 6 weeks - last week, I made a new batch every day (they are only small 16 oz batches as I'm just testing fragrances and having fun with color).
It's hard not to make a new batch every day! I'm making 16oz batches now, thanks to the advice of others on here. I can't learn enough.
 

TheGecko

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I started with a couple of Sample Packs of Mica from BrambleBerry and Rustic Escentuals. Then I purchased Titanium Dioxide, Kaolin Clay, Rose Clay and Activated Charcoal. From there it was more Micas, Clays, Oxides and Pigments and Natural Powders. I start with small quantities...a little more spendy, but I prefer to not get stuck with a bunch of stuff I don’t like.

Fair warning...colorants are as much a rabbit hole as scents. I thought I was purchasing distinct colorants, when in fact I was purchasing slightly different shades of the same color. So I’ve been playing around with basic colorants and then coming up with shades that I like.
 

Aromasuzie

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Thanks for clearing that up. I had been wondering! 😁

:thumbs: Good thinking. I find it's scratchy if left in the batch. :oops:
I actually bought a glass tea pot with a strainer that had the smallest mesh I have ever seen. A little of the powder still got through, but all sunk to the bottom and it was easy enough to pour off without it being disturbed. I could also check the intensity of colour easily, which was great.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I actually bought a glass tea pot with a strainer that had the smallest mesh I have ever seen. A little of the powder still got through, but all sunk to the bottom and it was easy enough to pour off without it being disturbed. I could also check the intensity of colour easily, which was great.
Brilliant!
 

Zany_in_CO

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No; I don't think so; Were they micas? I seem to remember some dyes with a similar name
Your memory is correct. They are FD&C and D&C dyes. Still in business. They offer a Basic 8 Color Set from which you can create 800 shades.

Select Shades was popular in 2004 when I first started soaping. I remember using their amazing color charts to create different shades with Crayolas. 😁 The company was sold In 2012 to Linda Main. It is one-woman owned and operated business that "promises quick shipping and quality customer service".
 

lucycat

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Your memory is correct. They are FD&C and D&C dyes. Still in business. They offer a Basic 8 Color Set from which you can create 800 shades.

Select Shades was popular in 2004 when I first started soaping. I remember using their amazing color charts to create different shades with Crayolas. 😁 The company was sold In 2012 to Linda Main. It is one-woman owned and operated business that "promises quick shipping and quality customer service".
I never really enjoyed dyes; I remember being so surprised at how bright a color became once the soap went through gel and how hard it was to predict the color from looking at the liquid dye. Some I thought were too bright and artificial looking. Of course, I was a new soaper in 2005 and there was still a "country" look at fairs and in decorating. I used oxides and ultramarines primarily and a lot less color than I do today.
 

earlene

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Your memory is correct. They are FD&C and D&C dyes. Still in business. They offer a Basic 8 Color Set from which you can create 800 shades.

Select Shades was popular in 2004 when I first started soaping. I remember using their amazing color charts to create different shades with Crayolas. 😁 The company was sold In 2012 to Linda Main. It is one-woman owned and operated business that "promises quick shipping and quality customer service".
I notice they are not for use in wax-based cosmetics or candles. I wonder how they perform (or performed) in soaps made with beeswax, lanolin or other wax-inclusive formulas. Did you ever use them in soap with waxes in the formula, Zany?
 

Zany_in_CO

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Did you ever use them in soap with waxes in the formula, Zany?
I did not. Back then I was still in my "natural colorants" phase and using Crayolas in transparent soaps. As I mentioned, they were popular with other soapers in the group. That comment made me think of "Batik" -- a way to color fabric where you first draw in the design in wax and then use dye to color. The wax is removed through a heat process and then the fabric is ready to display or wear. ;)
 
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