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Well-Known Member
Mar 11, 2008
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I have been doing a lot of researching and I think when I do start to make soap I would like to color with herbs. I have found a site that seems to carry every herb at WWW.Herbalcom.com. Is there a book or list that says what herbs you can and cannot use in soap? Like if I were to use cranberry powder for color what would it do to skin? I did look it up and found that it could be used in face mask, but does not say what it is good for. Plus some of the herbs on there has some wild names. Sorry this is so long
Hi Martin,
I am new to soapmaking as well. This site helped me a lot when it comes to coloring with herbs

As far as what each herb might do to the skin, it's hard to say with soap but I can say that often there is very little herb used to color soap compared to say, what you might put into a salve, so you really won't feel much effect from the herbs other than that they are pretty. I'm certainly no expert, but that's my opinion based on my limited experience.

Good Luck!
Thank you very much for those two links! I am quite interested in this subject as well because I do not believe in adding anything other than herbs and such (Im wary of oxides based on what Ive learned thus far). I have a few notes on this subject i will edit this post with later on today, most of them include the herbs which were mentioned in the sites you listed, but Ill check if I have any others...

Also has anyone ever used grass to color soaps (such as wheatgrass...I know this has GREAT healing/curative properties and vitamins when ingested, so Im wondering if it would work on the skin as well.)

Also I was thinking of using natural resins such as tree sap (such as pine sap) i know these are THICK and smell quite pungent of the tree it is selected from (I wonder if these contain EO's?), they would probably provide some type of golden color...

Ill be back on later after a nap to add more!
Thanks for the replies. From what I have found so far herbs will give you browns, reddish browns, yellows and some shades of purples. I wonder if there is one that will give you black?

Thanks for any info

Buffalo- I think charcoal will absorb scent as well, so if its used in combo with EO's might want to watch out!

Ok here are some of my notes on this subject, I realize some may be on the other websites but I figured it would be good to have them all here in front of us to refer to!


Red Sandalwood- used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic and healing agent

COLOR: dark maroon, purple.

USE: 1 tsp/1 lb

Henna Leaf powder (ancient egypt), used as a refrigerant (cooling effect on the skin), astringent, antifungal, antibacterial

COLOR: Bright orange (infuse with oil and add to oils) WARNING: may transfer color to hair or skin.

Alkanet root powder

COLOR: dark red, purple tint

USE: 1tbsp/1lb

Annatto Seed

USE: infuse seeds in hot oils, strain.

COLOR: deep orange

Carrot root powder high in beta carotene

USE: 1-2 TBSP/lb

COLOR: creamy orange

Stinging Nettles Powder used as a natural deep cleanser especially for oily skin. encourages hair growth, stops external bleeding (good for use in shave soaps!!)

COLOR: natural green

Parsely powder Soothing, cleansing, detoxification, and heavy metal removal from body when ingested (includes cilantro which is in same genus), opens pores and good cleanser.

COLOR: natural green


USE: 1/2 tsp/ pound of oils

COLOR: nice green

I also inend to do some research on sea weeds (all types) as well as sea kelp, honey, varios roots and leaves of other plants and pureed veggies

Also I was thinking about adding clays to the soaps in order to color them, being that clay is inert it would be an excellent coloring agent, beware because every clay has different properties, some drying to the skin, some not...

here are some I looked into:

Bentonite, Dead Sea, French Green, Green illite, pink kaolin, red kaolin (1tsp/lb), white kaolin (good for dry/sensitive skin!!), yellow kaolin, multani mitti, moroccan rhassoil, rose clay (nice pink color), sea clay (dark green).

hope this helps!!

I may actually start a thread dealing with the topic of natural colorant additives/alternatives that would be a sort of how to with updates from my research...we shall see how it goes!
Ian, thanks for listing those. Many people will appreciate it.

I've made a few batches of charcoal soap - varied recipe each time and have found the charcoal seems to act as a fixative. I add anise, lavender and tea tree in my kitchen soap. Lush also makes a soap called coalface??

My line of products is really about using herbs and such (studying herbalist) so it is incredibly exciting to me to see another go out and offer up the information for others.

Awesome job! I have a shipment of ac coming in this week. I'll make a batch and maybe we can see about sending out a sample if you wanted to see it. :D
I found that green stuff - anything with chlorophyl - does not stay green for long in soap. I had been so excited when I thought of using liquid chlorophyl but then I discovered this little problem.

I have also found that the nicest and most reliable colors come from clays. Green and Pink are my favs. I also use alkanet with mixed results and recently got some annatto seed powder. I love using carrot juice as 50% of my lye solution and also got some carrot powder to try. The orange keeps pretty well in soap IME.
I though the clays would work well! havent tried them personally but because of their inert nature i figured that they would hold true in the soap because the lye would not react with it...there are alot of curative powers to the clays as well, still doing research on the topic and im away from my workstation this week..i think clays would be cool to swirl with as well..

as far as greens lasting..ive heard they turn to a dull gray after a while?? is that true??

for using the carrot juice, do you just use 50% of the lye solution, and then top the remaining % off with water??
I made a soap using morocan red clay which ended up being a medium peach color.....not what I was going for but it looked nice with the yellowish color that my favorite recipe ends up......I do find it to be a bit drying if I use the soap everyday....but it makes a nice face soap. I had scented it with cedarwood and lavender. YUMMY!!!

i love lavender! how does it smell with cedar wood?? also ever try combining cedar with Eucalyptus...would probably smell like a spa sauna??

i posted a thread on it a while ago but no one replied if theyve ever tried it or not!
The combination is actually really nice and has become one of my guinea pigs...I mean friends....favorites. I use the Virginian Cedarwood which has a nice scent to it.....but I love cedarwood and lavender by themselves so I figured why not? The soap turned out very nicely.....and have now been asked to make the scent into matching lotion bars..... :D

hehe i need to get a few 'guinea pigs' of my own...first a job so i can buy more soapmaking supplies because right now im just scratching for RENT!

I cant wait to start making soap again though....soon enough...sooon enough 8)

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