Micas vs. pigments

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soapygoat

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I'm sure a topic like this has been created before, but I did a search and made it through the first 150 results without finding what I'm looking for.

So I've always used pigments (primarily oxides) in my CP. I just purchased a few little bags of mica from Nurture to give them a try. I'm curious to hear what everyone here thinks of micas vs. pigments. Which do you use? Why do you prefer what you use? I realize that some people use both (especially primarily-mica users using TD), so what do you find are the pros and cons of each?

For the second part of this question, somewhere I had heard that, all other things being correct, that soaps colored with micas could be called natural, whereas those colored with pigments could not. Thoughts? Knowledge you can share? A few things here:
1. Most of the micas I've looked at (at least with Nurture) contain oxides, so that information seems inaccurate to me.
2. I'm not really big into buzz words like natural, so I wasn't really intending to use it. I'm mostly just curious.
3. I realize that the FDA doesn't regulate terms such as natural when used on soap and cosmetics, but I have also heard of them cracking down on a few companies (I imagine the big fish) for using synthetic ingredients in their products labeled natural, and of course, honesty in labeling is always important.

Thanks!
 

Arimara

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Good questions. I don't use Micas or oxides. I've never really used colorants that could not be ingested (kaolin is an exception but I never used it for color). I can say that when I see the whole nine yards of "natural soaps" gimmicks on packaging, I tend to steer clear unless I've done my research on the company.
 

osso

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Micas color beautifully. If you are looking for bright and striking colors in a variety of shades, they work really well. It is true that they are colored with pigments, as well as dyes and other things...I tend to stay away from micas colored with dyes and carmine, but that's personal preference. As far as the natural argument, that's been hashed out and I would say don't bother labeling that way. But for a good read search some of the old threads on that topic.
 

faerytech

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I have actually attempted to make pigments from found materials, such as berries, dirt, and leaves. You can do this pretty easily with berries by chopping them up and dehydrating them. However, the hardest color to make is blue. The ancient egyptians used a complicated process involving copper and ovens to achieve blue. During the renaissance they ground lapis lazuli to create it! The only modern ways to make blue from scratch are: red cabbage (which makes a beautiful liquid blue, but haven't worked out how to make a dry pigment), iris (which is a bit expensive), and woad (which is poisonous). :)
 

cmzaha

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Many of the color micas contain pigments and oxides. Hot pink mica is not natural!! I use pigments, oxides, and micas
Faerytech, many natural colors from botanicals do not work in soap.
 
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faerytech

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CMZAHA: Oh, I am sure! I originally started the research for body paints, not soaps, but I have barely scraped the surface.
 

soapygoat

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Luckily for my soap, my interests in experimenting with colorants doesn't extend to botanicals (yet).

I'm really excited to get my micas and try them. Among other colors, I got 2 shades of purple because, well, after years of using ultramarine blue and brick red oxides to make purple ... I sure you all can appreciate the difficulties of making purple out of a red that is an off red and a blue that's a yowza! blue. Then trying to color soap that is not only CP but goat milk CP.

I found the advanced search feature and was able to narrow down my search through past posts for natural. Basically, what I read is pretty well in line with my thoughts on the term. I'm still curious if anyone else has heard this "micas are natural" thing.
 

penelopejane

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I found the advanced search feature and was able to narrow down my search through past posts for natural. Basically, what I read is pretty well in line with my thoughts on the term. I'm still curious if anyone else has heard this "micas are natural" thing.
Mica is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found as a stone with layers. It can be ground up finely. BUT the colours are muted so suppliers add colour ants to make them vibrant. Then they are no longer "natural".
 
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TeresaT

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To answer your question about micas vs pigments: I prefer micas over botanicals and pigments because I like bold colors. The first two photos are soaps I made with micas. The third soap is made with oxides and ultramarines. The fourth soap is made with botanicals (spirulina and nettle). I CPOPd all of them because I like to gel my soaps. Gelling gives me the brightest most defined colors. Keep in mind, though, that most of the micas are made with mica, titanium dioxide and a pigment such as ultramarine blue, iron oxide, chromium oxide green, etc. So, they're not just "mica" they are a combination of ingredients. (I think someone mentioned that already.) I don't sell my soaps (yet) and don't like the words "natural" when referring to soaps or cosmetics (anything, actually) because they are extremely misleading. Oleander, arsenic and lead are all natural; but I wouldn't want any of them in my soap or cosmetics. I especially would not want any in my food. "Natural" is not what it's cracked up to be, in my opinion.

mica.jpg


micas.jpg


Oxides.jpg


botanicals.jpg
 

Arimara

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Mica is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found as a stone with layers. It can be ground up finely. BUT the colours are muted so suppliers add colour ants to make them vibrant. Then they are no longer "natural".
That just about sums it up. I have nothing against the stones but when the colorants are added, that's when I have to avoid them for the most part.
 

topofmurrayhill

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A pigment is one type of colorant.

A mica is any type pf colorant combined with mica flakes.

The colorants in a mica can be anything -- pigments, dyes or lakes.

If the pigments you use are oxides and ultramarines, those are often referred to as nature-equivalent. Most of them exist in nature, but the cosmetic grades are produced industrially and are more pure.

There is no way to characterize how natural a mica is without looking at the ingredients to see what's in it. There are a lot of colors available in micas because they can contain anything at all as a colorant.
 

soapygoat

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To answer your question about micas vs pigments: I prefer micas over botanicals and pigments because I like bold colors. The first two photos are soaps I made with micas. The third soap is made with oxides and ultramarines. The fourth soap is made with botanicals (spirulina and nettle).
Thank you, Teresa! That's exactly the sort of thing I was interested in. Oh my goodness, your soaps are gorgeous. I guess I've never seen a side-by-side of a soap colored with mica vs. oxides/ultramarines. Now I'm more excited than ever to get my micas and try them out.

A pigment is one type of colorant.

A mica is any type pf colorant combined with mica flakes.

The colorants in a mica can be anything -- pigments, dyes or lakes.
That's a good, simple explanation. Thank you, topofmurrayhill. You clarified some of my personal questions about what micas are composed of. I was at a loss for what to call non-mica colorants when I created this topic, so I simply paid BB a visit and used their breakdown of pigment and mica.
 

TeresaT

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^^^ that. I want to know the technique you used to do that.:mrgreen:

Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful compliments. I used a Taiwan circle swirl for the second soap. I used golden green, violet, ruby rose and orange yellow micas from Steph's Micas & More. It was my first Taiwan circle swirl and I haven't been able to recreate the lotus blossom effect since then. I'm still trying!! I love working with micas because of the amazing color choices available and the color saturation I'm able to achieve. I'm certainly no color expert (and I'm really excited to be going to the SoapCon to learn from Clyde at Vibrant Soap), but micas bring out my inner artist.
 

MySoapyHeart

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The awesomness of your soaps, Teresa...! : D

I am off to cut my soap I talked about in the soapy thread yesterday...
Eeeep, almost afraid to, lol...
 
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