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Mixing Micas

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gsc

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Hopefully I got this posted in the right spot. I know there has been lots of talk about mixing micas in water or oil with a marble in the bottom of the bottle. I see that TD is in a lot of the micas so I gave it a shot. Some seemed to mix OK I guess, although the mica did settle to the bottom of the bottle after it set for a while. For those that didn't mix well I used 1 part glycerin and 3 parts water. It did seem to blend better. I'm not sure if I should put a preservative in the bottles of the ones that have glycerin (I'm sure I will not be using them up for quite a while). Anyone have thoughts on the glycerin/water mixture and if I should add a preservative?
 

Todd Ziegler

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A preservative is not necessary.

I personally don't premix my colorants because I don't want to add any glycerin to my soap. But more importantly I don't think it's necessary for soap making. I just adjust my super fat to 1% or 2% then I reserve some of the oil for the recipe to mix my oils as I am making the soap

For example, if I am doing a single color soap and the recipe calls for 8ozs of safflower oil, I will use 1 - 2 ounces of the 8 in a plastic beaker mix in the mica and add it back to the batch when my oil reaches the temperature I want.

If am doing 2 colors I will repeat the above steps but I will use two beakers and add 1oz of the reserved oil to each beaker and if that isn't enough oil I can add more. Depending on how much extra oil I use, I generally won't raise the super fat by only a percentage or two.
 

Rsapienza

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I've never seen anyone do that with their micas. I've seen it with TD. I pretty much do what Todd does, except I do not adjust my SF. If I were doing 2 colors to let's say a 2lb soap batch, I would remove approx. 2 Tbsp. of my oils to mix with my teaspoons or so of micas. The oil used goes right back in the batch so I don't really see a need to adjust my SF. I also use different concentrations of mica for different soaps, so the same shade of a color all the time would not work for me.
I've also never heard of mica being mixed with water, so I have no answer on the preservative question. You could add a couple of ball bearings to your bottles and shake. This will mix up the stuff that settles on the bottom.
 

shunt2011

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I generally don’t pre mix my micas either. I mix as needed. I do premix my TD in water with a ball bearing in the bottle. If I do premix my micas I just do a bit of glycerin or oil. Never done water with micas. Ultramarines I do mix with water.
 

Todd Ziegler

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I've never seen anyone do that with their micas. I've seen it with TD. I pretty much do what Todd does, except I do not adjust my SF. If I were doing 2 colors to let's say a 2lb soap batch, I would remove approx. 2 Tbsp. of my oils to mix with my teaspoons or so of micas. The oil used goes right back in the batch so I don't really see a need to adjust my SF. I also use different concentrations of mica for different soaps, so the same shade of a color all the time would not work for me.
I've also never heard of mica being mixed with water, so I have no answer on the preservative question. You could add a couple of ball bearings to your bottles and shake. This will mix up the stuff that settles on the bottom.
Thanks for fixing my answer. I actually do it just like you said but I couldn't get the words right. I adjust my super fat because I like to use a little extra oil so that it is deep enough to use my mini stick blender. I start with a 2% SF and when I am done it is usually around 3%-4% SF.
 

TheGecko

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I know there has been lots of talk about mixing micas in water or oil with a marble in the bottom of the bottle. I see that TD is in a lot of the micas so I gave it a shot. Some seemed to mix OK I guess, although the mica did settle to the bottom of the bottle after it set for a while. For those that didn't mix well I used 1 part glycerin and 3 parts water. It did seem to blend better. I'm not sure if I should put a preservative in the bottles of the ones that have glycerin (I'm sure I will not be using them up for quite a while). Anyone have thoughts on the glycerin/water mixture and if I should add a preservative?
Hmmmmmmmm...none of this sounds right. To start with, unless you are using a 'mineral eyeshadow' or some cheaply produced mica, there should be zero TD in any mica. If you purchasing micas from reputable supplier, all you should be receiving is mica...nothing else.

TD (or zinc oxide) is generally the only colorant that is 'ready mixed' (large bottle with a marble or stainless steel balls or stainless steel bobs and bits) with water or light-weight oil depending on the type of TD, in large quantity. The exception to this are 'infusions' made with organic ingredients (like vegetable powders, spices, etc) and olive oil.

Even in larger scale productions, Micas, Clays, Ultramarines are typically mixed (dispersed) on a 'as needed' basis. For CP/HP/CPOP...Micas are generally dispersed in light weight oils...either separate of the oils used in the soap, or taken from from the batch as not to increase superfat. Clays and Ultramarines are usually dispersed in water or scent (EO/FO). You can use water from your lye solution or added water. FYI - NEVER use alcohol for this type of soap as it will cause your soap to greatly accelerate or even seize.

For M&P, Micas are generally dispersed in alcohol or glycerin. I don't think I have seen Clays and Ultramarines used with M&P, so I can't make a recommendation there.

The main reason why Preservatives are added to bath and body products is because of the potential exposure to untreated water, and by 'untreated', I mean water that hasn't been filtered or distilled and thus contains contaminates like chemicals and metals.
 

Rsapienza

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Hmmmmmmmm...none of this sounds right. To start with, unless you are using a 'mineral eyeshadow' or some cheaply produced mica, there should be zero TD in any mica. If you purchasing micas from reputable supplier, all you should be receiving is mica...nothing else.

TD (or zinc oxide) is generally the only colorant that is 'ready mixed' (large bottle with a marble or stainless steel balls or stainless steel bobs and bits) with water or light-weight oil depending on the type of TD, in large quantity. The exception to this are 'infusions' made with organic ingredients (like vegetable powders, spices, etc) and olive oil.

Even in larger scale productions, Micas, Clays, Ultramarines are typically mixed (dispersed) on a 'as needed' basis. For CP/HP/CPOP...Micas are generally dispersed in light weight oils...either separate of the oils used in the soap, or taken from from the batch as not to increase superfat. Clays and Ultramarines are usually dispersed in water or scent (EO/FO). You can use water from your lye solution or added water. FYI - NEVER use alcohol for this type of soap as it will cause your soap to greatly accelerate or even seize.

For M&P, Micas are generally dispersed in alcohol or glycerin. I don't think I have seen Clays and Ultramarines used with M&P, so I can't make a recommendation there.

The main reason why Preservatives are added to bath and body products is because of the potential exposure to untreated water, and by 'untreated', I mean water that hasn't been filtered or distilled and thus contains contaminates like chemicals and metals.
I'm not sure where you get your micas, but I believe every mica colorant I use has TD in it and I do buy from reputable suppliers.
 

Megan

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Hmmmmmmmm...none of this sounds right. To start with, unless you are using a 'mineral eyeshadow' or some cheaply produced mica, there should be zero TD in any mica. If you purchasing micas from reputable supplier, all you should be receiving is mica...nothing else.
Micas are generally mica (or fluorphlogopite), and the actual pigment that colors them, so for instance titanium dioxide, iron oxide, chromium green, ultramarine, manganese violet, or any combination of these to create certain colors. FD&C colors are also used.

Mica, as it is, is uncolored.
 

AliOop

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I have seen some soapers who premix their micas in little squirt bottles - Ione Eve of Eve's Garden Soaps is one that I can recall of the top of my head. But they are very small bottles, and maybe she makes enough soap that she goes through them pretty quickly before they could be compromised.
 

earlene

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Some mica colorants can and do have TD in them and some have oxides, ultramarines, etc. in them. It's how the colors & shades are mixed. Oh, I see that has already been addressed..... Additionally, one can purchase pre-mixed colorants from a few reputable soap suppliers, so they also come pre-mixed for the buyer who does not want to mix their own. I have been tempted at times, but prefer to do it myself and save the money. For example, LabColors come as a liquid colorant (example); lakes can be purchased pre-mixed (example); mica mixes can be purchased pre-mixed (example.) TD can be purchased pre-mixed in Castor oil (example) as can some other colorants (although listed as Lip Colors at TBK, they are also listed as CP stable). These are just some examples of pre-mixed colorants sold by a few reputable soap suppliers.


Hopefully I got this posted in the right spot. I know there has been lots of talk about mixing micas in water or oil with a marble in the bottom of the bottle. I see that TD is in a lot of the micas so I gave it a shot. Some seemed to mix OK I guess, although the mica did settle to the bottom of the bottle after it set for a while. For those that didn't mix well I used 1 part glycerin and 3 parts water. It did seem to blend better. I'm not sure if I should put a preservative in the bottles of the ones that have glycerin (I'm sure I will not be using them up for quite a while). Anyone have thoughts on the glycerin/water mixture and if I should add a preservative?
GSC, I have pre-mixed micas and colorants in little bottles on occasion, using a stainless steel ball inside the bottle for shaking it up. When pre-mixing, it's good to check if your micas are listed by the supplier as water or oil dispersable. If it says one only, that's what you should use. Sometimes it's both. The beauty of glycerin is that it can be used for either water or oil dispersable colorants.

And yes, that ball (for me it's actually a stainless steel fishing weight because that was more available in my area at the time I was shopping) is essential to keep the mixture well mixed after it has sat for awhile.

Whether to use a preservative, I would err on the side of caution if I didn't think I'd use them soon, and take into account the mixing method. Did you sterilize or disinfect your bottle prior to filling it? If so, I don't think the need to preserve is really that great. BUT if you make enough to last you for several months and you mixed with water, then maybe so. It really depends on your personal circumstances, IMO.

I have used vegetable glycerin for mixing colorants and found that if I use very little, it does not negatively impact my soap. However, the first time I did this, I over-used the glycerine and ended up with extremely colorful spongy soft soap. It was a pointillism pour, so lots of colors were required, and when you add lots of color with way too much glycerin, well ... spongy soap. So after that I became very stingy with the glycerin when mixing with colorants.

There are pros & cons to pre-mixing for multiple use, and you have to decide if it works for you. I liked it, but had to find another place to keep the filled pre-mix bottles, when I already have so much to keep track of. But while they lasted, I kept a few pre-mixed colorants in a little drawer organizer bin right next to my soaping worktable. That was convenient for a quick color additive. They were also great for on-the-go soaping; I grabbed what I had when I took a trip (I soap when I travel) & the colors were already to go.

Drawbacks: limited amount of pre-mixed colors ready, so that limited my choices unless I wanted to make more. More bottles to clean after they were empty. Small size of the bottles makes drying time seem to take longer due to shape and size, even when disinfected with 70% alcohol (slower evaporation with 70% also leads to greater disinfecting because it remains on the surface longer than higher percentage alcohol). More storage area needed. More things to label (labeling is extremely important.)
 
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