Pandoras Box of Colorings

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I get it. Some people prefer to use all natural colors... whether it means using clays, or infusing oils or what have you. Sounds like more time than I have right now.

Being new to all this, is there anything considered harmful to one's body or environment by using micas, oxides and pigments from a reputable source?

I don't necessarily believe the colorants I use need to come from all natural sources, but I'd rather not use things with harmful or questionably unsafe chemicals to make those colorants.

"Body safe" is what I'm after, of course, for CP soaps.
Titanium Dioxide. For now, I've decided to just avoid this ingredient based on all the controversy, etc.

Is there anything I should steer clear of, if wanting to appeal to family, friends co-workers that are happy, plant-loving folks (myself included of course).

Sure loving all the pretty colors I see in all the soaps here, so really wanting to use them if it won't offend the masses of the health conscious community I live in. 😊
 

paradisi

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Nothing at all harmful from using oxides & ultramarines made for cosmetic use.

The natural ores are usually in the same geologic bed as poisonous heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium. So they were usually heavily contaminated.

They have been refined chemically and industrially produced for cosmetic & soap use since about the 1970's to remove the harmful things.

There's also nothing harmful about Titanium dioxide that's sold as cosmetic coloring. It's *not* nano material.
(There is a *very* rare allergy to Titanium , similar to other metal allergies like nickel.
If you label correctly and fully, people will be aware of whatever is in your products and be able to avoid anything they may have allergies to.)

My one caveat would be to not buy colorants from rando shops on Amazon, aliexpress, ebay, or etsy. You'd have no way to know what exactly you were getting.

Enjoy your colors :)
 
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I agree with @paradisi, you have to be careful of the source.

I tried to go all natural with soaps etc. when I first started this journey about 4 yrs ago. I have learned a great deal along the way.

"Natural" is often far worse than synthetic. As @paradisi mentioned, the natural colors (clays, oxides etc.) are generally highly contaminated with lead, arsenic, cadmium and a host of other nasty's too numerous to mention.

For example, I used to use French Green Clay for the color green, after reading things like this article, I no longer use it in my soaps or anything else. (No, I don't like testing on animals of any kind, but the science is already there)
The same information can be found with a number of "all natural" ingredients. I still use herbs and other natural ingredients in my products, but I'm very careful about what I'm using and the source. I also use man-made stuff, again, I'm just very careful about the source.

Edit: A quick note about research: I like to use EWG's database. In google, just type in what you are looking for and then add ewg to the end. For example: iron oxide ewg. I rarely use anything listed with ewg at higher than a 1.
 

paradisi

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Reputable suppliers will either have COA's on their listings, or furnish them readily. And they will not use contaminated source materials either. The Certificate of Analysis will show levels of restricted materials if present.

And while I applaud researching for safety, sadly EWG is not a reliable source. They are fear mongers who also have a history of taking a % of sales of the brands they approve. Pay to play isn't a scientific method.
 
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I agree with @paradisi, you have to be careful of the source.

I tried to go all natural with soaps etc. when I first started this journey about 4 yrs ago. I have learned a great deal along the way.

"Natural" is often far worse than synthetic. As @paradisi mentioned, the natural colors (clays, oxides etc.) are generally highly contaminated with lead, arsenic, cadmium and a host of other nasty's too numerous to mention.

For example, I used to use French Green Clay for the color green, after reading things like this article, I no longer use it in my soaps or anything else. (No, I don't like testing on animals of any kind, but the science is already there)
The same information can be found with a number of "all natural" ingredients. I still use herbs and other natural ingredients in my products, but I'm very careful about what I'm using and the source. I also use man-made stuff, again, I'm just very careful about the source.

Edit: A quick note about research: I like to use EWG's database. In google, just type in what you are looking for and then add ewg to the end. For example: iron oxide ewg. I rarely use anything listed with ewg at higher than a 1.
Wow, great info and thank you for the EWG tip!!
 
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Nothing at all harmful from using oxides & ultramarines made for cosmetic use.

The natural ores are usually in the same geologic bed as poisonous heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium. So they were usually heavily contaminated.

They have been refined chemically and industrially produced for cosmetic & soap use since about the 1970's to remove the harmful things.

There's also nothing harmful about Titanium dioxide that's sold as cosmetic coloring. It's *not* nano material.
(There is a *very* rare allergy to Titanium , similar to other metal allergies like nickel.
If you label correctly and fully, people will be aware of whatever is in your products and be able to avoid anything they may have allergies to.)

My one caveat would be to not buy colorants from rando shops on Amazon, aliexpress, ebay, or etsy. You'd have no way to know what exactly you were getting.

Enjoy your colors :)
Thanks so much! It's great to hear advice from people actually using the products. its sometimes hard to know what is fear mongering and what isn't in the research I've been looking into.
 

paradisi

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Thanks so much! It's great to hear advice from people actually using the products. its sometimes hard to know what is fear mongering and what isn't in the research I've been looking into.
To help relieve your worries about colorants, remember that cosmetic colorants are the earliest regulated ingredients & tightly regulated. Reputable suppliers will comply and not risk fines and recalls.

The FDA maintains a list of approved colorants and also a list of limit levels of heavy metals as some are almost unavoidable. Note those are expressed in parts per million.

.. and while soap isn't regulated as a cosmetic in the US, it's not unreasonable to choose to be guided by the colorant safety rules established for cosmetics imo.


 
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To help relieve your worries about colorants, remember that cosmetic colorants are the earliest regulated ingredients & tightly regulated. Reputable suppliers will comply and not risk fines and recalls.

The FDA maintains a list of approved colorants and also a list of limit levels of heavy metals as some are almost unavoidable. Note those are expressed in parts per million.

.. and while soap isn't regulated as a cosmetic in the US, it's not unreasonable to choose to be guided by the colorant safety rules established for cosmetics imo.


Wow great info and recommendation! I'd imagine that those who sell their soap probably get pretty good at "educating" their potential customers about the very things you've described here today. Who knows if one day I'll sell, but I'd like to just have knowledge of what I'm throwing in there in case anyone asks. It's mainly the reason we want to make our own products anyways because we can control what goes in them. It's great to be informed, thank you!
 
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Aren't oxides natural? and since micas are made from oxides, they're natural too? Even if it's lab-created instead of harming the environment through mining. To me, it's the same between lab-grown gemstones and those mined from the Earth.
Agreed. Assuming no harmful chemicals remain in the final products. I'm still learning.
 

paradisi

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Aren't oxides natural? and since micas are made from oxides, they're natural too? Even if it's lab-created instead of harming the environment through mining. To me, it's the same between lab-grown gemstones and those mined from the Earth.
Oxides are natural as mined; but Bubonic Plague, Uranium Oxide, Arsenic and Digitalis are all natural. I'll skip those myself!

Mica as mined is natural; the pretty rainbow colors we buy as micas are decidedly not natural: entirely lab made.

They are however largely inert and if properly made and packed, safe. There have occasionally been lots contaminated with bacteria ...as are clays, routinely. That's why the COA of the clay you buy from a reputable supplier will have microorganism counts. (Clays are notoriously difficult to preserve.)

It's not a simple if/then natural/good synthetic /bad equation, though of course everyone will have emotional preferences. Biodegradability, sustainability , safety, fashion.... we're at a lively and fascinating interface.
 

CreativeWeirdo

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Oxides are natural as mined; but Bubonic Plague, Uranium Oxide, Arsenic and Digitalis are all natural. I'll skip those myself!

Mica as mined is natural; the pretty rainbow colors we buy as micas are decidedly not natural: entirely lab made.

They are however largely inert and if properly made and packed, safe. There have occasionally been lots contaminated with bacteria ...as are clays, routinely. That's why the COA of the clay you buy from a reputable supplier will have microorganism counts. (Clays are notoriously difficult to preserve.)

It's not a simple if/then natural/good synthetic /bad equation, though of course everyone will have emotional preferences. Biodegradability, sustainability , safety, fashion.... we're at a lively and fascinating interface.
Yes... This is what I meant... Sorry I didn't express myself as well as you can.

But just because something is lab made, doesn't mean they aren't natural components that have had a little help getting to there final structure. Again, with my analogy of lab-grown diamonds/precious gems vs mined diamonds/precious gems.
 

paradisi

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I wouldn't call that natural, no. I'd feel I was reaching. But then I don't see an intrinsic value difference between lab made and from a mine.

To me, a definition of natural that needs verbal tinkering to use mica would happily accept clays/refined oxides/ plant colors instead. The palette is going to be more towards earthy than neon.

But as the monthly challenges here show all the time, limitations (that one choses affirmatively) can be energizing and spur creativity.

And ... there's no saying you must stick to one style. Life is short! Use all the crayons.
 
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And while I applaud researching for safety, sadly EWG is not a reliable source. They are fear mongers who also have a history of taking a % of sales of the brands they approve. Pay to play isn't a scientific method.
I agree that paying to play is wrong and I never advocated using products that are ewg verified. In fact, I do not purchase ewg verified products at all.

However, the ewg skin deep database is a great resource for ingredient research. Their research is a great place to start with checking the safety of ingredients used in making soaps and anything else that will be used on the skin.

They quote their sources, most of which are EC (Environmental Canada), and NLM Pubmed (National Library of Medicine online).


The FDA maintains a list of approved colorants and also a list of limit levels of heavy metals as some are almost unavoidable. Note those are expressed in parts per million.
This list includes dye's that have been banned from cosmetic use but are still allowed in foods.

Trusting the FDA exclusively is a bit scary to be honest. I see commercials all the time for medications approved by the FDA that have caused serious side effects, including death.
 

paradisi

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The EWG misconstrues research and gives better safety ratings to the exact same product if sold by their members than sold by non members. That's why I first looked into their background; I found they rated petroleum jelly unsafe by a national brand but safe by one of their members. They also buy into a lot of bunk about preservatives.

And the research for cosmetics ingredients is done by a separate arm of the FDA than food or drugs.

As to your distrust of the FDA because of the warnings on medications.... it's a big topic but broadly speaking, drugs taken by millions will have a small % of bad side effects but remain safe for the vast majority.

There's a big difference between absolute numbers and % probability. Drug manufacturers are required by law to inform users of all potential side effects even if the chance of them happening to any individual are very small. And many medicines are indeed powerful chemicals with strong biological action; that's why they are only for use under medical supervision. Allowing those medicines doesn't mean the FDA is faulty, it means the benefit under supervision outweighs the risks.

I agree that paying to play is wrong and I never advocated using products that are ewg verified. In fact, I do not purchase ewg verified products at all.

However, the ewg skin deep database is a great resource for ingredient research. Their research is a great place to start with checking the safety of ingredients used in making soaps and anything else that will be used on the skin.

They quote their sources, most of which are EC (Environmental Canada), and NLM Pubmed (National Library of Medicine online).



This list includes dye's that have been banned from cosmetic use but are still allowed in foods.

Trusting the FDA exclusively is a bit scary to be honest. I see commercials all the time for medications approved by the FDA that have caused serious side effects, including death.
 

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