I'm a mica guy and use the occasional oxide. Just make sure your colorant is made for cold process soap. I personally like micas because most of the time, you can just dump the mica into the batter and stir. With oxides and titanium dioxide, I disperse 1 teaspoon oxide to 1 tablespoon oil to disperse it first. It's worth it but is more work -- and more dishes.
Thanks, Zing! I usually disperse my micas in oil anyway, so that's not an issue for me. You say they are worth the extra effort--why? What makes it worth it in the final product?
Subtext to my question---I need to get more TD, which I guess is considered a pigment. I was thinking about getting
some sample size pigments, but if there is no noticeable difference in performance or final outcome between pigments and micas, I won't bother.
secret:quick tip: type the 'at sign' (@) and start spelling a user's name and that way they will get notified that you mentioned them.)
Many micas are super fine and stir in quite readily. Many oxides including titanium dioxide can have larger clumps that appear as dots in your final soap if they are not mixed in completely. Half the time, I sprinkle TD and oiil on a cutting board and squish it with a palette knife. Half the time I put TD and oil in a baggie and squish it. A search on the forum will turn up tons on dispersing TD.
Hobbyist here. I'm a big believer in ordering the sample sizes of colorants (and scents) before committing to larger jars. I still have plenty of colorants left in sample bags I ordered 2 years ago.
Red colorants are often tricky (search for "meat" on the forum). I ordered several sample sizes from a couple of vendors. I tried just one, Trial By Fire, with great results.
My whole world changed when I got neon pigments. The colour is amazing compared to mica which i always found to be a bit lacklustre. They are more difficult to disperse in oil, but they do disperse. Sometimes i mix them with my micas to give a colour boost.
Pigments tend to be matte, while micas are shimmery. Pigments and oxides (gotta include them too) tend to be naturally produced, while micas are without question, synthetically produced (natural mica has no real color to it).
I often combine pigments, oxides, ultramarines and micas to create different colors and shades.
I’m jumping in a little late, but if you’re still thinking on it, here’s my two cents. Micas are super easy to use and come in a dizzying array of colors, but I also like using oxide and ultramarine pigments (and botanical colorants, too…). They come in a relatively limited limited range of colors compared with micas, but can be blended to get a very wide palette. They’re more or less in powder form, so finer than the micas I buy, and as mentioned above, produce a matte color effect. It’s essential to disperse and blend them thoroughly before using to avoid an color spots. In my experience, what you see is what you get with oxides and ultramarines. I can add white or black to change the tint or shade, but the color itself doesn’t morph, which is not always the case when I use micas. (ETA: or use less to get a pastel, especially if the base is very white.) The pigments I have vary in strength, with the ultramarine colors being less potent compared with the oxides, especially for the pink and violet UM. I think oxides and ultramarines tend to look a little bit more like clay in soap compared with micas. The effect is not as translucent as what you can achieve with botanical colorant infused oils. I did some rounds of testing with non-mica colorants earlier this year and posted comparisons here if you're interested.
Sampler Packs and Trial sizes are the way to go when starting out.
And they are still my preference if possible which is why I tend to purchase new colorants from Nurture as they offer 5gram bags. There have been numerous times I have bought colorants only to have them not work out.