Plants infused in alcohol, added after HP cook

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by szaza, Aug 3, 2019.

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  1. Aug 3, 2019 #1

    szaza

    szaza

    szaza

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    Inspired by @Mobjack Bay's wonderful result with a madder tincture I decided to try something similar with different plant-based colorants.
    I was especially interested as to what would happen if I'd add it after HP cook, as plant colorants are notoriously difficult to use in HP and I hoped this would help (winking at @Dawni)
    I took 1g each of annatto, paprika, alkanet, indigo, spirulina, moringa and matcha and added 15g of isopropanol. Let it sit for 4-5 weeks and tried to remember to shake twice daily (although I forgot quite often).
    The colors got gradually darker and the containers got gradually lighter as I wasn't able to prevent the alcohol from evaporating (next time I think I'll use a jar with a srcew-on top lid or maybe a weck jar for canned goods). I think infusing for 2 weeks would have been more than enough, but I was too busy doing other stuff and procrastinated a couple of weeks..
    I made a 100% CO soap with 20% superfat. Initial lye concentration was 1:2. After cook I added some yoghurt and the colored alcohol at 1 part (total lye concentration would be 1:3, last part is colored alcohol added after cook. Am I making sense?)
    Measuring out the soap and deviding it evenly over the 7 containers took a bit more time than I had hoped which got me some rustic white spots of already solidified soap, but I think that could be avoided in a normal process.
    Annatto, paprika and matcha powders seemed to be a bit coarser and stayed on the bottom when pouring off the top.
    Alkanet, indigo, spirulina and moringa were finer ground powders and some of the powder got into the soap.
    Here are pictures of the colored alcohol
    IMG-20190803-WA0000.jpeg
    and of the soaps after mixing in the colorants.
    IMG_20190803_183839.jpeg
    From top to bottom:
    ---------------Matcha-Indigo---------------
    Paprika-Moringa-Alkanet-Annatto
    --------------------Spirulina--------------------

    Observations:
    Matcha is not very interesting. Indigo is a bit grey-ish, paprika is a peachy color, Moringa a moss-like color, alkanet a very dark purple, Annatto a bright orange and spirulina really surprised me with such a vibrant green color!
    It does seem like the alcohol makes the colors look brighter (though annatto is aways quite bright) maybe because the alcohol dissolves the soap a bit..
    The soaps are also really soft despite being 100% CO, so this way of coloring soap is probably not suitable for recipes with a lot of soft oils.
    It's easier to add 1 part liquid after cook than to add 15% oils after cook (which in this case was about the same amount: 5g/35g oils)
    So to summarize, I think there's a potential here, but not for all colorants and also not for all recipes.
     
  2. Aug 4, 2019 #2

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    @szaza thanks for sharing these results. One difference between your method and mine is that I evaporated off almost all of the alcohol and water (I extracted using 50% isopropyl) from my tincture before I used it. That resulted in a very concentrated madder “dye” with a gel-like consistency. If you think adding alcohol to your HP soap is a problem, you could try doing that the next time.
     
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  3. Aug 4, 2019 #3

    szaza

    szaza

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    Thanks for the info! I'll see how the soaps harden/cure. If they stay soft I'll try that, but I think the alcohol helps the colors get brighter. Adding alcohol (and glycerin and sugar solution) after HP cook is the way transparent soap is made, so I'm expecting it to be fine, but a more concentrated gel might be easier to work with.
     
  4. Aug 4, 2019 #4

    Dawni

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    Thank you @szaza! Something worth trying innit? I like how they alkanet and spirulina turned out.

    I'm also interested in how they'll harden over time.
     
  5. Aug 4, 2019 #5

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I didn’t know that about HP and alcohol :rolleyes: I’m not sure that all of the plant materials will create a gel, but it is easy to work with.
     
  6. Aug 4, 2019 #6

    szaza

    szaza

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    They seem to be hardening out properly, just slower than normal.. yay!
    And the colors are so vibrant! I never expected that.. both HP and plant colorants aren't exactly known for bringing vibrant colors to soap and yet, here it is! I'll keep updating, but I think using plants to color HP and make fancy designs just got a whole lot easier.
    Here's a picture I took today:
    IMG_20190804_154747.jpeg
    The alkanet is a bit too dark. I lost quite a bit of alcohol and only had half of what I needed so I only added half of the amount of soap, but obviously the infusion was a lot stronger so the soap turned super dark.
    Another note to whoever wants to try this: make sure you scent the soap.. the smell of alcohol is rather strong.
    I think I'll make some new infusions and try out a fancy swirly HP design in September [emoji16]
    My eternal gratitude goes to @Mobjack Bay for coming up with the idea of using alcohol to extract colors from plant material... Time for a happy dance! [emoji126][emoji126][emoji126] (I miss the dancing hippo in the app)
     
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  7. Aug 4, 2019 #7

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    Those colors look wonderful :hippo:
     
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  8. Aug 4, 2019 #8

    Dawni

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    They do. That moringa looks promising, too. Let's see how it changes over time.

    Gonna go do research on alcohol infusions in HP soap....
     
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  9. Aug 21, 2019 #9

    szaza

    szaza

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    So.. I was wondering if there would be a difference using ethanol vs Isopropanol and if it would work with a softer recipe, since the first ones are hardening out just fine and not smelling bad anymore now the alcohol evaporated.

    This is how I did it (technical info, feel free to skip this part)
    I didn't want to wait as long for the infusion to sit and I honestly think the main reason the last infusion was really strong was because a lot of the alcohol had evaporated off already. I let the powders sit in alcohol for a week, poured off the colored alcohol and let it sit for 2 days until it had the weight I wanted. I used 1g powder/15g alcohol, when I poured the alcohol off after a week there was about 12g left and after sitting uncovered for 2 days there was about 7g left. Evaporation rates were a bit different and I covered as soon as the desired weight was reached so they'd all be the same weitht in the end.
    I then made soap batter with 25% CO and 75% HO sunflower (a cheap, soft, white recipe) and 3% sf. This way I had the same amount of lye per oils as with the 100% CO/20%sf of the last batch, which is relevant since I'm using a 1:2 lye:water ratio to make the soap and then add another part of liquid as alcohol after cook. At 7g/50g oils, this is also about the amount of oil infusion I would normally use. I wanted to make 10 soaps with 50g oils/soap, so I made the recipe with 500g of oils and HP'd in the oven.

    I made 10 different soaps:
    4 colorants that I liked with isopropanol and I wanted to retry with ethanol: annatto, paprika, moringa, spirulina.
    And 3 colorants that I wanted to try with both isopropanol and ethanol: curcuma, wheatgrass and alkanet (because I screwed alkanet up in the first experiment I wanted to retry it)
    Again it took a long time to weigh, divide and mix the soap batter, so it got a bit lumpy and not well-mixed. I expect this won't be as much of a problem when just coloring a bit of batter to make a swirl, but I'll try that next[emoji6]

    And finally.. here are the pics!
    Top row is isopropanol, bottom row is ethanol. Left to right: curcuma, alkanet, wheatgrass.
    IMG_20190821_063822.jpeg

    Top to bottom: annatto, paprika, moringa, spirulina
    IMG_20190821_064322.jpeg

    In the side by side comparison of curcuma, alkanet and wheatgrass the only difference I see is curcuma being much redder when infused in isopropanol.
    The colors that I redid in ethanol seem a bit deeper/brighter in color than their isopropanol counterparts, but that might just be because they're still fresh. I'll have to come back on that one! I also put these in the fridge to be able to unmold quicker, so maybe that contributes to the difference?

    The softer recipe seems to be no problem. It's about the same hardness as the first ones I tried with 100% CO.

    Leaving on a holiday now, but I'll try to update on how they cure in September [emoji3526]
     
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  10. Aug 31, 2019 #10

    szaza

    szaza

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    Time for another picture update! I know this is not a popular topic as it's quite niche (I mean, who would want to combine both HP and natural colorants, the 2 both surefire ways of gettig dull colors) but I feel this method of using plants to color hp really has potential.
    The first batch is now about 3 weeks old, so I'd like to start with a comparison pic to see the fading of the oldest soaps because I'm going to compare them with soaps made 11 days ago.
    Picture taken after unmolding on august 4
    IMG_20190804_154712.jpg
    Picture taken today, august 31 IMG_20190831_121513.jpg
    As you can see, the colors are just a tad lighter.

    Now it's time for the real fun: comparing ethanol to isopropanol!
    Ethanol is always on the right, while Isopropanol is on the left in every pic.

    First up:
    ALKANET (big ones made 11 days ago, small one made 22 days ago with a more concentrated infusion)
    IMG_20190831_123052.jpg
    The average strength isopropanol infusion gives the best result, though I'm starting to expect alkanet really needs the heat from gel to get a good color.. not sure how to solve that when adding colors after cook.

    Next up: the reds and yellows
    CURCUMA, both made 11days ago.
    IMG_20190831_123653.jpg
    Unfortunately the dark red that appeared right after unmolding didn't hold up, but the color is still a pretty fiery golden brown. Isopropanol (left) gives a darker color than ethanol. Though it's clearer irl than on the pic.

    Next is PAPRIKA (left one made 22 days ago and faded slightly, right one made 11 days ago)
    IMG_20190831_121656.jpg
    Even considering the slight fading of the one with isopropanol infusion, I think it's clear ethanol gives a much deeper/redder color with paprika. The left is a peachy flesh color while the right is an intense salmon pink.

    Last one of the reds and yellows: good old ANNATTO. Again left one made 22 days ago, right one made 11 days ago.
    IMG_20190831_121850.jpg
    The ethanol infusion (right) seems to give a darker and brighter, almost neon orange color while the isopropanol (left) gives a lovely golden sunny yellow. The difference is less obvious than with paprika, but still seems to be clear enough to not just be due to fading.

    Last category: greens.
    First up: WHEATGRASS (both made 11 days ago)
    IMG_20190831_123517.jpg
    The difference here isn't very big, but it looks like ethanol (right) gives a slightly brighter color than isopropanol (left)
    I think my wheatgrass is a bit old, which might contribute to the less intense color.

    Next one is: MORINGA (left one made 22 days ago, right one made 11 days ago)
    IMG_20190831_122414.jpg
    This one does give a clear difference, where ethanol (right) is much brighter than isopropanol (left). Even just after unmolding the left one wasn't as bright. Ethanol gives a fresh, bright, leafy green color, while Isopropanol gives more like a camouflage armi green.

    Last one overall is SPIRULINA (left made 22 days ago, right made 11 days ago)
    IMG_20190831_122123.jpg
    I was really hoping this one would make a difference but I'm pretty sure spirulina is the one colorant that gives practically the same color when infused in isopropanol vs ethanol.

    I hope one day this will help someone! I'll try to make time to try it out in a hp design soap next.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Aug 31, 2019 #11

    Dawni

    Dawni

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    ME! Hahaha

    Thanks for the updates szaza! I am going to put both alcohols in my to look for list.. Those colors are really nice!
     
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  12. Sep 1, 2019 #12

    msunnerstood

    msunnerstood

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    Fascinating experiments szaza! I have not tried natural colorants before but some of these colors make it quite tempting!
     
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  13. Nov 30, 2019 #13

    szaza

    szaza

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    Thought I'd do a 3 month update on discoloration. I feel the discoloration is minimal for now, but I thought it might be nice to do a side-by side comparison of pictures taken end of August vs end of November. All pictures were taken in the same place, but lighting is different due to the seasonal changes.
    ETA: I changed my mind after seeing the pictures side by side. There does seem to be significant fading, it evolved slowly so I didn't notice it while watching the soap the past months.

    Here's Alkanet (the one that seems to have faded the most until now):
    August
    IMG_20190831_123052.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_114106.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
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  14. Nov 30, 2019 #14

    szaza

    szaza

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    Curcuma

    August
    IMG_20190831_123653.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_113929.jpg

    This one is getting browner. Curcuma in alcohol is really not my favorite color, don't think I'll ever use this one in a swirl.. (but never say never..)
     
  15. Nov 30, 2019 #15

    szaza

    szaza

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    Paprika

    August
    IMG_20190831_121656.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_113801.jpg

    Except the lighting I don't think the soap actually changed color.
     
  16. Nov 30, 2019 #16

    szaza

    szaza

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    Annatto

    August
    IMG_20190831_121850.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_113602.jpg

    Hmm.. when I looked at the soap I didn't feel it had changed over time, but these pictures next to each other seem to suggest the orange changed to yellow. I guess I didn't notice the change over time.
     
  17. Nov 30, 2019 #17

    szaza

    szaza

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    Wheatgrass

    August
    IMG_20190831_123517.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_113250.jpg

    I don't feel there was a whole lot of fading here, the color was light to begin with anyway..
     
  18. Nov 30, 2019 #18

    szaza

    szaza

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    Moringa

    August
    IMG_20190831_122414.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_113115.jpg

    Haha this one also changed a lot more than I thought. Looks like this side to side comparison is pretty eye opening haha
     
  19. Nov 30, 2019 #19

    szaza

    szaza

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    Spirulina

    August
    IMG_20190831_122123.jpg

    November
    IMG_20191127_112907.jpg
    This one also seems to be a few shades lighter than it was 3 months ago.

    Conclusion: slow but steady fading on almost all colors except paprika and wheatgrass. Colors still look bright, just a few shades lighter.
     
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  20. Nov 30, 2019 #20

    szaza

    szaza

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    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019

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