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Question about Colorants

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Emma Cook

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I’ve gotten several batches under my belt, but there’s still one thing I’m a bit confused about... Maybe it’s just me overthinking, but I’ve been wondering if there’s a “right” way to add colorants to soap.
For example, I’ve read that it helps to mix colorants with a carrier oil, but my bars get pretty soft whenever I do that. I think it’s raising the superfat- I usually do 5%.
I’ve wanted to try adding micas directly to the soap, but would I have to stickblend them in? I don’t really want to work with a thicker trace.
I would love to hear your ideas! If you add oil or mix micas straight into the soap, let me know! :)
 

TheGecko

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I’ve gotten several batches under my belt, but there’s still one thing I’m a bit confused about... Maybe it’s just me overthinking, but I’ve been wondering if there’s a “right” way to add colorants to soap.
For example, I’ve read that it helps to mix colorants with a carrier oil, but my bars get pretty soft whenever I do that. I think it’s raising the superfat- I usually do 5%.
I’ve wanted to try adding micas directly to the soap, but would I have to stickblend them in? I don’t really want to work with a thicker trace.
I would love to hear your ideas! If you add oil or mix micas straight into the soap, let me know! :)
If I’m making a single color soap. I add my mica directly to my oils, before adding my lye solution. For two or more colors I only bring my batter to emulsion, separate for color and add the mica in dry and then whisk or stir in. I do stick blend TD.

You don’t have to mix your colorants with a lot of oil or water (for clays, oxides, TD), but if you’re worried about adding to your SF, or longer cure times because of extra water, you could lower you SF to 4% or pull oil from your batch or measured water before adding the lye.
 

dibbles

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Everyone does it differently. I like to mix my micas in a bit of oil. Just enough to get the mica fluid enough to add. Then they are easy to stir in by hand. I also bring the batter to emulsion and then split for coloring.

I usually don't use my batch oil because I just add until I get the color I want. If I am adding up to 3 colors I don't adjust my superfat, but more colors than that I will lower it. You don't need much oil to mix a small amount of mica. I don't often do a one color soap, but in that case I would just add it dry to the batch oils.
 

Anstarx

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Everyone have their different ways of adding colorants. It also depends on different kinds of colorants.
For clays, definitiely mix with water as they absorb water. I also mix oxides with water.
For micas, I take out a tiny portion of the soaping oil and mix them seperately, then pour it back during blending.
For plant powders like cocoa or tea powder, I usually use them in larger amounts like 30 grams or more per batch, I'd just blend the entire thing with all the soaping oils.
 

Wendy90292

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Everyone have their different ways of adding colorants. It also depends on different kinds of colorants.
For clays, definitiely mix with water as they absorb water. I also mix oxides with water.
For micas, I take out a tiny portion of the soaping oil and mix them seperately, then pour it back during blending.
For plant powders like cocoa or tea powder, I usually use them in larger amounts like 30 grams or more per batch, I'd just blend the entire thing with all the soaping oils.
Extremely helpful! I end up with dark micas leaking colors onto everyone's showers and bathtubs, which has been a big problem. This is so helpful!
 

KiwiMoose

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I do it differently depending on my mood on the day - or depending on how many colours I am splitting off. Sometimes I add mica powder directly to the emulsified batter, other times i reserve about a teaspoon (per colour) of the liquid oils to blend into the micas first. If i am working with more than two colours the latter is my preferred method. I mix the mica and oils together in the bottom of the cup or jug I will be using, then once the batter is at emulsion I pour it into the cups/jugs then stir it up with a spatula. If the main batch is to be coloured too - I will do that last ( after pouring off the other colours) but that is done by adding the powder directly to the batter. One thing I have noticed on occasion is that if you add powder directly to the batter it can sometimes have a couple of small clumps of unblended powder in the finished soap - so if you mixed with oils first it would prevent that from happening.
 

shunt2011

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I do it differently depending on my mood on the day - or depending on how many colours I am splitting off. Sometimes I add mica powder directly to the emulsified batter, other times i reserve about a teaspoon (per colour) of the liquid oils to blend into the micas first. If i am working with more than two colours the latter is my preferred method. I mix the mica and oils together in the bottom of the cup or jug I will be using, then once the batter is at emulsion I pour it into the cups/jugs then stir it up with a spatula. If the main batch is to be coloured too - I will do that last ( after pouring off the other colours) but that is done by adding the powder directly to the batter. One thing I have noticed on occasion is that if you add powder directly to the batter it can sometimes have a couple of small clumps of unblended powder in the finished soap - so if you mixed with oils first it would prevent that from happening.
I do the same. I add a bit of oil into my cup I'm putting my separated batter into then mix the micas with the oil before adding my soap that's at emulsion. I will then either stir or give it a quick pulse or two with the stickblender.
 

Todd Ziegler

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Extremely helpful! I end up with dark micas leaking colors onto everyone's showers and bathtubs, which has been a big problem. This is so helpful!
When you say that the "colors are leaking" do you mean they are staining the bathrooms and showers? If so then you are adding to much per pound of oil. Most everyone recommends 1 tsp per pound of oils but mad micas recommends up to 2 tsp per pound of oil for some of their micas. So your problem may not be how you are adding the color but how much you are adding. If I assumed right about what you mean.
 

Wendy90292

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When you say that the "colors are leaking" do you mean they are staining the bathrooms and showers? If so then you are adding to much per pound of oil. Most everyone recommends 1 tsp per pound of oils but mad micas recommends up to 2 tsp per pound of oil for some of their micas. So your problem may not be how you are adding the color but how much you are adding. If I assumed right about what you mean.
Hi Todd -- When I watch (endless) soap making videos, I see people adding just a few tsp of Titanium Dioxide, for example, with a bit of water and suddenly -whoosh! 3# of Pomace turns white like a 1980s refrigerator! When I watch AnnMarie sprinkle just 2 tsp of pink mica to a split batch and stick blend it, poof! She's got enough to coat the ballet shoes of an entire ballet company! But for me, no matter what mica (or charcoal) I add, I NEVER see the color I want until I've added enormous amounts. I mean enormous! I added a 1/2 c of titanium dioxide, blending after each 2 tsp, diluted with a tiny bit of water just enough to try to get most of the lumps out and my soap color was STILL yellow.

I'm super unhappy that I can't figure this out. Any advice is much appreciated.

Wendy
 

moodymama

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Are you using darker oils, honey or other things that can discolor?

Today I made my project to be making color pucks, each color used at 1 tsp PPO usage. This way I know when I make my soap what each color looks like at 1 tsp PPO. Because each puck was 1 ounce each I did 1 tsp mica in a ramekin and added 10g oil to each. Each mica/colorant weighed different. If a mica was 2g per tsp and 10g oils = 12g / 16 ounce (the soap batter)= .75g colorant to add to each 1 ounce batter. I wrote the weight of each mica/colorant as well so I can look to it in the future and use the weighted value instead of teaspoon. Hoping to get more consistent with color in the future.
 
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