Colouring soap is tricky!
If you know me at all, you know that I love bright, vibrant colours. They are in my clothes, they are in my decorations, and they are quite often pieced into my hair!
Bright colours and patterns make me happy, so imagine my dismay when I learned that you can’t make a 100% all-natural soap that is bright and vibrantly coloured.
In spite of all the beautiful colours that surround us in our everyday world, very few of them translate well into the world of soaps. Saponification is a rough process and many colouring agents morph or run during the soap-making adventure. The same is true of scents for soap, but that’s a story for another day.
Here’s something else that was quite shocking to me; most pure, all-natural soap is not pure white.
You can get your pure soap pretty close to white by using all very light oils, but even your clearest oils have a hint of colour, usually yellow or green. Some oils are quite heavily coloured; hempseed oil and avocado oil are quite green, as is pure olive oil, while sunflower oil has just a hint of yellow. Cocoa butter is the colour of coffee with cream, while palm oil is reddish-orange.
As you can imagine, you can make some nicely coloured soaps just by using different oils, but eventually we all get tired of beige, green and orange, so we need to branch out a bit. Or at least I do…
So, what can be done?
There are several options out there when it comes to colouring soap.
Symsie Suds soaps use both natural colouring agents, and pigments in different variations depending on the soap.
For example, my Hemp soap line and my Chocolate soap line both use oils that are naturally coloured thus making it more difficult to create crisp patterns and colours associated with pigments. They make lovely, earthy patterns when coloured naturally with Turmeric, Cocoa, Tea, Beet Juice, Alkanet, Indigo, Paprika, or even Coffee.
On the other hand, my Oh My and Perfect soap recipes call for much lighter oils which makes them perfect as vehicles for creative colouring. In fact, one of the reasons I call it the Perfect line is it’s perfect ability to take and hold the crisp clean colours created by blending manufactured pigments with clear oils.
Are Pigments Natural?
“Pigments, like most colorants out there, do not fall into the natural category. But take heart, they are “nature identical.” (Faiola, AM). If you are at all concerned that pigments are not 100% natural because they are manufactured in a lab rest assured they are safer and cleaner than the same pigments that occur naturally. In fact, the FDA insists these cosmetic grade pigments be produced in a sterile environment so that they are safe to use on the sensitive skin on your face..
Coloured soaps are fun and lively and can add just a bit of happiness to your day, so don’t be afraid of a little pigment in the form of a cosmetic grade oxide. Instead, be afraid of things like added glycerin and words you cannot pronounce.
Get yourself some Symsie Suds and know you’re getting the best soap for your skin.
Have a Sudsy day!