Natural soap colourants – what a beautiful challenge in creating handmade soaps. This post is about earth-sourced colouring options for you, dear soap makers, who wish to keep their recipe as natural as possible.We, at Three Hills Soap, only colour our soaps with plant, fruit or vegetable materials, so our soaps are aesthetically coloured by nature itself. I love to infuse them in various kinds of oils, add them at trace not just for their colour but for their herbal qualities too and I even throw them into the lye – water solution.In natural soap making you have several options for colouring your soap which will include: spices powders (cinnamon, curry, paprika, turmeric, ginger, coffee grounds etc.) and even flowers and plants that could be growing in your garden right now (chamomile, rose, calendula, nettle, lavender, spinach, parsley or alfalfa to mention).I must tell you, herbs, clays, flowers, roots are my personal favourite. Amazing Nature creates for us all types of wonderful colours useful in soap making too. That’s the reason why we don’t use micas or oxides to colour our soap products. Please note that while these cosmetic materials are considered natural they are both created in a laboratory environment. Minerals and micas are found in nature but are often tainted with unsafe heavy metals and are unfit for use (but it is always a matter of opinion and preference).Let’s go to the point…I would like to share with you all a list of some of the natural soap colourants. I have a lot of experience to work with and which I’ve used in our soap collection. As you can see, with a little patience and know-how, you can achieve almost every colour in the rainbow when soap making. Please keep in mind, natural colours used in your soap will always be softer and have more “natural” look than artificial colourants.Oh, I almost forgot to share with you a very important information and that’s the rule of thumb when using plant and flower material in your soap. The rule is that they should be no more than 5% of your total recipe’s weight. If you try using more than that then it’s possible that you’ll have issues with your soap.We must mention that for our natural colourant testing once we poured soap mixture into the mould, we isolated it with a blanket for 24 hours. This really has helped to ensure that each soap went through gel phase, and gelling makes colours look more vibrant.There is also one main disadvantage when it comes to using natural colours and that’s colour fading with time. To prevent that from happening too quickly, we recommend storing your bars in a dry, cool, good-ventilated place and surely out of direct sunlight.We also advise you to work out the best technique for a colourant. If you want a particular natural colour, spend some time on research and experimenting, there’s enough information out there. First, test on a very small batch before going in for final formulation. If you don’t get satisfactory results with one technique, feel free to try another. Adding the colour, whether in oil, water-lye solution or at trace often has a dramatic effect on definitive results.It’s worth a try. Have a look at natural colourant tests below. Aren’t they gorgeous?
Natural Soap Colourants List
To every listing, I’ve included the INCI of the colourant, a brief note about colouring effects and have added some benefits and brief description where applicable.1.Ginger Lime soap (lightly scrubby bar thanks to curry powder)Curry powder: no INCIColour: deep yellow, orange; add in liquid oils or at traceMost curry powder recipes include curry leaf, coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chilli peppers in their blends and additional ingredients may also be included.2.Cypress Cedarwood soapNettle Leaf powder: INCI: URTICA DIOICAColour: close to light green, dark green; add directly to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discardNettle has anti-inflammatory properties, anti-fungal properties, beneficial for oily skin.3.Thyme Citronella soap Madder Root powder: INCI: RUBIA TINCTORUMMadder root powder belongs to my favourite natural soap colourants as I like to use it in the lye solution to obtain lovely burgundy colour for my Thyme soap bar.Colour: a subtle shade of pink through to a deeper pink to red/magenta, burgundy; add either by infusing liquid oils with dried root or by adding a powdered version of the root directly to the soap at trace. Madder root can also be added to the lye solution.4.Fuller’s Earth Clay soap Fuller’s Earth Clay powder: INCI: SOLUM FULLONUMColour: light brown; add to liquid oils or at traceFuller’s Earth is a natural clay with the ability to reduce oiliness from the skin surface. It is believed that Fuller’s Earth Clay tightens the pores, absorbs toxins and improves skin texture.5.Cambrian Blue Clay soapCambrian Blue Clay powder: INCI: ILLITEColour: shades of blue; add to liquid oils or at traceCambrian Blue clay detoxifies, hydrates and nourishes skin. It also has a high saline.6.Pure Calendula soapCalendula Petals: INCI: CALENDULA OFFICINALISColour: Calendula (dried, whole flowers) produces yellow streaks- rangers from yellow-orange to golden-orange; infuse in liquid oils, add petals to soap)Calendula is best known for its natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and healing benefits. It nourishes, rejuvenates and soothes the sensitive, dry and itchy skin (great for scratches, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, chapped skin).7.Dead Sea Mud soapDead Sea Mud: INCI: SILTDead Sea Mud (powder): INCI: MARIS LIMUS
Colour: grey; add to liquid oils or at traceDead Sea mud helps to cleanse skin and remove toxins and impurities. It moisturises and helps with skin’s hydration.8.French Yellow Clay soapFrench Yellow Clay powder: INCI: KAOLINColour: soft natural yellow; add to liquid oils or at traceFrench Yellow clay is a very mild considered to be a powerful detoxifier which draws out impurities from the body.9.White Kaolin Clay soapWhite Kaolin Clay powder: INCI: KAOLINColour: off white; add to liquid oils or at traceKaolin White clay cleanses your skin, draw out any impurities and excess oils.10.Ylang-Ylang Ho-Leaf soapMadder Root powder: INCI: RUBIA TINCTORUMColour: a subtle shade of pink through to a deeper pink to red/magenta, burgundy; add either by infusing liquid oils with dried root or by adding a powdered version of the root directly to the soap at trace. Madder root can also be added to the lye solutionMadder is a perennial climbing plant with evergreen leaves and small pale-yellow flowers.11.Lavender Rosemary soapAlkanet Root: INCI: ALKANNA TINCTORIAColour: from a dark plum purple shade to mauves and pale pinks; infuse in liquid oilsAlkanet is a herb in the borage family. Its main notability is its roots are used as a dye.12.Eucalyptus Mint soap (scrubby bar)Rosehip powder: INCI: ROSA CANINAColour: tan to brown; add at traceRosehips are the fruit of wild roses contain high levels of vitamin C and are used in skincare for its high level of antioxidants and anti-ageing properties.13.Rhassoul Clay soapRhassoul Clay powder: INCI: KAOLIN MOROCCAN LAVA CLAYColour: brown; add to liquid oils or at traceRhassoul clay improves skin elasticity and moisturizes. It is also a gentle exfoliator and will leave your skin soft and smooth.14. Lemon Mandarin soapAnnatto Seeds: BIXA ORELLANAColour: from anywhere between a pale yellow and a deep orange colour; infuse in liquid oils or use in lye solutionAnnatto is an orange-red condiment derived from the seeds of the achiote tree.15.Activated Charcoal soap with Clary SageActivated Charcoal powder: INCI: CARBON BLACKColour: black; add to liquid oils or to soap at light traceActivated charcoal is one of the best natural soap colourants and really beneficial for oily skin. Its ability to absorb oil and dirt from pores leaves skin feeling balanced. It provides the gentle exfoliating and deep cleans your skin.16.Chamomile soapChamomile Flowers: INCI: CHAMOMILLA RECUTITAColour: Chamomile (dried, powdered) produces beige to yellow colour; infuse in liquid oils, add flowers to soapChamomile is widely known for its wonderful skin properties. It soothes irritated skin, calming down inflammation and sensitive areas, and helping speed up healing of minor injuries.17.French Pink Clay soapFrench Pink Clay powder: INCI: KAOLIN – ILLITEColour: soft natural pink to brick red; add to liquid oils or at traceFrench Pink clay helps improve skin’s elasticity and provides cleanse and overall refreshed appearance.18.French Green Clay soapFrench Green Clay powder: INCI: KAOLINColour: soft natural green; add to liquid oils or at traceFrench Green clay is famous for its powerful healing action, deep detoxification and purification properties. It cleanses, exfoliates and softens the skin.Guys, you can purchase some natural soap colourants sample packs to start up your experiment with on Amazon.Natural Colorants Sampler 1Natural Colorants Sampler 2Clay Sampler 1Clay Sampler 2Thank you, fellow soap makers, for reading this and big HAPPY SOAPING!Zuzana
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18 thoughts on “Natural Soap Colourants”
i was wondering what the ratio of these were like tablespoon per pound?? you’re soaps are so beautiful by the way!!
Hi Alex, Thank you very much for the message. There are different ratios with each clay, spice or powder. Which colourants would you like to know about?
What color can I use to ge purple. Don’t have lavender flowers
Hi Mary, many thanks for the message. Would suggest using the Alkanet root or Growwell root if you’re looking for a natural purple in a cold processed soap. Hope that helps a bit))
Hi Zuzana! I need to know if my Beet Powder would work and what would the shelf life be when adding a vegetable based colorant? Thank you.
Hi Leslie, many thanks for your message. The beet root powder wouldn’t work in the cp soap, it fades almost completely in the cold process soap.
Determining the shelf life requires finding the shelf life of each ingredient in the recipe or in the product if you wish. The shelf life of the product becomes the same as the ingredient with the shortest shelf life? Hope I helped a bit. Cheers, Zuzana
Hi, how much madder root per pound please or per kg?
Hi Debbie, thanks for your message. I would use 10g of madder root powder per 1000g of oils 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful and natural colorants. It has been so frustrating for me personally to find natural colorants and their specific recipe that produce such beautifully colored CP soaps. Can’t wait to try them out! Would you mind sharing more of your ratios on the Alkanet, French Pink Clay, Paprika, Madder Root, Carrot and Annato? Greedy. I know. But so wonderful and inspiring. Ordering more base oils pronto!
Hello Catherine, appreciate your comment 🙂 I’m more than happy to share the ratios with you.
Alkanet Oil Infusion: I would use 170 grams of this infusion per 1700grams of all oils; French Pink Clay: 35grams of this powder per 1700grams of oils; Paprika Oil Infusion: 209grams per 1700grams of oils; Madder Root Powder: 17grams per 1700 grams of oils; Carrot Juice: 100% of water is replaced by freshly squeezed carrots; Annatto Oil Infusion: 140 grams per 1700 grams of all oils. Hope you find it helpful and If any more questions, I’m here 🙂 Happy Soaping!
Can these colorants be used in facial creams as well?
Your soaps are absolutely gorgeous.
May I ask for ratios on the Curry Powder please? Im assuming its a red version. It turns out such a neat color, and I never would have thought to use curry in soap.
Thank you so much in advance.
Hi Crystal, many thanks for stopping by. The curry ratio as follows: 25g of mild yellow curry powder to 1600g of oils))) Please let me know how it went)). All the best.Zuzana
You’re the best…Im just so intrigued for some reason about this…thank you so much. I will be placing an order soon…I must try some of your soaps
Hello! Your soaps are beautiful!! May I ask… are these colors also to use in melt and pour soaps? How much can I use??
I will make these soaps thank you
I love Three Hills! I have bought every shampoo bar going and even made my own but the Three Hills one is really brilliant! My sister also bought me some of the soaps and lip balm and I love them. I’ll be back for more!
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