What's Up Wednesday-Coloring Soaps Naturally

One of the aspects of my soaps that I love and am truly proud of, is the fact that all the coloring is accomplished by using natural colorants. That is to say, their coloring is achieved solely by the natural oil color(s) and the addition of various herbs, spices and flora. Since I am preparing to begin this year's 30 soaps in 30 days (as opposed to last year's 100 soaps in 100 days), I thought I would share some of the ways you can accomplish color without using lab colors, micas or the like. Some may even surprise you!

Remember, to understand coloring in your soap pot, nothing works better than trial and error! Some things will morph due to the PH level, and others will just simply not be the color you would expect. For example, hibiscus is a lovely color, but in cp soap it comes out a ruddy, muddy graysh color. Now in melt and pour it is pretty and what you would expect. Same goes with beet root powder, it appears that it should give you a nice reddish/pinkish coloring, but it doesn't. It gives you ugly, muggly beigish to brownish instead.  And while we are at it, cranberry fibers don't give you a pretty pink/red either, but rather a tanish color as well. So test them yourself, and don't just trust what the seller says, because I have seen lots of sites say that cranberry powder makes soap a pretty pink!

For yellow and orange coloring, the one I most use is                                                  
Annato Seeds. You can get a full range of yellow and orange from this one seed. But, to use these seeds you must soak/steep them in the oil of your choice, then use the oil to color the soap. You cannot grind the seed and add that to the soap pot.You can begin by adding 2 Tablespoons of the seeds to 6 ounces of warmed oil. Steep this for an hour and then strain it. Use the oil as part of your base oil. If you are making a ten pound batch, this will produce a deep orange color. If you want a yellow/orange you can cut the base oil amount in half and use plain oil for the  other half. If you don't care to use as the base, you can also just use tablespoons of the oil to color part of the batch for swirls. For deeper coloring you can increase the amount of seed steeping in oil, decrease the amount of oil steeping the seeds, or both. You can also lengthen the time frame of the steep. The longer you steep and/or, the more seeds you use and/or, the less oil you use, the deeper the color. Simply reverse the directions to create a lighter colorant. And, if you don't want to use heat, don't. Just cover your seeds with the oil, shake and let steep for at least 8 hours, but preferably a day. However, you will get a better, faster color saturation if you use the heat.  *This picture shows the yellow you can achieve with annato seeds. The orange is very easily conquered, which is why I am showing you the yellow. I usually divide my annato batches by taking some oil out at a low color sat and then steeping more and separating some out and then the final batch is the lengthiest steep with the deepest saturation.

Turmeric, depending on the amount used, will give you a yellow - reddish- to reddish brown coloring, depending upon the amount used. Just make sure that you do not use too much or you may cause the skin some irritation. This soap was made with 1 tablespoon of turmeric in 1/3 of a batch of soap.  About 5 pounds of oils, if I recall correctly. But for a nice yellow, use just 1/4 of a teaspoon per pound of oils at trace.

Calendual Petals- Aside from grinding and steeping the petals for yellow coloring, you can also incorporate the petals on to your soap for an interesting, slightly, soft exfoliating agent. *Calendula was not used as a coloring agent here, but infused oil was used for its healing properties, and on the top for decorative purposes, but it will add a light exfoliation. This bar actually has seeds included in the batter for exfoliation.

Saffron and curry will also give you yellows. While carrots (ground/shredded/baby food- the juice will turn black) and pumpkin (ground) will give you oranges.

Maddar root gives a pink to red, depending on amount used. Mix this with something else, or at different saturation rates, and you can get many different shades.  These bars are colored completely with maddar root , gaining their contrast with differing saturation levels of the maddar (they are topped with cranberry and poppy seeds). You can begin with one tablespoon per pound of oils at trace, and add more or less depending upon the saturation level desired.

Paprica will give you a rather peachy shade, to a melon orange, but you need to infuse this spice and strain it before using. You can add it at trace, using 1/2 to one tablespoon per pound of oils. If you don't infuse and strain it, you will end up with speckles in your soap and it can also cause dryness and/or scratching.

Cinnamon will give you more of a brownish than a reddish shade. However, you must exercise caution with the amount to keep from irritating the skin.

Cochineal is what is used to color Hawaiian Punch, and will work in your soap pot for a nice pink to red as well.

In the proper amounts, the clays will give you their coloring, except for rhassul clay. Rhassul clay usually produces a speckled gray-brown color in soap. If you want red, use your Morrocan Red Clay. And, if you want a lovely red, try mixing the Morrocan red with some Maddar root! If you want green, use your French Green Clay. And for pink, use the Pink Kaolin Clay.

For more herbal, spice and floral coloring, check back on Friday for some more colors, like the ones that are in these bars!

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