Natural Soap Colours

Fancy Soap

Achieving natural colour in handmade soap products, is a tricky chemical experiment at most. You have green coloured oil, beautiful purple lavender blossoms and after being assaulted by a caustic solution to saponify the oil into soap, you have a questionable and unappealing brown experiment a few days later 🙁

There are plenty chemical additives that can be added to soap to make a pretty pink or yellow bar, or a herbal green bar or even a beautiful baby blue bar of soap, however at the risk of claiming “natural” soap bars, I choose not to use chemical additives to any of my products.

My beautiful French Rose Beauty bars (featured on this post) are gently coloured with french pink clay, also known as montmorillonite clay. It adds very gently exfoliation and polishing properties, and is suitable for all types of skin, including sensitive and mature skin types.

Green bars are easily achieved by adding different herbs or plants who can withstand the lye solution that it’s subjected to during the soapmaking process. I like to use spirulina for it’s vibrant green colour, but also the detoxification properties it offers to your skin. I use spirulina in my SSS (Shower, Shave and Shampoo) bars.

Yellow bars are also easily achieved depending on the oil and essential oil blend that you use, with orange and jasmine essential oils being your top performers. I have, up until now, used a tiny amount of yellow oxide powder in my (Floral Bar) but have subsequently changed it to calendula powder, again for it’s healing properties and tremendous benefit to skin.

Pure white bars are solely dependent on the base oil that you use, and here the true beauty of a pure coconut oil bar or a pure virgin olive oil bar shines. Carefully selecting which essential oils you use will keep the bar pristine white, and is by far, still the most popular bars.

Grey and black bars’ (such as my Facial bar with activated charcoal) colour is achieved by using bentonite clay and activated charcoal. Both these products have tremendous skin facial benefits, especially for acne prone and oily skin. These types of bars do better when you can leave the soap lather for at least 2 minutes, preferably longer, on your skin before rinsing it off. I normally suggest for teenagers to wash the affected area, and then leave the soap on while they carry on shaving, washing their hair and other parts of their body.

Beige to brown bars are achieved using different oils, natural additives such as rooibos extract (reduced rooibos tea, used in my Rooibos bar) and espresso and powders such as organic cacao powder such as in my Salt Bar.

Blue, the ever so elusive colour in natural soapmaking, is a tricky colour to achieve and my latest project. Being a primary colour, it requires careful selection of base oils and a natural additive to keep the beautiful blue hue that will not denature to a green or brown colour during the caustic soapmaking process. I have been doing extensive research in indigo henna, the natural dye that is used to colour your blue denim clothes. It comes from green leaves, which is then fermented, strained and a caustic agent added to release the dark indigo pigment from the solution. It produces varying levels of colour, and it’s a chemical experiment at a different level which I will follow up with another post.

As with most natural products, colour and scent tend to fade with age, so it’s always important to keep unused bars of soap in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.

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