Soaps and cosmetics bought from the supermarkets, malls, and even some natural market chains, typically use colorful dyes to create bright and appealing products for customers. However, many handcrafters are discovering and using natural ingredients to achieve a subtle look with a healthier impact.
It can be fun to experiment with a number of materials to find shades and hues of colors that are pleasing to the eye and can, in some cases, provide natural benefits to the end product. Some can be quickly and easily be added as part of the soap making recipe and you will be able to watch the color additive do its work on the product, while others require infusions or other special preparations to achieve the desired colors.
Explore natural soap colorants with Kandra in her book, The Natural Soap Color Palette.
Natural Soap Colorants from Your Pantry and Garden
Natural herbs and roots are not only useful for cooking or to make poultices or herbal remedies. They also make great natural dyes for your homemade soap. It is amazing how many different colors you can get raiding the pantry, fridge, or garden!
- Carrots have the ability to turn your soap that bright orange color. You can use them grated or in a powdered form.
- Chocolate and coffee both provide rich shades of brown.
- Dried Spinach will create a light green soap.
- Poppy seeds will speckle your bars and are widely used for their exfoliating ability.
- Milk turns your soap shades of creamy tan.
- Paprika can provide a range of pale peach tones, yellows, and orange.
- Calendula petals can be used to decorate the top of soaps and create lovely yellow speckles when incorporated into the batter.
Specialized Natural Soap Colorants
Sometimes you want a colorant which can’t be easily sourced or grown by you. These ingredients are available from specialized vendors, herbalists, and apothecaries.
- Clay: Natural clay comes in a variety of different colors which will affect the end product of your soap in a number of different ways. With natural clay, you can achieve rich purple, pink, yellow, and red without using artificial dye.
- Indigo: Indigo is made from plant material and can result in either green or blue depending on the types used.
- Spirulina: Spirulina is crushed algae that provide your soap with shades of green reminiscent of the sea.
- Sandalwood: Sandalwood powder will give a rich red or a darker red.
- Charcoal: Charcoal will turn your soap a smoky, dark black. It can be other colorants to create darker shades of the original color.
- Annatto Seeds: Once infused in a base oil, annatto can be used to create rich oranges and bright yellows.
- Alkanet Root: Natural purples, smoky gray-blues can be created with dried and ground alkanet root powders.
- Madder Root: Ground and dried madder root powder can be added to create shades ranging from a pale pink to a deep maroon.
These are just some of the all-natural ingredients available to soapmakers. Why invest in products created with artificial dyes or chemicals when so many beautiful hues can be found all around us?
p.s. Don’t underestimate “uncolored” soap.
Coloring soap can be fun, beautiful, and can enrich the soap via. infusions from the herbs, but don’t underestimate the beauty and quality of a naturally uncolored soap. Our Pure signature line features uncolored soap loaded with oatmeal and calendula petals. It’s a pure, natural, and even earthy color that brings joy to every shower.
Botanical Soap Colorant Examples
Color disclaimer: we use all-natural botanicals to color our soaps. Pictures provided are approximations of color in the final batch. Colors can vary in each bar, each batch, and with each use of colorant.