I like to use natural colourants in my soaps. There are colourants such as Mica powders and other pigments that create a vibrant rainbow of colour I'm not 100% sure on their affect on the environment. There was a recent study suggesting that things like biodegradable/ eco friendly glitters and micas might actually have a negative effect on the environment when they enter the water ways. Because of that I don't feel comfortable using them in my soaps, at least until I have done some more research.
There are some amazing things that can be done with natural colourants, it's all about how you prepare them before use. Some colours work best infused into the oils whereas some are better infused into the lye solution. Some herbs can be added directly to the soap batter to also add some exfoliation.
Here's just a few of the natural colours I use:
- Turmeric - yes, that same yellow spice that's used in curries. You'll recognise it as the one that stains your tea towel! In soap it can go anywhere from a yellow, to orange, through to brown. It doesn't stain unless you go completely overboard with how much is added, but this is why us soapmakers do a LOT of testing.
- Paprika - this one produces a beautiful peachy orange.
- Alkanet root - once the soap has cured it becomes a beautiful lavender purple.
- Cocoa Powder - this creates exactly what you'd expect, a deep rich, chocolate brown.
- Clay - there are various cosmetic clays available and each brings out it's own colour. Again, it's down to how it's incorporated into a recipe. Clay can provide a silky slip to the lather too.
There's plenty of other natural colours out there and they're used for various crafts, what's your favourite natural colourant?