Tips for Using Natural Colorants

Learn how to use these natural colorants to create stunning shades of blue and purple without harmful additives.


In this book, the focus is on coloring soap bases with purely natural colorants, specifically botanical powders and clays that come from the earth, along with herbal infusions, which are highlighted in the next section. Although micas and oxides are popular soap colorants enjoyed by many crafters, because of their synthetic components, they won’t be covered here.

When working with natural colorants, I’ve found that a gentle infusing time, usually for around 30 minutes after the soap starts melting, followed by straining the soap with a fine-mesh sieve, helps to bring out their colors while reducing the amount of speckling that is sometimes associated with them. Although you can melt soap base in a microwave, and I sometimes do that myself, I find the results are more rewarding when time is taken to gently heat the soap using the double-boiler method so the colors have time to truly develop. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about overheated soap, which can cause texture and lathering problems.

Another excellent way to avoid speckling is to dilute natural colorants with two to three times as much alcohol before stirring them into melted soap base. You may discover that a few colorants, such as jagua powder, won’t dissolve well in alcohol. In that case, you can use glycerin instead.

If you’ve made a batch of soap where a colorant’s speckling is especially noticeable and it doesn’t appeal to you, a trick to fix that is to use a vegetable peeler to shave off the speckled layer and discard it. Chop up the remaining soap, melt it down and pour it into the molds again. After unmolding the second time, you should find it now has a much smoother look.

The photos on the following pages showcase natural colorants and the usage rates used to create the colors shown. Colorants added to clear base will be strong and vivid, so you don’t need very much. However, white soap base contains titanium dioxide as a whitener, which causes botanicals and clays to turn shades of pastels, even when a higher amount of colorant is used.

Because they’re sourced from nature, natural colorants can vary somewhat in strength and color depending on how they’re grown, harvested and processed. For this reason, keep in mind that the photos shown will give a reasonable idea of what color you should expect when using a colorant, but you may find slight differences in practice. Feel free to adjust the colorant amount up or down (if needed) to better suit your product.



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters