Using Colors in Homemade Hand Soaps

Learn how to personalize your homemade soaps by incorporating your favorite colors.

| February 2018

  • Many herbs and plants from nature can be used for dyeing your homemade soaps.
    Photo by Pixabay/silviarita
  • “DIY Artisanal Soaps” by Alicia Grosso guides you step-by-step through the home soapmaking process, from basic recipes to packaging and selling your creations.
    Photo by Stephanie Hannus

DIY Artisanal Soaps (Adams Media, 2016), by Alicia Grosso equips readers with everything they need to begin making their own beautiful soaps right at home. Grosso lists the main ingredients needed, plus recipes on how to personalize your soaps to be perfect for your home. In this excerpt, she explains the best ways to incorporate colors in your soaps.

The way you incorporate color into your soap depends on the kind of soap and the kind of colorant you’re using. You can color the soap directly by adding the colorant to the soap mixture. You can also add pieces of colored soap as in the “chunking” and confetti techniques. Here, we’ll talk about how to use color in each of the soapmaking techniques.

Coloring Cold-Process Soap

When you’re working with cold-process soap, a number of colorants will fade, change, or disappear altogether due to their reaction to active lye. Natural plant dyes will be obliterated except for a few tenacious examples. Certain food colorants will change color entirely.

Fortunately, there are also many kinds of colors that will hold up through the rigors of the coldprocess method. A few plant dyes, including some spices, produce colors ranging from subtle to bright. Ultramarines and oxides hold up very well, as do many micas.

Coloring Hot-Process Soap

In the hot-process techniques, you can add color after the soap is neutral, so you have more choices available than in cold process. You can often use less colorant, with more predictable results.

Getting colorants distributed evenly in hot-process soap is difficult. When you add color at the end of the cooking period, you are trying to add it to a very thick, sticky mixture. Some of the soap has cooled into tiny lumps, while some of it is fluid enough to accept the colorants.

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