How to Color Handmade Soap

Colorants add a beautiful look to handmade soap. Before getting started, it helps to know which ones work best for your recipe.

You can use pigments, micas, Natural colorants, LabColors, and color blocks.

What is Natural colorants?
Pigments are considered nature identical. That means they’re the exact same chemical structure as the platelet minerals found in the earth, but they’re created in a lab to remove impurities like lead and arsenic. Industrywide, they’re considered natural because they don’t contain synthetic dyes. Learn more about natural products here.

Some micas are considered natural and some aren’t – it depends on if they’re made with FD&C dyes. Coral Mica contains FD&C Red 40 Lake so it’s not considered natural, while Aqua Pearl Mica is because it’s made with mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and chromium oxide green.

Pigments


Cold process

Mix 1 teaspoon of pigment with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil like sweet almond or avocado. If you’re making a larger batch, you can increase that to 2 teaspoons into 2 tablespoons, or 3 into 3. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace until you get a color you like. We recommend about 1 dispersed teaspoon per pound of soap.

Melt and pour:

Mix 1 teaspoon of pigment with 1 tablespoon of glycerin or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like.

Mica for Soap Colorants

Micas


Cold process

Make sure to check the testing notes on each product page before use. Certain micas morph or fade in cold process soap.
Mix 1 teaspoon of mica with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil like sweet almond or avocado. If you’re making a larger batch, you can increase that to 2 teaspoons into 2 tablespoons, or 3 into 3. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace until you get a color you like. We recommend about 1 dispersed teaspoon per pound of soap.

Melt and pour

Add the mica straight to the melted soap and stir well. If you see bubbles forming, spritz with alcohol and continue mixing. You can use up to ½ teaspoon per pound of soap.
Mix 1 teaspoon of mica with 1 tablespoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like. This method helps the color mix in more quickly.

LabColors

Cold process and melt and pour

They need to be diluted with distilled water and a preservative before use. Using a dropper, add the diluted colors to fluid melt and pour or thin trace cold process soap. The usage rate depends on the color and how much it’s diluted. A good place to start is about 1/2 mL per pound of soap.
LabColors work best with gel phase. Learn more about insulating soap here.

 

Natural colorants

natural clay color

Cold process

Mix 1 teaspoon of the powder with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil. If you’re using clay, we recommend mixing with distilled water. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace. You can also infuse natural colorants. To do so, heat the colorant and the oil of your choice in a slow cooker for 1-4 hours or place in an airtight container and leave at room temperature for 4-6 weeks.

Melt and pour

Mix 1 teaspoon of powder with 1 tablespoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol or distilled water. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like.

 

 

Cold process soapMelt and pour soapSoap color