Friday, September 9, 2016

More on Natural Colorants

Now that farmers market season is wrapping up and my holiday show schedule is taking form, I've had a little time to catch my breath and reflect on the past few months. If you've visited my website recently, you may have noticed a shift in favor of more essential oil soaps than those using fragrance
oils for scent. I've noticed a real trend toward soaps that are as natural as possible, and I've really enjoyed the challenge of coming up with colorful, fun ways to bring that natural beauty to my work. (Rest assured that when I do use synthetic scents (like for my super popular Pumpkin Soap!) I only use high quality, phthalate-free fragrances sourced from responsible, reputable vendors.)

Soaps naturally colored with earth clays, purees, powdered vegetables, and powdered roots.

Last summer I did a blog post on the various Natural Colorants that I add to my soap. Since then I've experimented with dozens of ways to keep my product lineup as natural as possible, while still highlighting the beautiful color palette that nature has provided for us. Here are some of the natural colorants that I've been using in my soaps.

Earth Clay

Some of my most vibrant soaps are created using various colors of clay. I regularly use kaolin, illite, bentonite, and other clays for their color and for the unique texture that they bring to the soap lather. Clay comes in a rainbow of shades which includes blues and purples, Clay soaps are especially great for those oily skin!

My Lemon Cream soap uses four different types of clay for colorant!

Fruit & Vegetable Purees

One of my absolute favorite soaps to make each autumn is my Pumpkin Soap. I use real pumpkin puree in the soap, which adds not only a lovely skin feel, but a really luxurious lather. Aside from that seasonal favorite, pumpkin makes a lovely colorant on its own. The pumpkin scent is lost during the saponification process and all that is left is the bright orange color. In fact, I used pumpkin to scent one of my newer soaps, Spiced Orange even though it's scented with orange, cinnamon, and clove essential oils. I've found that avocado puree makes a particularly decadent addition to soap!

Pureed pumpkin gives my Spiced Orange soap its cheery color.

While we're on the subject of fruits and vegetables, their powdered form make excellent colorants as well. Spinach powder is one of my favorites for creating vibrant greens in my soap. Tomato powder, spirulina, turmeric, and paprika also create naturally bright hues. 

A Note on Mineral Pigments

I sometimes use iron oxides and ultramarines (often called mineral pigments) in my soap. Mineral pigments are colorants that are naturally occurring, however when found in nature they can contain impurities that could be dangerous. That's why the mineral pigments that are used in soap and cosmetics are created in a lab to ensure that they're standardized and safe to use. I consider them to be "nature identical" and still use them in a few of my creations. As many of you know, the term "natural" is not a regulated term, so it's up to each and every one of us to decide what we feel is "natural."

More Pics!

Pumpkin Soap with real pumpkin puree for color.

Herbalicious Soap with indigo powder (blue), tomato powder (orange), and turmeric (yellow).

Almond Soap  with cocoa powder (dark brown) and beet root powder (light brown)


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