How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap

A comprehensive list of ingredients for naturally coloring soap

Natural soapmaking is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Using oils, essential oils, and the extracts of plants, flowers, minerals,  and spices, you can be on your way to creating beautifully scented and colored soap for yourself and loved ones.

This post lists many of the extracts you can use to create vibrant colors in your soap without the need for artificial compounds. Many might be in your kitchen cupboard or growing in your garden already. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

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http://lovelygreens.com/2014/04/handmade-daffodil-soap-recipe.html
Soap colored using the mineral pigment Ultramarine Blue

Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Series
1. Ingredients
2. Equipment & Safety
3. Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own
4. The Soap Making Process: Make, Mould, and Cure

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally colour your soap. Categories are based on final colour and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Some I have used and have a lot of experience with and some are ideas I’ve found mentioned elsewhere. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%.

Basic instructions on how to use the ingredient in soapmaking:
Add to liquid oils – mix with your liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
Add at trace – add the natural colouring ingredient after the oils and lye-water in your recipe are mixed together.
Infuse (Macerate) with oils – add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature and either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks in that way or heat gently in until the colour has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container everyday.
Puree– add at a light trace
Water infusion – infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye

 

Natural Blue Soap Color

Azulene (Blue Chamomile) oil – Azulene – Color: Blue – Add a drop or two at trace

Indigo – Indigofera tinctoria – Color: Denim blue to dark green – Add to liquid oils

Ultramarine Blue – ci77007 – Color: Vivid blue. Add to liquid oils or at trace

Woad – Isatis Tinctoria – Color: Green-blue to grey-blue – Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil and add at trace

 

Natural Brown Soap Color

Beet root – Beta vulgaris – Color: Warm to dull brown – Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils

Black Walnut Hull powder – Juglans nigra – Color: Deep brown – Add at trace

Chamomile (Roman) – Anthemis noblis – Color: Yellow-beige/brown – Infuse in water/lye solution

Cinnamon powder – Cinnamomum zeylanicum – Color: Tan to warm brown – Add to liquid oils or at trace

Cloves, ground – Eugenia caryophyllus – Color: Brown – Add to liquid oils or at trace

Coffee, liquid – Coffea arabica seed extract – Color: Medium brown – Add as part of the lye solution

Comfrey root – Symphytum officinale – Color: Light brown

Cranberry puree – Vaccinium macrocarpon – Color: Red-brown with specks

Green Tea – Camellia sinensis – Color: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled – Infuse in water/lye solution

Henna, powder – Lawsonia inermis – Color: Green-brown – Add at trace.

Honey – Color: Light brown – use in lye solution

Milk (any liquid milk) – Color: Light brown – use in lye solution

Molasses – Saccharum officinarum – Color: Chocolate brown – Add at trace and/or to lye solution

Olive leaf powder – Olea europaea- Color: Warm brown – Add at trace.

Peppermint– Mentha piperita – Color: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in – Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.

Rhassoul Clay – Moroccan Lava Clay – Color: Brown – Add at trace.

Rose-hip Seeds, ground – Rosa canina – Color: Tan to brown – Add at trace.

 

Natural Black Soap Color

Activated Charcoal, powder – Color: Deep black – add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace

Black Iron Oxide (ci77499) –  Color: Grey to black

Coffee Grounds – Coffea Arabica seed – Color: Black specks

Dead Sea Mud (powder) – Maris limus – Color: Grey – Add at trace

Poppy Seeds – Papaver somniferum – Color: Blue-grey to black specks

 

Natural Green Soap Color

Alfalfa – Medicago Sativa – Color: Medium green

Avocado puree – Persea Gratissma – Color: Fades to yellow-green – Add at trace.

Burdock leaf – Arctium lappa – Color: Natural green – Infuse in liquid oils

Chlorophyll – Color: Medium green

Chromium Oxide Green (ci77288) – Color: Green – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

Chromium oxide Green (hydrated)(ci77289) – Color: Minty green – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

Comfrey leaf, powder – Symphytum officinale leaf – Color: Natural green – Add at light trace

Cucumber puree – Cucumis sativus – Color: Bright Green – Add at light trace

Dandelion leaf, powder – Taraxacum officinale weber – Color: Natural green – Add at light trace

French Green Clay – Montmorillonite – Soft, natural, green – Add to liquid oils

Grass (Barley) Clippings – Hordeum vulgare – Color: Green – Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.

Kelp, powder – Fucus versiculosus – Color: Dark green – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

Nettle leaf, powder – Urtica dioica – Close to Lime-green – Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.

Parsley, fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes – Carum petroselinum – Color: Green – Add to liquid oils or at light trace.

Sage – Salvia officinalis – Color: Green

Spinach, puree – Color: Light green

Spirulina, powder – Spirulina maxima – Color: Light green – Add at trace.

Wheatgrass juice – Triticum aestivum – Color: Deep vivid green

 

Natural Orange Soap Color

Buriti oil – Mauritia flexuosa fruit oil – Color: Light yellow to deep orange – Add after trace

Calendula Petals – Calendula officinalis – Color: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange – Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution

Carrot juice – Daucus carota – Color: Yellow-orange – Add directly to liquid oils.

Orange Zest (peel) – Citrus aurantium dulcis – Color: Orange – Use finely grated zest/peel

Paprika – Capsicum annuum – Color: Peach to light orange to orange-brown – Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.

Pumpkin purree – Cucurbita pepo – Color: Deep orange

Tomato paste – Solanum lycopersicum – Color: Orange – Add at trace

 

Natural Pink Soap Color

Lady’s Bedstraw, roots – Galium verum – Color: Coral pink – Infuse in liquid oils.

Madder root powder – Rubia tinctorum – Color: Range of pinks to red/magenta – Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct

Red Palm oil – Elaeis guineensis kernel oil – Color: Pink to Pinky-orange – Add to liquid oils.

Rose Pink Clay – Kaolinite (Rose Clay) – Color: Pink to Brick Red – Add to liquid oils

Sorrel, root – Rumex acetosa – Color: Warm to salmon pink – Infuse roots in liquid oil.

Ultramarine Pink (ci77007) – Color: pastel pink – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

A list of natural ingredients including flowers, herbs, plants, and minerals, that you can use to tint your handmade soap to any colour of the rainbow! #soapmaking

Natural Purple Soap Color

Alkanet root – Alkanna tinctoria – Color: Pink to deep Purple – Infuse in liquid oils

Rattanjot – Onosma echioides – Color: Browny-purple/violet

Red Sandalwood, powder – Pterocarpus santalinus – Purple when soap is higher PH – Add direct to liquid oils.

Ultramarine Violet (ci77007) – Color: Light to vivid violet – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

 

Natural Red Soap Colour

Cochineal powder – Cochineal/Carmine – Color: Orange to pink and red – Add to liquid oils or at trace

Moroccan Red Clay – Kaolin – Color: Brick Red – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

Red Iron Oxide (ci77491) – Color: Brick Red – Add to liquid oils or at trace.

Red Sandalwood, powder – Pterocarpus santalinus – Color: Red when soap is lower PH – Add direct to liquid oils.

Rose Pink ClayKaolinite (Rose Clay) – Color: Pink to Brick Red – Add to liquid oils

St Johns Wort Flowers – Hypericum perforatum – Color: Red – Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

 

Natural White Soap Color

Bentonite Clay – Bentonite – Color: White to green-white – Add to liquid oils or at trace

Kaolin Clay – Kaolin – Color: Off white

Titanium Dioxide – Color: Bright white

A list of natural ingredients including flowers, herbs, plants, and minerals, that you can use to tint your handmade soap to any colour of the rainbow! #soapmaking
Use the puree and infusion of Daffodil flowers for this soap

Natural Yellow Soap Colour

Annatto Seed – Bixa orellana – Color: Buttery to Golden Yellow – Infuse in liquid oils for several days or use in lye solution

Carrots, puree – Daucus carota – Color: Yellow to orange

Curry Powder – Color: Deep yellow

Daffodil – Narcissus tazetta – Color: soft pastel yellow – use as a water infusion and/or puree

Goldenrod – Solidago Virgaurea – Color: Pale to buttery yellow – Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution.

Lemon zest, peel – Citrus limonum – Color: Yellow – add after trace

Red Palm oil – Elaeis guineensis kernel oil – Color: Creamy yellow – Use at 1% in liquid oils.

Rudbeckia Petals – Rudbeckia Hirta – Color: Yellow – Infuse in lye solution.

Safflower, powder – Carthamus tinctorius – Color: Yellow to Orange-yellow – Add powder at light trace.

Saffron – Crocus sativus – Color: Yellow

Tumeric – Curcuma longa – Color: Dark Yellow to Golden-brown. Add at light trace.

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium – Color: Muted yellow – Use dried yarrow leaves to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Yellow Iron Oxide (ci77492) – Color: Vivid yellow – Add to liquid oils

 

A list of natural ingredients including flowers, herbs, plants, and minerals, that you can use to tint your handmade soap to any colour of the rainbow!

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Tanya

Tanya from Lovely Greens shares DIY ideas for making natural soap, beauty products, and items for the home and garden. Passionate about the 'Grow your own' movement she also shares organic gardening tips and green living ideas. Find her line of handmade bath and beauty products at lovelygreens-shop.com

11 Discussion to this post

  1. Informative as ever ! I made a batch recently using alkanet and its more of a vanilla fudge colour i guess i should have used more?

    • Yes, you could use more but Alkanet changes colour over time so wait first and see what colour it is after about a month.

      • Ashely Earthchild says:

        Just wondering which of these can be used for hot process soap? I have having an extremely hard time finding hot process soap colorant information. Thank you.

        • lovelygreens says:

          I’ve made hot-process Ashely but it’s not my area of expertise. However, I don’t see why you couldn’t use any of these for HP as well as CP. The colour will probably deepen with HP but your best bet is to try and see.

  2. Anne-Marie says:

    Love the beautiful, fresh colors of all your soaps. I love making soap with herbal based colorants and essential oils.

  3. Terry says:

    Hi Tanya: Thank you for posting these great Soap Making instructions.

  4. michelle macdonald says:

    Can I use these colorants in melt & pour soaps

  5. Heike says:

    I do love the daffodil colour and was all set to pick some this spring. BUT then somebody mentioned that daffodils are poisonous….So, would it be a good idea to put it in soap??

    • lovelygreens says:

      Hi Heike! Many things that are toxic when eaten are safely used in skin and hair care. Imagine what would happen if you ate some shampoo. On the other hand, Daffodil extract is used in many high end skincare formulations and is known by the name narcissus tazetta in the ingredients. It’s used as an antioxidant and is touted as being a youth-reviver. I won’t make such claims though.

      The poison in Daffodils mainly comes from lycorine, an alkaloid that’s most concentrated in the bulb but is also present in the leaves and flowers. When ingested it can cause severe sickness and vomiting. The bulbs also contain oxalates, microscopic needle-like structures similar to the ones that you find on Nettles. When ingested they can cause a lot of discomfort and on the skin they feel like a nettle burn.

  6. Kris says:

    Great information. Thank you. How can I print this page?

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