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Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Tint your soap with brilliant hues from roots, leaves, flowers, clays, and more! Includes natural soap colorants listed by hue, ingredient, and how to use them.
Natural soap making is an exciting craft anyone can do from the comfort of their kitchen. Here at Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. You’ll find that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?
The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.
Mineral Pigments and Dyes
First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines, which can give you beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based makeup. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals, so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical.’
Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.
Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.
Naturally Color Handmade Soap
Below are various ingredients you can use to color your soap naturally. Categories are based on the final color, and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.
If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye solution or with three times its volume in distilled water, and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp of clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly in water. I also have a full article on how to color soap with clay. It includes different techniques and types of clay, along with quite a few clay soap recipes. As an aside, I also have a piece showing how to use vegetables, fruit, and foraged plants to dye Easter eggs.
How to Make Natural Soap
If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap bars that are also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe, and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how to get started.
- Soap Making Ingredients
- Soap Making Equipment
- Easy Soap Recipes
- Step-by-Step Cold Process Soap Making
Naturally Color Soap Using these Instructions
- Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
- Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
- Infuse with oils: add the dried material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks or heat gently until the natural color has been released into the oils. More on how to make infused oils.
- Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant materials, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Stir purees into soap batter at a light trace.
- Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially herbal tea.
Natural Yellow Soap Colorants
The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow. Many of the shades listed for orange can give you shades of yellow if you use less of the ingredient.
|Annatto seeds Bixa orellana||Color: Buttery Yellow to pumpkin orange. Usage: Infuse the seeds in liquid oil and then use a small amount of the strained oil to color soap yellow. 1 tsp PPO is recommended as in this Annatto soap recipe.|
|Carrots Daucus carota||Color: Yellow to yellow-orange. Usage: It’s possible to use either carrot juice or puree in/as the lye solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot Soap Recipe|
|Curry Powder||Color: Light to deep yellow. Usage: Add 1/4-1 tsp powder PPO mixed in a little oil at trace. Be aware that it can add an exfoliating/scratchy texture. You can also infuse liquid oil with the powder and use the oil as part of your soap recipe.|
|Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazetta||Color: Pale to buttery yellow. Usage: Create a puree of the yellow flower petals as directed in this daffodil soap recipe. Avoid using any parts of the plant that are green as it contains a milky substance that can irritate the skin. Add the puree to the lye solution or stir it in at trace.|
|Goldenrod Solidago virgaurea||Color: Pale to buttery yellow. Usage: Create a pureed infusion with the fresh flowers like you would for the daffodil soap recipe above. Use it as the water ingredient for your lye solution, or stir it in at trace.|
|Lemon zest Citrus limonum||Color: Pale to dark yellow. Usage: add 1/2-1 tsp finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace.|
|Pumpkin Cucurbita pepo||Color: Yellow to light orange. Usage: begin with pumpkins with deep orange flesh. Cook and puree the flesh and use it to replace up to half of the water content needed for the soap recipe. Stir into the oils just before adding the lye solution or at a light trace. Pumpkin soap recipe|
|Red palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oil||Color: Yellow to pinky-orange to deep orange. Usage: For yellow, add as a small part of your solid oils at 1-10% of the total recipe. Ensure that you’re using sustainable palm oil.|
|Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia Hirta||Color: Pale to sunny yellow Usage: Add direct to the lye solution or create a pureed infusion with the yellow flower petals like you would for the daffodil soap recipe above. Use it as the water ingredient for your lye solution. Rudbeckia is also called Black-Eyed Susan.|
|Safflower Carthamus tinctorius||Color: Yellow to orange-yellow. Usage: Add 1-2 tsp powder PPO at light trace. Mix the powder into a Tablespoon of reserved liquid oil and mix thoroughly before adding to avoid clumps.|
|Saffron Crocus sativus||Color: Soft to vibrant yellow. Usage: This is an expensive ingredient, so do be aware. You can either infuse the saffron into liquid oil before soap-making or add it directly into the lye solution. A pinch PPO is all that you’ll need.|
|Turmeric Curcuma longa||Color: pale yellow to pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps, but this can be controlled. Usage: add to lye solution or at trace. Use 1/32 tsp PPO for a soft yellow and premix it in a little oil before adding. Does not disperse well in water.|
|Weld Reseda luteola||Color: Soft to muted yellow. Usage: Add up to 3 tsp of dried weld at trace.|
|Yarrow Achillea millefolium||Color: Muted yellow. Usage: Infuse dried yarrow leaves and flowers into a liquid soaping oil or add the powder directly to soap at trace.|
Natural Orange Soap Colorants
Bright, vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange, in my experience, is created from annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.
|Annatto seeds Bixa orellana||Color: pale yellow to pink-yellow to burnt orange. It can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps, but this can be controlled. Usage: add to lye solution or at trace. Use 1/32 tsp PPO for a soft yellow and up to 1 tsp PPO for a burnt orange. Turmeric soap recipe|
|Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oil||Color: Light yellow to deep orange. Usage: This is not one that I’ve used before, but I understand that you can add the oil after trace.|
|Calendula flowers Calendula officinalis||Color: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange. Usage: Infuse in liquid oils, add directly to soap (for colored petals throughout), or infuse in lye solution. Check out this Calendula Soap Recipe|
|Carrot Daucus carota||Color: Yellow to yellow-orange. Usage: It’s possible to use either carrot juice or puree in/as the lye solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot Soap Recipe|
|Orange zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcis||Color: Sunny yellow to orange Usage: Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1/2 to 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils as in this Orange Soap Recipe|
|Paprika Capsicum annuum||Color: Peach to light orange to orange-brown Usage: The best way is to infuse paprika in liquid oils, strain, and discard the actual spice, or your soap may be scratchy. Adding the spice directly will also result in less vibrant hues.|
|Pumpkin Cucurbita pepo||Color: Yellow to light orange, depending on the pumpkin or squash variety. Usage: Stir in as a puree in at light trace or add to melted oils before adding the lye solution as in this Pumpkin Spice Soap Recipe|
|Red Palm Oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oil||Color: Yellow to pinky-orange to deep orange Usage: For orange, add as a large part of your solid oils at up to 10% of the recipe.|
|Tomato Solanum lycopersicum||Color: Light to medium orange Usage: Stir in as a pure tomato paste at a light trace using 1-3 tsp PPO.|
|Turmeric Curcuma longa||Color: pale yellow to pink-yellow to burnt orange. It can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps, but this can be controlled. Usage: add to lye solution or at trace. Use 1/32 tsp PPO for a soft yellow and up to 1 tsp PPO for burnt orange. Here’s one way to use turmeric to color handmade soap.|
Natural Pink Soap Colorants
Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.
|Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffa||Color: Dried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink. Color does not survive CP/HP soapmaking.|
|Lady’s Bedstraw Galium verum||Color: Coral pink Usage: Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.|
|Cochineal Cochineal/Carmine||Color: dusky pink. Usage: simmer the cochineal in water and use it to replace some or all of the water called for in the soap recipe. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient. Cochineal soap recipe|
|Madder root Rubia tinctorum||Color: pink, purple to red. Usage: Use 1/2-2 tsp powdered madder root PPO. Add directly to your lye solution or mix with a Tablespoon of distilled water and add at trace. Alternatively, you can infuse the whole roots in a carrier oil and use that oil in soapmaking for a true pink. There’s also concentrated madder powder available through some natural dye suppliers, and using 1/4 tsp PPO will give you a very dark purple. Madder soap recipe|
|Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)||Color: Pink to Brick Red. Usage: Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Add directly to your lye solution or mix with distilled water and add at trace. Pink clay soap recipe|
|Sorrel Rumex acetosa||Color: Warm to salmon pink. Usage: Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil and use them as one of the main soaping oils in a recipe.|
Natural Red Soap Colorants
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. It’s more of a vibrant pink-red in my experience, though some soapmakers have reported getting a scarlet red with it.
|Himalayan Rhubarb Rheum australe||Color: pink to intense magenta. Infuse the dried rhubarb powder in a carrier oil (which will appear yellow) and use it as a partial or full replacement, as you can see in this rhubarb soap recipe. Adding the powder directly will result in a murky red-brown hue.|
|Cochineal Cochineal/Carmine||Color: Orange to pink and red – Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this cochineal soap recipe, you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.|
|Moroccan Red Clay Kaolin||Color: Pink to Brick Red. Usage: 1 tsp PPO gives a soft pink-brown hue. For deeper colors, use 2-3 tsp PPO and premix with 1-2 TBSP of distilled water before adding at trace. You can also add the clay to the lye solution.|
|Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)||Color: Pink to Brick Red. Usage: 1 tsp PPO gives a pretty pink color. For deeper colors, use 2-3 tsp PPO and premix with 1-2 TBSP of distilled water before adding at trace. You can also add the clay to the lye solution.|
|St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatum||Color: Red. Usage: Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil and use the strained oil as part of your soap recipe. Though the oil is bright red, I’ve only ever seen it stay red in a few cases that were not my own recipes. Usually, St Johns Wort oil turns soap brown.|
Natural Blue Soap Colorants
You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim blue with natural soap colors, including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. One of my favorites on the list is indigo since it’s a plant you can grow and harvest color from.
|Activated charcoal Carbon||Color: black to soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal PPO. I think the color of charcoal soap depends on the charcoal that you use and the color of your base oils. When used in small amounts in recipes high in yellow oils, I’ve been able to get blue.|
|Blue Chamomile Essential Oil Azulene||Color: Blue Usage: Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extracted from German Chamomile flowers and is quite expensive.|
|Cambrian Blue Clay Lilite||Color: Shades of soft gray-green to gray-blue, depending on the color of your soaping oils. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils and premix in 1 TBSP distilled water or add to the lye solution. See this Cambrian Blue Clay Soap Recipe|
|Indigo Indigofera tinctoria or Persicaria tinctoria||Color: Dark blue or green to light blue or green Usage: There are several ways to add it, including at trace, to the lye solution or with an infused oil. I have further information on how to make indigo soap if you’d like to learn more. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap. If you have gardening experience, you can also grow and extract indigo pigment yourself.|
|Woad Isatis tinctoria||Color: Green-blue to grey-blue Usage: Add 1-2 tsp powder PPO to the lye solution or mix a small amount of liquid oil before adding to the pan. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use it as whole or part of your soap recipe. Woad soap recipe|
Natural Purple Soap Colorants
You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend Alkanet from this list, though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet, though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that were of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light, warm gray.
|Alkanet Root Alkanna tinctoria||Color: Pale lavender to deep purple. Usage: Though you can add dried and ground alkanet root directly to soap recipes, this tends to result in a gritty texture and dull color. It’s better to make an alkanet-infused carrier oil using around 3 TBSP dried roots per pint (454 g) of liquid oil and then use the strained oil in the soap recipe. Learn more about using alkanet root for deep purples in this lavender soap recipe.|
|Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizon||Color: Natural purple Usage: Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g of dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) of oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or all of the soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple color.|
|Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinus||Color: Muted purple, burgundy to mauve, and brown. Usage: Add 1/4-1/2 tsp powder PPO at trace after premixing in a little oil. Can be very scratchy if you use more than this.|
|Brazilian purple clay Kaolin||Color: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp PPO. Premix in 1 TBSP distilled water and add at trace. Alternatively, add the clay powder directly to the lye solution.|
Natural Brown Soap Colorants
You can use many ingredients to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I regularly use in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution, and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown, but it smells delicious, too.
|Beet root Beta vulgaris||Color: Warm to dull brown. Usage: Add as a powder, juice, or infuse dried material in liquid oils. Unfortunately, beets do not color CP/HP soap red.|
|Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigra||Color: Deep brown. Usage: Add powder at trace and be aware that they create a scratchy or exfoliating texture.|
|Chamomile flowers Anthemis noblis or Matricaria chamomilla||Color: Yellow-beige to light brown. Usage: Infuse flowers in distilled water and use the strained liquid to make the lye solution|
|Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicum||Color: light to medium warm-brown. Usage: use up to 1 tsp ground cinnamon powder PPO. Be aware that cinnamon leaves a slightly gritty feeling in the soap, which could be used as an exfoliant.|
|Coffee Coffea arabica seed extract||Color: Medium to dark brown Usage: Use brewed coffee instead of water to make the lye solution and/or add up to 1 tsp PPO spent coffee grounds at trace. Coffee grounds add speckles but also can be very exfoliating.|
|Comfrey Symphytum officinale||Color: Light brown, though this is not one I’ve yet tried. I’ve only found the vaguest reference to comfrey in soapmaking.|
|Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon||Color: Red-brown with specks. Usage: Add up to 1 TBSP puree PPO at trace. You can also add dried cranberry seeds as a botanical decoration or up to 1 tsp PPO if you want to mix them in at trace.|
|Green Tea Camellia sinensis||Color: Brown-green. Usage: Infuse in hot distilled water, then cool before using the liquid to make the lye solution. If unstrained, the soap will have speckles of tea leaves.|
|Henna Lawsonia inermis||Color: Green-brown Usage: Add 1-2 tsp PPO at trace after premixing in oil.|
|Honey||Color: Light to dark brown. Usage: add 1/2-1 tsp to hot lye solution as described in this honey soap recipe.|
|Milk (cow, goat, generically mammal)||Color: Light to dark brown. Usage: 1-3 tsp per pound of oils and added to the lye solution. Milk can scorch and create an unpleasant scent in your soap if you use too much. For a white soap, see this goat milk soap recipe.|
|Molasses Saccharum officinarum||Color: Chocolate brown. Usage: Add at trace or add to the lye solution. Use 1/2 to 1 tsp PPO.|
|Olive leaf powder Olea europaea||Color: Warm brown Usage: Add the powder at trace. Not an ingredient that I’ve used before.|
|Peppermint leaves Mentha piperita||Color: Beige to light brown or green to brown speckles. I tend to use peppermint leaves in soap in two ways, and both begin with dried leaves. The first is to make a standard peppermint herbal tea to replace the water for the lye solution. This results in a beige soap throughout. The other is to add 1 tsp PPO finely ground peppermint leaves at trace. If the leaves are still green, they’ll keep their green hue for some months after the soap is made before darkening. A golden halo of color can form around each piece of peppermint.|
|Moroccan Red Clay Red Kaolin Clay||Color: Milk chocolate brown Usage: typically, 1 tsp PPO is added directly to the lye solution or premixed in 1 TBSP distilled water and added at trace. You can see the color in this natural cinnamon soap recipe.|
|Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clay||Color: Brown. Usage: typically 1 tsp PPO. Premix in 1 TBSP of distilled water before adding to your main soaping oils.|
|Rose hips (ground) Rosa canina or Rosa rugosa||Color: Tan to brown speckles Usage: Up to 1 tsp ground rosehip powder PPO and stirred in at trace. Rose hips add exfoliation and can be too scratchy in feeling for some people.|
Natural Green Soap Colorants
There are many natural green soap colors; however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. That means that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay, which gives a soft and natural gray-green.
|Alfalfa Medicago Sativa||Color: Bright green to muted pastel green. Usage: Alfalfa is one of the best plant-based green soap colorants I’ve used. I’ve used it in the form of liquid chlorophyll, and I’ve had some stunning greens from using about 1 TBSP PPO (be aware that not all liquid chlorophyll is made with alfalfa). Though it can fade into a greeny-yellow, the color holds better if soap is stored in the dark. I’ve had some beautiful results when mixing chlorella with French green clay.|
|Avocado puree Persea Gratissma||Color: Shades of yellow-green. Usage: Use up to 3 tsp puree PPO and stir in at trace. Avocado soap is initially green but usually fades to a muted yellow, especially if stored in a bright place.|
|Burdock leaf Arctium lappa||Color: Natural green. Usage: I’ve read that you can infuse dried leaves in liquid oils, but I’ve not used this one before.|
|Cucumber Cucumis sativus||Color: Bright Green. Usage: Add the peels as a puree at a light trace. Cucumber soap is initially green but usually fades to a muted yellow. You could use cucumber in soap along with green clay for color, as in this cucumber soap recipe.|
|Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weber||Color: Muted brown-green. Usage: Stir in as a powder at a light trace. I’ve not used it before, personally, but I’ve seen it used in this way in another person’s recipe.|
|French Green Clay Montmorillonite||Color: pale pastel green to earthy green. Usage: mix up to 1 tsp clay into the lye solution or with 2 tsp distilled water and add at a light trace. I use French green clay in this seaweed soap recipe.|
|Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgare||Color: Green. Usage: Replace the water called for in the lye solution with the juice. Alternatively, you could infuse fresh clippings in distilled water, strain, cool, and use in the same way.|
|Kelp Fucus versiculosus||Color: Dark green. Usage: Add dried and powdered to liquid oils or at trace at up to 3 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in an equal amount of distilled water before stirring in. You can also use fresh kelp, as in this seaweed soap recipe.|
|Nettle leaf Urtica dioica||Color: muted green. Usage: Premix dried and powdered nettle leaf with a little water and add at trace. Use 1-3 tsp PPO. Alternatively, you can make a nettle leaf puree with fresh leaves and stir it in at trace.|
|Parsley Carum petroselinum||Color: Green – I’ve come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making, the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I’ve found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch soap recipe, but again, the color will fade with time.|
|Sage Salvia officinalis||Color: muted green that fades with time. Usage: either make a puree with fresh or dried sage leaves and add it at trace for overall color, or add 1 tsp PPO dried sage at trace for dark speckles throughout the bars.|
|Spinach||Color: Light to a vivid green that usually fades with time. Usage: Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace. Up to 1 TBSP PPO.|
|Spirulina Spirulina maxima||Color: Dark green. Usage: Add dried and powdered to liquid oils or at trace at up to 3 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in an equal amount of distilled water before stirring in. You can also use fresh kelp, as in this seaweed soap recipe.|
|Wheatgrass Triticum aestivum||Color: Deep, vivid green that fades with time. Usage: Use a full replacement of wheatgrass juice for distilled water when making the lye solution. The color can fade with time, but I’ve seen some soap batches that haven’t.|
Natural Black Soap Colorants
Black soap looks incredible and, in some cases, can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap from light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades, though. Using smaller amounts gives you blue.
|Activated Charcoal||Color: Deep black. Usage: use powdered activated charcoal and add up to 3 tsp PPO to liquid oils or to soap at a light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil before stirring in.|
|Black Brazilian Clay Kaolin||Color: Smoky black. Usage: use 1-2 tsp PPO in soap recipes. Either stir this into the lye solution or premix it with water (use 3x the amount of clay for the water amount) and stir in at light trace.|
|Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seed||Color: Black specks throughout the soap. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty, but be aware that coffee grounds can be quite rough on your skin.|
|Dead Sea Mud Maris limus||Color: Grey. Usage: mix 1 tsp dead sea mud powder PPO into the lye solution. Alternatively, premix with distilled water (use 3x the amount of clay for the water amount) and stir in at light trace.|
|Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferum||Color: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. Poppy seeds give a lovely speckled effect, as you can see in this hand soap recipe. They can be rough or exfoliating on the skin, though, so keep this ingredient for scrubby hand soaps.|
Natural White Soap Color
If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and fewer yellow oils.
Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling and help ensure your bars are as white as possible. This goat milk soap recipe is one of the whitest soap recipes you can make, along with the eco-friendly soap recipe.