How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

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.

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Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on 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. What you’ll find is 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, and using them can give you absolutely 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 make-up. 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.

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How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a nature-identical mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. 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 clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye solution, add the extra water into it too. I also have a full article on how to naturally color soap with clay. It includes different techniques and types of clay along with quite a few clay soap recipes.

How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

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 that is 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 have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

  1. Soap Making Ingredients
  2. Soap Making Equipment & Safety
  3. Easy Soap Recipes
  4. Step-by-Step Cold Process Soap Making
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil, and they will tint the oil and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

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 material to oils that are liquid at room temperature using these six methods. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks or heat gently until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • 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. Add 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.
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

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 orellanaColor: 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.
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: 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 PowderColor: 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 tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow Usage: only use the yellow petals since all green parts of the plant, and the sap can be a skin irritant. Create a pureed water infusion and use it for the lye solution, as you can see in this Daffodil Soap Recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow Usage: Create a pureed infusion like you would for the daffodil soap recipe above. Use it as the water ingredient for your lye solution.
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Pale to dark yellow Usage: add 1/2-1 tsp finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace.
Red palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Yellow to pinky-orange to deep orange Usage: For yellow, add as a small part of your solid oils and 1-10% of the total soaping oils. Ensure that you’re using sustainable palm oil.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Pale to sunny yellow Usage: Add direct to the lye solution or create a pureed infusion 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 tinctoriusColor: 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 sativusColor: 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 longaColor: 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 luteolaColor: Soft to muted yellow. Usage: Add up to 3 tsp of dried weld at trace.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow. Usage: Infuse dried yarrow leaves and flowers into a liquid soaping oil or add the powder direct to soap at trace.
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

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 orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange. Usage: Infuse the seeds in a liquid oil, such as in this annatto seed soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange Usage: Add oil after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: 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 carotaColor: 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 dulcisColor: 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 annuumColor: 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 will be scratchy. Adding the spice direct will also result in less vibrant hues.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Yellow to light orange shades, 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 oilColor: Yellow to pinky-orange to deep orange Usage: For orange, add as a large part of your solid oils
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Light to medium orange Usage: Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace using 1-3 tsp.
Turmeric Curcuma LongaColor: 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 up to 1 tsp PPO for burnt orange. Here’s one way to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

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 sabdariffaColor: Dried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink. Color does not often survive CP/HP soapmaking.
Lady’s Bedstraw Galium verumColor: Coral pink Usage: Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink, you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to mauve Usage: Infuse dried roots or powder in liquid oils, add to lye solution, or add powder direct at up to 3 tsp PPO. More guidance on different ways to use madder to color soap.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Usage: Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Add directly to your lye solution as in this recipe or mix with a Tablespoon of distilled water and add at trace.
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink Usage: Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil and use as one of the main soaping oils in a recipe.
Himalayan Rhubarb Soap 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 RhubarbColor: pink to intense magenta-red. Infuse the dried rhubarb powder in a carrier oil (which will appear yellow) and use it as a partial or full replacement in a soap recipe such as this one. Adding the dried powder direct will result in a murky red-brown hue.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: 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 recipe, you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Usage: 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils or at trace.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Usage: For deeper colors, use 2-3 tsp PPO and premix with 1-2 TBSP of distilled water before adding at trace. You can also simply add the clay to the lye solution.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red. Usage: Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil and use the strained oil as whole or part of your soap recipe.

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 woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past, and you can learn more about that process here.

Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal PPO in conjunction with EVOO in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue Usage: Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extracted from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft gray-green to gray-blue depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap-making oils or lye solution. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils and premix in 1 TBSP distilled water if adding at trace. See this Cambrian Blue Clay Soap Recipe
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: 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. Indigo soapmaking methods are explained here. 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.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue Usage: Add 1-2 tsp powder PPO to the lye solution or mix a small amount of liquid oil or to and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad.
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

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 tinctoriaColor: Pink to purple Usage: Infuse the dried root in liquid oils, such as in this recipe for Alkanet soap. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve good purple color. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light-colored oils as well — extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green color to the final product. Sometimes mislabeled as Ratanjot in Indian cuisine, however, true ratanjot comes from the related plant Onosma echioides and doesn’t give as vibrant a hue as Alkanna tinctoria.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: 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 good purple color.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: 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 KaolinColor: 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.
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Adding honey to your lye solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use 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 vulgarisColor: 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 nigraColor: Deep brown. Usage: Add powder at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige to light brown. Usage: Infuse flowers in distilled water and use the strained liquid to make the lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Usage: Add only to exfoliating soaps, and it’s not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp PPO. Premix in oil before adding at trace.
Coffee Coffea arabica seed extractColor: 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.
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown, though this is not one I’ve yet tried. I’ve only found the vaguest reference to comfrey in soapmaking. When working with comfrey in skincare, we only use the leaves, though.
Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarponColor: 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 wanted to mix them in at trace.
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: 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, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown Usage: Add 1-2 tsp PPO at trace after premixing in oil.
HoneyColor: Light to dark brown Usage: add 1/2-1 tsp to hot lye solution as described in both this Honey Soap Recipe and this lighter and darker one.
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.
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown Usage: Add at trace or add to the lye solution. Use 1/2 to 1 tsp PPO.
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown Usage: Add the powder at trace. Not an ingredient that I’ve used before.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in Usage: Infuse 1-2 tsp leaves PPO in warm distilled water, strain (optional), cool, then use to make the lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColor: Milk chocolate brown Usage: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5 tsp PPO added direct to the lye solution, or premixed in 1 TBSP distilled water and added at trace. You can see the color in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Usage: 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Premix in 1 TBSP of distilled water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hips (ground) Rosa canina or Rosa rugosaColor: 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 SativaColor: Medium green. Usage: dried powder or juice
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Usage: Use up to 3 tsp puree PPO and stir in at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green. Usage: Infuse dried leaves in liquid oils
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green. Usage: Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green Usage: Stir in as a powder at a light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, and green. I’ve seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Usage: Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of distilled water before adding at trace. You can also stir the powder into the lye solution.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green. Usage: Infuse fresh clippings in distilled water, strain, cool, and use in the lye solution
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green. Usage: Add to liquid oils or at trace at up to 3 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in an equal amount of distilled water before stirring in. Here’s a Seaweed Soap Recipe to try.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaColour: close to Lime-green Usage: Premix with oil and add the powder directly at trace, or you can also infuse oils with the leaf, strain, and use as a main soaping oil.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: 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 recipe.
Sage Salvia officinalisColour: muted green. Usage: Premix the powder with oil and add at trace. Use 1-3 tsp PPO.
SpinachColor: Light green. Usage: Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace. Up to 1 TBSP PPO.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green – Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green. Usage: Use a full replacement of wheatgrass juice for distilled water when making the lye solution
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

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 a 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 (powder)Color: Deep black. Usage: 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 KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. Usage: 1-3 tsp clay PPO added to the lye solution or premixed with 1-3 TBSP distilled water and added at trace.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey – Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe
How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart: Plant-based and natural ways to color handmade cold-process soap. Includes natural soap colors listed by color, ingredient, how to use them #soaprecipe #soapmaking #handmadesoap
To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

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 less 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 from happening and also help to 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.

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  1. Love your site, and I am so very grateful for all the wonderful information you share! I have a question with regard to using avocado powder. I purchased in the soap making aisle in my local craft store. Is this all natural colorant? Also, how much to add this to melt and pour per pound. I found it did not disolve and was very clumpy? for melt and pour, could I mix with a drop of alchohol or distilled water? If adding to cold process, I guess this would also be added at light trace? Thank you in advance :)

    1. Hi Carol and yes, that’s right :) You can use it in m&p by mixing it in with a mini whisk. Add it in cold process soapmaking at trace but it’s best mixed with distilled water first to form a liquidy paste. The color will most likely fade over time to a yellowy tint but can start off quite green!

  2. William Alexander Jr. says:

    Hi, I have a question.
    I’m a Melt and Pour soap maker, as in like i make my very own melt and pour soap bases from scratch for a different type of natural, organic, vegan or hypoallergenic soap bases; Made for people who either have skin conditions that any so claimed to be natural soaps but isn’t just to make a sale for that just doesn’t benefit their skin health, vegan for people with a vegan lifestyle, organic for eczema + specific skin conditions that react badly to specific ingredients in soap that can irritate to inflammatory reactions and for people with eczema.

    But my MAIN question is, is there any food products that can be used to make white color for made from scratch glycerin melt and pour soap base? The reasons i asked is because any butter that’s white is getting expensive over where i live to no free shipping unless i pay over $25, But sometimes i feel like using powdered milks to butters is getting tiring and i wanted to try something new for my soap projects from alice in wonderland themed to commissions that asked for white but not from what i originally make.

    1. Hi William, I’m not an expert m&p soap maker and have never tried making it from scratch. Must try one day, though! As for ingredients that will make it whiter… The main one is titanium dioxide, which is not considered a natural ingredient by purists. Have you tried using white kaolin clay before, though? Or cornstarch?

  3. I recently took a local soap workshop and now I am OBSESSED. Your site is so informative! Thanks. I am curious if you have ever experimented with avocado pits and skins for colouring? In the fabric dye world, they make a beautiful pink, and I’m wondering if it would withstand the changes in the soap making process.

  4. Angela Purifoy says:

    Please please help! help! My 20lb batches of spiriluna goats milk soap turns gold after a week of curing!! I’m the soapmaker for a large company and have no idea why it oxides. Is it a ph issue? Any help you could give, I will thank you forever.

    1. Hi Angela, unfortunately, spirulina soap turns yellow if left in ordinary daylight conditions. It’s one of those (along with spinach, parsley, and most leaf-based colorants) that you need to cure and store in the dark. Chlorella lasts a lot longer as a green color than spirulina and might be something to try next time. As a small test batch first, then if you’re happy with the results you can go on to use it in larger ones :)

  5. Hi, can you confirm if natural soaps can be made without using lye?

  6. Darlene Dean says:

    Where can I purchase the Ultramarine violet mineral colouring please x Love the site x

  7. Very informative, if you could also include the shelf life of soap made with this natural colorant that would be great. Will it spoil? Like for carrots puree or other vegie items you put into your soap.

  8. Great informative blog post. I’m wondering if wheatgrass powder be used instead of wheatgrass juice to get a great grean color? Thank you!

  9. Tranquil Acres Michelle says:

    Hi Tanya,
    Thanks for such an informative and creative page. I’m loving trying out your recipes as well as experimenting with different scents and natural colourings. I’d really like to make a translucent soap and wondered if this is possible with cold pressed soap? I grow Luffa and would like to make a soap with a luffa sponge visible within if this is possible. Any advice please? Thanks

    1. Hi Michelle, and yes, there is a way to make clear cold-process soap although it’s advanced soapmaking. It involves using alcohol and a sugar solution and you can find a recipe over here.

      1. Tranquil Acres Michelle says:

        Thanks Tanya, I look forward to trying this when I’ve had a little more practice with your recipes!

  10. Hi Tanya,
    I’d like to color my soaps with seabuckthorn oil. Do you know how much to add and at what stage?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Aurelija, you will need to work sea buckthorn oil into the soap recipe as you formulate it. 5% or less of main soaping oils and you add it either to your melted oils or at trace. If you’re making hot process soap, add it after the cook so that the soap retains all its beneficial properties and the best color possible.

  11. Hi Tanya,
    I want to create a wine and/or beer soap with melt and pour soap. What’s the best way to do this? Do you boil it down and add that to the base?

    1. Hi Sheila and as far as I’m aware, you can only make beer soap if you’re making soap from scratch. It probably wouldn’t work with M&P since it could turn it into a liquidy mess that wouldn’t firm up.

    2. Is all this information located in the ebook offered at the top? Thanks!

  12. Karine Gagnon says:

    Hi Tanya

    I emailed you few days ago on your though on butterfly pea powder in soap to see your thoughts. You may didn’t had the chance to work with that plants but from what I am reading you can make lots of stuff from cocktails to soap and bread and cosmetics. I order some and will be testing just a little stress ( not sure why.. must be the age ;) ) will let you know. But if you try it I am looking forward to see and know your thoughts on it


    1. Hi Karine, I’ve not used butterfly pea powder in soap yet. But since it stays blue in high pH environments it’s certainly worth a try!

      1. Karine Gagnon says:

        Hi Tanya
        I can by seed for the Woad ( pastelle des teinturier i would out it’s called in French) but nowhere can I find the powder. So i will grow some in my back yard and make the power like you show. I am excited about it. And yes I will be trying that butterfly pea also.. looks so pretty in soap I saw online. Will see how it’s turn out. Thank you for everything again

  13. Karine Gagnon says:

    Forgot to say about the butterfly pea powder.. is if it infuse the colour is a rich Blue but if you drop a little bit of lemon it turn red. But I never used it .. I am kind too scare and wanted to know your though

  14. Karine Gagnon says:

    Hi Tanya
    Would you consider butterfly pea powder (Clitoria ternatea ) for a blue coloration? It’s often used for tea and apparently very good for hair, blond hair for some reason, and the colour blue is just so rich and beautiful? Very Rich antioxidant also. I can’t find woad at all in Canada unless I grow them myself .. and I will coming summer.. but in the mid time, I ran into that and wondering if you knew about it and your though on this.

    Kindly Karine

    1. Check to see if it’s legal to grow woad in your area — woad is a noxious weed in parts of North America. If you’re having difficulty finding it, or indigo, try Etsy.

  15. Hi Tanya
    Thanks so much for this precious information. I love your website, your wonderful soaps and all your tips and ideas that you generously share with us.

  16. What a super post! You worked so hard on it, and gave us so much great information. Love your blog and videos. Thanks, very much!

  17. Can cocoa powder be used as a colourant in CP soap? I.m just starting my soap-making journey and need to know. I have seen videos where it is used, but I like to err on the side of caution.

    1. You can, but it does have a slightly gritty texture. Try making a small batch and see if it feels okay to you before investing in making more.

  18. Satyajay Mandal says:

    Why don’t you update this site with many such more exotic ideas to color soap?

  19. KRISTEN D. says:

    I have a question about Red Sandalwood. I used some in a soap but my testers said it was too scratchy. I tried to make an infusion, however the soap came out more maroon. Any ideas why? And have you ever used an infusion? Any advice on how to make the red sandalwood less harsh?

    Thank you!

  20. Satyajay Mandal says:

    i would like to use this recipe

  21. Elana Lombard says:

    Could you tell me what each of the beautiful soap colors you show here (there are 8) are obtained from? I wish that they were labeled in the photo.
    Thank you!

  22. Natalie Lassman says:

    Hi there
    Some years ago I bought some of the colbalt blue powder they sell in Egypt, in the markets, I was wondering if this is suitable to use in CP soap? Thanks

    1. Hi Natalie, the short answer is no. Never use ingredients in skincare or soap making unless you know exactly what it is, and that it’s certified as skin-safe, non-poisonous. It should also preferably come via a soap making supplier with an MSDS sheet. Cobalt, cobalt chloride, (if that’s even what your powder is) is listed on the EWG Skin Deep Database at having a mid-high risk of being a carcinogen (cancer-causing) and expected to be toxic or harmful to human life. Unsurprisingly, it is banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics.

  23. Lydia Saunders says:

    Hi and thank you so much for this guide! I will treasure and refer to it for many years! Could you please tell me how did you get that lovely robbbin’s egg blue that is next to the purple soap on your first image? Thank you again! So grateful!

  24. At what point would you add bentonite clay?

  25. Sorry for the really dumb question, but what does PPO stand for? i am hoping it is per pound of oils but just want to make sure

      1. BABAR KHAN says:

        Hi I wanted to find out if I could use methylene blue to color soap safely? And thank you for a wonderful list of colors.!!!

        1. I don’t have any information on that, but can say that it would not be a natural soap colorant.

    1. Matija McCarthy says:

      PPO means per pound of oils.

  26. Hi Tanya,

    I am wondering if you can you use these colorants for handmade lotion as well as handmade soaps? And if so, which ones would you recommend? Micas? Clays?



  27. Hello to make the 3 oil soap what temperatures do have to keep.
    Thank you in advance.

  28. Have you tried using Butterfly Pea Flower for coloring? I’m new to this and don’t have experience yet how stuff works…
    Thanks for your wisdom.

  29. Are mica’s actually considered natural? I know they are naturally mined but it was my understanding that dyes were added to most of them to get those bright vivid colors?

    1. Micas are a tricky one to give a label to. Some are made using only ‘nature identical’ micas and pigments. Others use dyes which are definitely not natural or nature identical.

  30. Subena Bailey says:

    Hi, im so blessed to have found your website. I am creating a natural at home skincare line that i would like to sell to my community. I have the products i would like to make and oils along with it. I wanted to know do you mentor?.

  31. I didn’t see measurements for Rhassoul clay. I want to assume it’s the same answer as French green clay. I’m trying to achieve a brown color with it.

  32. FYI, Hibuscis flowers do NOT keep a pink or red color. They turn a dark bluish purple. I hate seeing incorrect information because it makes me doubt everything.

    1. Hi Teresa, natural soap colorants can give differing colours depending on the technique, temperature, and amount used. Saying that, this is one colour that I’ve not yet tried personally. There are accounts online of people using hibuscis and getting everything from a red colour to brown. Dark bluish purple is a new one to me! What technique do you use?

      1. I hand mill soap and get a lovely brick color with hibiscus…dark red


  34. I want to make soap using red wine. Which natural red soap color would you recommend for a burgundy/maroon color?

    1. Red Iron Oxide mixed with Ultramarine Violet or Blue could give you the shade you’re after

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  35. I’m curious if I could use zucchini juice in place of water in soap? Or will it do something gross to it?

    1. You could but I can’t really imagine a reason why you would. What’s your idea?

    2. I have found that lightly scented waters don’t really hold up once the lye is made. Things like aloe juice and rose water are overcome by the chemical reaction taking place. You would probably get better results from putting peel shreds into your soap at heavy trace.

      Beer and wine, on the other hand, hold up really well and produce some really interesting soaps. I just made a batch of Tangerine IPA with orange zest and it might be my favorite yet.

  36. hey. whatsup!? have you ever try to make red soap with St Johns Wort infused oil?

    1. I’ve not yet tried but have seen it referenced as a natural soap colourant.

  37. mnmalatras says:

    very nice suggestions for natural soap coloring

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

  39. 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??

    1. 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.

  40. michelle macdonald says:

    Can I use these colorants in melt & pour soaps

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

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

    1. Thank you so much Anne-Marie :) I really like subtle and feminine colours and think natural ingredients can be so effective in creating them.

  43. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.