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.
Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Series
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. This is essentially a tea.
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. Honey soap recipe
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
Green Chromium Oxide (ci77288) – Color: Green – Add to liquid oils or at trace.
Hydrated Green Chromium oxide (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
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
Hibiscus flower – Hibiscus sabdariffa – Dried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap
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.
Natural Purple Soap Color
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 – Cochineal/Carmine – Color: Orange to pink and red – Add powdered 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 Clay – Kaolinite (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
White Kaolin Clay – Kaolin – Color: Off white
Titanium Dioxide – Color: Bright white
Natural Yellow Soap Colour
Carrots, puree – Daucus carota – Color: Yellow to orange
Curry Powder – Color: Deep yellow
Daffodil flowers – Narcissus tazetta – Color: soft pastel yellow – use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
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 and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.
Yellow Iron Oxide (ci77492) – Color: Vivid yellow – Add to liquid oils