There are many options when it comes to coloring your homemade soap. Artificial colors are often more vibrant than natural colors, but many people like the idea of using all-natural ingredients in their soap.
There are also safety concerns with some artificial colors, and they can have some unexpected effects on the final soap product. If you decide to use natural colors for your soap, there are endless possibilities to choose from, and you can give your soap almost any shade you like.
Many of the natural materials you can use to dye soap can be found in your local kitchen or grocery store, and many are already used to dye food and medicine.
These dyes can be easily extracted from fruits, vegetables, spices, and even your morning coffee.
For example, beets will produce a bright purple dye, and depending on how much you use, it will turn your soap from pale pink to deep red. To make the dye, cut the beets into half-inch slices and boil three cups of the beet slices in two cups of water.
Red onions will produce a red dye that will turn your soap reddish-brown; to make the dye you will use only the skin, so the onions can be used for cooking later.
Remove the outermost dry layers of the skin and the first moist layer; Boil two cups of skins in three cups of water.
Red cabbage, oddly enough, produces an inky blue dye, which can be used to tint soap cake a deep blue.
Shred a head of cabbage and boil it in two cups of water until the cabbage is pale blue.
If the dye you get from these methods isn’t concentrated enough for your liking, simply boil the mixture longer to evaporate more of the water.
Be sure to strain the liquid through cheesecloth before using, to ensure any plant matter is removed.
Typically, you’ll add your homemade dye in the trace or by hand-grinding a batch of cold-process soap.
You can also use spices to dye the soap, but the dye should be oil-based rather than water-based.
Making an oil-based dye from spices involves three simple steps. First, mix two teaspoons of the spice with two tablespoons of oil. Let the spice soak in the oil for a while.
Next, heat the oil and spice mixture in the microwave for a minute or two. Finally, strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove any spice particles, and you’ll be left with an oil-based tint that will retain the color of the spice you used. Here is a list of some common food-based homemade dyes and the colors they will produce in your soap. (Always test dyes before use, to avoid unwanted results in the final soap product.)
oAlfalfa – medium green
oAlkanet – deep purple to dull blue
oBeetroot – dull pink to red
oGround marigold petals – yellow
o Carrots – yellow to orange
oGround chamomile – yellow-beige
oChlorophyll – medium green
oCinnamon: tan to brown (can be irritating)
oClove – brown
oCochineal powder – deep red
oCocoa powder – brown
oBrown – brown to black
oComfrey root – light milky brown
oCucumber – bright green
oCurry powder – yellow
oElderberries – light brown (soaked in lye solution)
oHenna, ground: olive green, drab green, greenish brown
oIndigo Root – deep blues (can be dyed)
oJojoba beads: they come in many colors and are exfoliating
oKaolin Clay – white
oKelp/seaweed – green
oBlonde Root – Pinkish Red to Purple
oMilk (goat or cow) – tan to brown, depending on sugar and fat content
oMoroccan red clay – brick red
oPaprika – light peach to salmon (can be irritating)
Poppy seeds: bluish-grey to black specks.
o Pumice, ground – gray (also exfoliating)
oPumpkin, pureed – deep orange
oRattanjot – lavender to purple
oRose Pink Clay – brick red
oRose Hips, ground – tan to dark brown
oSafflower Petals: yellow to deep orange
oSaffron – yellow
oSage – green
oSpinach – light green
oSpirulina – blue-green
oTitanium dioxide – bright white
o Turmeric – golden to amber