Saturday, December 25, 2010

How to Add Color to Homemade Soaps

There are many different ways to add color to soap. Natural color can be added with dried herbs, fruit fibers, clays and essential oils. Bright bold colors can be added with FD&C colors, iron oxides, and micas. Here is some more information about these different options.


Many herbs can act as a natural source of color for your soaps. Some herbs like chamomile, calendula, rosehips, and peppermint release their color when infused in oil. These oils retain their color through cold process soap making. Some herbs will lend their color and texture to soap when the dried herb is stirred into the soap. Good herbs to try are powdered sandalwood (light brown), powdered patchouli (brown), calendula petals (yellow), and powdered rose hips (red). Some herbs will not retain their color using this method, so always test your herbs in a small batch of soap before using them to color a large batch. You can get herbs from herb companies as well as soap making suppliers.

Fruit Fibers

Some vendors sell fruit fibers as natural soap colorants. Blueberry, cranberry, and raspberry fruit fibers add differing shades of pink to soap.

Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils

Some essential oils and fragrance oils can be used for coloring soap. Most notable are vanilla fragrance oil or any fragrance oil containing vanilla (will color soaps a light to a dark brown) and sweet orange essential oil (if the color hasn't been removed the folded oil will color soap a dark orange). Some other fragrance oils will all color to your soap - it depends on the manufacturer of the oil. I had a lilac fragrance oil once that always turned my soaps pink after they aged. It was very pretty.

Dried Clays

Dried clays can also be added to soap for color. Two popular clays to add to soap are french green clay (for a pale green color) and french pink clay (for a light pink color).

FD&C Colors, Iron Oxides, and Micas

FD&C Colors and iron oxides add bright colors to soap. FD&C colors are best used with melt and pour soaps. Micas add shimmer and sparkle to soap. Many manufacturers sell kits for these colors.

Ololade Franklin is the owner of - a website for people who want to start and grow handcrafted soap and bath and body care businesses. For labels to package your handmade soaps and cosmetics, visit her site at

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