Updated: Oct 24, 2020
One thing I used to wonder was, How can I color my soaps? Are the colorants natural? I'm by no means expert in DIY soaps, but I find it fascinating how so many people can use their creativity to make amazing soaps that smell delicious and look like luxury items.
From my research through Pinterest, I've found incredible DIY soap makers and learned from them the best natural soap colorants you use on your soaps, the best part? Many of said colorants are already in your kitchen pantry or garden.
Keep in mind that natural soap colorants will not always give the same color intensity as commercial soaps, so be suspicious if a soap claims to be natural but at the same time has a hot pink or neon blue color. Natural dyes give soft colors. I'm not saying artificial colorants are toxic, but if you want a 100% natural soap use the amazing colorants, nature has to offer us.
Let's find out more about them and their additional properties.
African Palm Oil
It is an intense orange even when mixed with other oils and infusions or when replacing the liquid in recipes with other substances. Also, it gives an extraordinary smell to the soaps.
I have two blog posts that go in deep about the many benefits of African Black Soap and How to Use it to make sure your skin is not damaged.
We'll get a medium green shade. What we will use from the alfalfa will be the chlorophyll, a water-soluble dye so that we can add it in the water, can be used as powder form, or mixed with a small amount of oil.
It will provide a more or less intense green color; we are taking advantage of chlorophyll, in this case, seaweed. These also contain minerals and nutrients to the skin.
They are attributed to other properties such as anti-bacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antineoplastic, anticoagulant, toxic, antitumor, anti-malarial, antihelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiprotozoal, immunosuppressive, algae is a sea treasure. They can be added pulverized or as a paste.
Alkanna Tinctoria Root
It produces different colors depending on the pH like red, purple, and blue. To use the root in soaps, it must be macerated in oil or pulverized.
It produces shades from light yellow to reddish-orange. You can use it as a powder. This tree is grown in the Andes of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.
Gives us a dull brown to purple color, use the beets in powder form, their degree of oxidation is high, and combat premature aging.
It gives a yellow to red color, is one of the ingredients used in natural cosmetics for its soothing and repairing properties on the skin. Calendula provides this relaxing effect and reduces any irritation we have in the dermis. Besides, this plant is also rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it even more essential in our facial routine.
With this natural dye, we can obtain shades ranging from pink to red, extracted from the cochineal, a red insect, used in cosmetics as in the food industry, if you are a vegan, can choose other natural options.
You will get a very bright orange if you macerate carrots in oil, excellent protective properties against solar radiation thanks to its high beta carotene content.
If you are a vegan and are looking for a red dye that is not of animal origin such as cochineal, this dye is a good option, not only can be extracted from the cayenne pepper but also tomatoes and other fruits, the dyes are soluble in oil but to obtain the pigment you have to macerate the cayenne pepper in oil.
The shade varies according to the amount of cayenne used; this soap is only for body use and should not be left on the skin for long as it can stain.
It gives us soft yellow and light beige colors; this flower has softening and anti-inflammatory properties; it is also used in hair to give it shine.
Charcoal gives a deep black color that offers an elegant and sophisticated look to the bar of soap; this black can not be achieved naturally with no other ingredient.
In a post, I spoke in detail about charcoal properties for the skin, but to keep it short and straightforward, it absorbs excess oil, eliminates blackheads, reduces pores, and helps fight acne. If you are interested in knowing more about charcoal's great benefits for the skin, I made a very detailed post with useful the many benefits charcoal offers.
The process is the same as with alfalfa, and you get a deep green color.
The cinnamon gives colors between the range of beige and brown; the best way to incorporate it is pulverized, providing an exfoliating soap. Among its benefits is its antifungal action and capillaries reactivation, cinnamon powder is slightly irritating; if you have sensitive skin, try on a piece of skin to see if there is any adverse reaction.
Depending on the type of clay, we can obtain yellow, reddish, brown, pink, white, or green. Add pulverized clay and stir it well to avoid lumps, or mixing them with a little oil discounted from the recipe and stirring until they are completely integrated. Each clay has its particular properties but is usually used in soaps to regulate oily skin and keep acne at bay.
The most common clay colors are: gray, pink, green, white, and red.
Soft brown color, the soaps made with cocoa give off a mild aroma, so it is unnecessary to use essential oils and be the right choice for soaps used by children in the house. Powder cocoa is the best and easiest way to incorporate it. It is packed with nutrients, anti-age properties; the color is smooth brown.
The interesting thing about coffee is that it will give a brown color and different scents depending on the type of coffee. Besides, if we use ground coffee, we will add exfoliating properties to our soap. This way, we can also play with the decorations of the soap in many different ways.
We will get a soft light yellow soap ideal for sensitive skin with a mild exfoliant.
Gives a yellow to orange color. It is delicious and amazing to protect our skin because it fights cell aging, as it protects against damage caused by free radicals.
Gives a yellow color, great for sunspots and rosacea. The properties of elderflower help regulate the surface pigmentation of sun-damaged skin by lightening up sunspots.
It gives a color between green and brown using the dried and pulverized leaf. You can obtain a very moisturizing and antioxidant soap perfect for the needs of demanding skins.
It gives us an olive green color, from the Lawsonia alba Lam plant. It is extracted mainly from its leaves and the petiole (the plant's trunk), both of which are crushed until they are completely pulverized.
It gives us a soft green color. The way to incorporate this dye is by macerating the grass in oil. Among its properties are its anti-inflammatory and healing qualities. Do not use it as an ointment since it can irritate the skin.
Ground Indigo is a natural dye from the Indigofera Tinctoria plant to give a blue tone to handmade soaps or other homemade cosmetic products.
Gives a green color, the powder acts as a dye, anti-acne, and texturizing agent. It is the powder obtained from the drying of the Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed.
Its frequent use increases the elasticity and recovery capacity of the skin. It reduces the appearance of dark circles and bags under the eyes. It is used in skincare applications and against the signs of aging and hyperpigmentation, restoring its tone and luminosity. Ideal to ensure proper treatment against cellulite and works as masks, exfoliants, and soap products.
The substance found in foods such as cayenne pepper and many other fruits makes the extraction more difficult. It is achieved by macerating it in oil; the exciting thing is that we can get different shades of red when combining different foods.
To obtain a milky white, light yellow or orange, it depends on the method and concentration we use, although we will never get very dark or saturated shadows. We can use the marigold infusion to replace the liquid in the soap formula so that the color of the soap is very soft. We can also dip the flowers in the oil to get a more consistent shade but always get a rustic tone.
Shades of light yellow to a light brown, depending on the type of milk. Natural soaps with milk create a very creamy foam and are made almost the same way as other soaps using the cold process.
Green to brown color. Can be used dried and pulverized, It fights dermatitis, skin allergies, insect bites, eliminating the itching or burning sensation they cause.
Native to Eastern Europe, it is used just like paprika and gives us red or orange colors depending on the amount and time we macerate the food in oil
Green to brown color, applies dried and pulverized, It improves skin health due to its high amount of antioxidants.
Gives a grey color and works as a natural exfoliator, the best way to add it to soap is to pulverize it or mix it with a bit of oil until there are no lumps.
It can give us tones ranging from blue to red, depending on the pH. Its properties are the same as those of the orange carrot.
Like the regular cornmeal but gives a soft purple color, this corn grows in the Andean mountains of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.
It gives us red and bronze shades, to obtain the dye it is macerated in oil, it is ideal for adults and men because of its smell, and it is also a shampoo for hair and beard.
It is the most expensive colorant since this powder's production requires a lot of work, gives us a bright yellow color, a better option more economical is the carrot, annatto, or yellow clay.
It gives us beautiful shades of red, yellow, or almost gold depending on the type used. With acid values, it reacts, giving red colors and alkaline purple tones.
Use it in two ways by crushing the dry leaves, which gives us a mildly exfoliating soap, or by boiling the leaves and using the green liquid in the preparation of the soap, the shades we will get is an intense green.
Green to gray color. It is decongestive, so it works very well in sensitive skin and with a tendency to rosacea. By promoting cell renewal, it gives your face more radiance and softness.
Because of its detoxifying effect, it effectively treats dark circles and dry eye contour, thanks to the fact that it eliminates dark shadows and dryness.
A superfood, turmeric, gives us tonalities between yellow, orange, and brown, depending on the amount used. Use it pulverized. Between its many benefits for the skin are its healing properties and improved psoriases.
They give a tone between brown and grey, the intensity will depend on the amount of time you soak the shells, it takes a bit of time (at least one month) for the shells to release their color, the scent is strong so leave them in a ventilated area uncovered.
As you can see, there are many options for natural dyes. Still, my advice is not to lose your head trying to get all the colors, in the end, dyes are an aesthetic aspect that should be taken into account if you plan to put a craft soap business or want to make a personalized gift for someone special in his day.
Instead, if you make soaps for you first, make sure it is a good soap ideal for your skin type, fragrances, and colors are secondary.