Mixing Natural Colorants with Pigments and Micas #1

Up until now, I’ve been using natural colorants in my soap. Herbs from my plot in The Hell’s Kitchen Community Garden of course. And some store-bought ones like annatto seeds, alkanet and turmeric. I’ve also used clays, coffee, cocoa powder, seaweed, activated charcoal and pumpkin.

My only interaction with pigments was a little titanium dioxide now and then and a small batch with mica in March.

It’s kind of limiting.

But I don’t want to ditch the natural colorants completely—they do add things like emollients, antioxidants and even fragrance—so I’m embarking on a series of experiments of adding pigments and micas with natural colorants to see what happens.

This first one started out with a one pound batch using whacky alkanet—which can end up mauve or purple or a pink—depending on what the PH of the soap batter is. I used a recipe with 37% olive oil that I’d infused with a ton (not literally of course) of alkanet for about two months. It was a deep, deep purple.

Once I reached light trace, I split the batch into thirds. I kept one with just alkanet—which ended up that purplish-mauve. To the second one, I added an eighth of a teaspoon of Indigo Girls mica from Mad Oils—resulting in the midnight blue. The third one got an eighth of a teaspoon of ultramarine violet (from Brambleberry’s pigments sampler pack) mixed with a bit of almond oil and got the light purple.

Really love the colors I ended up with. I’ve got some more herbs stewing in olive oil, so expect to see additional experiments in the near future. 

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