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Using Colorants

FD&C Colorants

FD&C or, Food, Drug and Cosmetics Colorants are approved to be used in, you guessed it - food, drugs and cosmetics!

Warning: Powdered FD&C dyes stain clothing, hands, and all surfaces. Please do not mix them with water unless you have covered your counter with newspaper or plastic. They will stain and they are difficult to clean up. Their coloring power is amazing!

Directions for use of FD&C Colorants: Mix 1/16 tsp. colorant with 1 tsp. of water. Colorant will dissolve in water with just a little shaking or stirring. Add to soap (CP and M&P) until you achieve the color desired.

Bramble Berry carries highly concentrated FD&C dyes already mixed in a water for your convenience. They are called Labcolors and can be found here.

Pigments

To mix into oil for Cold Process (CP) soapmaking: Add 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 cc) of dye or pigment to 1 oz of carrier oil and mix well. Make sure all the clumps are evenly stirred into the solution before using. Some customers chose to add the pigment and oils to a small baggie and squish the baggie with their fingers to get an even mix. Use a dropper to add the colored oil to your warm oils (CP soapers), a few drops at a time, making sure you don't color beyond what you wanted to and stir after each addition.

Using Oil Based Pigments in melt and pour is easy once you get the hang of it. There are four ways to use it:

(1) Add pigment directly to MP and stir, stir, stir. This may cause speckling in your soap.

(2) Add pigment to a small baggie and mix thoroughly with oil or glycerin. This way, you can make sure to squish any speckles out. Then, pour the mixture into the melted soap base, reseal your baggie, and save the rest for next time!

(3) Make a giant color chip - Mix a small bit of pigment, glycerin or oil (1/2 tsp to 1 Tbsp works fine) in a small plastic cup. Make sure it's mixed well - until all the pigment is totally dispersed in the oil. Then add clear M&P to the cup and stir up well. Let sit for a few hours and voila, large color chip! The larger the container you're filling up, the more pigment you should add initially to be sure your color chip has the most color possible. To use the color cube, simply chop off pieces and melt into your soap.

(4) Mix powder with rubbing alcohol and make a 'slurry'. Pour this mixture into your soap leaving any clumps in the container.

Mica Information and Tips

If you are using a clear, transparent or translucent base, we recommend about 1/2 a teaspoon per pound to achieve a nice, strong pearl effect.

You can use micas in opaque melt & pour base at 1.5% to 2% of the total weight to achieve good color but micas work best in clear soap. Light is needed for the true reflective qualities of the micas to work properly.

Some micas can work in cold process soap, but many do not. Typically, it depends on what type of colorant is used to dye the mica.We recommend doing a small test batch to make sure the color is stable in your particular recipe. Even if a mica does work in CP it often isn't very sparkly, as there is no light for reflection (since cold process soap is opaque). To use it in cold process soap, I use 2 tsp. per pound of soap to achieve good color. Simply add the mica directly to the soap and stir. Make sure you add it at very thin trace so that you have enough time to stir the colorant in.

Micas are relatively simple to use. Simply add the powder to your melting soap base, wait for your base to melt and stir the micas in. If pesky little "mica bubbles" float to the top, spritz them with a bit of rubbing alcohol and you'll see them burst open. Just stir everything in until the mica is well incorporated, then add your fragrance.