How to Color Handmade Soap

Colorants add a beautiful look to handmade soap. Before getting started, it helps to know which ones work best for your recipe. Learn more about Bramble Berry colors below.

What type of colorants does Bramble Berry carry?
We carry pigments, micas, LabColors, and color blocks. You can find them all in the colorants section. They’re skin safe and they can be used in soap and cosmetics.

Does Bramble Berry carry natural colorants?
Pigments are considered nature identical. That means they’re the exact same chemical structure as the platelet minerals found in the earth, but they’re created in a lab to remove impurities like lead and arsenic. Industrywide, they’re considered natural because they don’t contain synthetic dyes.

Some micas are considered natural and some aren’t – it depends on if they’re made with FD&C dyes. Coral Mica contains FD&C Red 40 Lake so it’s not considered natural, while Aqua Pearl Mica is because it’s made with mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and chromium oxide green. 

Colorful Micas

If you want colorants that are derived straight from the earth and not synthetically created, check out the botanicals section. It includes natural options like rose claytomato powder, and activated charcoal.

What is a bleeding colorant?
Bleeding colorants are usually dyes or FD&C colors that migrate into other layers of your soap over time. You can work the bleeding and incorporate it into your design. If you’re not a fan of that look, make sure to use non-bleeding colorants.

Pigments

Cold process

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of pigment with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil like sweet almond or avocado. If you’re making a larger batch, you can increase that to 2 teaspoons into 2 tablespoons, or 3 into 3. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace until you get a color you like. We recommend about 1 dispersed teaspoon per pound of soap.

Melt and pour:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of pigment with 1 tablespoon of glycerin or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like.
  • Add shavings of color blocks to the melted soap until you get a color you like. Color blocks are essentially super concentrated melt and pour, so they incorporate more easily into soap than loose pigments.

Purple Batter Pouring into Mold

Micas

Cold process

  • Make sure to check the testing notes on each product page before use. Certain micas morph or fade in cold process soap.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of mica with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil like sweet almond or avocado. If you’re making a larger batch, you can increase that to 2 teaspoons into 2 tablespoons, or 3 into 3. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace until you get a color you like. We recommend about 1 dispersed teaspoon per pound of soap.

Melt and pour

  • Add the mica straight to the melted soap and stir well. If you see bubbles forming, spritz with alcohol and continue mixing. You can use up to ½ teaspoon per pound of soap.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of mica with 1 tablespoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like. This method helps the color mix in more quickly.

Pouring Dispersed Mica into MP

Lab Colors

Cold process and melt and pour

  • They need to be diluted with distilled water and a preservative before use. Learn how to do that here.
  • Using a dropper, add the diluted colors to fluid melt and pour or thin trace cold process soap. The usage rate depends on the color and how much it’s diluted. A good place to start is about 1/2 mL per pound of soap.
  • LabColors work best with gel phase. 

Natural colorants

Cold process

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of the powder with 1 tablespoon of a lightweight oil. If you’re using clays, we recommend mixing with distilled water. Add 1 dispersed teaspoon at a time at trace. Check the product pages for usage rate suggestions.
  • You can also infuse natural colorants. To do so, heat the colorant and the oil of your choice in a slow cooker for 1-4 hours or place in an airtight container and leave at room temperature for 4-6 weeks. 

Melt and pour

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of powder with 1 tablespoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol or distilled water. Add ¼ teaspoon of dispersed color to the melted soap until you get a color you like.

Containers of Colored CP Batter