I’m learning to use botanical ingredients for color and texture. As usual, the journey isn’t a straight line, and it has not been filled with one success after another.
Spirulina power was the first stepping stone. It is high in many nutrients (don’t eat the soap), has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (possibly) AND colors soap a wonderful shade of green. Success!
A few days after making a batch with the powder, however, a green Cedar/Mint soap faded to brown. I think spirulina could be a great additive to soap, but it’s disconcerting to customers should their soap color change to brown.
Next up – French green clay. The clay is used in facemasks, body scrubs, cosmetics and in soap. It helps lock in scent by absorbing the essential oils AND it makes soap green! The Cedar/Mint soap has kept a gentle green hue while curing. It may be a winner.
For a ‘Nova Scotia Seashore’ soap there's indigo powder.
The lavender soap is still being experimented with. Alkanet root brings a range of colors from a pale grey, to a deep purple and somewhere in-between. I’ve tried infusing olive oil in mason jars with the root and sprinkling it into the soap batter.
Cocoa powder and activated charcoal are being tested.
Using natural ingredients to color soap results in a muted palate. It suits the look and feel of a quality, natural bar of soap. There are a few more ingredients I'd like to try out: woad, madder, turmeric, calendula flowers and annatto seeds.
It's going to be a fun year!