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This Naturally Blue Beer is Made with Icebergs and Seaweed

This Naturally Blue Beer is Made with Icebergs and Seaweed



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Flowers and icebergs are added to this Japanese brew to make a naturally blue beer

This Naturally Blue Beer is Made with Melted Icebergs, Seaweed

A Japanese beer that is made with melted icebergs from the Sea of Okhotsk, local flowers, and blue seaweed, is now available online for curious American beer drinkers on Firebox.

Abashiri Brewery’s Okhotsk Blue Draft is described as “the bluest beer in the whole world,” and containing Chinese yam which “provides a superior head that resembles floating ice.”

The beer has already been available in Japan for a few years, but this is the first time that Americans will be able to taste beer that contains Japanese icebergs, as far as we know.

If you’re just looking to dip a toe in these icy blue waters, you can purchase a single can for $8.09. If you’d like your friends to join you on your iceberg taste test, a four-pack is available for $21.09, and an eight-pack is available for $32.49.

If and when you do try this blue booze, let us know what you think.

For the latest food and drink updates, visit our Food News page.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


How to Naturally Color Handmade Soap + Ingredients Chart

Natural soap making is an exciting craft that anyone can do from the comfort of their own kitchen. Here on Lovely Greens, I share many small-sized cold-process soap recipes for beginners, and after making a few simple batches, you might be interested in unique ways to scent and color your bars. What you’ll find is that the soaping world is filled with colorful and exciting design inspiration. Vibrant reds, swirls of sparkles, and layers of every color imaginable. But what if you want to keep your soap 100% natural?

The guide below gives you different options for naturally coloring handmade soap. They are all plant-based or use natural substances like clay and sugars. I’ve collected the ideas from around the web, and when I’ve tried one out and liked it, I’ve shared a link to the recipe in the chart. Though the color guide is for cold-process soap, you could also use the ingredients in hot-process and sometimes in melt-and-pour. Shades, amounts, and techniques will vary.

Mineral Pigments and Dyes

First off, let’s chat about mineral pigments. They include oxides and ultramarines and using them can give you absolutely beautiful soap colors. I use mineral pigments myself and am happy with their level of skin-safety and color — they are, after all, the basis for mineral-based make-up. Even though cosmetic minerals are perfectly safe to use, and identical to minerals found in nature, they aren’t considered natural. Natural minerals are often contaminated with heavy metals so the ones you can purchase for cosmetics are man-made to be ‘nature identical’.

Micas are even less natural than ultramarines and oxides. Each type is different, and though they do have a mineral-based component, they are often dyed with synthetics. Again, micas are skin-safe and can create amazing colors, but they are not natural. Some micas can also misbehave in cold-process soap and give you unexpected colors. I don’t use micas in my soap recipes.

Soap dyes, such as lab colors, are entirely synthetic. Though they are considered skin-safe, they are not natural and are not used in natural soap making. Glitter is also not natural and should be avoided in naturally coloring soap. Even the so-called bio-degradable stuff is not natural.

Soap made using Chromium Green Oxide, a ‘nature-identical’ mineral pigment that is not considered natural

Naturally Color Handmade Soap

Listed below are various ingredients that you can use to naturally color your soap. Categories are based on the final color and the INCI and brief notes are listed beside each listing. Unless otherwise stated, the maximum amount you should use in your soaps is 5%. Some of the best colors come from roots and seeds like turmeric, annatto, alkanet, gromwell, and madder. If you’re interested in learning how to mix more than one color together, check out these tips for swirling soap with natural colors.

If you use any of the clays, mix it into your lye-solution, or with three times its volume in distilled water and add at trace. For example, mix 1 tsp clay with 3 tsp of water. Clay can cause soap to crack (imagine a face mask) without dispersing it properly and adding extra water. If you mix the clay into the lye-solution, add the extra water into it too.

Use woad, indigo, activated charcoal, or Cambrian blue clay to create natural blue soap

Making Natural soap

If you want to use natural soap colorants, I’d advise using a soap recipe that makes pure white bars. Soap recipes that include dark or golden oils create soap that that is also dark or golden. This natural color of the soap bars will interfere with any additional soap colors that you add. For example, mix woad with a castile soap recipe and you might get green bars. For those new to making soap, please have a look through my four-part soapmaking series listed below to learn how you can get started.

Infuse some soap colorants in liquid oil and they will tint the oil, and eventually your soap bars. From the left, calendula flowers, alkanet, and annatto seeds.

Soap making instructions and what they mean

  • Add to liquid oils: mix with liquid oils before pouring them into your melted hard oils.
  • Add at trace: add the natural coloring ingredient after the oils and lye solution in your recipe are mixed together.
  • Infuse with oils: add the material to oils that are liquid at room temperature. Either allow them to infuse for two to four weeks, or heat gently in until the natural color has been released into the oils. If you’re choosing the longer and room temperature method, make sure to shake your container every day.
  • Puree: soft plant material that is blended into a puree with a small amount of distilled water. Some plant material, such as carrots, will need to be cooked or steamed first. Others, like avocado, are ready to be mashed up without cooking. Add at a light trace
  • Water infusion: infuse the material into water and use the infusion to mix into your dried lye. This is essentially a tea.

Oil infused with annatto seeds produces this naturally orange soap

Natural Orange Soap Colorants

Bright vivid orange is very easy to get using natural soap colors. You can add specks of orange using pieces of calendula flower petals or go all out for an almost luminous all-over orange. The best orange in my experience is created by annatto seeds. Used in Indian cooking, you infuse the dark seeds into a light oil before soaping.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Buriti oil Mauritia flexuosa fruit oilColor: Light yellow to deep orange - Add after trace
Calendula Petals Calendula officinalisColor: Ranges from yellow-orange to pink-orange - Infuse in liquid oils, add ground to soap, or infuse in lye solution - Calendula Soap Recipe
Carrot Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Orange Zest (peel) Citrus aurantium dulcisColor: Orange - Use finely grated zest/peel at about 1 tsp per pound soaping oils.
Paprika Capsicum annuumColor: Peach to light orange to orange-brown - Infuse in liquid oils and discard actual spice or your soap will be scratchy.
Pumpkin Cucurbita pepoColor: Deep orange. Stir in as a puree in at light trace.
Tomato Solanum lycopersicumColor: Orange - Stir in as a tomato paste at light trace
Turmeric Curcuma Longa Color: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.

Natural pink soap colored with an infusion of cochineal

Natural Pink Soap Colorants

Pink is quite an easy color to achieve with natural ingredients, and any of the ingredients used for purple and red can also produce pink. Of the colorants listed below, you can get one of the loveliest botanical pinks from madder root. You can either infuse the larger pieces into a light oil before soaping or add powdered madder to your soap at trace. Gelling (insulating) your soap after it’s molded will intensify the pink.

IngredientUsage and notes
Hibiscus flower Hibiscus sabdariffaDried flower powder can be added to melt-and-pour soap for a soft pink
Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verumColor: Coral pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oils.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: To get a dusky pink you can use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Madder root powder Rubia tinctorumColor: Range of pinks to red/magenta - Infuse in liquid oils or add powder direct
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Pink to Pinky-orange - Add to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water. See recipe
Sorrel Rumex acetosaColor: Warm to salmon pink - Infuse the dried roots in liquid oil.

Natural Blue Soap Colorants

You can get pretty shades of sky blue to denim-blue with natural soap colors including indigo, clay, and small amounts of activated charcoal. My favorite on the list is woad since it’s a plant that you can grow and harvest color from yourself. I’ve done it myself in the past and you can learn more about that process here.

Ingredient and INCIUsage and notes
Activated charcoal CarbonColor: soft denim blue when used at 1 tsp activated charcoal per pound of soap making oils. See the hue in this recipe
Blue Chamomile oil AzuleneColor: Blue - Add a drop or two at trace. Blue Chamomile is extractred from German Chamomile flowers.
Cambrian Blue Clay LiliteColor: Shades of soft greens to blues depending on the color of your soaping oils. Mix in water before adding to your soap making oils or lye water. Use 1-2 tsp per pound of oils.
Soap recipe using Cambrian Blue Clay
Indigo Indigofera tinctoriaColor: Dark blue or green to light blue or green - There are several ways to add it including at trace, to the lye solution, or with an infused oil. Methods explained here. Used traditionally to dye fabrics, Indigo is what gives blue jeans their distinctive color. Be careful when sourcing Indigo since many of the dyes today are synthetic versions and not suitable for soap.
Woad Isatis tinctoriaColor: Green-blue to grey-blue - Add powder to a small amount of liquid oil or lye-solution and add at trace. You can also infuse liquid oils with woad powder and use as whole or part of your soap recipe. See how to color soap using woad. Use 1-2 tsp PPO

Natural purple soap colored with alkanet root

Natural Purple Soap Colorants

You can get some lovely shades of pastel to bright and vibrant purple using natural ingredients. I highly recommend alkanet from this list though. You infuse the dried, shredded roots into a light oil such as olive oil. After a few weeks, use that oil as a main soaping oil to get a soft, natural purple soap. A note on alkanet though — I’ve had quite a few orders of it turn up recently that was of very poor quality. If your alkanet-infused oil isn’t a vibrant red at the time of soaping, then your final soap bars will not turn purple. They’ll turn out more of a light warm gray.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alkanet root Alkanna tinctoria and also called Ratan Jot in Indian cuisineColor: Pink to deep Purple - Infuse in liquid oils. Recipe for Alkanet soap. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Gromwell root Lithospermum erythrorhizonColor: Natural purple. Similar in shade and usage to Alkanet root. Cold-infuse 30g dried root or powder into every 454g (1lb) oils for one month. Strain and use the oil as part or the entire soap recipe. You need at least 20% of your soap recipe to include the infused oil to achieve a good purple colour. Anything less and it will come out pink to grey. Use light colored oils as well -- extra virgin olive oil in the recipe will contribute its green colour to the final product. Use light coloured olive oil or pomace olive oil, and other light oils such as coconut, sunflower, and shea butter.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusPurple when soap is higher PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Brazilian purple clay KaolinColor: a soft gray-purple when added to soap at 1 tsp per pound of soaping oils.

Create buttery yellow soap using carrot puree

Natural Yellow Soap Colorants

The natural soap coloring world is your oyster when making yellow soap. Use pumpkin or carrot puree (or juice), goldenrod, turmeric, or annatto to achieve everything from a soft pastel shade to electric yellow.

IngredientUsage and notes
Annatto Seeds Bixa orellanaColor: Buttery Yellow to Pumpkin Orange - Annatto Seed Soap recipe
Carrots, puree Daucus carotaColor: Yellow to yellow-orange. It's possible to use either carrot juice or puree in the lye-solution or to add the puree at trace. See the Carrot soap recipe
Curry PowderColor: Deep yellow. Add powder mixed in a little oil at trace. 1/4-1 tsp per pound soaping oils
Daffodil flowers Narcissus tazettaColor: soft pastel yellow - use as a water infusion and/or puree. Daffodil soap recipe
Goldenrod Solidago virgaureaColor: Pale to buttery yellow - Use an infusion of the fresh flowers in lye solution. Here's a good recipe for Goldenrod soap
Lemon zest Citrus limonumColor: Yellow - add finely grated lemon peel, either fresh or dry, after trace
Red Palm oil Elaeis guineensis kernel oilColor: Creamy yellow - Use at 1% in liquid oils.
Rudbeckia Petals Rudbeckia HirtaColor: Yellow - Infuse petals in lye solution. Also called Black Eyed Susan
Safflower Carthamus tinctoriusColor: Yellow to Orange-yellow - Add powder at light trace.
Saffron Crocus sativusColor: Yellow. Infuse with oils before soap making or directly into the lye-water.
Turmeric Curcuma longaColor: a common kitchen spice that tints soap light pink-yellow to burnt orange to a dark warm brown. Can also cause an attractive speckle to your finished soaps but this can be controlled. This tutorial shows you how to use turmeric to color handmade soap.
Yarrow Achillea millefoliumColor: Muted yellow - Use dried yarrow leaves and flowers to infuse your oils or add powder direct to soap at trace.

Adding honey to your lye-solution can give a rich golden brown

Natural Brown Soap Colorants

There are many ingredients that you can use to get soft beiges to chocolate browns in soap. One I use regularly in my own soap is honey. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lye solution and the heat will immediately caramelize it. Not only does it tint soap a rich fudge brown but it smells delicious too.

IngredientUsage and notes
Beet root Beta vulgarisColor: Warm to dull brown - Add as powder or infuse dried material in liquid oils
Black Walnut Hull powder Juglans nigraColor: Deep brown - Add at trace
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis noblisColor: Yellow-beige/brown - Infuse in water/lye solution
Cinnamon powder Cinnamomum zeylanicumColor: can add speckles of brown color but can also be scratchy in feeling. Add only to exfoliating soaps and it's not recommended to use more than 1/4 tsp per pound of soaping oils. Can also be a skin irritant.
Cloves (ground) Eugenia caryophyllusColor: Brown - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Can be scratchy and a skin irritant so use no more than 1/4 tsp per pound of oils.
Coffee, liquid Coffea arabica seed extractColor: Medium brown - Add as part of the lye solution
Comfrey root Symphytum officinaleColor: Light brown
Cranberry puree Vaccinium macrocarponColor: Red-brown with specks
Green Tea Camellia sinensisColor: Brown-green and if leaves left in then soap will be speckled - Infuse in water/lye solution
Henna, powder Lawsonia inermisColor: Green-brown - Add at trace.
HoneyColor: Light brown - use in lye solution. Honey soap recipe
Milk (cow, goat)Color: Light brown - a teaspoon to a Tablespoon per pound oils and added in lye solution
Molasses Saccharum officinarumColor: Chocolate brown - Add at trace and/or to lye solution
Olive leaf powder Olea europaeaColor: Warm brown - Add at trace.
Peppermint Mentha piperitaColor: Beige to beige with dark specks if the leaves are left in - Infuse leaves in water/lye solution.
Red Moroccan Clay Red Kaolin ClayColour: use 1/2 tsp to 1.5tsp per pound of soaping oils to get a chocolately brown colour. Add the clay to the lye water and make your soap as normal. You can see the colour in this recipe for Natural Cinnamon Soap
Rhassoul Clay Moroccan lava clayColor: Brown. Use 1/2-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Rose-hip Seeds (ground) Rosa caninaColor: Tan to brown - Add at trace.

This is a rebatched soap recipe using parsley. It starts off a vibrant green but will fade in stored in a bright place.

Natural Green Soap Colorants

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to natural green soap colors, however, plant-based greens tend to be fugitive. Meaning that they fade relatively quickly, especially when exposed to light. Natural green soap colors can give you anywhere from pale pastel to vivid grass green and come in a range of plants and clays. My top pick would have to be French green clay which gives a soft and natural gray-green.

IngredientUsage and notes
Alfalfa Medicago SativaColor: Medium green
Avocado puree Persea GratissmaColor: Shades of yellow-green. Add at trace.
Burdock leaf Arctium lappaColor: Natural green - Infuse in liquid oils
Comfrey leaf, (powder) Symphytum officinale leafColor: Natural green - Add at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using comfrey leaf in soap
Cucumber Cucumis sativusColor: Bright Green - Add as a puree at light trace.
Dandelion leaf (powder) Taraxacum officinale weberColor: Natural green - Stir in as a powder at light trace
French Green Clay MontmorilloniteColor: Some have the experience of soft, natural, green. I've seen it turn out more of a light tan tint. Use 1-2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your lye water.
Grass (Barley) Clippings Hordeum vulgareColor: Green - Infuse fresh clippings in water and use in lye solution.
Kelp, powder Fucus versiculosusColor: Dark green - Add to liquid oils or at trace. Pre-mix in a little oil before adding.
Nettle leaf (powder) Urtica dioicaClose to Lime-green - Add direct to liquid oils or infuse oils with the leaf and discard.
Parsley Carum petroselinumColor: Green - I've come across instructions to add to liquid oils or at light trace and to use fresh, powdered, or in dried flakes. However, when I tried using parsley in cold-process soap making the green color faded from the bars within days. The best way I've found to use parsley as a natural soap colorant is in this rebatch recipe.
Sage - Salvia officinalisColor: Green
SpinachColor: Light green. Use as a puree or powder and stir in at light trace.
Spirulina Spirulina maximaColor: Light green - Stir in as a powder at light trace or infuse into oils. More on using spirulina in soap
Wheatgrass juice Triticum aestivumColor: Deep vivid green

Use activated charcoal and Brazillian black clay to naturally color soap gray to black

Natural Black Soap Colorants

Black soap looks incredible and in some cases can add skin benefits. Activated charcoal is said to have cleansing and purifying properties and can tint soap a light grey to dark black. You’ll need to use quite a lot of it to achieve darker shades though. Using smaller amounts give you blue.

IngredientUsage and notes
Activated Charcoal (powder)Color: Deep black - add to liquid oils or to soap at light trace. You have to use quite a lot of it to get darker shades of gray and black. Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace.
Black Brazilian Clay KaolinColor: grey to black depending on how much is used. For darker shades, use 1 tsp clay per pound of soap making oils.
Coffee Grounds Coffea Arabica seedColor: Black specks. Add fresh or used coffee grounds to your soap at trace. A teaspoon per pound of oils is plenty.
Dead Sea Mud (powder) Maris limusColor: Grey - Mix with a small amount of liquid oil first and add at trace
Poppy Seeds Papaver somniferumColor: Blue-grey to black specks. Add about a teaspoon per pound of soaping oils and stir the seeds in at trace. A lovely speckled effect as you can see in this Gardeners Hand Soap recipe

Natural Red Soap Colorants

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a true red when using natural soap colors. Most plant-based colorants will be closer to deep pink, reddish-brown, and mauve, with the exception possibly being Himalayan rhubarb. I’ve not used it yet myself, but the photos of another soaper’s creations are simply stunning. Deep ruby red with a pink undertone.

IngredientUsage and notes
Himalayan Rhubarb Root Rheum emodiColor: deep magenta-red that's probably the best natural red I've seen. Infuse the dried root / root powder into liquid oil and use that oil for up to half of your soaping oils. Soap turns red as it comes to traces.
Cochineal Cochineal/CarmineColor: Orange to pink and red - Add powdered to liquid oils or at trace. You can also use an infusion of raw cochineal in your cold-process soap recipes. Using this recipe you can get a lovely dusky pink this way. Please note that this is not a vegetarian or vegan ingredient.
Moroccan Red Clay KaolinColor: Warm-brown to brick-red. Use 1/2 to 2 tsp PPO. Pre-mix in a Tablespoon of water before adding to your main soaping oils.
Red Sandalwood Pterocarpus santalinusColor: Red when soap is lower PH - Add powder direct to liquid oils.
Rose Pink Clay Kaolinite (Rose Clay)Color: Pink to Brick Red. Add to soap batter at trace. Use 1/4 to 1 tsp PPO and I recommend premixing it in a little oil and then straining it through a sieve whilst pouring into your soap batter. Tiny clumps of un-mixed pigment can leave speckles in your soap if not strained out.
St Johns Wort Flowers Hypericum perforatumColor: Red - Infuse fresh flowers in liquid oil.

To get naturally white soap bars, use white to light-colored base soaping oils, such as in this recipe

Natural White Soap Color

If left un-colored, most handmade soap takes on a creamy shade. That’s because it’s picking up on the original soaping oils’ color. If you’d like a bright white soap, use white or clear soaping oils like coconut oil and less yellow oils.

Another way to keep your bars as light as possible is to make soap at low temperatures — between room temperature and 100F. Refrigerating soap afterward will stop gelling from happening and also help to ensure your bars are as white as possible.


Watch the video: Anyone for a BLUE beer? German uni brews drink coloured with seaweed (August 2022).