A Life of Lye(s) 100% Natural Plant Colorants in Cold Process Soap

Welcome to my Blog!

My name is Jo.

100% plant colorant infusions

Join me on my soap journey as I use infusions of 100% natural plant colorants in palm fee cold process soaps, bath and body products.

12 years ago, I began soaping with melt and pour soaps (mp). I made cute gifts for friends, had offers from shop keepers to sell my products, and I experimented with mp. I made a salt bar with mp (50% salt not just on the top)

and used molds to achieve textured tops
I joined soap forums and met amazing soapers from all over the world. I was beyond thrilled, I was hooked!

In 2008, I “met” a soaper called KC, who encouraged me to learn cold process soap making (cp). She taught me one day in June, (she was in the States and I was here in Australia), by sending me one step at a time via email (no Skype, or VOIP as it was called back then). She would send the step, I would run to the lye and add it to the water, run back to the internet for my next step, and then run back to the cooled lye and add it to the oils etc. It was hilarious now that I look back, and how that darn soap stayed so fluid and turned out so well I will never know!

From that moment I was a cold process soaper, thrilled with the magic of saponification. I had colorants and skin safe glitter from my melt and pour days, I had waxes, and fragrance oils too. I made the tops sparkle, I made mp into embeds for the cp loaves and I incorporated both types of soap into one. I was having fun!

Suddenly, my all time favorite colorants – the Pop Micas – ceased being made.

OMG! Horrified, I thought my soaping days would be over when my stash ran out – no longer would I get the “right” orange! Didn’t the supplier understand? Frantically, I bought all Pop Mica stock around the globe that I could find! I still have a couple of pounds of each stashed here, sealed in their containers. Just in case.

A casual comment from a US soaper called Judy, (www.wildwoodsoap.com) pulled me to a screaming halt, “Plant colorants and clays will always be available, I won’t ever need to worry about them not being made” she said calmly. Can you believe such a simple comment was my light bulb moment?

Invigorated, I HAD to know more. Could that really be the answer for me? Natural plant colorants???? Easy! I can do that, no worries I thought! I had no concept of just how difficult natural colorants like to be, especially whilst you are trying to get a particular colour!

I contacted a fellow Aussie soaper, Kerrie from Alchemist Grove (www.alchemistsgrove.com.au) – a lover of natural colorants, and said ” I need to make soap, I need to make it now and I need to use a natural colorant – what can I use?” Fortunately, she is a patient woman, and suggested I open my pantry to see if I had cocoa powder. Well of course I do, I have kids, they love hot chocolate and marshmallows, they wouldn’t mind if I took their cocoa for an experiment would they?

From that ugly cocoa powder soap, (it really was ugly believe me, and no you can’t see the photo!), an obsession was born.

I set myself the following challenges:

  • To make soaps with only natural plant colorants, no clays, no oxides, no ultramarines and definitely no micas
  • To create consistent colours in soaps, bath and body products, that I think are pretty to look at, and not always shades of browns. (I have discovered I am quite good at getting brown shades when I don’t want them);
  • To tempt YOU to join the natural colorant revolution!!! (Ok, that was a bit of a stretch, but, I do hope to entice you!).

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Come join me, bring your coffee, tea or wine as I test shades of colors, check out other soapers fabulous soap art, discuss herbs and other topics, and try for consistent results using plant colorants in palm free soaps, bath and body products.

I’m on a steep learning curve and I would love to have some company along for the ride.

Next post: Patience and natural plant colourings go hand in hand for me – How I infuse my colours to achieve the results I love.