Archive for January, 2012

Coloring soaps

January 7, 2012

Okay, folks, before I was so rudely interrupted…
Today we find out about coloring soap. Let’s start with the colorants.
First, test all new colorants. Even those you’re sure won’t change during saponification. It will tell you a lot about the colorant.
There isn’t a legal definition of natural colorant, keep that in mind. There are plenty colorants to find in the grocery store. Cocoa powder, turmeric, paprika. The list is pretty endless. Just remember that natural doesn’t necessarily mean good. Do your homework on colorants. Understand, especially with wildcrafted herbs, you won’t get the same color each time. It all depends on concentration of the color in the plant.
This is not for the squeamish: Not all colorants are of plant origin. Some are ground up bugs, for instance. Do your homework.
Oxides and ultramarines are considered pigments. Pigments have been lab produced since the ‘70s. Before that, they were mined, then the FDA decided they wanted some sort of purity evaluation. They are considered the same molecular structure, but arrived at by a different process. Some iron oxides are still naturally extracted, but tend to be found with heavy metals and other toxic stuff.
Cool thing about pigments is that they’re really stable–won’t change colors on you during saponification. They do have a tendency to clump. Mix them in with a little soap, you’re aiming for toothpaste consistency, then add to the pot.  Or put it through a latte frother with a little bit of oil.
Soap pigments are very reasonably priced.
Micas are actually under the jurisdiction of the FD&C. While considered a natural product because it’s mined, it’s also processed with colorants to produce that shimmer and sheen that looks so cool.
They don’t clump, but you have to use a lot to get that shimmer to show in cold process. Personally, I relegate micas to melt and pour. (Which we’ll get to. Artistry in soap.) Because they’re processed with colorants, they may not be stable in cold process.
FD&C colorants are produced in labs. Period. End of sentence. No exceptions. They are concentrated, very cost effective, and hold the color in melt and pour soap. The down side is they tend to react with the lye and the color will change in cold process. Remember, that may not always be a bad thing.
All together now: Test your colorants. Do your homework.

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It’s a long story

January 6, 2012

But I can start working on this blog again. I had to leave Ohio, I’m in Rough and Ready, CA. But I can do this again.