Natural Soap Colours
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 | Admin
Have you ever wondered how we colour our handmade, natural goats milk soaps?
We're so passionate about creating skin-kind natural aromatherapy soaps, that we always look for natural colourants. After we've gone to the trouble of formulating a gentle soap that contains natural and organic ingredients that won't irritate the skin, we'd be a little crazy to ruin the job by pouring in a bottle of synthetic colour!
But oh dear, we have made life difficult for ourselves, because unfortunately cold-process (i.e. the kind of soap, like ours, that's made from botanical oils) soap can be difficult to colour naturally. The problem is that as the soap is made, it goes through a chemical reaction (called saponification) where the acids and the alkali react with each other. Saponification generates heat, and for a few hours the new soap is quite caustic and many botanicals in the soap will turn black. This all sounds quite alarming, but well formulated natural soaps become milder as they age, and this is why we cure our soaps on drying racks for several weeks or months before preparing the soap for sale.
So saponification limits our ability to create really colourful soaps, and it's why some cold process soaps can be a muddy brown colour. But over the years, we've experimented with infusing a wide variety of natural petals, botanical extracts, mineral clays, herbs and spices. We have lots of experience in knowing what works, and this is why our soaps have many interesting patterns. We take great care with each handmade soap batch, often swirling in intricate coloured patterns during the initial stages of the saponification process. We often have to work very quickly, since it can be difficult to control the cold-process saponification process - made worse by the fact that we're making a goats milk soap (it's notoriously difficult to make handmade soaps with milk)! But is it worth the extra effort? Take a look at these colour samples from some of our latest batches:
Without a doubt, creating truly natural goats milk soaps that have pretty colours can be very challenging, but it's so satisfying to create a natural product by hand. Each soap batch will be different, and this is why we can never guarantee exactly the same colours in our soap varieties. So next time you're using one of our handmade aromatherapy soaps we hope you take a closer look, and like the completely unique colours in the bar!