It took me a while to go full tilt natural in my soap making. My nature is to learn & improve along my journey. My soaping passion is learning what ingredients are truly from nature and kind to the Earth. The basic ingredients I use, oils & butters, are easy to determine but when coloring soap, I found the path a little more distracting. I’m easily distracted say by, glitter and bright colors.
I started coloring soap with oxides which is, or was, mined from the Earth. I say was because at some point people realized/decided the mined oxides were full of natural contaminants such as lead, mercury, arsenic, no thanks, not on my skin! So these days, cosmetic grade oxides are made in a laboratory (probably a good decision) and are considered pure, nature identical, and do not contain synthetic coloring, which is great, but not for me. Ingredients from a lab are definitely not what I think of when I am looking for natural ingredients. Since lab ingredients are not my passion, oxides were discontinued last year.
Raw mica is mined from the Earth. It is an expensive process so mica is predominately used for electronics. When processing mica for bath & beauty products, mica is mined, colored with fun, vibrant, synthetic FD&C coloring, which again, is not natural. Plus, PLUS, FD&C coloring is linked to many health problems (I recently took my kid off FD&C food coloring because she was having PMS symptoms, at age 7. No thanks.)
In addition to oxide and mica being processed in a lab, they are both mined and we know mining is typically not kind to nature. What is kind to nature? Organic pigments, herbs and spices, are 100% natural and grown from the Earth. I could grow my own! Maybe one day.
Pigments included but are not limited to:
- Turmeric ~ Yellow to Orange
- Annatto Seed ~ Yellow
- Indigo Powder ~ Blue Jean to jade green
- Madder Root ~ Red/orange
- Spirulina ~ Deep Green
- Alkanet Root ~ Deep purple
- Brewed Coffee ~ Brown
So, soap can be visually captivating and fun without exposing our skin to lab created, synthetic, Frankenstein colorants. I trust nature, not science, when it comes to a majority of health issues. (That, my friend, would be too intense a subject to blog about. Let’s keep it chill.) I just started playing with these new ingredients and I am very happy with the results. I look forward to mixing more and getting creative!