Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Let's Talk About Color
What are the benefits of coloring your soap?
Whether you have a successful soap business or hand out bars as gifts, understanding color use will give your product that extra WOW factor. Also, soap is all about our senses. We love handmade soap because it feels great on our skin, it smells divine, and it looks amazing. You can match color to the fragrance for an even stronger sensory association.
You can make detailed swirls:
Or keep it simple with layers:
I want to color my soap, but where do I start?
There are many forms of soap colorants available, from synthetic liquid and dry pigments to all-natural clays and herbs. If you are using a dry pigment, such as a clumpy oxide or ultramarine, you will need to break it down in a little oil or liquid glycerin before incorporating it into your soap.
When you reach a light trace, hand stir the color into the soap batter. Avoid using your stick blender too much because it will rapidly thicken the soap, and a nice thin consistency is ideal. I like to add color before fragrance, just in case the fragrance acts up and speeds/thickens trace. Most super-floral synthetic scents accelerate.
How do I know what colors to use?
Color choice is based on your personal aesthetic. You may want your bars to be energetic and vibrant (neon pigments with a busy design), or soft and simple (natural, earthy infused colors with little to no pattern). Generally, start with a basic color wheel and pick colors opposite each other. These will be far more interesting than colors that are side-by-side and will pop out the pattern if you swirl. Take a second to write down colors that scare you. Brown and orange are good examples. Now, use them in your soap! You'll be surprised at how great they look. Unpredictable colors and designs are guaranteed to stand out above the rest. It just takes a little confidence and creativity to step out of the box with color.
I can't get my pattern all the way through my soap. It just sits on top. What am I doing wrong?
You are (a) not using a rubber spatula and/or (b) you are only pouring colors close to the surface of the soap (and possibly your soap is too thick). Pour lines of color from high above to get it all the way through the base color, then pour lines close when the mold is just about full. The closer you pour, the more the lines show up on the surface. Now for the real trick, pull your colors through with a rubber spatula. You should feel it touching the bottom of the mold as you swirl.