cold process,

  • Colours for Soaps and Cosmetics

    Colours for Soap and Cosmetics

    In Cold Process (CP) Soap, Melt and Pour or bath products (such as fizzy bombs, shampoos, conditioners) and hand-made cosmetics colour is important as it attacts the customers eye. It is especially important to ensure that you have the right colour for the right product.  

     eBotaniq wholesales a large range of colorants from water-soluble dye powders to aqueous dispersed pigments and as part of our learning options we have put together some additional information on the use of, and differences between various colorants that are available to the formulator.

    There are many different options that you can use in colouring the various soap and cosmetic formulations and to make the correct choise is often a bit of a challenge .

    Water Soluble colours

    eBotaniq offers a growing range of water soluble powder colours in their most basic and economical form.

    These water soluble colours are highly concentrated and should be used sparingly. In Melt and Pour soap these colours are best used for single colour projects where colour bleed is not going to be an issue. Note that in bath bomb applications these dyes will also colour the bath water and of course will result in a pastel shade within your fizzy bath bomb mix as you are blending the dye with a white base.

    Most water soluble powders can be effectively combined to achieve other colours/shades (different applications will result in varying colours; therefore we really suggest that you do a small batch test before you make a larger production batch)

    We also suggest that you look at the colour section in the Melt and Pour Instructions, if you plan to incorporate these dyes into our melt and pour base.  

    Powder colorants can easily be mixed with water, and the general recommended rate is between 0.001% and 0.01% addition to the M&P soap when using a 10% dye solution in water. If you decide to use these in the dry mixing stage of toiletry recipes such as bath bombs, you must bear in mind that the true colour of the dye will not be apparent until you bind your mix with witch hazel or oil. You will also find that the colour deepens further as your finished product dries.

    Many of these colours may be used in Cold Process Soap making.

    For those of you selling your hand made bath & body products, please check suitability for your application as some dyes have restrictions especially for leave on products. When referring to 'leave on' and 'wash off' products, bath bombs and soaps are generally considered wash-off products and lotions for example would be a leave-on product. Please do consult if in doubt.

    FD & C Colour[Food Drug & Cosmetic , FDC]

    FD & C colours are colours allowed to be used in food, drugs and cosmetic products subject to US FDA regulations.



    FD & C Colours

    Common Name


    Colour Index

    FD & C Yellow 5


    Lemon Yellow

    C.I. 19140

    FD & C Yellow 6

    Sunset Yellow


    C.I. 15985

    FD & C Blue 1

    Brilliant Blue FCF

    Bright Blue

    C.I. 42090

    FD & C Blue 2


    Royal Blue

    C.I. 73050

    FD & C Red 3


    Cherry Red

    C.I. 45430

    FD & C Red 40

    Allura Red

    Orange Red

    C.I. 16035


    Please be aware that in some cases granules are supplied as an alternative to powders for ease of use and your safety.  Also note that in Australia & New Zealand there are specific guidelines that regulate colours in foods drugs and cosmetics

    Pigment Colours (Powder / liquid dispersion)

     Pigments are colours that are insoluble in the medium in which they are used.Powdered mineral pigment colours are suitable for many applications and stable in Cold Process soaps. These products are useful for projects where colour bleed is an issue. When using pigment powders in Melt & Pour soaps the best way to incorporate them is to blend with oil or a little melted soap base before adding it to your mix to avoid problems such as clumping and spotting.

    They can sometimes cause discolouration of your sink or bath as the particles may get lodged in any cracks or fissures.   However, Titanium Dioxide is a pigment, which works well for colouring solid soapswhite, without discolouring sinks or baths. Pigments suspend rather than blend with water/liquids therefore they will not dye or colour your bath water. They are not suitable for water-soluble products such as liquid and solid soaps as pigments can sink to the bottom if the viscosity is not perfect. They will often adhere to any oils present in your bath products and so can appear as a tidemark around a bath - if you have an old damaged enamel bath you might want to avoid these pigments?. Having said that, if you do have an old damaged enamel bath it might well be susceptible to being coloured by most / almost all dyes or colours!

    Often these pigments are divided up into groups such as:

    • Inorganic Pigments; such as Iron Oxides. These Cosmetic Oxides are highly refined pigments and are purified to make them suitable for use on the skin. They are offered in a range of colours from yellow to black. Their colour tone variety and softness allows them to have approved use in various cosmetic formulations and they are eminently suitable for Soap and Mineral Make-up.
    • Organic Pigments which compared to inorganic pigments are brighter and stronger in colour. There is a significantly large colour range and variety. Not all products may be used in cosmetics and care should be taken to ensure compliance with regulations.
    • Pearlescent Pigments are totally natural, inorganic products. Although they are pearlescent in effect, they are not derived from marine life such as abalone or pearl.  Some of them are classified as synthetic because, even though they are derived from natural sources, they undergo chemical modifications at high temperatures and thus are no longer considered natural. A complicating matter is that many colours may contain a totally natural, untreated pigment, such as Mica, together with others that has been bonded with an element at high temperature, e.g. Titanium Dioxide.
      • Pearlescent Pigments are ideal for use in Mineral Make-up, Lipsticks and Creams. They also work well for Solid CP Soap and fizzy bath bombs. You can use them for Liquid Soap, but as with all powdered pigments, they will sink to the bottom if the viscosity of the product is not high enough. When used in solid soap they produce a, semi-transparent effect.



    Soap Cosmetic Colour Application Table







    Solid Soap Bath Melts

    Liquid Soaps, Shampoos, Foam Baths

    Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Bath Salts

    Food Colourings (from supermarket)

    Good as a food colour

    Can be used but fades in the light

    Can be used but fades in the light

    Can't be used because of high water content

    Can be used but fades in the light

    Colours for Non Water-Based Products

    Not permitted to be used in food

    Good for Soaps & Bath Melts

    Like all pigments, they sink to the bottom if viscosity is low

    Best colour for Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Can be used

    Colours for Water-Based Products

    Is a food colour but synthetic

    Very good and easy to use

    Good for all types of Liquid Soaps, Shampoos, Foam Baths, etc.

    Can't be used because of high water content

    Best choice but colour the salt first

    Pearlescent Colours

    Not permitted in food (but not poisonous)

    Gives good and high colour

    Sinks to the bottom if viscosity is low

    Good for Fizzy Bath Bombs

    Can be used

    Colours - Normal pigments

    Some colours can be used - see E numbers

    Can be used in small amounts in Solid Soaps but can stain baths & sinks

    Sinks to the bottom if viscosity is low

    Can discolour baths & sinks

    Can discolour baths & sinks

    Titanium Dioxide

    Can be used in food; ensure correct grade

    Makes soap white

    Sinks to the bottom if viscosity is low

    Can be used

    Not necessary

  • Rebatching

    Re batching

    ReBatching, or hand milling, is a technique used by various soap makers. The commercial process is sometimes also referred to as French milling.

    In ReBatching, specially purchased or previously made soap is finely grated or milled and mixed with a liquid; into which the soap shavings begin to dissolve. It is then heated at a fairly low temperature until the mass is more or less homogenous. When it becomes translucent and reaches a thick, gel-like consistency, it is spooned or piped into moulds and allowed to harden.

    ReBatching is a great way for you to experiment with soap making while bypassing many of the more complex steps in making handmade soap so it can be ideal for specific projects. ReBatching is often used as a way of adding ingredients that can not withstand the high temperatures or alkaline environment of cold process or hot process soapmaking, such as volatile essential oils, or those that discolour (lavender buds).

    Choosing the appropriate rebatch liquid also affects the character of the finished soap; goatsmilk can be used to give the soap a smooth, creamy consistency as well as coconut milk but more often han not just plain old tapwater will do fine. Rebatching can also be used as a way of salvaging soap that cracked, curdled or separated while being made.

    Basic supplies for rebatching soap:

    • Soap (noodles or bars) or you can use our Rebatch base instead
    • Stainless steel or glass bowl
    • Cheese grater
    • Water or coconut milk
    • Small saucepan, double boiler, crockpot
    • Oven bag
    • Wooden spoon (may affect essential oil)
    • Additive (essential oil, natural fragrance oil, colloidal oatmeal, jojoba beads, lavender, etc.)
    • Plastic moulds
    • Baking rack

    Instructions for ReBatching soap noodles:

    1. Crush the soap noodles or grate soap so that you have at least 2 cups (250g) of grated soap; place in either a stainless steel or glass bowl.  The general idea is that the soap melts far easier when small, and you achieve a much smoother consistency.  ReBatchSoap

    2. Melt the soap. Add the water (or you can choose coconut milk for a smoother consistency of soap) to the milled noodles in the bowl, use just enough liquid to wet the flakes. (If you use too much liquid, you’ll just have to wait longer for the soap to cure — see step 6.)

    Some guide to volume of liquid required with our Organic Soap Noodles (Not required with our Rebatch Base  (shop link)

    Soap Water
    250g 150 g
    500g 350g
    1 kg 700g
    1.5 kg 1 kg

    Place the bowl over a saucepan of water about a third full to create a double boiler. Over medium-low heat, stir frequently and gently with a wooden spoon so that soap doesn’t stick to the bottom of the bowl and you don’t make suds. Stir until the soap liquefies. (If soap appears to be drying out, add water or milk.) It should appear somewhat lumpy and translucent)  ReBatchBoil

    Another way is by using a baking or "oven" bag where you can use the bag as a piping bag to get the soap into the moulds once the melt is finished. As with the double boiler crockpot method, add the grated soap and liquid/milk into a boiling bag. Then close the bag tightly with a twist-tie and put it into a large pot of lightly boiling water.

    3. Add other ingredients. Using oven mitts, remove the bag from the boiling water or look inside the double boiler. Check the soap mass. It should have started to soften, and become translucent by now. If it hasn't, just be patient, it will.(approx 30 minutes for 250g soap & added water).   You are now ready to make the additions. Be very careful; the soap mass will be very hot!Place the bag onto the counter and open it up. Be very careful of escaping steam.  Add the additives, fragrances or colours you want. We suggest no more than 3% fragrance oil in your ReBatch as too much oil can affect the set time and the performance of the soap. Close the bag back up and squish it to mix up all ingredients. Or mix the ingredients in the pot thoughly.  

    4. Pipe or spoon soap into moulds. You can use either a plastic rectangular container or you can use cake-candy moulds , or any other type of mould you like. You can also use moulds of seasonal shapes, such as Christmas trees or stars, for a festive look. If you have used the oven bag  cut a cormer and use it as a piping bag, alternatively spoon the ReBatch mix into your prepared moulds.  ReBatchMouldTap the moulds gently on the counter to settle the soap and remove any possible air pockets.


    5. Cool the soap. Let the soap sit in the moulds for a few minutes and then place in the freezer for up to an hour, to make it easier to remove from the soap.

    6. Cure the soap. This process can take up to three weeks dependent upon the amount of liquid added. Place the soaps on a drying rack so that air can get to all sides. Once hardened, the soaps are ready to be wrapped and used or presented as handmade gifts!

    For a decorative touch, wrap the bars in plain white tissue paper,parchment or celophane and secure the wrapping with a ribbon or length of yarn, and attach a handmade tag that indicates what’s in the soap.

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