Coloring Soap and Cosmetics With Mica
Continuing on in our series on soap colorants:
We talked last time about natural colorants such as herbs and purees. Today, I’d like to talk about man made colorants, specifically micas.
If you want strong color, you’ll likely be using micas, FD&C colors, Lakes or pigments. Therefore, you’ll want to know the differences between them so that you know how to get the result you desire in your soap and avoid disappointment.
Micas are lab created versions of natural micas found in the earth plus oxides, etc. added for color. The mica itself is called “nature identical,” but the added colorants may not be. They come in every color of the rainbow, and more–shimmer, glitter and metallic types included. They may be used without caution for melt and pour soap, but might morph or disappear before your very eyes in cold process/hot process soap! I’ll never forget the green I once added, only to make a lovely purple in my cold process batch.
If you’d like to use your micas in CP/HP, be sure to do a bit of research to find out how each one works in soap. Some vendors offer lists or reviews on how each mica they offer works in soap.
Additionally, some micas bleed, while others do not. If you see a dye in the INCI, it will probably bleed, so use it accordingly. (Bleeding refers to color migrating into the the rest of the soap, not necessarily on to washcloths, and such) Micas are a staple in mineral makeup and other body products, but be sure to ask for recommendations and experiment with small batches to make sure the colorant works. For instance, you don’t want the colorant from bath salts clinging to the tub. I can pretty much guarantee that your customers will not be happy!
To add micas to soap, mix directly into soap or into a bit of rubbing alcohol for melt & pour or a small amount of soap that you add to the batch for CP/HP. Most soapmakers find them quite easy to incorporate.
As for makeup and other cosmetics, research the colorant used in your mica to determine whether or not it is an approved colorant for your application. For instance, green oxide is not permitted in the US for lip colorants. Each country and the EU has its own standards for colorant use.
Next time, we will talk about pigments.
Until then, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne for the Saponifier
PS: Don’t forget to vote for your favorite design entries in our DesignMania contest! http://saponifier.com/vote-design-mania-contest/