Though the summer is still young, I sometimes wish for the cool, dry air of autumn. It is easy to dream of such things, especially when you know that the crisp air comes in combination with all shades of orange, red, and yellow. When I saw the Mineral Autumn color palette for this month’s soap challenge hosted by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks, I never thought twice about choosing it for the natural colorants trial. It was a chance to try two new botanicals for the red and yellow (new for me I mean.) Yet, I had never before managed to achieve red with natural colorants so I thought it was going to be the hardest part of the challenge.
I did not have any red reef clay (it looks so beautiful in Amy’s demo soap!) so I did some research (aka net surfing ;-)) and found a wonderful post written by Amy @ Tenth Avenue . Thanks to this post I decided to work with madder root for the red in the palette.
I followed her advice and made an infusion of 1 tablespoonful of madder root in 114 g oil ( I used sunflower oil) and used that oil at the rate of 20% of my total oils.
The paprika infused oil (1 tablespoon in 80 g of sunflower oil) was 10% of the total oils and the annatto seed infused oil (1 tablespoon seed in 80 g sunflower oil) was 2% of the total oils in the recipe.
I used bamboo charcoal for the dark gray as it is used for sweets here and thus more easily available than activated charcoal. The white part is just the soap without any additives but I did use sunflower oil as, unlike olive, it does not discolor. I also gelled all the batches because natural colorants get better after the soap gels and I like the feel of transparency in gelled soap quite a lot.
Once again, for the colors I used:
1. Sweet paprika infused sunflower oil: 1 tablespoonful in 80 g oil; the infused oil was 10% of the total oils
2. Madder root infused sunflower oil: 1 tablespoonful in 114 g oil; the infused oil was 20% of the total oils
3. Annatto seed infused sunflower oil: 1 tablespoon in 80 g of oil; the infused oil was 2% of the total oils
4. Bamboo charcoal powder: 1/20 tablespoonful added directly to the soap batter at light trace
Autumn is a beautiful season and I love its colors but they always make me feel a little sad. What with the expectation of the cold winter days, lack of flowers and cloudy skies… So for this soap I really wanted to have a design which will look a bit cheerful. That’s why I decided to have the black-and-white embed along with the other colors. I made separate embeds as I was worried about bleeding. Though it is not immediately visible, the colors do tend to bleed as the time passes on. I made five different mini batches for the embeds which I put together in one batch. Here is the finished soap.
Putting all the embeds together was a kind of difficult as I had to stick them one by one in th mold while pouring soap batter on top to make sure they will stay together even after the soap has been unmolded.
With these warm colors, I scented the soap with a blend of patchouli, tea tree, Japanese cypress, and bergamot essential oils.
I am glad I tried madder root and annatto seed as now I have two more natural colorants to use in my all-natural soaps. Many thanks again to Amy Warden for choosing this month’s themes and giving us a chance to explore new “territories.”
I am very much looking forward to seeing all the wonderful creations this month. I hope that everybody enjoys this Challenge as much as I have.