Colour is a brilliant way to give your products your own flair, and to really personalise your makes. But, with so many options for powdered colours it can be hard to know which one is the best for your needs. In this blog we will break down the basics of the differences between the different powdered colourants we offer.
Coloured Micas, also known as Pearlescents, are a fine pigmented-coated mica powder. They are widely used in many cosmetic applications, and are the standard powdered colour used in the industry. Coloured Mica goes through a complex manufacturing process involving Mica Flakes, Titanium Dioxide and Iron Oxides or Ultramarines depending on the end colour, to become the vibrant colours we use today. For cosmetic use, Coloured Micas must then go through an extra process to refine and purify them even further.
Coloured Micas can be added singularly to pre-mixed eye-shadow bases for stunning eye-shadows, or make up your own colour by blending colours together. They are not limited to eye-shadows either, some of the more muted pinks, peaches and browns can be added to blusher to give a very successful effect, and can also be used to make your own mineral make-ups.
We currently stock 24 colour variations of Micas, all of our Mica’s are VEGAN, natural and sourced within Europe. Click the image below to visit the Mica page on our website and shop the colours.
Coloured, Coated Micas are different to normal Micas in that they are further coated enabling them to disperse in water, rather than float on the surface. This means they are perfect for bath bombs, or where your Mica may be introduced to water as it avoids the issue of the Mica being attracted to the surface which in some cases can temporarily stain the tub.
Like normal Mica they can be widely used in cosmetic applications. They are almost all very alkali tolerant making them ideal for use in Cold Process soaps as well as in mineral make up. They add bright colour and iridescence to many cosmetic products, although their large particle size means they are not suitable in liquid bases or melt and pour soaps as they sink-out of suspension.
We currently hold 10 colour variations of Coated Micas in stock, click the image below to view the in our web store.
Almost without exception, Mineral and Organic pigments have a high tolerance to alkali or acid conditions and the colour they appear to be in powder form is the same colour they lend to the products they are added to. Pigments will not bleed within Melt & Pour soaps. Oxides and ultramarines are the easiest colours to use within your Cold Process soap. They are the least likely to fade, and can be intentified by having either ‘Oxide’ or ‘Ultramarine’ in the INCI name.
Mineral Pigments have an especially large partical size and add colour by dispersing rather than solubising (which means Mineral Pigments do not dissolve in liquid.) Generally speaking, Mineral Pigments are ideal for colouring Cold Process soap, dry toiletries such as bath bombs and many forms of make-up. They are less suitable in liquid products as their large particle size means they sink-out of suspension and they also detract from clarity.
Organic Pigments in their powdered form are insoluble in water, so are more limited in their use. They disperse in oils and some forms of solvents and add colour by ‘coating’ the molecules of products they are added to. This means they shouldn’t be used in dry toiletries such as bath bombs, neither should they be applied directly to the skin as they can cause staining. Organic pigments are very alkali tolerant and can be used successfully in Cold Process Soaps. It is important to note that the term ‘Organic’ in this context is only to distinguish from Mineral, it does NOT refer to pigments being certified organic by any organisation.
Click the image below to view all of our range of Mineral and Organic Pigments.
Dyes differ from pigments in that they dissolve rather than disperse or suspend. Liquid dyes are easily recognised but powdered dyes look much like a powdered pigment although should not be added to your products in powdered form, but rather they should be diluted (usually in water) and then used to add colour to your products. In most cases a concentrated liquid dye should be made from a powder by adding 5% of powdered dye to 95% clean water (deionised if you prefer) and if you intend to keep them for any time we’d advise adding a suitable preservative. Dyes have a tiny particle size and ‘travel’ through any aqueous product which means that they will ‘bleed’ when added to a melt & pour soap, so although they are easy to use and there’s a lot of choice, you may need to think how you use them if you’re making complex, maybe layered or multi-coloured melt and pour soaps.
In recent times Coloured Clays have become a more popular way of colouring your products due to their natural pastels. It is also worth mentioning, clays are very popular as they are not required to have any Colour Index (CI) number and so are listed as an ingredient rather than a ‘colour’, so you can still label your product as ‘uncoloured’ or ‘colour-free’. We currently have a small range of coloured clays, but in 2018 we will be acquiring some more to meet customer requests/expectations. They are great for colouring your makes and can be used in more products that you might think. To use in CP soaps you simply mix them in a small amount of an oil before adding, but they can also be used successfully in many other liquid products such as body washes and shampoos where they not only add colour, but their natural texture and moisture absorbtion properties can also add great ‘feel’ and ‘conditioning’ properties to these products. When using them in liquid products it’s best to mix them with a small amount of the product to a smooth paste before adding to the bulk, which helps prevent ‘spotting’. The colours they create are often delicate and pastel, and give a very ‘natural’ look and because clays are a light-weigh product they stay in suspension well in viscous liquids.
Click the image below to view all of our range of Coloured Clays.
As with all products, powdered colourants can take some getting used to and it’s only natural to have some issues.
Is this colour organic: Colours labelled as organic are labelled as so as they are organically occurring, and not because they are certified organic. It is currently not possible to get any organic colourants, unless you use an organic plant powder.
Is this colour Vegan: We are happy to announce all of the colours mentioned in this blog post are Vegan, this includes all Micas, Coated Micas, Pigments, Minerals, Powdered Dyes and Coloured Cosmetic Clays.
My soap looks grey: In this instance it is likely you simply need some more colourant. Lilacs and purples are notorious for producing a grey soap. It is also important to use a stick blender or a mixer to ensure your colour is properly mixed.
My soap looks speckled: This issue comes from your colour not being properly mixed. Stirring by hand is often not enough to mix your colourants properly so it is best to use a stick blender or a mixer. You can also mix your colour into a carrier oil before adding to your product, which will allow it to combine a lot easier.
My soap has a coloured lather: If you lather is also coloured, this means you have added too much colour. It is worth noting, thus far it is impossible to create a red soap without having a pink lather.
That about wraps up this basic guide to understanding powdered colours. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments or get in touch with us and we will answer you as best we can.