Updated: Coloring Soap Without Clays

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~The Lorax

Updated? What? Yes. There is always room for improvement.  I’ve been thinking, again, in the hot tub (AKA The Think Tank). After thinking, I got to researching because thinking without researching does not lead to action! Once you stop thinking, learning, improving, I say game over. So what’s the news? You may not like it….I get so doomsday-ish but I am the brightest, shining star in the world of doomsday. How is that? When the state of the world seems dark and hopeless, I remember all I can control is what I do. I can only control my bubble. Period. So I do my best and forget the rest!!!

Clay in cosmetics, it is everywhere. Natural clay can color soaps so beautifully. Clay can be amazing for your face, extracting & pulling oils & toxins out from our skin. But, sadly, clay is mined from the Earth and that is not so beautiful. Mining clay has negative effects on our environment such as air and water pollution, soil erosion, & loss of biodiversity to name a few. I know clay is mined for other applications as well, not just the cosmetic industry. But again, like I say, I can control some things and my ingredients are controllable. So what does this revelation mean for my products? It means I am going to stop using clay to color my soaps. I am going to stop using the current stock of Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth) and French Green clay in my masks. I will replace those ingredients with Dead Sea Mud, wait for it, I know, it is extracted as well, but please continue reading because I have good news. I have a source for Dead Sea Mud that is verified by ECOCERT. What does that mean? It means my source for the Dead Sea Mud conforms to the COSMOS standard. What does that mean?!? ECOCERT Greenlife leads the Earth in certification of natural or organic cosmetics and raw materials. They enforce the COSMOS standard who has united international cosmetics businesses with the aim of achieving long-term sustainability. Approved products are independently verified from sourcing to distribution, including environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes, avoidance of GMO and prohibited substances, and the use of eco-friendly. Now you can follow the links above to learn more or you can just feel good about doing what you can to reduce your footprint here on this glorious Earthship!!!

Below is from a few years ago when I started investigating coloring soaps.

It took me a while to go full tilt natural in my soap making. My nature is to learn & improve along my journey. My soaping passion is learning what ingredients are truly from nature and kind to the Earth. The basic ingredients I use, oils & butters, are easy to determine but when coloring soap, I found the path a little more distracting. I’m easily distracted say by, glitter and bright colors.

I started coloring soap with oxides which is, or was, mined from the Earth. I say was because at some point people realized/decided the mined oxides were full of natural contaminants such as lead, mercury, arsenic, no thanks, not on my skin! So these days, cosmetic grade oxides are made in a laboratory (probably a good decision) and are considered pure, nature identical, and do not contain synthetic coloring, which is great, but not for me. Ingredients from a lab are definitely not what I think of when I am looking for natural ingredients. Since lab ingredients are not my passion, oxides were discontinued last year.

Raw mica is mined from the Earth. It is an expensive process so mica is predominately used for electronics. When processing mica for bath & beauty products, mica is mined, colored with fun, vibrant, synthetic  FD&C coloring, which again, is not natural. Plus, PLUS, FD&C coloring is linked to many health problems (I recently took my kid off FD&C food coloring because she was having PMS symptoms, at age 7. No thanks.)

In addition to oxide and mica being processed in a lab, they are both mined and we know mining is  not kind to nature. What is kind to nature? Organic pigments, herbs and spices, are 100% natural and grown from the Earth. I could grow my own! Maybe one day.

Pigments included but are not limited to:

  • Turmeric ~ Yellow to Orange
  • Annatto Seed ~ Yellow
  • Indigo Powder ~ Blue Jean to jade green
  • Madder Root ~ Red/orange
  • Spirulina ~ Deep Green
  • Alkanet Root ~ Deep purple
  • Brewed Coffee ~ Brown

So, soap can be visually captivating and fun without exposing our skin to lab created, synthetic, Frankenstein colorants. I trust nature, not science! (That, my friend, would be too intense a subject to blog about. Let’s keep it chill.) I just started playing with these new ingredients and I am very happy with the results. I look forward to mixing more and getting creative!

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