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Colour guides


The past two months, I’ve been busy testing micas, pigments and lakes in cold process soaps and bath bombs. I’ve blogged about it, but to make it easier for you to find these posts, I’ve created some colour guides for you to use and download.

Micas in cold process soap

Pigments in cold process soap

Using lakes in bath bombs

You’ll also find these at the bottom of the blog under resources.

Please don’t copy or share these documents as your own. A lot of work has gone into them!

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The colour purple

This will be the last part of the mica colour tests for now. The colour purple has always been a difficult child of the colour family. It is hard to achieve with blending, because as you know purple is made with the two primary colours red and blue, but the undertone of the soap has yellow, which often leaves a rather muddied grey colour than the pretty purple you aimed for. This is one reason many soap makers turn to micas for the colour purple. However, not all micas perform well in cold process and purple is a particular colour prone to disappearing. If you want to know what I mean when I talk about colour disappearing, here’s an example.

I tested the three purple micas Pure Nature has in stock: Magic Violet, Silken Violet, and Dark Violet Purple. And here’s how they the performed in cold process soap:

Luckily, none of Pure Nature‘s purple micas disappeared, although the Dark Violet Purple did turn a dark grey, but the other two micas produced very pretty similar purple/violet colours.

I even found that one of them, Silken Violet, stayed fairly true to the colour of the mica in powder form. I think I may have a new favourite colour!

What can you expect this week in tutorials? Since I started this colour testing, I knew that when it was purple’s turn, I wanted to show you how to make gemstones out of melt and pour. So one of the tutorials will be to produce very pretty, sparkling amethyst soaps. The other tutorial will be a cold process soap, which will show you how to produce fine line swirls in soap. Check back for these tutorials and Happy Soaping!


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Got the blues?

After the long weekend away in Wellington, I really do feel I had the blues the past few days, which is why this post is a little later than usual. It’s a shame really, that we associate blue with feeling down, as it’s such a beautiful colour. Blue is the colour of sunny, cloudless skies, the deep blue sea with all its wonders, and of rare flowers and birds (blue is rather an uncommon colour in nature). So I really do think we do the colour blue a disservice, by calling the blues ‘the blues’.

This week’s micas are called Blue Lustre, Cambridge Blue, Iridescent Blue, and Magic Blue, all from Pure Nature, and the colours they morph into in cold process soap are not quite the blues you expect by seeing the micas. In the picture above, the micas are mixed with a little bit of oil, which usually brings out the colour even more. As you can see, the blues are all very bright and bold. The picture below shows the micas in cold process soap, straight after pouring into the mold. The colours have changed significantly, although they are still all in the blue range of the colour spectrum. The top two colours in particular have changed drastically.

Curing the soap for a week, and the results are quite revealing. The lightest of all the blue micas, Blue Lustre, is still the lightest colour of them all, but has turned into this gorgeous bright blue. It’s one of my favourite micas so far. My other favourite is Iridescent Blue, pictured right underneath Blue Lustre. This one has stayed the most true to its original mica colour. They’re also the colours I used in this week’s tutorials.

Looking at Cambridge Blue, this colour was always in the greyish part of the blue spectrum, and it will initially turn quite grey in cold process soap, and only get back some of its blue after curing. Magic Blue also changes significantly from its original mica colour, and loses most of its boldness. However, it still gives a nice, if a bit toned down, blue to cold process soap.

This week showed how important it is to test the micas before designing your soap. The micas were very similar in colour, with the exception of the Cambridge Blue, but the results in cold process soap show drastic differences between the colours. Which is why I always tell my students in my courses: test the colour in a small sample before you use it for the first time!

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Beautiful greens

What I like about Pure Nature‘s micas, is that most of them work pretty well in cold process soap, and it’s true again this week with the green micas. They stayed fairly true to their original colour, with only one of them ending up a different shade of green. One thing you do need to be aware of is that despite the colourant being a mica, you don’t end up with the sparkly, glimmer effect of the mica in the soap. I mention this especially, because one of the colours is called Shimmer Green, so you might be expecting a shimmer in your soap. It turns a beautiful shade of pale green, but there no shimmer.

The four micas I tested this week are Apple Green, Designer Green, Green Fruit and Shimmer Green. As I do every week, I disperse them into rice bran oil before adding them to the soap. The oil really brings out the mica shimmer, a pity it doesn’t show up in the soap.

All four micas coloured the soap green, and only the Green Fruit mica ended up a different shade of green as the original mica colour. The mica has the typical green you expect in your coloured pencils or crayon box, but it ends up towards the blue-green end of the spectrum in cold process soap. A very pretty green though!

The Shimmer Green, as mentioned earlier, will turn the soap a nice pale green colour, but without the shimmer. And the Designer Green will give you the darkest shade of green, slightly towards the grey-scale.

The Apple Green is a nice bold, yellow-green, but seems to be affected by slight differences in temperature. I’m testing the soaps without them going through the gel-phase, which also has an effect on the colour, and I noticed a colour morphing within the soap. The side at the top of the picture, which shows a slight difference in colour to the rest of the soap, was positioned on the outside of the soap mold and would have had experienced the coldest temperature. So be aware of that. I’ll be posting about the gel-effect on colours later in this series, and the colour chart will have all the colours both gelled and un-gelled, so you will be able to predict your soap colours when designing your soap.

This week I’ll be posting two tutorials, a beautiful swirly green soap and a refreshing minty whipped butter for your feet. Both will be using micas from the greens I discussed today.

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Sunny yellows and orange

I love sunny mornings and how it makes everything happier and brighter. Sunshine just seems to lift everyone’s spirits and moods. And although it’s been unbelievably cold this week, the sunny weather makes me care a lot less about the cold. I just wrap myself up in a warm jacket and woolly hat, and off I go walking the dog. I even look forward to it, despite the freezing temperature.

To reflect the happy, sunny weather we have at the moment, this week will be all about the yellows and orange colours. I have some great tutorials coming up later this week, but today, I’ll show you how the yellow and orange micas from Pure Nature behave in cold process soap.

Pure Nature has 2 yellow micas, Yellow Glitter and Magic Yellow, and one orange mica, Orange Saffron. All three produce beautiful, bright colours, but they do exhibit some strange behaviour during the process.

Let’s start with what the colours look like after a week of curing:

As you can see, the colours are nice and bright, and are true to what they are supposed to be. The yellows are what I think true yellows, there is no brown or orange hue  in them. The difference between them is slight, but the Magic Yellow is a warmer, richer yellow than the pastel-like Yellow Glitter.

The Yellow Glitter also took a little detour, before becoming this shade of yellow. For the first two days, I was convinced it was going to end up orange. Yes, that’s how long before it finally started turning back to nice yellow!


The orange on the other hand, behaved itself and remained orange throughout the process. No funny surprises here.

So for this week, enjoy the sunshine, and don’t forget to check back for some yellow and orange tutorials!