Using FD&C Colorants in Handmade Soap

FD&C colors are made in a lab, so no, these are not a product that you will find on the shelf marked β€œ Natural. ”

Having said that, they have a huge pallet of colors to choose from. Any color you can imagine.

The FDA website tells us that a color additive is, β€œany dye, pigment or substance which when added to a drug, food or cosmetic, or to the human body, is capable (Alone or through reactions with other substances) of imparting color.” The FGA is responsible for the regulation of all color additives for safety and labeling of food, drug and cosmetics.

There has been a lot of balk about these colors though. In 1976 Red no.2 was banned for its possible links to cancer.
Now keep in mind that in most of if not all the processed foods we eat, like candy, french fries, cheese, boxed dinner mixes, sodas, medicines, vitamins, etc. etc. The list goes on and on of the things we use every day in life that contain FD&C colorants.

They are easy to use and inexpensive to use as well. The attractions to using these colorants in handmade soap are that they mix very smoothly, and are highly concentrated.
Because of their high concentration, I would advise anyone using FD&C colors when making handmade soap to cover you work surface with plastic, or a heavy craft paper.

I always wear my soap making gloves when using these colors, as they will stain clothing, hands and surfaces. These colorants will remain clear in melt & pour soaps.

They are not considered stable in an alkaline environment such as cold process soap. Some will change color in cold process soap, such as green. Green can turn purple or sometimes blue depending on the color of oils used in your recipe. If this concerns you, my suggestion would be to make a small test batch, to see how the colors will turn out with your recipe.

I tend not to concern myself so much with this colorant, being used in such tiny amounts in a wash off product such as handmade soap.

I have as have many other soapers, used them for just that. It is a learning experience using them, but most places that sell these colors for use in handmade soap have a lot of advice on how to use them.

They can also be mixed with a little Mica, to achieve a nice color effect. I find using the pearly micas is very nice with the FD&C colors, but to each their own.

General directions to mix these colors are to mix 1/16 tsp. Colorant to 1 tsp. of water. These colorants mix very easily in water with just a little stirring. Then add a little at a time to your soap mixture be it melt and pour, or cold process, until desired color has been achieved. I would suggest to start out using these colors with a dropper for control as a little colorant goes a long way.

There are FD&C colors also available already mixed in water for you. Some soap makers find these to be more convenient.

Some even have a color wheel to show you how to mix them to get the desired colors you want. And will also advise you on how much you should use in your handmade soap. This gives you some freedom to experiment to find your desired color.

These are fun colors to work with, but they will bleed, and certain colors will bleed more than others as well. As I have said before, it is a learning curve.

When purchasing FD&C colorants for handmade soap, I suggest buying them from companies that are intending you use these in handmade soap.

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