After Debbie’s Guest Post on using Oxides in Melt and Pour soap, I received some emails requesting more information about bleeding colorants. Thank you for the feedback – please, keep it coming.
Melt and Pour soap is an extremely versatile art form. The options for making exceedingly clean, precise and gorgeous designs are literally endless … that is, if you have the right colors.
What is bleeding? Bleeding is when a color from an embedded object or layer leaches out into the surrounding soap base (see example photo above and below). It is often a sad surprise when a beautiful design turns into a mushy, unrecognizable color blob. It’s still soap but it’s not quite the look originally intended.
Why do colors bleed? Melt and Pour base is a water soluble product. FD&C (Food, Drug & Cosmetic) colorants (like food coloring or Labcolors) are usually also water soluble as well. When there is no barrier or medium to form a protective line, the water soluble color will start to migrate (or swim) through the water soluble melt and pour.
What is the right color? If you would like to make a soap that looks like the glamorous Silhouette Soap on the right, with clean, crisp lines, it is important that you use a “Non-Bleeding” color. The right color is a generally colorant that is oil based or one that colors through dispersion. This means that the color doesn’t mix into the soap so much as it suspends little micro-particles throughout the soap, giving the illusion of constant color.
The “right” colors for non bleeding colors are:
Oxides (without exception)
Most Micas (some oil based lip colors do bleed)
Pigments & Oxides in liquid
Click here for a list of all of the Bramble Berry colorants that do not bleed in Melt & Pour soap.
If you’ve been hesitatant to try using Oxides or Pigments in Melt & Pour soap, now is the time to do it. Debbie did an amazing tutorial about using Oxides and Pigments in Melt and Pour. Following her instructions will significantly cut down your learning curve and allow you to acheive clean, crisp designs without stress about your colorants.
I’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest Soapers Gathering bright and early on Sunday morning. I won’t be doing a blog post tomorrow but I will be Twittering about the gathering and TwitPic’ing photographs all day. You can follow my Twitter feed here, look at the TwitPics on the right hand side of this blog or by going directly to my TwitPic feed here. I’ll (hopefully!) have a round up post about the gathering posted late tomorrow night or Monday morning.
Hi Brian –
Yes, the oxides and pigments are opaque. They will turn clear soaps cloudy.
Will the oxides and pigments turn clear soaps opaque or cloudy?
Eat Well (was Teresa R) says
That was very helpful indeed! Thank you.
Heavenly Scent Soaps says
I LOVE micas, too! And, I’ve found that Bramble Berry mica’s are some of the best!
Paula Kates says
Kathy, if your opaque or clear soap is one and only one color you do not need to worry about bleeding colorants. If you have layers or embeds of any other color touching or embedded in a color that bleeds, those layers or embeds will soak up the bleeding colorant regardless if the bases are clear or opaque.
koinonia community says
Thanks for the info, Anne-Marie. I am new to melt and pour, and am going to be leading a soapmaking class for at risk middle school girls. I need to learn quick. And I’ll have to jump over to buy some oxides and micas for the class! Now I know what to pick. =D
As a newbie to MP soaping, I have a simple question. Do I need to worry about bleeding in opaque soap base (and so use ONLY non-bleeding pigments and micas when layering with opaque) or is it just when using transparent base? What if I choose to use opaque base au naturelle — as a white layer? Will the dyes from another layer bleed into it?
Thanks! I’m really inspired by the techniques I’ve been learning on this blog!
Kathy in Bothell
I am such a fan of oxides. Most of my work is embedding actual soap and I like my soaps to stand the test of time. Great article…I really enjoy the BB oxides…It is all I use. I mix in liquid glycerin- a little work but the results last!
Paula Kates says
Because I specialize in non-bleeding colorants (many of them coming from Bramble Berry), for those soapers who have custom color requests or just a palette of favorite colors they would like in liquid form, I’m happy to custom mix them for others (as I do for myself). For soapmakers only, with a physical swatch or computer image I will provide 3 small color samples in clear or opaque soap at no charge. Just email me at [email protected]. This comes in VERY handy for wedding favors. Please keep in mind that if you are looking for true type color matches that will require making the samples from the exact same base you use. Either way I will also need to know what base you’ll be using.
This explains a lot thanks!
Bless you for that list! I’ve printed it out and now I’m going to mark all my jars and bottles. What a big big help this is.
Great information as always. Thanks so much!