TYPES OF COLORANTS:
Liquid Colorant for Soaps and Candles
The most widely used type of colorant, liquid colorants, can be a bit tricky and a tad frustrating. The squeeze-type, "dropper" bottles in which they are usually sold can be a little temperamental, dispensing multiple drops instead of just one or, worse yet, can squirt out a stream of color instead of just a drop.
COLOR TIP #1
When using liquid colorants, you may want to test-drop on a folded, white, paper towel first. Make sure you fold the paper towel to at least 3 thicknesses and test on a nonporous, stain-resistant surface to prevent accidental staining. In the picture below, you can see how one drop of each varies in size and intensity of color or saturation. Also, if allowed to sit for a time, you may see edge feathering in one of the base colors used to make the hue. For example, seafoam feathers to yellow; purple can feather to blue (as seen in the second test drop below) or red (as can be seen, center).
COLOR TIP #2
Understanding that everyone's eyes may perceive colors a little differently, I have never agreed with the bottled version of "red". It almost always appears more magenta to my eyes. Try mixing equal parts of red and orange. I've found this to yield a much truer shade of red.
COLOR TIP #3
Using only an ounce of soap, make a "color cube". This will give you an idea of how much colorant is required to obtain the desird color. If 5 drops are required in only one ounce, 20 drops will be needed for a 4-ounce bar. Most ice cube tray compartments hold approximately one ounce and can be used to mold your color cube.
The color cube tray above also consists of about one ounce of shea butter glycerin per cube or compartment, and liquid colorants in the following quantities and colors:
(A) 1 drop red
(B) 1 drop yellow
(C) 1 drop orange
(D) 2 drops seafoam
(E) 2 drops peach
(F) 2 drops red
(G) 2 drops yellow
(H) 2 drops orange
(I) 1 drop blue
(J) 1 drop green
(K) 1 drop purple
(L) 2 drops lilac
(M) 2 drops wine
(N) 2 drops blue
(O) 2 drop green
(P) 2 drops purple
There are MANY uses for these color cubes that will be explored.
Keep in mind, however, you don't necessarily want an intensely colored bar of soap. If a red soap lathers red, you've probably colored too strongly. Though skin staining is unlikely, except in rare and extreme cases, leaving a stain on or beside the tub, on the shower surround or by the sink is also something to be avoided. Mold your color cube in the ice cube tray, unmold and wash your hands. Did the lather color? Was the color transferred to you skin? To determine whether or not th color will stain bathroom ceramics, buy an inexpensive, 12-inch, white ceramic tile. Place the wet soap on the tile and leave to air dry. You'll be using the tile for countless other projects later.
Finally, my last point of frustration with liquid colorants is that most manufacturers don't label the bottles. Gold resembles orange which also resembles peach. Is it seafoam or green? Turquoise or blue?
COLOR TIP #4
Label the bottles of colorant as soon as you remove them from the package. A permanent marker will eventually rub off from the plastic surface, so a small cut of paper taped on or a cut of a non-removable shipping label works best. Don't use a water-based ink to label as it may smear. Should you forget this step, as I have many times, hold the bottle of colorant up to a light. The color should show through clearly enough to identify it with some accuracy.
Liquid colorants are the most widely used for soapmaking and utilization of the color tips should eliminate some of the challenges they present. Also, when using clear MAP soap bases, liquid colorants, generally, do not cloud or detract from that transparency.