Non-Bleeding Liquid Colorants
As with all other colorants, non-bleeding liquid colorants present their own unique challenges as well as their own benefits.  Addressing the challenges:  non-bleeding liquid colorants are not generally offered in craft stores, so internet researching and purchasing may be required.  Non-bleeding liquid colorants are also a bit more expensive.  As can be seen in the picture below, the bottles of colorant vary in size and some are sold without a squeeze drop top (although the vender may offer the squeeze drop attachment separately).  They also vary in formulation:  some are categorized as "pigments"; some are called "oxides"; still others are referred to only as "non-bleeding" or "cosmetic grade" colorants.  Whether or not it is instructed on the bottle, it's a good idea to give the bottle a good shake prior to use as this type of colorant tends to separate, with the pigment settling below the liquid in which it is suspended.


Though there are likely numerous online vendors, I have utilized three:  www.brambleberry.com (from whom I purchased the smaller squeeze drop bottles on the front row above); www.OregonTrailSoaps.com (which yielded the larger squeeze drop bottles pictured on the second or middle row); and www.GoPlanetEarth.com (from which I ordered the flat-topped bottles on the second and top row).  Though there were good sale prices and a fairly broad color selection offered by www.GoPlanetEarth.com, the absence of a squeeze drop top presents a major challenge:  how to get the colorant into the melted soap base.

I tried using an eye dropper to deliver the color to the melted base, but this merely clogged up the eye dropper.  My solution was extremely "low tech":  I simply dipped a craft stick into the bottle of colorant, using a cautious and slow approach because I didn't want to submerge it too far into the colorant.  Once the colorant was on the craft stick, I held the stick over the melted soap base and allowed it to drip into the soap base.  This gave me some semblance of a measurable, repeatable control over the intensity of the color.  In situations where I am less concerned with reproducibility of results, I make a shallower dip into the colorant and use the dipped craft stick to stir in the colorant.
[A]   OTS   3 drops Pearl Green
[B]   (OTS)   3 drops Daffodil Yellow
[C]   (OTS)   3 drops Bluebell
[D]   (BB)   1 drop Violet Non-Bleeding
[E]   (BB)   1 drop Liquid Brown Oxide
[F]   (BB)   1 drop Liquid Yellow Pigment
[G]   (BB)   1 drop Liquid Blue
[H]   (BB)   2 drops Liquid Black Oxide
[I]   (GPE)   2 drips* Be Bop Blue Colorant - Cosmetic Grade
[J]   (GPE)   2 drips Tomato Red Colorant - Non-Bleeding
[K]   (BB)   3 drops Non-Bleeding Red
[L]   (OTS)   3 drops Tulip Red Liquid
[M]   (GPE)   4 drips* Teal Green Colorant - Cosmetic Grade
[N]   (GPE)   2 drips* Red Cabbage Colorant - Non-Bleeding
[O]   (GPE)   2 drips* Mellow Melon Colorant - Cosmetic Grade
[P]   (GPE)   3 drips* Sunshine Yellow Colorant - Cosmetic Grade

* This is not a typo.  These are color cubes made by allowing drops to drip from a dipped craft stick.

(OTS) = www.OregonTrailSoaps.com
(BB) = www.brambleberry.com
(GPE) = www.GoPlanetEarth.com

Color cubes J, K and L are of particular note.  These all contain red colorants, but there is a difference in the strength of the color that presents.  As I suspect a "drip" is fractionally larger than a "drop", I put 3 drops in cubes K and L.  Even with that allowance, the difference is marked.  This, again, illustrates the value of making color cubes.


The descriptive information given online was surprising in some cases, as some "non-bleeding" colorants were described as having a risk of color bleeding in two-color applications.  It could be my perspective, but when would you have a risk of color bleeding in one-color applications?  Still, I made it a point NOT to order those colors as I have other coloring options that run a two-color application bleeding risk.

Finally, non-bleeding liquid colorants are NOT clear.  The color cubes pictures on the previous page are made from shea butter glycerin.  Of course, their use in any of the white or opaque glycerin bases is going to lighten the colors substantially more than use in a clear glycerin base.  However, the clear soap base will not retain all of its clarity with the use of these colorants.  The color itself, however, will be much truer.

COLOR TIP #10
Non-bleeding colorants may be more difficult to find in local craft stores, however, there are numerous online stores that carry a broad range of color, bottle size and price options (as non-bleeding colorants will likely be more costly).

COLOR TIP #11
Non-bleeding colorants tend to separate.  Be sure to shake the bottle prior to use even if separation is not apparent.

COLOR TIP #12
For more reproducible results; use a craft stick to drip colorant into melted soap if the bottle is not a squeeze top type.

COLOR TIP #14
Non-bleeding colorants are (generally) not clear and will cloud the clarity of clear glycerin soaps.  However, the colors are a bit stronger in clear soap than in any of the opaque bases.

Food Dyes/Colorants
Some say, "Yes"; some say, "No"; I say, "Moderation".  Have you ever eaten a slice of birthday cake decorated with lovely blue flowers and ended up with temporarily blue-stained lips, teeth and tongue?  It took a high saturation of food coloring to obtain that beautiful color.

As with the liquid colorants for soaps and candles, when using or contemplating the use of food dyes or colorants, do a drop test on a folded, white paper towel or napkin.  This will give you some idea of hue and saturation.  The only color for which I may turn to food coloring is black.  Even then, I prefer to use the non-bleeding colorant.

COLOR TIP #15
If you get a true black in any white or opaque soap base, you've used too much food coloring!  For me, ONE drop of black food coloring per 1-1/2 ounce of CLEAR glycerin yields a fairly true black without any surface staining.  With the exception of Halloween soaps, I only use black as an accent color in other soaps and, generally, in limited quantity.


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