Saturday, September 8, 2012

Simply Sweet

My recent post on using rose clay to color soap naturally was my first venture into that process.  Recently Bramble Berry put out a natural colorant soap challenge to soap makers which gave me that little nudge to try it again.  I decided to go with an infusion of annatto seeds in olive oil to create a shade of orange that I hoped would be perfect for the last bit of orange essential oil I would be using.  Somehow, when I thought of what would complement the sweet scent of citrus orange, chocolate came immediately to mind.  The second natural colorant to enhance the always to-die-for scent of chocolate would be cocoa powder. 

I first began by infusing the annatto seeds into olive oil.  After doing a little research, I added 2 tsp of annatto seeds to ½ c light olive oil and placed both in a small double boiler to simmer on low.  I had originally planned to heat the annatto seeds and oil for 2 hours, but the color seemed pretty light, so in the end I let it infuse for five hours.  By this time, the infusion was at least a medium shade of orange which I thought would add sufficient color to the main base of the soap batch.

Once the infused oil had cooled, it was time to make soap!   I decided to use the annatto seed infusion at a rate of 5 percent.  For this one pound batch (16 oz of oils by weight) I added .8 oz of infused olive oil.  It initially seemed a little darker than I was hoping for but in the end turned a just-right shade of soft orange.

For the swirl, I separated out a small portion of soap and added 1 tsp of pre-moistened cocoa powder.  At light trace, I added orange essential oil to the main base, as well as the chocolate fragrance oil to the swirl portion. 

Timing is so important when trying to create a swirl, so I quickly proceeded before both portions of soap moved into a heavier trace.  I used a hanger to accomplish the swirl this time.  I’m fascinated by this method of swirling and amazed by the unique designs it creates.

So now, a sweet smelling batch of orange and chocolate is officially on the curing rack!  I really like the idea of using natural colorants and it may become something I do more often.


  1. Hello, I found your blog via a post on the Bramble Berry FB page. I bet that soap smells great, I love colouring with cocoa.

  2. Thank you, Lea, so nice to have you stop by! :)