Naturally colored lavender soap

There are a couple ways to get purple in soap using natural colorants.  My favorite herb to use is alkanet infused in olive oil.  But I wanted to try something different.  For this soap I used indigo and madder added to the lye water.  Here’s what I did…

The recipe – 2 oz castor, 8 oz coconut, 8 oz lard, 10 oz olive oil, 3.9 oz lye & 8 oz water.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of madder root powder and 1/4 teaspoon of indigo powder to your water before you add the lye.

Add the lye slowely while stirring.

Melt the solid oils, add the liquid oils and add your fragrance.  I used lavender essential oil.

Once your oils and lye solution are ready…pour the lye solution into the oils.  I poured my lye solution through a stainless steel strainer to strain out some of the herb powder.

Stickblend to trace.

Pour it into the mold.  I let mine set up a bit and  teased the top with a craft stick.  Then I added some lavender buds.

Since the top of the soap didn’t reach above the mold I covered with a piece of wax paper and a piece of wood and set it on a heating pad to go through gel.  Here it is in gel stage.

The next morning it was ready to cut.  Here’s a tip on cutting soap with botanicals on the top without getting the “botanical drag” through the soap.  Lay the soap on it’s side and cut in that position.  It won’t drag the buds down through the soap  like if you were cutting from top down.

So overall I’m pretty happy with the outcome.  It’s not a dark or very striking purple that you can achieve using alkanet.  It’s more of a dusty vintage type of purple.  I think if it were a flat plain bar it would be a bit boring…but the sculpted tops and light sprinkle of lavender buds make it all come together and look pretty good.  I’m happy with it.


About the Author:

I am a soapmaker, author and blogger! I started blogging in 2008, sharing soap recipes, design tutorials and publishing articles on various topics of soapmaking.


  1. Leigh September 23, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Hi Amanda

    I am very new to soap making and desperate to make glycerine soap base – do you have a recipe that I can follow please?

    I would like to try the above recipe, with regards to the lye solution – can you explain how I achieve this.

    May seem like silly questions, but I’m brand spanking new at this.

    I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide me with.


  2. Laura@3113 Soap August 9, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Great write up and the pics are perfect for helping set your point! I too love natural colorants but my sometimes too “math” brain doesn’t figure out the simple things like using a craft stick to tease up the top lol. I have no idea how long it might have taken me to start trying out things to get a similar look, one that I like to see when shopping for soaps. It adds”fun” to an already great soap!

  3. Joanne O'Dea July 23, 2011 at 3:59 am

    HI Amanda ,
    Just on youtube Cherrie had some soaps from your blog 2010 have been achieved any access to achieved files from last year . love your blog

  4. Joanne O'Dea July 10, 2011 at 3:38 am

    what can i use in stead of castor oil for mini funnel drop swirl recipe:

    • Amanda July 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

      Hi Joanne, There really isn’t a sub for castor so I would just omit it and run your recipe through a lye calc.

  5. Joanne O'Dea July 10, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Hi Amanda,
    what can i use in stead of castor oil for mini funnel drop swirl recipe:

  6. Joanne O'Dea July 10, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Thanks for re-sending them . Very Happy now on my last batch of soap i had white Ash any ideas what i am doing wrong.

    • Amanda July 11, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Hi Joanne,

      Ash is just part of soap making. It is an aesthetic issue. You can polish your soaps under water or scrape off using a vegetable peeler. To prevent it, you can try spraying your soap with alcohol.

  7. Joanne O'Dea July 7, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I have purchases the evine 1-2 can’t download can somone send me Amanda email address the one i have come back un-delivered all the time not very happy about this ,

    thanks Jo

  8. Sonya June 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Is alkanet root available in any “normal” stores? What would it be with or would it be in any ethnic grocer? I’ve visited several natural/health/herb type stores locally and can’t seem to find it anywhere. I would like a natural purple, too.

    • Amanda June 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Hi Sonya – I haven’t found it in any stores. I get mine from Good luck!

  9. Jennifer June 19, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Can you tell me where you get Indigo? I was given some as a gift – fine egyptian natural Indigo. And I need it in one of my soaps but I am running out!! Arrrggg. Is yours completely natural and who is your supplier? Thank you! xo Jen

    • Amanda June 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Jennifer – I actually had this indigo from awhile ago. I was looking the other day and couldn’t find much. Bebe Molds has some. It looks like Soap Making Resource has some back in stock.

  10. Deb June 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Lovely, as always. Your soaps are so beautiful!

  11. Stacey June 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Very nice. Looks like lovely soaps!

Comments are closed.