Clay in Cold Process Soap

Clay is a wonderful natural colorant to use when making soap. There are so many different types of clay. Not only do you get the stunning natural coloring, but you also get the benefit of the clay in your soap.

Clay is drawing and detoxifying. Clay is also a gentle exfoliant, so I love to use it in facial soap for a gentle scrub.

(The below is originally from How to Color Soap.)

Cosmetic Clays

  • Colors produced: A dusty range of cream, yellow, gray, green, purple, red, pink and orange.
  • Color fading: Clays tend not to fade.
  • Color bleed/migration: Clays will not bleed or migrate in soap.
  • pH sensitivity: Clays are not effected by the high pH of soap.
  • Natural or synthetic: Clays are considered a natural colorant.
  • Usage rate: 1 teaspoon per pound of soapmaking oils. Use less for a lighter color or more for a darker color.

How Does Clay Color Soap?

Clays color soap by suspension of their particles.

Wet Clays Prior to Mixing into Soap

Clays draw moisture into them so it is important to wet your clay prior to adding to your soap. Usually you can eyeball the amount of water to add. Add an equal amount of water, mix, and add more if the clay is really pasty.

The reason I like to wet clays prior to adding to soap is so the clay doesn’t draw in too much moisture from the soap mixture causing cracks or crumbly soap.

wetting clay for soap

When do you add them to your soap?

  • If you are making a single colored soap, you can add clay directly to the lye solution (lye + water). This helps draw the color out and gives you more intense colors when using clay.
  • If you are making a swirled soap, you can add each color to thinly traced soap.

Usage Rates for Cold Process Soap

Dry Clay – 1 teaspoon per pound of soapmaking oils. Use less if you desire a lighter color and use more if you desire a darker color. Wet with water before adding to your soap.

Check out these beautiful Aussie Clays from Soaper’s Supplies! I ordered a couple of sample packs from Rae Jean. If you aren’t part of the Soaper’s Supplies Facebook group, I recommend joining. There are some great deals!

From left to right: Aussie Reef Red, Aussie Midnight Black, Aussie Ivory, Aussie Pastel Pink. I simply added the clay to trace. I love the red and pink.

Aussie Clay in Soap

Photo by Busy Bee Creative Product Photography

For more another clay gallery of clay in soap, check out Natural Soap Colorants Gallery – Clays Added at Trace.

red kaolin

For some cold process soap recipes using natural clay, check out these tutorials on Lovin Soap.

Natural Clay In-The-Pot Soap Swirl + Video

natural-clay-soap

Rose Clay and Cucumber Peel Powder Cold Process Soap

rose_clay_soap

Rose Clay and Madder Root Powder Cold Process Soap

madderRoseclay

Sea Clay and Stevia Leaf Powder

sea_clay_soap

 

Happy Soaping!

-Amanda Gail

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.

34 Comments

  1. Teresa Soderlund July 31, 2017 at 3:48 am - Reply

    hi – does adding clay to cold process soap cause the essential oil scent to be not as strong in the finished bar? I feel I’ve read somewhere it has this effect but can’t find that info again!
    Teresa

  2. Emilie Rufin June 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    I used kaolin clay in my soap and i love the white color.
    Wants to have natutal color of my soap.

    • Tracy S July 24, 2017 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Emilie, can you give me a recipe with kaolin clay that does not use palm oil?

  3. Dione May 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    How are the clays in hp? Do they give off a nice bold color?

  4. Elisabeth Tyler July 5, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I just got a bunch of clays in the mail last week and I’m really excited to start soaping with them. Thanks for all the great information.

  5. Jaslind July 5, 2016 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    I love to use Pink Clay and French Clay in both techiques, cold process and melt & pour. Its nice to Saw those beautiful and natural tones in the soaps.

  6. Paula July 5, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I have only used rose and white kaolin clay on my soaps.
    Great blog!
    Thanks ?

  7. Amanda Gail July 5, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Thank you for all of your comments! I decided that you’re all winners! I’ve emailed you a copy of the eBook! 🙂 Thanks for supporting my blog. -Amanda

  8. Darlene Gregson July 5, 2016 at 8:57 am - Reply

    I like fullers earth clay for my facial bars. It gives a nice natural earth color.

  9. Ada July 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    I love white kaolin to whiten my soap, and Australian blue clay make a lovely and soft blue tone.

  10. Jacqueline. Mayse July 4, 2016 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    My favorite is French green clay. I use it my facial bars and love? the beautiful olive green shades I can create.??

  11. Renee C July 4, 2016 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I use white kaolin to anchor scents and make my soap whiter. I also love pink kaolin but use with caution since 1t made 500g oil really, really dark pink, in fact, maybe better described as light red.

  12. Penny Harper July 4, 2016 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I love the rose color of Moroccan Red Clay. I love to vary it by adding a regular red color to it as well, but plain is great. I like to swirl it with the natural cream color of soap!

  13. Amy Durden July 4, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Sea green, no, Austrailian black with the range of grays, and blues I can get. Or Moroccan red-love the deep brick red that gives!

  14. Nneka iweka July 4, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I love fuller’s earth as a clay natural colorant in my cold processed soap, because of its ability to absorb oils and prevent acne, it also lightens the skin. Thanks amanda, ‘lovin soap’ studio has greatly helped me in making lovely soaps.

  15. Teresa July 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I really like the french green clay and the purple Brazilian. I’m just starting out as a soaper so I’m learning as I go I’m really into natural colorants.

  16. Camille Mullen July 4, 2016 at 4:59 am - Reply

    I love rose kaolin clay. It adds a lovely color and feel to my soapy creations.

  17. Katie July 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Dead sea clay is my favorite. It makes an awesome facial soap!

  18. Tyeler July 3, 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Hey Amanda!!!
    Right now my favorite clays are Rae Jean’s midnight black an red reef! They come out absolutely beautiful in soaps! I’ve disbursed both an made solid colors an also spotted colors! I’d love to try Rose clay, Olive green and I think French yellow! Honestly I’d use all colors of clay I’d I could! One of my absolute favorites is Indian healing clay bc of the texture it adds! Love you girl!!
    Sincerely,
    Tyeler Marie

  19. Penka July 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    I love clays in soap. Where I come from women used to wash their hair with clay and rince it with home-made vinegar. Every household would dig and sun dry their own clay.

  20. Marilyn K. July 3, 2016 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I’ve used rose clay and sea clay for coloring soap and love both of them. I’m just starting to experiment with some of the Brazilian clays and kaolin clay. In addition to the beautiful colors they add I love the quality of the lather in the soap made with clay.

  21. Sandra July 3, 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I love the Rose Kaolin Clay to color my cold process soaps, but I also love all the clays and spices. Spices facinate me on how they look when u first pour them then after ur 12-24hrs of bedtime when u uncover the soap ur clays are going to be as expected but what is its neighbor gonna look like. It’s so hard to wait past 12hrs before cutting. I also love the Clay family for an additive to skin cleansers, toners and creams and ur all important masks. I just love Clay and the fascinating story behind each one

  22. Fitri July 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Never failed to include kaolin clay in all of my batches for its cosmetic properties, anchoring my scent & to get more whiter base color. 🙂

  23. wallis l hicks July 3, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    I love rhassoul clay for its skin benefits and Brazilian rose clay for coloring clay!
    Wallis Lahtinen-Hicks

  24. Debbie July 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    I’ve used kaolin, rose, red, and blue in my soaps. I’d like to try purple sometime. Recently I used blue clay with BB Blueberry Jam fragrance, and rose clay for BB Blooms and Berries fragrance.

  25. Penny July 3, 2016 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I started with the rose kaolin clay and still use it the most.

  26. Judy July 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    My favorite clay in CP soap is Purple Brazilian Clay, although I do use a lot of others.

  27. Gretchen O July 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    My favorite is sea clay. I love the muted gray/green color it gives to soap. I’m also a big fan of purple. And pink. And red. Do I really have to pick a favorite??

  28. SOSBLISS July 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    I love Cambrian Blue Clay. I love the blueish color it gives the soap.

  29. Marlene watts July 3, 2016 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Love the look of them all. Honestly I am so new at this I haven’t tried the clays I behave all males in my house. Male grandchildren. I think the gray and cream is so suitable for them. Very excited about reading about the use and how the look.

  30. Traci Salt July 3, 2016 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I love Moroccan red clay. I also use white Kaolin Clay to most of my soaps . I just ordered a bunch of new clays to experiment with. Olive green , Yellow , Red Reef , and several others . I can’t wait to try them

  31. Coyal M. Gorman July 3, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I use kaolin clay in all my soaps. I have not used colored clays to
    color my soaps. Would love to try.

  32. Cindy D July 3, 2016 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I love rose kaolin clay in cp soap!

  33. Giota Noutsi July 3, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Pink is my favorite clay, although I use a lot of them, like white red green and yellow.

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