Just because we don't use color in our soap doesn't mean it's bad for you! There are plenty of ways to add variety to the look of your soap both safely, and naturally. Many fragrances and additives naturally change the color of soap. As you can see in our store we have many different shades in our soap without the use of color. Fragrance is the big factor for us. Usually sweeter fragrances tend to turn the soap tan or even dark brown in some cases. This is because of Vanillin which is the compound that gives Vanilla it's flavor. You can read a bit more about it over at Soap Queen's Blog.
So Vanilla turns Cold Processed soap brown, what other ingredients can we use to change the color of soap? Micas are always a good choice! They are non-toxic minerals mined from the earth. Most of them have a naturally green or blue hue to them. For red, purple, yellow and many other colors, oxides are usually mixed in with the micas to cover the full color spectrum. Sometimes micas will be mixed with FD&C pigments to give it a brighter look. The only real downside is the cost. Some of the more exotic colors (like the purples, or pinks) can get a little expensive but not prohibitively so. When working with large amounts of mica be sure to wear a mask or have a well ventilated room. The particles are quite tiny and you don't want to breathe those in.
Micas are always a good choice and are easy to work with, but what else can we use? Clays are another popular additive to soap making. Not only do clays make your soap look great, they have fantastic properties for you skin! Rhassoul and Moroccan clays are packed full of minerals and are great for drawing out toxins in the skin. They give soap a neat, almost matte looking color to them. The range of clays is much narrower in terms of the color spectrum but tend to be just as effective at coloring soap. You can find some Rose Kaolin Pink, or French Green to give your soap line a little more variety. We actually like the pastel color from clays quite a bit, we recommend it for sure!
After those two big ones you start to get into other natural additives based on the color you want. For example Red is a notoriously hard color to reproduce in soap naturally. Moroccan Red Clay and Sandalwood Powder are both common but will give you more of a burnt brown/red not a bright candy apple red. Madder Root is probably your best bet for a non-brown red. Check out Soap Making Resource for an amazingly comprehensive list of natural colors!
Got any unique ways of coloring soap? Let us know in the comments!