Soapmakers often marvel at all of my rainbow soaps, but often forget that natural colorants can give you a full spectrum of beauty, too! I wanted to show off some rainbow goodness with natural colorants, and the linear swirl soap design technique is the perfect way to do that! (It truly lets the colors shine, plus it’s one of the easiest swirls out there!)
I’m also trying out a new thing on social media called #60SecondSoaping, where I’ll be sharing quick videos of tutorials and recipes that I’ve made for Modern Soapmaking. We’re all crazy busy and busted for time, so why not make the most of your soapmaking video time with quick hits?! Yesssss! I’m totally loving this format, so I’d love to hear what you think!
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This linear swirl soap recipe with natural colorants is sized for Brambleberry’s 18 Bar Slab Mold. (I use their silicone liner with my own mold box.) You can resize it using a lye calculator for whichever mold works for you. As requested, the formula includes percentages for your convenience in doing so!
Linear Swirl Soap Recipe Used
- 20 ounces Coconut Oil (30% of the oils)
- 14 ounces Apricot Kernel Oil (21% of the oils)
- 11 ounces Olive Oil (16% of the oils)
- 10 ounces Shea Butter (15% of the oils)
- 9 ounces Avocado Oil (13% of the oils)
- 3 ounces Castor Oil (5% of the oils)
- 9.15 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (7% superfat)
- 18.3 ounces Distilled Water (33% lye solution)
I bought these soapmaking oils from Soaper’s Choice.
Essential Oil Blend Used
- 45 grams Orange Essential Oil (50% of the blend)
- 18 grams Peppermint Essential Oil (20% of the blend)
- 14 grams Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil (15% of the blend)
- 9 grams West Indies Bay Essential Oil (10% of the blend)
- 4 grams Fresh Ginger Essential Oil (5% of the blend)
These essential oils are from Liberty Natural, but you can use any fragrances or essential oils your heart desires.
Natural Colorants Used
- 1 teaspoon Yellowdock Root Powder (Pinkish Red)
- 1 teaspoon Paprika Powder (Orange)
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Golden Yellow)
- ½ teaspoon Nettle Leaf Powder (Green)
- ½ teaspoon Spirulina Powder (Green)
- ½ teaspoon Woad Powder (Navy Blue)
- 1 teaspoon Alkanet Root Powder (Deep Lavender)
PREP WORK: Before diving in, make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped! I measured each natural colorant into its own container (except the nettle and spirulina, they go together!)
I also weighed and measured my oils and essential oils in my main soaping bucket, as well as mixing up my lye solution.
GET STARTED: This essential oil blend mildly accelerates, so you may want to work with slightly cooler temperatures than normal and minimize the amount of mixing you do with your stick blender. (Want to learn more about controlling trace? I’ve got you covered!)
Add your lye solution and mix until emulsified. Pour approximately 1 cup of soap into each natural colorant and thoroughly mix the soap into the natural colorant using a whisk or spatula. (Remember, no stick blenders – keep the mixing to a minimum!)
Add your titanium dioxide into the remaining soap in your soap pot, and thoroughly mix. It’s okay to stick blend this one a little as you’ll be pouring it first!
POUR IT: Start by pouring all of your white soap into the mold as a base layer. This will create a lovely contrast with your natural colorant rainbow on the top of the soap, which makes the colors pop more.
If necessary, you can smooth out the base layer with a spatula to give you a nice even surface to swirl on!
Starting with the yellowdock soap, pour ¾ of the yellowdock soap into the mold using a zigzag pattern. Don’t worry about placement! Move on to the soap containing paprika, and then turmeric, etc. Continue pouring the soap with each color, pouring ¾ of each into the mold.
SWIRL IT: Starting with the yellowdock soap again, pour the remainder of the soap into the mold using thinner lines and attempting to create a linear placement in the mold. If the soap has gotten too thick to pour thin lines, use a spatula to scoop the soap and drop it in the mold.
Continue pouring the remainder of each color until you have no soap to pour!
Using a chopstick, swirl the top of the soap in a wide ‘S’ pattern. Start at the far end of the mold from you, drag the chopstick towards you. Make a ‘U’ shape at the edge of the mold closest to you, and drag the chopstick to the other side again. Rinse and repeat!
FINISH IT UP: Once the soap in the mold loses it’s sheen, give it a spritz with rubbing alcohol to prevent ash from forming and cover it up! After 12 to 24 hours, cut and cure the soap!
I highly encourage you to take a peek while the soap is saponifying as watching the natural colorants change is mesmerizing!
When you cut the soap, you have the option of leaving the linear swirl soap top in tact, which gives it a lovely texture. Or you can plane it off with a soap planer to give it a polished and sleek look. Both options create entirely different looks, all created by this one simple swirl!
This rainbow linear swirl soap recipe with natural colorants featured in this tutorial is a cold process general purpose soap recipe. It is palm-free and vegan friendly! It uses a 7% superfat and a 33% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!