How to colour your soap with green tea powder

A lovely friend of mine from South Korea has brought me some ingredients to experiment with in my soaps. And there’s nothing I love more than experimenting!

The first ingredient I have tried was the green tea powder. In it’s natural state it has a yellow-green colour but I was curious to see how it would fare in an alkaline environment such as handmade soap.

I have used a basic Bastille recipe, 25% coconut oil and 75% light coloured olive oil. I wanted to keep the base colour as white as possible so the colour of the tea powder will pop up in all its glory. I have also replaced half of the water quantity with almond milk which gives the soap a creamy brilliant white colour.

The powder is very fine and I was happy to see that I didn’t have any ugly looking specks. When it comes to the colour itself this is where the surprise was!

In the picture you can see the natural colour of the tea powder in the small beaker. When I have mixed it in the soap it kept it’s colour for a while and then during saponification (slow saponification, I didn’t let my soap gel), it started to turn brown, similar to the colour of cocoa powder. After a couple of days I have unmoulded the soap and let it cure as usual. During the curing period the tea powder colour has become lighter and closer to the yellow-green colour it has in it’s natural state. You can see this colour in the soap placed next to the beaker, the white patch in the middle is uncoloured. The colour of the tea powder can be seen on the edge of the flower soap.

After 6 weeks, when the soaps were fully cured, I was curious to see what the colour was like inside, so I have cut one of the soaps in half. To my surprise, the colour inside was brown. I have left it for a couple of days but the colout is still brown.

So the green tea’s soap journey was: green-yellow in it’s natural state, brown during saponification, green-yellow on the outside of the soap where the soap air-cured and brown inside the soap.

I like this colour and I don’t have anything similar. I think next time I will use it in a marbled soap made in a slab mould so the colour can air-cure and show in all it’s glory.

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