Red – The Soaper’s Holy Grail

If there is one color I get asked about how to achieve by soap makers, it has to be the color red. Red has long been a difficult color to achieve and light fast reds are often more difficult. Have you ever seen a poster that has been exposed to the sun for some time and the only colors left are blue and green? I’ve seen some billboards like that! Those are great examples of the type of red the printers used not being light fast. So what does one do when you want a red soap? We just need to get a little creative! Come join me today for a red soap!

Finished Red Soap

Normally I would want to scent my soap but since I was trying for a specific color, I didn’t want a fragrance interfering with the final color of my soap. It actually felt weird to be making my soap today and not add fragrance. It was an entirely bizarre feeling and it was intentional! Some of the fragrances I briefly entertained were Shall We Dance, Polynesian Red and Raspberry or even Kalahari Melon. What fragrance would you choose for a red colored soap?

Keep in mind, this isn’t bright fire engine red. This is more barn red, rich and bold in its color. I really like this color and I can’t wait to play with it over the summer with different inspiration and ideas.

Important note, this is a strongly colored soap! It will make red lather and color a white wash cloth! While I wouldn’t use this bar as is, I would use it in shreds or swirl a batch of this color soap into another soap much larger batch. Think soaps for the 4th of July where they are red, white and blue. Where else might you want a red colored soap?

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Amethyst Pink
Brick Red
Microwave Safe Container


Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
170 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Sweet Almond Oil
2 tsp Amethyst Pink
1 tsp Brick Red
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
6 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Sweet Almond Oil
2 tsp Amethyst Pink
1 tsp Brick Red
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
37.5% Coconut Oil
25% Sweet Almond Oil
Q.S. Amethyst Pink
Q.S. Brick Red

Start by weighing the Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Coconut Oil into a microwave-safe container. Heat those oils gently until liquid. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Your safety is our first concern! (And it is easier to create new good habits than to try to break old, bad ones.) Allow the warmed oils and the lye solution to cool.

Weighing Oils

Making Lye Solution

While allowing your oils and lye solution to cool, I like to put away my buckets of oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils and lye solution are both around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. Remember, using lower temperatures is important if you want smooth looking soap. Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace. When a light trace has been achieved, you can hand stir in the colorants. Make sure that it is smooth and cohesive before you pour your soap into your mold.

Finished Soap in mold

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk. That is extremely fluid! One way I like to tell if I have reached trace or not is to stop blending and take a moment to fill a drinking glass with water. If the soap stays a smooth texture, it is ready to pour into your mold. If you develop a slick of oil on the top of your soap, it needs a tiny bit more mixing.

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars (or release from the individual cavities in your mold) and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can shred your soap immediately if you want to add a pop of color to another soap. I plan on doing that with this soap!


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About Taylor

I'm a twenty something happy, animal loving, curious experimenter. I love reaching back into history and trying old recipes for cosmetics or foods. I'm constantly asking "Why?" My curiosity has me trying new things. I love taking walks with my dog as well as staying at home to cuddle with the dog and my cats. Some of my favorite scents include Hinoki Wood, Rose Garden, Jasmine and Gladiator.

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