Have you ever wondered how to add color to your natural cosmetic products – such as lip balms, lotions, bath bombs, bath melts and massage oils – without using a synthetic product?
There are various plant and herb extracts and powders available which you can use and add to your homemade cosmetic and aromatherapy products. Here are a few suggestions for starters.
Natural Coloring with Herbs
Herbs are a great resource for adding natural coloring to your homemade aromatherapy products. Before the advent of synthetic products, many women used herbs and plants to color their hair and to add color to cosmetic products. Ancient Egyptian and Roman ladies used various plant parts for cosmetic applications much in the same way that we use regular store-bought cosmetics today.
Different herbs produce different colors – and the amount which you add can also vary the result. The following herbs and plants will produce the following colors:
alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria; Alkana officinalis is also used) – red/burgundy
beet root (Beta vulgaris) – purple/pink
carrot root (Daucus carota) – cream/orange
parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – green.
All of the above herbs are available in powder format from cosmetic suppliers, ready to infuse into your chosen aromatherapy or cosmetic product. You can also infuse the actual plants into carrier oil bases and use the colors this way but, if you are a beginner, the powdered format is probably the easiest way to start out.
Infusing Herbs for Natural Color in Cosmetic Products
However, if you want to infuse your own herbs for naturally coloring cosmetics, you can do so as follows (full details of infusion are given in Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, Kathi Keville and Mindy Green, amongst other reputable sources):
place the roots of the herb in an organic carrier oil, such as sunflower or almond oil; this is called infusion or maceration. Add approximately one cup of dried roots to a jar of carrier oil and mix. However, you may need to vary the amount depending on the cosmetic product that you are making and the intensity of the color that you would like
place the infusion in a warm place (such as a sunny window ledge) and after a few days (including some shaking and stirring as in the normal process of infusion), check on the process and, if necessary, add more plant material/leave for longer. Separate the roots from the oil by straining the oil off
use the oil in the making of your cosmetic product; for example, a simple home made lip balm recipe is beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil. You can use the herb-infused almond oil in place of regular almond oil. Make your cosmetic product in the usual way.
Learn to Make Your Own Bath and Body Products with Color
The beginner bath and body product courses offered by Sedona Aromatherapie do not currently contain recipes or advice on coloring cosmetic products with herbs, even though they do contain information on natural base ingredients and scenting your products with essential oils. However, as a hint of things to come, future courses will incorporate some of this advice – plus recipes and instructions on how to add color to your aromatherapy bath and body products!
For details of all of the aromatherapy courses offered by Sedona Aromatherapie, visit the courses home page.
Keville, Kathi, Green, Mindy, 2009, Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art (2nd Edition), US: Crossing Press
Author’s own experience and experimentation