Clay is a wonderful natural colorant to use when making soap. There are so many different types of clay. Not only do you get the stunning natural coloring, but you also get the benefit of the clay in your soap.

Clay is drawing and detoxifying. Clay is also a gentle exfoliant, so I love to use it in facial soap for a gentle scrub.

(The below is originally from How to Color Soap.)

Cosmetic Clays

  • Colors produced: A dusty range of cream, yellow, gray, green, purple, red, pink and orange.
  • Color fading: Clays tend not to fade.
  • Color bleed/migration: Clays will not bleed or migrate in soap.
  • pH sensitivity: Clays are not effected by the high pH of soap.
  • Natural or synthetic: Clays are considered a natural colorant.
  • Usage rate: 1 teaspoon per pound of soapmaking oils. Use less for a lighter color or more for a darker color.

How Does Clay Color Soap?

Clays color soap by suspension of their particles.

Wet Clays Prior to Mixing into Soap

Clays draw moisture into them so it is important to wet your clay prior to adding to your soap. Usually you can eyeball the amount of water to add. Add an equal amount of water, mix, and add more if the clay is really pasty.

The reason I like to wet clays prior to adding to soap is so the clay doesn’t draw in too much moisture from the soap mixture causing cracks or crumbly soap.

wetting clay for soap

When do you add them to your soap?

  • If you are making a single colored soap, you can add clay directly to the lye solution (lye + water). This helps draw the color out and gives you more intense colors when using clay.
  • If you are making a swirled soap, you can add each color to thinly traced soap.

Usage Rates for Cold Process Soap

Dry Clay – 1 teaspoon per pound of soapmaking oils. Use less if you desire a lighter color and use more if you desire a darker color. Wet with water before adding to your soap.

Check out these beautiful Aussie Clays from Soaper’s Supplies! I ordered a couple of sample packs from Rae Jean. If you aren’t part of the Soaper’s Supplies Facebook group, I recommend joining. There are some great deals!

From left to right: Aussie Reef Red, Aussie Midnight Black, Aussie Ivory, Aussie Pastel Pink. I simply added the clay to trace. I love the red and pink.

Aussie Clay in Soap

Photo by Busy Bee Creative Product Photography

For more another clay gallery of clay in soap, check out Natural Soap Colorants Gallery – Clays Added at Trace.

red kaolin

For some cold process soap recipes using natural clay, check out these tutorials on Lovin Soap.

Natural Clay In-The-Pot Soap Swirl + Video


Rose Clay and Cucumber Peel Powder Cold Process Soap


Rose Clay and Madder Root Powder Cold Process Soap


Sea Clay and Stevia Leaf Powder



Happy Soaping!

-Amanda Gail