Natural colorants
Packaging + Design Scent & Color Scrubs

How To Add Natural Colorants to Your Sugar Scrub

Natural colorants not only add a touch of beauty to your homemade sugar scrubs, but can also change how you feel when using them.

From red to green, certain colors are known to evoke certain emotions and feelings. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”

Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange make your sugar scrub feel warm, joyful, and inviting. Cool colors like blue, purple, and green offer a sense of calm and relaxation.

Colors can even have symbolic meanings; green often represents fresh nature and the earth, while pink is often thought of as sweet, feminine, and romantic.

So, when crafting your next sugar scrub, consider the mood and restorative benefits of the color you choose.

In this article, learn three ways to use natural colorants in your sugar scrub and make a customized skincare staple.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission on your purchase.

Is it okay to put food coloring in a body scrub?

Though it’s probably safe to use artificial food dyes in small doses, be aware that most synthetic dyes are petroleum-based. So, plant-based natural colorants are the best choice for your skin and the planet.

As an added bonus, many of these natural ingredients offer skin-restorative benefits, too. Beetroot powder, high in vitamin C, lends a deep red hue, while turmeric, a known antioxidant, provides a glowing yellow—the possibilities are endless.

Just remember to check the FDA Guidelines for Color Additives if you plan to sell your body scrub in the US.

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.

Pablo Picasso

How do you color body scrubs naturally?

It’s possible to create natural colorants for body scrubs out of everyday ingredients like fruits, vegetables, spices, tea powders, and plants, such as flowers. There are three ways to color your scrub:

1. Color the sugar

2. Infuse the carrier oil

3. Adorn the scrub with herbs and flowers

1. Use Plant-Based Powders to Color the Sugar

Ready to spruce up your scrub with natural colorants? Try using plant-based powders to add a vibrant range of hues.

Matcha green tea, cocoa powder, ground flowers and herbs, beetroot powder – these are just some of the superfood powders available to give a rainbow of color to your scrubs. Just be sure to use white sugar to ensure the color stands out, and add the color slowly and mix it well until you reach the desired shade.

For a lighter touch, spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne pepper can be used sparingly to give your scrub a slight hue. Finally, French green or pink clay, and Rhassoul clay offer therapeutic and color benefits, respectively. When using these items, be mindful of how much you’re adding – too much can irritate the skin.

assorted natural colorants

2. Infuse the Carrier Oil with Natural Colorants

For infusing the carrier oil, you can slowly heat the ingredients in a water bath, cold-infuse them in a dark place, or steep them in the sun.

Fresh ingredients like carrots need to be peeled, chopped, and dehydrated, while fruits like strawberries and blueberries need to soak in hot water, be ground, and strained.

For heat infusions, fill a jar with dried ingredients, pour the carrier oil on top and heat just below simmer for about two to three hours.

For cold infusion, either place the jar in a sunny window for one month or in a dark, cool storage area for 6-8 weeks.

Infusing the carrier oil with natural colorants not only adds vibrant hues to your body scrub, but introduces beneficial skin-loving properties.

Learn more > Carrier Oil: How to Choose the Best Oil for Your Sugar Scrub

3. Color Your Body Scrub with Dried Herbs and Flowers

One of the easiest ways to add texture and natural colorants to your sugar scrub is to simply mix in pieces of dried herbs or flowers such as rose petals, lavender, chamomile, or rosemary.  You can add these ingredients to your sugar scrub without any preparation to create a beautiful, botanical, organic-looking scrub. 

This works best as a finishing touch on solid sugar scrub bars, otherwise, be aware, you’ll need to clean up any petals stuck in your tub after using.

Added Benefits of Natural Colorants

Using natural colorants to add color to your DIY sugar scrubs comes with its own unique benefits. For instance, caffeine in coffee helps to activate the skin, making it an ideal ingredient for brightening the face. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for healing scarring and reducing acne. Activated charcoal powder makes a bold statement in black and detoxifies your skin.

See Recipes > Botanical Pink Colorant: 5 Natural Pigments for DIY Skincare

Tips for Using Natural Colorants

Using natural colorants for your DIY sugar scrubs is fairly simple. However, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when using them in your own creations.

Natural Colorants are Imperfect

When working with natural colorants, keep in mind that although beautiful and unique, their vibrancy may be less than that of synthetic colors, and their color may fade over time.

Less is More

Use no more than 3-5% of your total recipe as any more may be likely to stain your skin, clothing, or anything else you may come in contact with.

Always Test First

Prior to making a large batch, be sure and test your natural colorants with the rest of your ingredients to ensure the desired hue. This will help you to determine the best amount of colorant to use in order to achieve the look you desire.

grab the natural colorants wheel

Nurture Your Inner Artist

When used with the right ingredients, natural colorants can help to create an effective, vibrant DIY sugar scrub that provides a plethora of benefits.

As you create your body scrubs, try many different natural colorants to see which provides the best results for your skin.

Ignore your inner critic. Just let go and enjoy the creative flow.

Grab the free natural colorants wheel to use as your guide, and give yourself time to experiment.

Choose a color that feels right to you. There’s no pressure to be perfect.

Have fun!

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