You certainly can use the micas for coloring M&P, that’s ALL I use! The best results with micas are used in a clear base, as mica works on the light refracting off of the mica minerals to generate the color…it will sort to some degree in opaque soaps, it will color it, but not give off that eye catching WOW look that you get in the clear. No, the colors don’t bleed, and they are pretty sturdy too under the lights, where the other colorings just fade out.
How much you use is a totally personal thing I think. I can tell you how to make the soaps I make. And I have made several hundred a week, as I sell them like they are going out of style.
We formulate all our soap bases with the oils used in massage, the sweet almond, vitamin E, evening primrose, and shea butter. They really moisturize the skin. All the soaps you see pictured there are made from our clear soap base.
How I do it is to cut off how ever much of the base I want to work with and microwave it untill its melted. Some folks prefer to melt the soap base on the stove top in a double boiler, so whatever you prefer will work.
I then scent it with my fragrance oil, (I use about 1/2¼ of an ounce for 2# of the soap base) and stir it in well into the clear base. If you get a cloudy look to your soap base when you add the fragrance oil, just keep stirring, and it will incorporate into the soap, and then clear up.
I pour my molds about 3/4 of the way full of the clear, scented base. Now I wait till the soap in the molds is cool enough to stick your pinky finger in without having it to hot…then, I just stick in my “mica curls”, (these are made with my trusty potato peeler, just sliced directly off the plain M&P soap piece before it was melted down, I peel about 2 cups of the curls, throw them into a plastic bag, and put about 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of any color mica I want them to be, then seal the top, and shake it for a few seconds, and wellla, soap curls !
You can also use imbeds if you want to, say hearts, or whatever and do the same thing with the mica and a plastic bag, and that works too.
If you get some bubbles in the soap base when you pour it, just spritz it with the plain isopropyl alcohol you get at the grocery store for 50 cents a pint. and it immediately pops the bubbles.
When the soap cools pretty much, I nuke again a small amount of clear base, and when it is out, I put in any color of mica I want the back to be, say shimmering gold..to about 2 cups of melted base, I would add about 1/2 a teaspoon of the gold mica, and stir it…and then scent it, and spray the dickens out of your cooled soaps still in the mold with the alcohol so the back will adhere to the soap, and then immediately pour the melted gold (or whatever color you want) back on them, (the alcohol spray is what makes the hot soap adhere to the cooled soap already in the mold). When the back is then cool, flip them over and pop out your pretty soap!
This way, you use very little mica, and they look gorgeous, If you want though, you can just color the whole soap base with mica, and pour them in a solid color, or you can do some swirling with micas too.
I have received some great information from one of our customers, Cheryl, whom I owe big for this tip on getting the colors that normally fade out in melt and pour soaps, make it hold the wonderful colors we all love Cheryl sells her soaps at a shop with lots of windows with bright sunshine streaming in. Here is what she has said, and with her permission I have reprinted it here.
I was delighted to find the inhibitor because I love the sapphires & diamonds which fades pretty quickly in bright sun. The inhibitor is specially formulated for bath and body products, and was sold by a company that sells ingredients for both bath and body + candles. I used 1 teaspoon inhibitor per pound in melt and pour, which is really all I use the mica for – I love how it looks in clear soaps. (So I am afraid that I can’t testify for the inhibitor in CP or another process.) The inhibitor didn’t make a noticeable difference in terms of foam or product behavior.