Mica powder for soap making
Mica powder shimmer is caused by a reflection of light. Clear transparent bases such as melt and pour soap show this effect to its full extent. Cold processed soap will slightly mute mica the shimmer effect but you can still produce vibrant and colourful bars which is why mica powder for soap making is ideal.
Mica powders have been traditionally used for decorative purposes in many cultures. Mica is derived for the indo-eurpean 'meyk' and latin word 'Micare' meaning to shimmer or glitter. These attractive pearlecent qualites are ideal for adding shine and pearlescence to soap, creams and nail polish. The bright dazzling effects seen in car paint are the result of highly pigmented mica powder paints. In the past mica powder was quite rare and expensive however nowadays the mineral has become more widespread and conseqentley more affordable. Essentially mica pigments are derived from rock crushed to fine powder. The rock is then cleaned and purified for use in cosmetics.
The original colours of micas can range from purple, red, brown, yellow and completely colourless. To enhance mica powders appearance and to add colour stability in cold processed soap and melt and pour soap cosmetic colourants are added such as iron oxide which gives a red/brown or manganese violet which imparts a deep purple. Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient which adds a clean bright white opacity to the micas. All of these vibrant colours make mica perfect for soap making.
Ultra Bright Mica Powder for Soap
A welcome addition to soap making has been the development of 'Ultra Bright' or 'Vibrance micas' or so called synthetic mica powder. The main ingredient ingredient of Ultra bright mica, synthetic fluorphlogopite is produced under laboratory conditions and when coated with colourants and oxides produces a much brighter lustre and very vivid colours.
These Ultra Bright micas are produced from natural minerals and are eco-friendly because they mininise the production of microplastics which are byproducts of industrial processes which can have adverse effects on aquatic and marine ecosytems.
How much mica do I need?
Very little is need to make a vibrant deep colour in your soap batter. However nothing can take the place of experience and it is a good idea to experiment. Usually for a deep opaque colour you should add 0.5- 1 gram of mica powder to 100g of soap batter. This should create a strong and definite colour to your soap without creating coloured lather. If you want a more lighter pastel shade reduce the mica powder by about half 0.25 grams of mica to 100g of soap batter. When starting out remember to add your mica gradually until you achieve the desired shade.
There are many ways to add mica powder to soap. You can add it to a little water, oil or separate some soap from your main batter and mix the mica in first to make sure that it is thoroughly combined. Then add the small amount of coloured water, oil or soap to the main soap batch. You can hand mix this in or use a stick blender. Using the stick blender may speed up trace alot faster so be mindful of this.