Vanilla Discolouration


Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

Vanilla Discolouration can be a surprise to new soapers - please do read the notes on each fragrance to check if it contains any Vanilla.  As a rule of thumb, (It may not say it specifically contains vanilla) most foody fragrances do, and if it does it will have details on how dark it will discolour your soap.  Using the natural discolouration of fragrance oil instead of fighting it can give you beautiful results. 

However, there are other scents that are not foody and don't have vanilla in their name, but still contain Vanillin (which is the organic compound that gives vanilla its flavour).  The discolouration is a totally natural process and you'll see it happening over time as the soap is curing and open to the air.  It ranges from just ivory right through to ebony (like the colour of the vanilla pod itself).

Though we and Bramble Berry test all our fragrances in cold process soap (where it's most noticeable) it also occurs in Melt and Pour, and can occur in lotions and creams.

Some fragrance oils may contain vanillin as a constituent even if Vanilla itself does not appear in the name which is why we test all of our fragrance oils to determine their behavior in cold process soap.Plan your soap, and you'll have gorgeous results!  The soaps above are all scented with different foody fragrances, and no colour at all.  Most of these graphics are of Cold Process Soap, but if you check out the Melt and Pour Almond Milk you'll MP'ers need to check the notes too!

Scroll down, and there are loads of pictures, a Vanilla Content Chart from Bramble Berry, and a link to Soap Queen's Blog Post.

Almond Biscotti in Cold Process Handmade Soap

The base of this log is scented with Almond Biscotti,
and the top has no fragrance in at all.

You can see in the strip below of Cold Processed Soap by Bramble Berry through photo's taken over time that the soap has cured and the swirls are discolouring to a rich brown.  So over time, which varies with each fragrance, the discolouration will change.  (This is called a blind swirl, a technique I love!)

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

Remembering foody type scents usually have vanillin in them, and in differing amounts, you can see Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Spice discolouration over the first 24 hours curing (above and below).


This one shows, after 24 hours, it's slightly darkening down.


Here is the same two bars, 3 months on.  You can see the exposure to the air has evened out the the colour, and both have darkened evenly, but a different shade.

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

The Tideline

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

This "tide line" (which is the pale coloured semi circle) shows vanilla discolouration where the gel in the centre has lessened the amount of discolouration occurring. Over time it will even out, but it can be a little disappointing if you didn't expect it!  To avoid this, soap a little warmer, or don't gel at all - soap cooler and pop the soap into the fridge.  Ungelled soap is softer and will need to stay in the mould much longer.

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

The Almond Milk Soap at 3 months old - an even discoouration.


Almond Milk discolouration in Melt and Pour Soap

 This is Almond Milk in Clear Melt and Pour Soap with no Vanilla Colour Stabiliser

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap

Some discolouration can takes weeks or months to occur, however some begins as soon as you add the fragrance to the traced soap.
The Country Kitchen round soaps have some mica in so that isn't discolouration, the dragonfly is the natural discolouration. 
The Almond Biscotti has a little Titanium Dioxide to round out the discolouration.  All these are milk based soaps.

Vanilla Discolouration in Cold Process Soap after time


Vanilla Content Chart (current September 2015)

0 – 5% 

  • Almond Biscotti (3.7%)
  • Ancient Sedona (2.5%)
  • Amber (3.2%)
  • Applejack Peel (.25%)
  • Bay Rum (.1%)
  • Baby Powder (2%)
  • Blackberry (.5%)
  • Blue Man (4.9%)
  • Cedar and Saffron (3%)
  • Champagne (.1%)
  • Chai Tea Cybilla (4%)
  • Cucumber Oak (.4%)
  • Frankincense & Myrrh (2%)
  • Fresh Mango (.1%)
  • Gingersnap (4.1%)
  • Honey Ale (.6%)
  • Island Coconut (2%)
  • Mandarin & Myrrh (2.3%)
  • Mango Mango (.5%)
  • Marrakesh (.9%)
  • Mayan Gold (2.6%)
  • Nag Champa (2.5%)
  • Oatmeal Milk and Honey (2.5%)
  • Papaya Coconut (2%)
  • Passionfruit Papaya (.3%)
  • Passionfruit Rose (.8%)
  • Peach (1.5%)
  • Pineapple Cilantro (.03%)
  • Pumpkin Spice (2.14%)
  • Raspberry Porter (.2%)
  • Rice Flower & Shea (.4%)
  • Rosehip Jasmine (.1%)
  • Sandalwood Vanilla (4.5%)
  • Sleigh Ride (.73%)
  • Spiced Mahogany (5%)
  • Sugar Plum Fairy (1.2%)
  • Vanilla Color Stabilizer (2%)
  • Vanilla Forest (0.1%)
  • Vanilla Oak (4.3%)
  • Warm Vanilla Sugar (4.4%)
  • White Ginger and Amber (0.1%)

5.1 – 10% 

  • Black Amber and Lavender (11.5%)
  • Blueberry (10%)
  • Clementine Cupcake (6.5%)
  • Mango Lassi (7.2%)
  • Mint Chocolate Chip (8%)
  • Oatmeal Stout (7.7%)
  • Pumpkin Lager (6%)
  • Relaxing (9.3%)
  • Vanilla Oak (5.9%)

10.1 – 15% 

  • Cinnamon Sugar (14%)
  • Dragon’s Blood (11.4%)
  • Turkish Mocha (11.7%)
  • Vanilla Select (10 – 15%)

15.1% – 20% 

  • Amber (20%)
  • Dark Rich Chocolate (15.9%)