Indigofera Tinctoria – Our 100% natural premium quality Blue Indigo, in either powder or block form, is a sublime blue dye with many creative uses. This True Indigo, otherwise known as the King of Blue or Blue Gold, is fully natural and 100% pure. It is made using traditional artisanal production totally without chemicals. Use our ‘Cosmetic Indigo’ to create home-made make up/cosmetics, sunscreen, skin lighteners, bespoke hair dye, hair growth treatments, blue rinse for hair, body art, temporary tattoos and as the original laundry blue. Use our stronger ‘Dyers Indigo’ for soap making and for dyeing textiles. Produced without chemicals, this indigo can be safely used on clothes. Our natural indigo is also ideal for museums, conservators and reenactors looking for authentic indigo made in the traditional way.
What is Natural Blue Indigo?
Indigo is an ancient dye derived from the leaves and stems of the Indigo Tinctoria plant and its global use can be traced back thousands of years. Blue is one of nature’s rarest and most prized colours. We supply cosmetic quality indigo in block or powdered form.
Uses of Indigo in Natural Cosmetics
For any cosmetic ‘leave-on’ applications, do a skin patch test first and use the milder ‘cosmetic indigo’
Use indigo block or powder in recipes for homemade eye shadow, eye liner, mascara etc.
Use indigo powder as an ingredient in natural sunscreens.
Skin Whitening / Lightening
Use powder in recipes to combat melasma, hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Use indigo powder in recipes for dyeing blonde or white hair blue or for dyeing brown hair dark brown or black. Please note, we sell less valuable ‘green’ Indian Indigo for use as hair dye as an economical option. Indian indigo is the dried leaf and unlike blue indigo powder has not been cured and fermented.
Use indigo powder to promote hair growth and strength; reduce hair loss and greying.
Blue Rinse for Hair
Use indigo powder to improve the appearance of grey hair; a blue rinse counters the yellow tones and makes the hair look blue-grey.
Use blue indigo cosmetic powder to create temporary tattoos and body art (we have pure henna too!).
Whiten your whites with cosmetic indigo. Indigo is the original laundry bluing. Bleached white textiles take on a yellow tinge over time, especially when washed with hard water. Use indigo as a natural optical enhancer to whiten whites. Bluing can be achieved with either cosmetic indigo powder or cosmetic indigo blocks.
For whitening in the washing machine
With powder – place 1/4 teaspoon of powder in a jar or water and shake or stir to mix. Add 1/5 to 1/4 of the blue mixture into the fabric conditioner compartment of your washing machine.
Next time you use the laundry blue you have made in a jar, shake or stir it to disperse the indigo again in the bluing concentrate.
For whitening hand washed items
If washing by hand, add less of the blue mixture into the final rinse water (the load size is smaller). Agitate the clothing well or soak for a few minutes.
You can also use an indigo block when hand washing and even buy a small cotton drawstring bag to contain and store the indigo blocks.
Place the block or blocks in the cotton bag and dip in and out of the warm rinse water until the desired shade is reached. Reomove the bag from the water to prevent any further pigment release. Then add the clothing to the indigo rinse water as before. Keep agitating the clothes and draw them in and out of the blue rinse water until the optimal white hue is achieved. Wring the clothes out and dry them. Allow the indigo laundry blue block to dry in its bag and store carefully once dry.
Indigo as a Dye and Stain for Arts and Crafts
For the following applications use the stronger ‘dyer’s indigo.
Staining Leather and Suede
Use the dyers’s indigo.
Use the dyer’s indigo.
Colouring Horn, Bone and Shell
Use the dyers indigo.
Add dyer’s indigo as a pigment to lime paints for decorating walls and ceilings.
Make authentic tempera or water colour paints with dyers indigo or use the cosmetic indigo blocks as crayons.
Make Chinese Ink and India ink from dyer’s indigo.
‘Blu’ paper in the traditional way with dyers indigo
Have fun sourcing and testing your own recipes!
How Natural Spa Supplies Blue Indigo is Made
Indigo harvesting takes place through the summer from June until September as individual ripened leaves are collected. After harvesting, the plant is washed to remove soil; at this stage the purity of the indigo is already notably increased. The leaves are crushed into a pulp with a stone mill, and the paste is then gradually dried in a barn until it is judged ready to roll by hand, into fist sized balls, known as ‘cocagnes’. The cocagnes are placed on racks in the curing barn to continue drying for between one and two months. At the end of this curing process, the cocagnes are known as ‘pastel de Cocagne’
Finally, the balls are crushed into a powder which is mixed with water and goat and camel urine for the main fermentation in which the purity of the dye will be enhanced further! The mixture is agitated to control the temperature and to bring about a permanent change. The pigmented sediment is allowed to form a sediment and dry again before being broken into blocks or cubes. By using these ‘slow’ and traditional methods, it means that no caustic chemicals are used in the production of our indigo making it safe for use on the skin and hair.
For cosmetic purposes indigo is best in its insoluble form, such as when it is used as eye shadow where the pigment stays on the skin surface. In laundry bluing, particles of indigo are trapped in the fibres, likewise with a blue hair rinse. However when using indigo for dyeing textiles, as the indigotin is insoluble in water, an alkaline agent and a reducing agent is added to the dye vat containing the blue indigo powder to reduce the indigotin (removing one oxygen molecule). The fibres can absorb the indigo while it is in the reduced state and when the dyed fibre is exposed to the air, the indigo white oxidizes and turns blue and insoluble again.
Blocks or Powder?
We supply the ‘Cosmetic Indigo’ in either block or powder form. If you choose blocks we will need to send you several blocks to make up the correct weight.
The ‘Dyer’s Indigo’ is supplied only in the powdered form.
Shelf Life of Natural Blue Indigo Powder
If stored under optimal conditions, the shelf life is 10 years.
Depending on the quantity ordered, we supply the indigo in cellophane, paper or glass jars.
Our indigo is made for Natural Spa Supplies in Morocco using time-honoured methods. This is the genuine Indigo – which has been fermented in goat and camel urine! We have carried on this method not just to preserve human heritage but because in this way, we can obtain the purest indigo powder without the use of industrial chemicals.
While the production level is too small to gain organic status and the indigo plant does not need fertilizers or chemical treatments, in fact indigo plants are leguminous and use soil bacteria to fix nitrogen from the air. In that way indigo planting leaves the soil enriched with nutrients to help other crops to grow well. Indigo plants are used in interplanting and intercropping schemes as well as a cover crop to enrich the soil.