Making Soap at Home is Beyond Easy with a Melt and Pour Soap Base
I love making soap at home and over the last handful of years I’ve made a lot! From simple dried lavender soap and coffee soap recipes to more elaborate exfoliating pink salt soap and layered hibiscus soap to name a few. And I never intend on calling it quits. Making soap at home is far too fun and creative with a melt and pour soap base!
In fact, if it wasn’t for discovering all-natural melt and pour soap bases, I wouldn’t have a single soap recipe to share. As I talk about in my soap making beginner guide, I was originally feeling completely deflated after reading how I needed to spend a few hundred dollars on equipment and supplies to make soap at home. Not to mention, that I also had to find a large space to cure my homemade soap bars for weeks.
And all the safety guidelines about making soap with lye scared the wits out of me with a new baby on the way!
It wasn’t until I discovered a simplified way to make soap at home, did all my soap making dreams come true. Choosing a melt and pour soap base allowed me to jump through all the hurdles leaving my worries about lye behind, greatly, and I mean greatly, reducing the cost to get started. And as for space for curing- what space? When you make soap with a soap base the cure time is in hours not weeks!!
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What is Melt and Pour Soap?
Melt and pour soap is a base of soap that has already been through a complete saponification process (the chemical reaction that makes lye safe for skin). This is why it only takes an hour or so to cure versus waiting 4-6 weeks.
It is a simplified approach to making soap at home. No safety gear required!
Instead, you can focus on the design and customization such as:
– choosing a soap base for your skin type needs
– adding dried herbs or fruit peels
– selecting a soap colorant
– blending a fragrance
– comparing soap molds
All together, melt and pour soap is an easy way to make customized soap at home. And a great option for beginners and kids as well. All you have to do is choose a base, melt it, customize it with your favorite colors, scents, or other natural creative soap additives, and pour it all into a mold. Once you get the hang of this easy process, you can experiment with advanced techniques like layers, swirls, or whipped soap.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the creative aspects of making soap at home with a melt and pour soap base!
Is melt and pour soap good for skin?
Yes, as I previously mentioned melt and pour soap bases have gone through the saponification process, making them safe for the skin. Soap bases are basically your raw material that comes in a block. All melt and pour soap bases contain lye, water, glycerin, and oil.
You may see sodium hydroxide listed as an ingredient – that is lye. You may also see glycerin listed as glycerine or glycerol. All one and the same, glycerin is a naturally occurring component of fats and oils that are known to draw water to the skin, effectively balancing its moisture levels. Did you know glycerin’s presence in the skin has been shown to prevent signs of aging by helping skin cells mature properly?
Unfortunately, some commercial companies use synthetic chemicals in place of glycerin that strips the skin of all of its oils and acts as skin irritants. So, it’s always a good idea to choose an all-natural melt and pour soap base free of parabens, dyes, and harsh detergents.
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What is the best melt and pour soap base?
Similar to candle making where the first step is to choose your candle wax, the first step to making soap at home is to choose your soap base. And there are so many different types to choose from! So how do you know what is the best base for homemade soap?
After the basic ingredients of oil, lye, water, and glycerin, other melt and pour soap ingredients are added. Shea butter, olive oil, goat milk, or honey are all prime examples of natural ingredients that enhance the basics and create a unique melt and pour soap base.
One of the many benefits of the variety of melt and pour soap bases is the ability to choose a soap base with ingredients that benefit your skin type. Take our 8-point skin type quiz to discover yours.
Below you’ll find a detailed review of 10 melt and pour soap bases. Each is noted with their unique qualities, lather rating, and which are best for each skin type. And I’ve even put together printables for every soap base type!!
It’s everything you need to choose the best melt and pour soap base to make homemade soap!
10 Melt & Pour Soap Bases
1. Goat Milk Melt and Pour Soap Base
Goat milk melt and pour soap is a soft white soap that is blended with real goat milk. This was the first soap base I fell in love with for its nourishing vitamins, proteins, and minerals for the skin.
You may question why goat milk and not cow milk? Well, goat milk is naturally homogenized, meaning the cream of the milk doesn’t float to the top. Instead, it’s evenly distributed throughout the milk. Interestingly, just about anything you add to it will evenly blend into the soap base too! And soap colorants generally come out pastel when added to goat milk soap.
I’ve made this honey and goat milk soap recipe several times. It takes me about 15 minutes to make in total. Yet the result is still a beautifully handcrafted soap that is nourishing for skin, even if it’s made the easy way.
Soap Base Highlights: Both rich and moisturizing, goat milk soap base can help keep the skin healthy with its vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Goat milk soap has a beautiful creamy white opaque color.
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: All skin types are recommended for use with goat milk soap and especially beneficial for dry and mature skin types.
2. Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap Base
Shea butter comes from the nut of the karite tree, found in central Africa. It is used in many natural hair care and skin care products and remedies to help moisturize and strengthen hair and skin. Most shea butter melt and pour soap bases contain about 5% shea butter. At this percentage, shea butter gives homemade soap a creamy, smooth consistency with an off-white color. All the while, adding in vitamins E, A, and F for an intense moisturizing base.
Due to the high content of natural oil in shea butter, it doesn’t lather as well as other soap bases. And if you add too much additional oil, you’ll end up with a bar of really soft soap. Like goat milk soap, most soap colorants will become pastel. However, any additives such as coffee grounds will mostly sink to the bottom of a shea butter base. Which is exactly what I wanted to happen for this coffee soap recipe! It creates an effortless layered effect.
Soap Base Highlights: Known for healing a dry scalp, cracked heels, and eczema, a shea butter soap base is an intense moisturizer. And it’s high vitamin content makes this soap equally moisturizing and nourishing for the skin.
Lather Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Shea butter soap is always a great choice for dry and mature skin types.
3. Glycerin (Clear) Melt and Pour Soap Base
The name glycerin soap might be confusing, considering all soap contains glycerin. The difference is unlike adding goat milk or shea butter, extra glycerin is added to create a clear soap base.
This translucent soap base is perfect for adding pressed flowers like this soap recipe demonstrates and it’s perfect for coloring too. Glycerin melt and pour soap base easily creates bright colorful soap.
Soap Base Highlights: Made with naturally occurring components of fats and oils, glycerin soap effectively balances moisture levels in the skin. And it’s the best choice for creating brightly colored soap.
Lather Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Glycerin is a natural humectant that draws water to the skin and is suitable for all skin types. However, I wouldn’t make it the first choice for dry skin, as there are better options such as shea butter and oatmeal soap.
4. Aloe Vera Melt and Pour Soap Base
Aloe vera melt and pour soap is made with real aloe for an incredibly soothing soap with a silky texture. Like glycerin soap, it is a clear soap base and takes well to color. Aloe vera soap helps maintain the skin’s moisture while cleansing impurities, and often alleviating itchy or irritated skin.
It’s many benefits range from antibacterial agents, to minerals and antioxidants for youthful skin, and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritation. I’ve always said it’s an incredible multipurpose natural soap ingredient.
See how it beautifully suspends dried jasmine flowers in my favorite aloe vera soap recipe I’ve made thus far.
Soap Base Highlights: Aloe vera soap is likely the most soothing and healing melt and pour soap base you can find. And it creates wonderfully bubbly lather.
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Aloe vera soap is one, all skin types can benefit from. But, it’s antibacterial agents and anti-inflammatory properties make it the best choice for the combination skin type, which is prone to acne.
5. Oatmeal Melt and Pour Soap Base
Oatmeal is loved in the skincare products for its gentle exfoliation and soothing properties. The cellulose and fiber from the oats make an effective skin soother for itchy, irritated dry skin. According to the natural skincare experts at Hello Glow, “…thanks to saponins, oats have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help keep skin healthy and looking younger, longer.”
Oatmeal melt and pour soap takes well to adding scent and can be colored if you so choose. Though, I love it’s soft white appearance and tan flecks of oatmeal.
Soap Base Highlights: Oatmeal is one of the best soap base types for natural soap making. Its unique skin-softening abilities really do leave your skin feeling so soft!
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Ground or colloidal oatmeal in soap gently polishes rough skin without stripping skin of moisture. A great choice for making a face soap bar. It’s highly recommended for dry and mature skin types. As well as those with sensitive skin areas.
6. Cocoa Butter Melt and Pour Soap Base
If you’re a fan of chocolate, then you are no stranger to cocoa butter. It comes from the same seeds of the cacao bean! As a soap base, cocoa butter creates a creamy lather with a light scent of chocolate. It’s rich vitamin E content hydrates and soothes skin.
Many women swear by it during pregnancy to reduce stretch marks. While others apply it to scars.
Soap Base Highlights: Cocoa butter soap’s rich, moisturizing lather and divine chocolate scent make it one soap base type every soapmaker should try!
Lather Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Beneficial to all skin types, cocoa butter soap is favorite among women.
7. Honey Melt and Pour Soap Base
What does honey do for soap? The addition of raw honey beefs up the moisturizing power, adds a sweet scent, and packs soap full of antioxidants.
It also happens to help preserve the soap as honey is antibacterial.
Honey melt and pour soap has a beautiful golden glow all on its own, no soap colorant needed. However, you can deepen the color by adding natural ingredients like wheat germ in this easy-to-make honey almond soap that both cleanses and gently exfoliates dry skin. It has a richly sweet scent of honey and almond.
Fresh citrus essential oils like lemon (make my favorite lemon honey soap), soft florals such as lavender, and warm essential oils like cinnamon and clove all blend well into honey melt and pour soap too. But, any scent you add to will have a slightly sweet aroma due to the nature of honey.
Soap Base Highlights: Honey is a natural resource of nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, and skin-boosting acids. Which makes it one of my top 20 natural soap making ingredients and bases!
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: As a natural humectant, honey attracted and binds moisture to the skin. And it’s high amount of antioxidants help keep free radicals at bay. Each makes it wonderful for mature, dry, and all skin types alike.
8. Olive Oil Melt and Pour Soap Base
Olive oil melt and pour soap is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help replenish the water level within the epidermis. And it contains oleocanthal, a high anti-inflammatory compound that aids in reducing inflammation which is often related to dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, as well as acne. It also holds scent and color quite well for making soap at home.
Soap Base Highlights: Olive oil soap base is vitamin and nutrient-dense with excellent moisturizing abilities. It creates a thick lather that doesn’t dry out the skin.
Lather Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Olive oil soap is extremely mild and recommended for all skin types and all ages. However, it is packed with antioxidants such as vitamins A and E which have been shown to delay the appearance of wrinkles.
9. Coconut White Melt and Pour Soap Base
White coconut soap base is designed to contain no superfat – meaning it won’t leave any residue on surfaces or dishes. When it comes to soap making it’s the most cleansing base of all.
Which is why I use it to create a DIY dish soap bar recipe that’s effective against tomato paste, almond butter, and bacon grease too. I am so pleased that it doesn’t leave any streaks on our glassware or stainless steel pots.
Soap Base Highlights: This is the purest solid white color soap base I’ve used. It can create bright colored soap like a clear glycerin soap. It is also a scent-free soap and will hold scent beautifully.
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Many recommend coconut soap for those with combination or oily skin types. It’s anti-microbial and deep-cleaning qualities can help relieve redness and swelling, while reducing breakouts.
10. Castile Melt and Pour Soap Base
You’ve likely seen Castile soap at your favorite shops because this ancient soap is becoming widely available again. (Most likely due to consumers’ demand for simple, nontoxic products.) What I love about Castile soap is that it does not strip natural oils from the skin. Therefore it will not add to a flaky or scaly condition.
And Castile soap allows your skin to breathe unlike modern synthetic soaps that block pores, Castile soap works to clean and clear pores!
Made from olive oil and simple plant-based ingredients is white or light yellow in color. It is an extremely easy soap base to work with, providing endless possibilities for scent and color.
Soap Base Highlights: Castile soap contains all the benefits of olive oil soap mentioned above and then some!
Lather Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend Skin Type: Castile soap not only gives the skin a deep clean but comes packed with several health benefits for all skin types. And many, including myself, claim a difference in the clarity of their skin after just two weeks of regular use. This is a result of the natural antibacterial properties that help kill the bacteria that cause acne in addition to assisting with the balance of your skins’ PH level.
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Once you try one of these soap base types you’ll quickly realize that melt and pour soap is incredible! Melt it, scent it, color it, swirl it, layer it, and pour into countless shapes and sizes. If you’re like me you’ll have way too much soap on your hands in no time!
Good thing, homemade soap makes a great handmade gift for any occasion. Pin these 10 melt and pour soap base types to reference anytime for your future soap making projects. And speaking of soap making tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share yours with me!
Thank you so much for these clear and such interesting informations !!
Thank you for this comprehensive and encouraging article. I think I am ready to to give it a try
You’ll love making soap Diane!!
Gave better insight in making soap asthetically. Will definitely try
Thank you Avinash
I make cp soap since 2011.
But you have peaked my interest in Melt n Pour. Thank you
That’s awesome, I find it’s so much easier.
I just suddenly wanted to make my own soap.Started searching on net and read this article.it really helpful.thank u
Thanks, Soniya. Glad I could help!
I think I will definitely start with melt and pour soap, since I am a beginner. Thank you for the great tips. 🙌🏿
It’s so much easier than cold process and absolutely makes a great start!
Tamra S Hansen
Very informative! Can you tell me of any melt and pour soap bases that dry hard?
Coconut is the hardiest one I’ve used because it’s designed to have no superfat.
Soap making is an interesting thing to do, for your business and home use and a lot. Thanks
So true Sussana!
This was a great bit of information. I like the melt and pour soap bases from Bulk Apothecary but didn’t realize there may be significant differences in them.
Bulk Apothecary has a lot of great supplies for soap makers. Pretty fun discovering all the unique bases right!
Can i mix both sheabutter base and goatmilk base together to get the goodness of both from a single soap bar..??
Or can i add unrefined sheabutter in goatmilk base while melting??
You could do either; just be careful not to add too much unrefined shea butter as it could make your soap bar too soft.
wow, I’m so thrilled to start my own soap journey!! I’d love to make some dish soap bars, but coconut soap base is totally unavailable where I live. What soap base would also work best, if not Coconut? Thank you for the informative article!
I’m excited for you Jenni! You could try a basic white soap in place of coconut.
Tried melt and pour bases with my granddaughters 6&8
To help them make Xmas gifts so easy &fun!!!
That’s wonderful, my daughter loves making soap with me too. Such a fun craft we can share together. And you’re right, they do make great gifts!