Can I use a melt and pour soap base instead of making my own soap base?

Melt and Pour soaps are like those tubes of cookie dough or a cake mix—all the important stuff has been done already, and now you just need to add the finishing touches, like icing, and baking (and extra chocolate, if you’re like me). And while that’s great for when you want cookies ASAP, you don’t have any control over what’s in them. Do you prefer whole grain flour or free range eggs? Too bad. Somebody else has already chosen all the ingredients, made up the recipe, measured everything out, and determined almost all the other variables. And while the cookies are going to taste awesome, they’ll never really be truly yours.

So, to draw the analogy over to soap. Say you think palm oil is terrible for the environment, and you prefer tallow (as I do—here’s why). If your M&P base contains palm oil instead (as they invariably do), you’re out of luck. Too bad. Say you want to make shampoo or shaving soap, which requires 2–4x as much castor oil as usual so you can get a lovely, creamy abundance of lather? Out of luck again. Want to experiment with different bases, like milk, beer, coconut, or tea? No can do.

I hope you can see why I prefer to make my soap from scratch—I like to control all the ingredients, not just the decorations. Looking for M&P recipes is like looking for recipes based on cake mixes—you’ll probably find most of the ambitious ones start from scratch, not from a box.

If you are interested in learning more about doing up your own soaps entirely from scratch, I’ve written two articles that should get you started nicely. First off, Why There is No Such Thing as Soap Without Lye goes over how soap is the result of a chemical reaction, and why lye really isn’t that scary. Then, my basic overview on making soap from scratch, to help you get the hang of the measuring & mixing 🙂

Posted in: Soap

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