This is probably the single most asked question in our industry. For many beginners, making their own melt and pour soap base is the ‘Holy Grail’ of soap making. This is actually quite a simple process that, for some reason, most professional soap makers and soap making supply sites guard as a trade secret. People ask us all the time though how it’s done, and we feel that it is better to share our knowledge. The reality is, margins on melt and pour soap are very slim, and once people know how it’s made, they end up buying our melt and pour bases anyway. Most people just want to know for their own satisfaction, so here it goes. The melt and pour soap base below is a very basic formula that will allow you to get your feet wet if you choose to take a crack at it. It can be altered slightly to fit your needs, but this is a great starting point. Just keep in mind, there are countless resources online for normal hot process soap made from scratch, so for purposes here, this formula is for a commercial melt and pour base, which is what many companies online are selling today.
What you’ll need:
6.06% – 50% sodium hydroxide (aka Lye) solution (this is just 50% SH and 50% water)
12% propylene glycol
18.4% sorbitol solution
28.89% sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
13% stearic acid, 6.05% lauric acid
3.33% triethanolamine (TEA)
Add 1% titanium dioxide (only if you want your soap white)
Let’s get started: (for purposes of this article, we put everything in percentages so that it could be scaled up or down as needed). Also, remember you should follow all safety precautions and GMP’s to clean your equipment. The lye is very dangerous to work with, and we don’t recommend trying this at home without a good understanding of how these ingredients need to be handled. Once this is understood, simply multiply the amount of soap you want to make by the percent to get an accurate amount by weight of each ingredient needed.
Start by heating your lye solution to roughly 150 degrees F in a vessel which will be phase 1. In a separate vessel, mix and heat your propylene glycol, glycerin, sorbitol and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) to 150 degrees F, which will be phase 2. Once your phase 2 hits 145-150 degrees, mix in your stearic acid and lauric acid to the second phase. Keep heating this phase till it reaches 160 degrees and slowly add the lye solution from the first phase, and mix for about 30 minutes or until the soap base is transparent. Stop mixing and let the batch sit for 45 minutes to an hour at 160 degrees. After about an hour, gently mix in the TEA. That’s it, your soap is done and ready to be poured into molds–a simple melt and pour soap base made from scratch. Now just add in some peppermint oil or any other essential oil of your choice to customize.