Glycerin base vs. Cold Process


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Dec 23, 2015
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I didn't realize that glycerin based soap was not the same as melt and pour and read numerous threads on how glycerin soap is more gentle.

Are fragrances and color added to the glycerin just like melt and pour? There's so many bases that are SLS free which makes me wonder....

I love the cold process soaps - less drying than commercial - but are glycerin based better?

Has anyone tried both and prefer one the other


Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2014
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So Cal
ALL home crafted soap has glycerin in it as a result of the saponification reaction.

Many melt and pour soaps do also have glycerin as an added ingredient. There are also transparent soaps that are not melt and pour, to further confuse things.

For even more confusion, I see a lot of internet sites referring to clear melt and pour soap as "glycerin"

For myself, I have made melt and pour transparent soaps using vegetable glycerin. While very nice, I don't really think of them as better than my CP soaps, just different.

If you are using glycerin based melt and pour soaps, then yes, you add the fragrances and color just the same as any MP soap.


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Apr 11, 2015
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New York City
I didn't realize that glycerin based soap was not the same as melt and pour and read numerous threads on how glycerin soap is more gentle.
Not many people understand what these things are.

What you have been reading is incorrect. M&P is just a type of glycerin soap, but that is a bad name for it. As I will explain later, glycerin soap is more properly just called transparent soap.

Every transparent soap, whether or not it can be melted down and remolded, is the same sort of thing: a combination of soap and solvents. The solvents dissolve the soap into liquid form when hot and prevent it from going opaque as it cools and hardens. Depending on the formula, you might or might not be able to melt it and mold it again.

Most transparent soap formulas use glycerin as one of the solvents, but it's not always a big component and never the only one. Other solvents include alcohol, sugar, sorbitol and propylene glycol. It's typical to use two or three different solvents.

Transparent soaps can be only soap and solvent, or they can contain additional surfactants. Surfactants offer the advantage or lowering the pH so the product is not as harsh in some respects, like stinging the eyes. They also cut down on or eliminate soap scum.

Meltable or not meltable, with or without surfactants, there is no way to generalize about which is better or gentler. It all depends. Of the last two transparent soaps I made, the M&P with some surfactant is noticeably gentler than the non-meltable formula with only soap.

In case you're wondering, it's possible to make M&P soap that's not transparent, but in practice the opaque bases are just transparent soap with titanium dioxide added to make them white.