Frequently asked questions

The majority of our bases are gluten-free - if you require further information please contact us here.

We use palm and palm kernel oils, and ingredients derived from both oils. Wherever possible, we use oil and ingredients from certified sustainable sources. All products that are made using certified sustainable palm and palm ingredients have the letters SG or MB at the end of their name referring to RSPO Segregated (SG) and RSPO Mass Balance (MB). It isn’t possible to source everything we use from certified sustainable sources, but we are always researching and discussing with our suppliers to find new options.

Lye (also known as Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide) is the material that is used in making all of our soaps. Solid soaps (Crystal Melt and Pour range or Extruded soap bases) use Lye from Sodium Hydroxide, while Stephenson Liquid soaps use Lye from Potassium Hydroxide. We use Lye to saponify oils and/or fatty acids to produce soap. Once the soap is produced, all the lye is used up during the saponification reaction and so there is none left in the final product.

No, we are a speciality base supplier, we manufacture and ship soap bases and other product bases that are converted by our customers into finished products. Typically our bases make up around 80-99% of a finished product.

No, we are strictly against animal testing and our ingredients are not tested on animals.

GMP applies to companies manufacturing finished products. As a supplier of ingredients and bases, this does not apply. Stephenson holds ISO 9001 Quality Certification and supplies companies that have GMP certification.

We've been making soap here at Stephenson’s since 1856, originally for the textile industry.

Yes, all the glycerine used in our soap bases is derived from vegetable sources.

Most of our product are vegan friendly. Only small amount of our products contain animal-derived milk and honey. These include Crystal Goat’s Milk, Crystal Donkey Milk and Crystal Honey.

Soap by nature of its chemistry falls typically in the range pH 9.5-10.5. If the pH is reduced then the soap becomes unstable. Therefore all our soap range are at this alkaline pH.

The following Melt & Pour crystals are not gluten-free:







All our other Melt & Pour Crystal bases are gluten-free.

No studies/testing has been conducted, so we have no data on this to say that it is safe to use on babies. It is down to the customer to carry out this testing on their finished products.

No studies/testing has been conducted, so we have no data to say it is safe for animal use. It is down to the customer to carry out this testing on their finished products.

No - Melt & Pour is different to 'cold process' and thus does not need to cure. Our Melt & Pour base is already reacted and cured. Once melted you simply pour, and leave to set. The term 'cure' is used to describe saponification, when the product is still reacting and neutralising fatty acid content whilst setting. This is not the case with Melt & Pour.

This depends on the size of your mould or loaf. The larger the surface area the longer it will take to set. A normal loaf will take roughly 6 hours to fully set. This can also change depending on the ambient temperatures you let the base set in.

There is no limit on how many times you can re-melt. Be aware of any moisture you may lose during this process as this can alter the balance of the formulation. Always cover the soap base when you melt it.

If you are slicing Melt & Pour soap base (Any Crystal bases) we would recommend using a large knife or a soap cutter, or a soap mould slicing tool/machine. If you're cutting from an 11.5kg box we recommend cutting top to bottom.

If you are slicing Melt & Pour syndet base (Syndopour 200-MB) we would recommend using cheese wire.

This is quite a common problem described as 'bleeding'. Most Melt & Pour crafters use water-based food colourings, these are water-soluble and Melt and Pour is a water-based product, thus when these colours are inside a soap they often bleed as it runs through to the entire body of the product. There are alternatives to this, such as pigments or non-bleeding colourants available but they might not be as simple to use.

The white pigment (titanium dioxide) can settle at the bottom within the soap base as it cools when we run large volumes or in the summer months as it takes longer to set. Don’t panic, simply cut the block of soap base from top to bottom in an even cross-section, then re-melt, mix, and you will see that the white (titanium dioxide) will be even throughout the finished soap bar/product.

This is due to the bars being un-wrapped. Almost all of our Melt & Pour products contain Glycerin (a moisturizing agent) and because Glycerin is a humectant, it pulls moisture in from the air which is great when you apply it to your skin, but not so great when displaying unwrapped bars.

When the bars are left out in higher dry ambient temperatures they will begin to lose some of the water/moisture. This results in a loss in size, weight and shape.

Cut the base down to manageable pieces, chunks or slices. You can then add to a heated vessel, pot, or melt in the microwave - make sure you watch the temperature, as it is possible to lose moisture and water content from the base overheating.

Overheating can also cause the base to boil over so make sure you remove and stir intermittently.

Normally we would recommend silicone moulds, as metal moulds can often stick to the product, but moulds for chocolate often work well too.

This base contains no sodium stearate; it only contains sodium laurate, which melts a lot lower than our standard bases. 

Unlike all our other white/opaque crystal melt and pour bases - this base contains no TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) as it naturally sets white/opaque.

This is normal - due to the technical properties, the base melts and pours translucent but will set white/opaque.

The temperature for each Melt & Pour base can differ. You can find the product-specific temperature on the product INCI document, which can be found here.

We offer 2 types of packaging for our Melt and Pour soap bases - 1kg trays and our ‘patent pending’ 11.5kg / 25lb soap box.

It's very important to wrap the soap/syndet as soon as you have released it from the mould. The fewer surfaces in contact with the air the better so wrap in a cling film/cello film type product. This is important to prevent sweating and also moisture loss.

This is described as 'sweating' and is caused because the bars have been left out in the atmosphere un-wrapped. Many bases contain various ingredients like glycerine which acts as a humectant. These attract moisture and beads of water will begin to appear on the bars if left unwrapped. A number of factors contribute to this; storage, ambient temperature, humidity and air pressure. The best way to avoid this is by wrapping your soaps/syndet bars.

Perhaps, we can never say for sure as it depends on the essential oil/oils used and the amount. Most ‘free’ oil in the soap base that is un-reacted or not part of the formulation can cause clouding and Essential Oils are no different.

Yes - you can use essential oils however they can have various impacts on the base, for example; setting time, hardness, clarity and so on. Please do your own sample testing to be sure of compatibility.

No. Crystal NCO is not certified organic as a finished soap base, however, it does use certified oils (these are saponified in the process) so the soap is made from organic oils, but it is not a certified product.

Crystal OMP/OMPC contains palm oil and some palm oil derivatives. The palm oil is from sustainable sources. By the end of 2022, the derivates will also be from certified sustainable sources.

Crystal melt and pour products contain glycerin that is used as a solvent and a humectant. It is either derived from palm oil or rapeseed oil. If it is derived from rapeseed, it will be clearly labelled, otherwise can be assumed to come from palm oil. Glycerin may also be produced during the saponification reaction between an oil and sodium hydroxide.

The reason some melt and pour soaps are transparent is because they use fatty acids (clear fractions of oils) and solvents, these reduce the formation of crystals when the soap is made and allows light to pass through the soap. When we make a more natural soap we use the entire natural oil, these are not transparent and have an amber appearance, and although allow partial light to pass the soap is still not clear.

The following Melt & Pour crystals are not gluten-free:







All our other Melt & Pour Crystal bases are gluten-free.

The bases are not manufactured for processing at home. Extruded soap bases are used in soap factories, and are converted from noodle form into finished soap bars in one continuous process using pressure, force, and large scale machinery.

Our extruded soap bases are for large scale manufacturing. Extruded bases will not melt in a microwave or in an oven. The moisture/water in these products is very low and they are processed by machines that use pressure and heat caused by friction to bind the soap together and in turn press soap bars.

Conventional Soap making factories and mills that have invested in full scale soap plodding and production machines.

There is no way to process this product / material by hand or under craft conditions.

For our extruded soap bases we supply in two pack sizes, 25KG bags, or 1000KG big bags. Usually we ship in 25KG as this not only protects the soap base but helps to maintain moisture within the product.

We manufacture and produce speciality soap bases; we make our soap base using natural or organic oils, not standard conventional fatty acids. A white soap base is produced by large mills in Indonesia and Malaysia, using fatty acids derived from non-sustainable palm oil plantations (fatty acids are parts of the oils, not the full oil) by using fatty acids the natural colour is removed, the base appears bright white, and the natural glycerine is also removed. We maintain the glycerine throughout the soap making process as it provides excellent skin feel, and a higher quality in the finished product.

78% or higher TFM is usually only possible if soap noodle is made from fatty acid, or oils with the glycerin washed out. As we use full oils with glycerin left in, our TFM is generally 70-75%; see Technical Information attached to the individual products for more information.

Syndopal 300 is made with RSPO Mass Balance Palm Ingredients.

Yes, all of the Palm and Palm Kernel oils used in making our soap bases are 100% RSPO Segregated. We were in fact the first soap making production worldwide to use 100% certified sustainable palm and palm kernel oils in our soap base.

Yes, we can manufacture and supply Fairtrade soap bases, upon request.

Yes, you can make both hand wash and body wash from our liquid soaps. Be aware that these products would not be suitable for hair care products as they have high pH levels which can strip and damage hair of natural properties.

There are many different ways to thicken liquid soap. It depends on what additional ingredients you add and how much you dilute the base. Our Organic Liquid Castile soap thickens with the simple addition of a 20% salt solution, however, our Liquid 101 bases for example only thickens with Cellulose thickeners such as Guar Gum.

For an effective bubble bath, we would recommend using our Liquid Crystal Concentrate, a high concentrate blend of mild surfactants the product can be diluted, coloured, fragranced and simply thickened with a salt solution.

A 20% Salt solution can be used to thicken all of the range barring Liquid Soap PK-SG; for that, you would need to add a 5% cellulose gum solution (for more information, please look at our processing guide). 

Salt - 20g

Deionised/Softened water - 80g

Total = 100g

Stir thoroughly until salt is dissolved.

For our liquid products we have four types of packaging for our liquid bases. We supply in 10kg kegs, 25kg kegs, 200kg drums and 1,000kg IBC / tote containers.

Yes, you can. However please be aware that the type and amount of essential oils you can add will vary, some essential oils will thin your base, some will thicken, and some will make the soap base cloudy and hazy. So be sure to test, run stability and always leave thickening to the very end.

We have a wide range of liquid soap bases, certified organic and non-organic. Our organic certifications include COSMOS and Quality Assurance International (QAI).

Yes, take the product and begin to whip the base. Continue to whip to as light or as heavy as you wish. It is during this process you can introduce additives such as colouring, fragrance and so on.

We wouldn't recommend melting Crystal OPC (Foaming Bath Butter). we always suggest cutting the base up, whipping it whilst at room temperature and then adding your favourite ingredients.

No, this is a ready-to-use base and not designed to be thickened.

Yes, the product will not set hard. It will stay relatively soft and depending on how much the product was whipped it will remain light and fluffy.

We would recommend adding the sugar at the start of the (cold process) whipping, you can actually add up to 60% sugar, but it’s really up to you.

This is a unique product that is extremely versatile, you can make foaming bath butter, foaming sugar whips, foaming salt scrubs or foaming body souffles.

Tubs or jars are always best; this product is ideally used with a sponge or by scooping with your hand whilst in the shower or bath, so something with a wide top and ease of use would be best.


Durosoft PG10 CY-MB works well in solubilizing the tocopherol.

Yes, you can use Durosoft PG10CY-MB. The level depends on the amount and type of fragrance you are going to use.

If you're making an emulsion, high shear mixing is required.

It depends on the formulation, usually you can get good results with < 10%.

No but you can check the guide formulations in our guide book here.

Emulsions (creams and lotions), leave-on and rinse-off, face body and hair products, as well as waterless formulations.

No, they are cosmetic grade.

Yes, Durosoft PG10CY-MB works very well at solubilising fragrances and it can be a straightforward swap for PEG-40 and even Polysorbate 20. For more information download our brochure here.


PG4-O and PG10-O have 18 months from the date of manufacture.

PG4L-SG, PG10L-SG, PG10CY-MB have three years from the date of manufacture.

You can find it in the brochure (click link here), on our Durosoft product matrix (click link here) or on the product page for each ingredient on the website too.

In the original packaging at ambient temperature (no more than 25°C) and out of direct sunlight

We supply Durosoft in a range of packaging from 10kg, 25kg through to a bulk drum of 200kg.

Yes, they can be heated to approximately 100°C but this should not be repeated multiple times (heated and cooled) as this could adversely affect the colour of the product.

No, they are naturally derived.

Durosoft products are approved by COSMOS to be used in certified organic formulations, however, they are not certified organic ingredients.

Yes, Durosoft is suitable for vegans.

In line with the definitions within ISO16128-1:2016, based on the information from our suppliers and our manufacturing process, the natural origin Index for this product is 1.