I was recently asked which base is the clearest out of the Stephenson Crystal (Ultra) Clear Melt and Pour Soap Base and the Crafter’s Choice Extra Clear Melt and Pour Soap base.
I figured it was a common enough question to write a post on. The results are below, can you tell which is which?
I used some coloured paper from Kaisercraft that I cut out using their DIY cutting machine as embeds. I also wanted to use a fragrance to make the test realistic. I decided to use Lavender 38 oil which is a nature identical type of oil. It is extremely clear (0% vanillin), performs consistently and a little bit goes a long way so it’s perfect for this test. I like a strong scent so I used 3.5ml per 115g bar (roughly 3%).
I made one bar of each base (115g per bar). Here’s a breakdown of how they performed.
Melt Time: Each base was completely melted after 30 seconds in the microwave. Stephenson’s base has a melting point of 56C (you can find this info in their product matrix, here). The Crafter’s Choice base has a lower melting point of 50 degrees C (122F) and you can find this info within the product listing. This means that it stays fluid for longer (when heated to the same temperature), which is a huge selling point for me – especially when you need to do something a little tricky.
Inserting the Embeds: This was fairly easy with both bases. The only issue you may have is that the Stephenson base will solidify quicker than the Crafter’s Choice base and you will need to work more quickly.
Time to Unmould: The Stephenson base obviously won this race. It will however begin to sweat in a humid climate if you leave it unwrapped. The Crafter’s Choice base is low sweat so you won’t need to worry so much about wrapping this base in a hurry.
Unmoulding: Both bases came out easily with no finger dents. You do need to be careful that you don’t smudge the surface of both bases, as this will affect the clarity. You can always run it under some warm water for a few seconds and allow to re-dry, but this is time consuming and a little messy and nobody wants to over-handle soap that they want to sell.
Clarity: Whilst the bases were still liquid, the Crafter’s Choice base looked like it would win this comparison. However, once dry I was surprised to find that the Stephenson base was ever so slightly more clear. Not by much though and I wouldn’t hesitate to use either base for a project that required high clarity.
Scent throw: I wasn’t planning to write about this, but the Stephenson base, directly after unmoulding, had a noticeably better scent throw. After a few days of use, the fragrances have balanced out but the Stephenson base is still slightly stronger.
Lather and clean: The Crafter’s Choice base gives slightly bigger bubbles and tends to clean hands a bit better. If you have dry/sensitive skin this might not be a good thing for you.
WHICH IS WHICH: The mermaid on the left is the Crafter’s Choice Base. The Anchor on the right is the Stephenson base.
If you’d like me to compare any other bases, let me know! I could always use a good excuse to make soap 😉