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If you’ve ever loved the idea of making your own soap but thought it was too complicated or too time-consuming (because of the six weeks of curing time), or was simply too dangerous (because of the lye), then melt and pour soap making is for you. It’s quick, easy, and safe. And I’ve put together a simple guide for how to make melt and pour soap and compiled 25 of the best melt and pour soap recipes that I could find.
Melt and Pour Soap Making for Beginners
Making soap from scratch can be a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never done it before because of the caustic nature of the lye before it’s been through the full saponification process that renders it safe. Plus, buying the necessary safety equipment can be expensive, and not really worth the cost if you’re only just starting to try out soap making as a hobby or just to make a few bars of soap as gifts.
That’s where melt and pour soap comes in. You use a pre-made soap base that’s already been through the full saponification process. You melt it down, add your choice of colorants, scents, and extras, pour it into molds, and let it harden up. Literally melt and pour.
Using melt and pour soap bases is such a brilliantly easy way of making natural, customized soap for your home or to give as gifts (or even to sell). Plus, it’s already been cured, so you don’t need to wait 6 weeks before it’s safe to use on your skin.
Keep reading to find out how to make melt and pour soap, the best melt and pour soap base, explore your options for scents, colorants, and other additions, and what equipment you’ll need. Or, jump to the 25 best free melt and pour soap recipes. Or, if you really love the idea of gifting your loved ones some beautiful handmade soap but don’t have the time to make it yourself, check out our budget eco-friendly gift guide!
How to Choose a Melt and Pour Soap Base
The first step is to choose the right melt and pour soap base. While in theory, they all contain similar base ingredients, there are some notable differences. For one, not all of them are of high enough quality to be safe for your skin, and some contain unnecessary and potentially harmful or irritating chemical additives that you definitely want to avoid. So, whichever soap base you choose, make sure it’s as natural as possible and avoid any that contain sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) or parabens
While you’ve got a number of options, depending on what recipe you want to try and what properties you want to have, my first choice is always a high-quality goat’s milk soap base. I like this one, by Saponify, as it has a limited number of sustainably sourced ingredients, and the polypropylene glycol is derived from vegetables, not petroleum.
Goat’s Milk Melt and Pour Soap Base
As I said, goat’s milk is my favorite soap base. It’s nourishing and moisturizing and full of gentle but useful proteins, vitamins, and minerals that support skin health. The moisturizing properties also make it a great choice for dry skin.
The Saponify goat’s milk soap base I recommend melts easily and reforms into a hard soap bar that lathers well.
One thing to note: This type of soap base is white and opaque, so it’s more suited to natural and pastel shades, as trying to achieve a dark, rich hue is difficult with such a pale base if you’re using natural colorants (which of course I would always encourage). Having said that, it does create some beautiful soaps.
Glycerin Melt and Pour Soap Base
Good quality glycerin soap bases are clear so are a top choice for embedding flowers, leaves, and whole spices, as well as fun stuff like small action figures or eco-friendly glitter. It’s also great for coloring, and you can achieve some amazing hues with just natural colorants.
My choice of glycerin soap base would be this one, from Velona, as it’s organic, is SLS/SLES free, good value per pound, and has minimal ingredients. It also dries spectacularly clear.
One thing to note about pure glycerin soap bases is that, because they lack moisturizing ingredients (unless you add them), they can dry out already dry or very sensitive skin.
Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap Base
Shea butter melt and pour soap bases are wonderfully creamy and are an excellent choice for dry or sensitive skin. Just be aware that because of the creamy nature of shea butter, the soap bars won’t lather as much as some other base types. Ideally, the base should contain around 5% shea butter. Too much more than this and the end result will be soap that’s too soft and dissolves rapidly.
For a reliable outcome, I like Saponify’s shea butter soap base because it produces a nice, hard finished product and is a professional-grade base.
Shea butter soap bases hold color well but don’t do well with really pale pastel hues because the soap base itself is off-white. I’d also recommend that you don’t add too much oil (including essential oils) to shea butter melt and pour soap, because it further softens soap which is already soft.
Honey Melt and Pour Soap Base
Honey melt and pour soap, as the name suggests, is a (usually) glycerin soap base with added honey. Sometimes it’s super-fancy and even has manuka honey. If you have a good soap base that isn’t too soft already (for example, I wouldn’t recommend trying it with shea butter), you can make honey-infused soap yourself simply by adding honey (I tend to prefer set honey rather than runny honey, as it helps to keep the soap firmer). However, if you want your soap base ready-mixed with honey, you can get it here.
Honey is a great addition to sioap because it’s a humectant and helps the skin to retain moisture. It’s antimicrobial, too, and the natural sugars in the honey helps to increase the lather of the finished soap. Plus, of course, it smells delicious.
Oatmeal Melt and Pour Soap Base
The same thing applies to oatmeal melt and pour soap bases. Yes, you can make buy it ready-made – this one is a nice colloidal oatmeal soap base – or you can make your own by adding oatmeal to another melt and pour base.
Oatmeal is a great addition to soap as it helps to relieve itchy and irritated skin, is a natural exfoliant, and helps to moisturize. It’s also great for acne sufferers as it contains plenty of polyphenols. And for those with oily skin, oatmeal helps to remove and reduce oils from the skin, without causing excessive dryness.
Specialty Melt and Pour Soap Bases
If you want something a little different or with a specific set of properties, there are all kinds of specialty soap bases available. Charcoal soap bases, for example, have detoxing properties that pull impurities from the pores. Some specialty soap base options include:
- Argan oil
- Coconut oil,
- Donkey milk
- Cocoa butter
- Avocado butter
And if you’re really not sure but you’d like to experiment with different bases, Saponify does a brilliant sampler kit, with a total of 8lbs of different soap bases. You get 1lb each of 8 different varieties, plus a soap mold. I wish I’d found this myself when I first started soap making. I ended up buying it as a gift for a friend, and she loved it!
What Can You Add to Melt and Pour Soap?
There are limitless options for what you can add to your melt and pour soap. Essential oils or real herbs for fragrance and wellness properties, eco-friendly glitter, natural colorants, natural exfoliants, fun trinkets for kids (and for adults), and more.
Now, you can use fragrance oils, but I don’t recommend it, because most manufacturers don’t disclose their ingredients, so how can you be sure they are truly natural, even if the label claims they are? Personally, I prefer to use therapeutic grade essential oils. If I’m going to put it on my skin, I want to know it’s safe and natural, and therapeutic grade essential oils are exactly that.
You can also use honey for a delicate for unmistakably lovely fragrance. Another option is to infuse your own herbs and spices in a little olive oil, but this in time-consuming and not something I’d recommend for a beginner. Plus, of course, adding too much extra oil can ruin the consistency of the soap.
If you like spices, then you can add he actual spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, for example, directly to the soap.
But for long-lasting, fairly strongly scented soap, I’d opt for therapeutic grade essential oils.
A word of caution: Make sure you are buying a high-quality essential oil, not a fake. Additionally, make sure you know whether you are buying a 100% pure oil or one diluted with a carrier oil. If it does not contain a carrier oil, it’s a far stronger/more potent oil and you will need to use considerably less to achieve a nice scent. Plus, using too much undiluted essential oil or getting the undiluted oil on your skin while prepping your soap can cuase significant skin irritation.
Among the best essential oils for melt and pour soap making are:
Lavender – known for its soothing, calming properties and unmistakable scent, lavender essential oil has anti-fungal properties and is a great stress reducer. It’s also good for insomnia, so makes a wonderful soap for your nighttime routine. It’s also great for sensitive and eczema-prone skin.
Sweet orange – good for dry and acne-prone skin, and for reducing anxiety and depression. It has a delicate, sweet citrus scent.
Lime – a fresh, fruity, and vibrant scent. It’s uplifting and great for reducing stress as well as balancing oily skin. This is a great wake up and smile soap scent. Incidentally, I use lime essential oil in my white vinegar cleaning mixture – it makes my home smell fantastic!
Peppermint – peppermint essential oil is my go-to rememdy for headaches – particularly when combined in a diffuser with lavender oil. That minty scent is really nice, and peppermint essential oil has vasodilating properties thanks to its high concentration of menthol, so it helps to open up your blood vessels, promoting optimal blood flow and therefore headache reduction and improved mood and focus. It can also help ease congestion.
Geranium – a wonderfully floral, sweet scent without being overwhelmingly “flowery”. Geranium essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it’s a good choice for skincare products like soap. It’s also an astringent that helps to balance sebum/skin oil and moisture.
Bergamot – this essential oil has a light citrus scent with interesting floral hints. It may help to relieve congestion and anxiety when inhaled, and is thought to be good for eczema-prone skin. Some people also claim it helps reduce symptoms of psoriasis. It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal, so it’s beneficial as an addition in soap to cleanse the skin.
Cinnamon – cinnamon essential oil has a warm, spicy scent that reminds me of Fall and the Holidays. It works well for masculine or feminine soaps. The essential oil is thought to help reduce stress, stimulate circulation and widen the blood vessels, repel insects, and relieve congestion. It’s also antimicrobial.
Tea tree – tea tree has a fresh, distinctive scent a little like Eucalyptus. And it’s a powerful skincare oil. It’s antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial. It’s also a powerful cleanser able to alleviate oily skin.
Sandalwood – woodsy, earthy, and warm, sandalwood has a rich, sultry scent that’s a good choice for an oil blend for a masculine soap fragrance. This essential oil is antiseptcia dn astringent, cleaning the skin and reducing oil. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for sensitive skin.
Ginger – ginger essential oil is spicy, fiery, and invigorating and is packed full of antioxidants, so protects your skin from free radical damage and helps to rejuvenate the complexion. Astringent and anti-inflammatory, ginger oil is often used to soothe skin irritation, lighten scars, and reduce blemishes. And, because ofits powerful antiseptic and cleansing properties, it’s great for detoxing the skin, cleaning pores, and reducing acne.
There are all sorts of wonderful natural things you can include in your soaps – fresh or dried spirgs of herbs or spices to add scents, to boost skincare properties, and just to look pretty. You can include flower petals, for example, for a really pretty finish.
Or you can get more practical and include sugar, salt, oats, or coffee grounds to add exfoliating properties to your handmade soap.
You can get really fancy and extra practical, too, when you’re making melt and pour soaps – make a soap that’s also a cleaner or washcloth by adding natural sponge or loofah to your molds before pouring over the soap.
Natural Colorants for Melt and Pour Soap
Because we try to live as naturally as is practical, we avoid chemicals in anything we make or use whenever possible, and that includes in soaps. You can get some amazing colors using natural pigments, so I really don’t see the need to expose yourself or your loved ones to chemical colorants. I’m covering a few basic natural pigment options for melt and pour soap here that don’t involve infusing ingredients in oil, then adding the oil to the soap base, as this changes the consistency of the soap and may not result in good quality soap bars. There are so many to experient with, but here are my favorite options for natural melt and pour soap pigments:
- Beet powder – pink-purple
- Turmeric – yellow
- Activated charcoal – black
- Rose clay – pale pink
- Spirulina – medium green
- Honey – soft honey yellow
- Carrot powder – pale orange
- Hibiscus powder – dark pink
- Spinach powder – pale green
Fun Things to Add to Melt and Pour Soap
Just because you’re learning how to make natural melt and pour soap, it doesn’t have to be boring! You’ve already seen there are some fantastic color options and natural additives like exfoliants, and now we’re at the fun section. If you want something a little funkier than a beautiful soap containing a natural sponge and some pretty petals, get creative.
Biodegradable, skin-safe glitter is a thing, and I think it’s awesome for making sparkly soaps. The Hemway eco-friendly glitter selection has some great colors. You just add a little of the glitter to your melted soap base. And, to make sure you get a nice glittery coating on the outside of your soap, sprinkle a little into the molds before you pour in your melted soap – et voila! Eco-friendly, skin-safe glittery, sparkly soap!
And, if that’s not enough soap magic, go a step further and put a little unicorn figurine in the mold, like these cute 1-inch baby unicorns. It’ll be encased in the sparkly soap and will slowly emerge as the soap gets used. Or dinosaurs, tiny race cars, or whatever else you think the kids will enjoy.
How to Choose the Right Mold for Your Melt and Pour Soap
Choosing the right nold for melt and pour soap is mostly just a matter of personal preference. There are some great silicone molds for soaps, ranging from plain, traditional rectangular or oval soap shapes, to stars, animal shapes, spheres, and more. Flower-shaped molds, we like these BPA-free ones, for example, are a nice touch if you’re using a floral scent like geranium or rose. To make a dual-function soap bar, you could use these massage soap molds, or if you’re making a honey soap, a honeycomb mold is a lovely option.
Other Tools and Equipment for Melt and Pour Soap Making
Most of the other equipment you need for melt and pour soap making you probably already have. A scale is important for getting exact measurements, as are a cutting board and sharp knife. You’ll need measuring spoons in a variety of sizes for measuring small amounts of pigments, oils, and other additions. Mixing bowls, a metal whisk, and a silicone spatula. And, if you find you have trouble with bubbles forming in your soap, a small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol will help. If you’re dealing with intense colors like beet powder, I also recommend covering your worksurface with old newspaper.
How to Make Melt and Pour Soap
Now, obviously, exact instructions will vary based on the soap base you choose and the recipe you’re following, but here is a basic guide to making melt and pour soap (it’s super easy!).
- Get all your equipment and ingredients set up to reduce the risk of spills later on while you’re running around looking for stuff!
- Using a sharp knife, cut your soap base into small chunks (cutting it small helps it to melt faster).
- Now, you can use a microwave for this bit, heating the soap base for 15-second intervals until it’s melted. However, I don’t own a microwave. Nor would I want to use one for melting soap, because you don’t have enough control and it’s easy to overheat it. So instead, I use a double boiler – or my DIY version. Put a pan of hot water on the stove then put a heatproof bowl over the top of the pan, making sure it fits snugly in the mouth of the pan but does not touch the hot water. Put the soap in the bowl and stir it regularly until it’s melted.
- Remove the bowl (carefully, don’t burn yourself) from the heat, stand it on a heatproof surface and add your extra ingredients, fragrances, and colorants.
- Next, pour the melted soap into your molds and wait for them to cool and harden. I recommend leaving overnight to be sure the soap is fully hard and ready to use (or gift).
25 Best FREE Melt and Pour Soap Recipes
Moisturizing and gentle on the skin, this peppermint melt and pour soap recipe is so easy. And you don’t even need a colorant – although you can if you want. You could even do red and white stripes like a candycane!
This anti-inflammatory soap recipe works wonders for reducing the sensitivity and irritation caused by ezcema or rosacea. And, because it’s antibacterial, it’s great for acne. It has an amazing scent, too.
This is 3 recipes in one post! A mustard bath (a traditional cureall for all kinds of issues, including sleep problems), a mustard scrub, and a mustard soap. The melt and pour soap recipe is super easy and contains some powerful ingredients!
Cardamom, coffee, and lime soap is exfoliating and invigorating. This melt and pour soap recipe smells amazing and has lots of beneficial properties for your skin. Just make sure you use fresh coffee grounds, not used!
Exfoliating, moisturizing, and nourishing, this natural melt and pour soap recipe has an embedded natural loofah along with jojoba beads, and several essential oils that promote healthy, nourished skin.
Rosemary and Lemongrass essential oils and a goat’s milk base combine to make an energizing and revitalizing herbal soap. Rosemary is brilliant for your skin and hair and has a distinctive, soothing herbal scent.
Lavender and rosemary soap is soothing and relaxing and has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, so it’s good for your skin in multiple ways. And with the goat’s milk base, it’s creamy, hydrating, and moisturizing, too.
The combination of lavender and oatmeal is soothing, cleansing, and detoxing. And, the oatmeal acts an exfoliant. This natural melt and pour recipe is a good choice for sensitive skin and suits all skin types and is gentle enough for acne and eczema-prone skin.
A goat’s milk base combined with honey and oatmeal produces a soap that’s moisturizing and that softens and brightens your skin. Oatmeal is gently exfoliating and has anti-inflammatory properites, and it is brilliant for sensitive and eczema-prone skin.
Natural dish soap bars are a great idea, and these ones contain grease-cutting, antibacterial lemon essential oil and fresh lemons. Good for your skin and tough on dirty dishes. You can lather it in the hot water and you’ll get suds like liquid dish soap, rub it onto a washcloth or even use directly on the dirty dishes.
Who doesn’t like pumpkin spice?!? That warm, spicy scent is powerfully comforting and conjures up fond Fall memories. It’s super easy to make and you can use the pumpkin spice you have in the cupboard already!
These coffee soap bars are super cute with their little succulents on top. Using real coffee grounds and coffee essential oil, this soap recipe smells like a freshly brewed cup of Joe and also gives you the astingent and exfoliating properties of coffee.
Sweetly herbal, this rosemary soap recipe uses real dried rosemary and rosemary and vanilla essential oils in a goat’s milk base. Naturally moisturizing and rehydrating, it’s great for your skin and has a gentle, pleasing fragrance.
Spiders and insects and bugs, oh my! These little Halloween-themed trinket soaps are fun party favors and making them is a fab activity to do with the kids. You could even go for a Jurassic Park-themed mosquito in amber look.
These single-use leaf soaps are a brilliant idea! Great if you can’t use soaps in public restrooms, for example, because you have sensitive skin. And they’re brilliant for your guestroom, too – no need to worry about hygiene and sharing soap bars.
Honey is fantastic for your skin – it’s moisturizing and cleansing and has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s rich in antioxidants, too, so it can aid in skin repair and help to reduce scarring, such as from acne. And this recipe uses a simple hack so you don’t even need a fancy mold to get the honeycomb look!
Jasmine is a subtle and distinctive floral fragrance and aloe is moisturizing and gently cleansing. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, so this natural soap recipe is a smart choice for dry, itchy, and sensitive skin.
This hatch a dinosaur soap is so fun! Nice for kids’ party favors and so simple to make. The egg molds are a brilliant idea and you can use natural colorants and essential oils. Plus, the kids can help you make them, so it’s a nice activity, too.
Orange soap is refreshing and invigorating and this simple recipe leaves enough room for you to add your own essential oils to complement the orange. Flax seed is great for gentle exfoliation, too. This recipe is simple, effective, and easily customizable.
Is melt and pour soap safe?
Yes, in theory, melt and pour soap is safe, but there are a few things to remember:
1. When making melt and pour soap, the soap gets hot as it melts, so take sensible precautions.
2. The quality of and the ingredients in your melt and pour soap base determine how safe it is. If it’s full of nasty chemicals, it’s not terribly safe, and I wouldn’t recommend putting it on your skin.
3. If the ingredients you add to your melt and pour soap base are not safe, the soap also becomes unsafe. Things like cheap or chemically-derived fragrance oils and colorants are most likely not safe, so again, I would not use them or put soap that contains them on my skin.
Is melt and pour soap safe for skin?
It depends what’s in it, but in general, good quality, natural melt and pour soap is good for the skin, particularly if it contains moisturizing ingredients like goat’s milk or shea butter. And other additives, like honey, certain essential oils, herbs and spices, seeds and grains have other properties that make them beneficial for the skin, too.
Can you use essential oils in melt and pour soap?
Yes. I prefer essential oils to synthetic fragrances and fragrance oils because essential oils have beneficial properties and, assuming you take my advice and buy high-quality therapeutic-grade ones, they are totally natural. Which oils you choose depends on how you want your soap to smell and what properties you want your soap to have. I adore lime and sweet orange essential oils – these citrusy oils are vibrant, invigorating, and great for the skin. Rosemary is wonderfully herbal and geranium is decadently floral. For a more earthy, spicy, or masculine scent, I like sandalwood or ginger.
What happens if you overheat melt and pour soap?
If you overheat melt and pour soap, it becomes rubbery or gummy and is difficult to work with. If you heat your soap to above 140F or you reheat the base too many times, the end result is gummy, rubbery soap that is difficult to use and that doesn’t set well. This is why I recommend using a DIY double boiler rather than a microwave – because the heat of a double boiler is less intense, you can see when the base is melted, and you have greater control over the process.
Is melt and pour soap cheating?
No, melt and pour soap is not cheating. It’s a nice gateway to soap making for people who want to try out the craft before they buy all the equipment they need for cold process soaps. Additionally, some people want to produce natural, handmade goods but don’t want to worry about dealing with caustic chemicals like lye. However, they still go to the effort of selecting and mixing the best ingredients into their soap creations, so no, melt and pour soap is not cheating.
Does melt and pour soap expire?
If stored properly, melt and pour soap does not expire in that it doesn’t go bad, grow mold, develop an unpleasant odor, or anything of that nature. However, it will lose scent and it will lose moisture. Even then, it’s safe to use – it’ll just be brittle and won’t smell as great as it did when you first made it. If stored properly, melt and pour soaps will easily last for a year or more.
How long does melt and pour soap take to cure?
Melt and pour soap will take at least 6 hours to fully harden/cure. I tend to leave mine overnight, jsut to be sure, as lots of things impcact the hardening time, such as room temperature and what you added to the soap.