Selling Melt and Pour soap. Is It Really Handmade?

I bought a melt & pour soap making kit for my daughters and myself to create some “handmade” soap. I wanted to add it to my list of products along with my candles other crafts, but when I started looking into soap making I found a strong debate about melt & pour vs cold press soap making. 

Small children and the learning curve of chemically processed soap simply don’t  mix. The soaponification process is challenging for an adult, not to mention entertaining a small band of kids who also want to  measure and stir. 

Melt and pour soap is a handmade product that you can sell! A crafter can create great products and research the best base to use for their bars of soap. Be sure to research and label the ingredients in your base to satisfy the FDA or Fair Packaging and Labeling act requirements. 

I was gifted the book, “Natural Soapmaking” by Marie Browning. Although it is an older edition, the melt and pour recipes are time tested and approved! This book is a great way to get started in a melt and pour journey with basic kitchen utensils while still creating a beautiful product! Soap is a simple product, but one wrong mention or label can create a whole uneccessary hassle with the FDA and even the EPA! I’ll jump right into it!

Selling Real Soap

Here in America, there are many regulations goverining the sale of, well, pretty much anything! While I will simplify the following requirements to selling soap, I urge you to go directly to the specific links for further explanations about each governing administration. Making a product for the general public will always create a little more leg work to be legal and follow industry standards. 

FDA Soap Definition

Regardless if your product started as a mass produced base (melt & pour base) or if you used the soaponification process and created your soap through lye and oil, the FDA states, “To be regulated as “soap,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.” Here is a link to the frequently asked question to the FDA about soap requirements. I

The key take-away points to understand is that soap must have no claims other than being soap. It can not be a moisturizing bar (FDA would have extra labeling requirements as it would be considered a cosmetic.) It can not be shampoo it can only be soap! Adding ingredients such as detergents also break the FDA soap requirements and push your bar into the cosmetic category.

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act

Your melt and pour soap must be labeled according to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. I have the direct link here. The only 3 requirements for real soap on the label for consumer commodities are:

Statement of Identity ie soap

Name and location of manufacturer

Net weight of the product

Bug repellant and other claims

As you can see, there is a lot more to selling soap, than just melting and pouring and we have only touched on the surface of the legal labeling! Here are a few other claims that you should heavily consider before listing them on your website descriptions or labels!

Bug Repellent, such as essential oil, might be considered a pesticide- EPA link

Organic ingredients have certain requirements for cosmetics- USDA link

Made in America terminology has both state and federal laws to follow- FTC link

As far as the labeling and regulaions, there isn’t a difference whether you buy the soap base from a trusted manufacturer or make it from lye and oil. The important piece to consider if the actual ingredients of the melt and pour base you decide to use in your recipe! A reputible supplier will either list the ingredients on their website under each description or you can contact them directly to discuss your needs. 

How Much Can you make?

Crafting is a challenging market since many artisans are crafters and many consumers don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. It is important to know how much it costs to create your soap! The key costs to calculate are: ingredients, your labor, labels & packaging/shipping. As a general rule of thumb, multiply your cost by 200% for retail. 

Keep in mind the cost of doing business, such as insurance, electricity and marketing, is additional and should be discussed with your accountant. If your business plan is to emerge larger than a small hobby, you should plan on talking with an accountant sooner than later to set up your structure. 

On average, it costs about $1-$2 to create a bar. This can change with normal market fluctuations, shipping charges and bulk purchases. Be sure to shop around for the best prices and purchase as much as you can afford and store to get the lowest price per unit. 

Thankfully, we, as crafters, are no longer pigeon toed into selling only in our local neighborhoods. We now have the power of the internet! We can aim our marketing dollars towards a wealthier market. 

I often see handpoured soap sell anywhere from $4-$7 depending on the creativeness. So, dependent on your costs and market, you could make $1-$5 per 4 oz bar of soap. 

Where Can You Sell M&P Soap?

Melt and Pour soap can be made in your home and sold on any selling platform or venue. Be creative and sell at wedding shows or sign up at your local county fair. Find the places that aren’t overwhelmed with soap makers to break into the soap maker’s selling market! 

There are some debates about whether melt and pour soap is actually Hand Crafted. Some ideas to be transparent about your process is to market your soap as “hand poured” or “hand made.”

Be sure you hone your skills prior to selling your. Test your soap and have your friends and family also test your soap. Memorize the ingredients in your base and be comfortable pronouncing and repeating the ingredients. Prepare your “elevator speach” where you can quickly recite your pitch about your product and your company. 

What is handmade?

Since 1523 AD the word “handicraft” has been used to describe a manual skill or occupation requiring skills by hand. You will find nay-sayers regardless of what you do in crafting once you put your products on the market. Be transparent and don’t imply your product has been made from scratch.

I know when I was a consumer, prior to making soap, I didn’t have a clue about the soap making process. Most consumer’s don’t know what they don’t know! As long as you are transparent and create a beautiful, lathering bar of soap, you will get return customers!

Be proud of your product and excited to sell it and share it with other and your potential customers will notice! There are many many creative ideas working melt and pour soaps and yours will be just as great!


Melt and pour soap is an easy process that you can do safely and quickly and your creativeness will push your product forward. I prefer melt & pour soap base to make my soap so I can have my 2 young daughters, the names behind Brookota’s Creations, help with the process. 


Erin is a crafty, fun-loving, mom who takes pride in her kid's creativity and talents.

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