I have sold a great deal of soap over the years and have seen many trends come and go. Soap can have a more subdued look or be a complete artistic masterpiece, depending on the lengths you want to go. I find personally my best sellers are the ones I keep simple and very health focused. Of course I do some seasonal artisan soaps also that sell very well, but the ones that people ask for regularly are my classics.
So, I decided to do some research and see what types of handmade soaps were selling the best both online and in various markets. Of course, I can’t shop every local market (I wish :)) but the following are what I discovered to be very in demand at present both online and in my local shops.
Of course, no one should be stealing ideas, but taking some inspiration and making it your own.
Popular Handmade Soap Varieties
People love soft, fragrant soaps and a good old-fashioned vegetable based lye soap is always your best bet. It’s very versatile and you can make it plain, or use some micah dyes and add swirls and other pretty things. If you don’t have time to wait for weeks for cold process batches to cure; I’m a huge fan of doing hot process soap in the crockpot. It frees me up to do other things as my soap cooks and it has all the benefits of cold-processed with a much shorter cure time.
Want to learn how to make soap in a crockpot? Check out my comprehensive tutorial.
A lot of people enjoy the glycerin soaps as well and yes, many soap makers consider melt and pour to be “not a soap at all”. Purists abound, and as a whole I tend to agree, but that being said there are some neat things you can do with melt and pour soaps you can’t do with hot/cold process – cute embeds in clear soap being one of them.
Also, glycerin soaps are ideal for intricate 3D molds and wedding favor type soaps. I make cute snowflakes every winter and scent them with pine, clove and citrus – people go gaga for those little snowflakes for stocking stuffers because they smell like Christmas, are affordable, and people enjoy them for gifts.
So whether you specialize in one kind of soap or do different varieties, let’s look at popular scents and trends for this year.
This is by far my most popular soap and the one most requested. Oatmeal is well-known by the public to soothe dry, itchy skin. When fall craft fairs come around, people are preparing for the harshness of winter months and looking for ways to prevent cracked, dry skin etc. In the summer months, it’s great for the itch from bug bites and soothing sunburns etc. so it’s a great year-round market. If you don’t have a variety of oatmeal soap, you may want to come up with your own custom blend.
Lavender & Lavender Blends
This is always a classic and again, people are very familiar with the relaxation that comes from Lavender. More and more I see this lovely and versatile scent combined with other oils to create delicious blends.
African Black Soap
This has really taken the world by storm. It is a natural soap used to soothe and heal a variety of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne. It is made from roasted plantain skins. Any scent you desire can be added, but I find since it is used to treat skin conditions it’s best to stick to pure essential oils and not use synthetic fragrance oils.
Citrus Soaps & Vitamin C
Citrus oils brighten and tighten the skin and citrus scent is mild and popular among men and women. I do a clary sage and citrus soap that is great for facials and for shaving because I add betonite clay. Amazing stuff that people really love. You’ll find that citrus sugar scrubs are very popular, so I add those same benefits to my bars and they’ve done very well.
Everyone is all about the avocado these days and with good reason. Avocado provides essential healthy fatty acids to the body and is super moisturizing and softening to the skin. I make my avocado soap with actual avocado oil, some green micah dye and betonite clay. It’s soothing, refreshing and extremely moisturizing and anti-inflammatory. Use whatever scents you like, I like citrusy scents in this soap as well. If you use coconut milks and oils in it you can give it a tropical blend of scents also like coconut and vanilla.
More and more men are getting on the bandwagon of handmade products for their skin, hair and beards. As a result, there is more demand for more traditionally masculine scents like cedar, sandalwood, bay rum, bergamot and even patchouli.
So, happy soaping and enjoy the 2017 craft market season 🙂