While all proper soaps involve lye at some stage of the production process, people can avoid direct exposure to lye and still enjoy some of the creative aspects of soap making by using "melt and pour" soap. Before making homemade soap bars using melt and pour soap, be sure to check the soap's ingredients, as many melt and pour soaps can contain undesirable additives including sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate the skin.
To make soap bars using melt and pour soap, you need 8 ounces of soap, 1 to 2 ounces of water or another liquid, and any herbs, plants or essential oils that you wish to include. You also need a mold, such as an unlined silicone soap mold or a bread loaf pan lined in parchment paper.
First, grate the soap using a cheese grater or food processor, then sprinkle with the liquid. Heat the soap in a double boiler, stirring frequently to avoid burning. The soap takes up to an hour to melt. Once liquefied, remove from the heat, and add in the herbs, plants and essential oils. Stir the mixture to the desired consistency. Pour or spoon the soap into the pan, and cool in the freezer for one hour. Cut the soap into your preferred size and shape, then allow to dry for several days.