I started out wanting to make a gentle, naturally exfoliating soap bar—but then got totally carried away and made four versions. Melt-and-pour soap is so easy to customize when you use a premade base (like glycerin or shea butter) from the craft store. It’s like a kitchen science experiment, adding in different textures and colors. There are endless variations, but here are four simple recipes to try for a scrubby soap bar to buff off dry skin.
4 Ways to Make DIY Exfoliating Soap Bars
- 4–8 ounces of clear glycerin soap base
- 2 tablespoons distilled water
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil)
- Dry ingredients (chia seeds, cornmeal, oatmeal, or coffee)
- Soap mold container (I use soap molds, glass storage containers, or something from the recycling bin.)
First, cut the glycerin soap block into evenly sized cubes and melt them in the microwave in 30-second intervals. I usually do this in a Pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring. Stir between each interval to break up any clumps.
When all of the soap is melted, let it cool slightly, then add the oil, water, and any dry ingredients. Stir or whisk everything together. Keep mixing for 1–3 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Then pour the soap into your mold and let it cool and harden. Pop the soap out of the mold, and it’s good to go. Use it within 3 months.
1. Chia Seed and Aloe Exfoliating Soap
Aloe vera is a natural skin soother and healer, and chia seeds are my new favorite exfoliators. Their tiny size is perfect for sensitive skin, and incorporating them into a soap keeps the mess factor down in the shower. Plus, they are environmentally friendly. For this version, substitute aloe vera juice for the oil and water and add 1–2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
2. Cornmeal and Calendula Exfoliating Soap
This is a great version for sensitive skin because cornmeal gently exfoliates, and calendula is a natural healing herb. I used three tablespoons of calendula-infused oil (see how to here) and added about 1/4 cup of cornmeal. The cornmeal tends to settle, so make sure to whisk well before pouring the soap into a mold.
3. Oatmeal and Cinnamon Exfoliating Soap
Ground cinnamon adds such a gorgeous golden brown color! Add 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal (either whole uncooked oats or you can also finely grind them) and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the soap base when you add the oil and water.
4. Coffee Soap
I love the smell of this coffee soap! And coffee does a nice job of buffing off dead skin as well as scrubbing away yucky odors on the hands. But it’s another one that tends to settle to the bottom (or maybe I added too much). I used 1/4 cup of ground, unbrewed coffee, so you might want to reduce that down to about 2 tablespoons. The caffeine component in coffee may also help decrease skin redness, inflammation, and dark circles around the eyes.
What homemade soap creations have you come up with? Here are a few other glycerin soap recipes to try!
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who practices adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment, and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.668
Love the recipes. I tried three of these… oatmeal, coffee and chia seeds.
The Chia seed soap is changing color though. It has been three days that I made the soap.
What could be the cause?
I tried making the oatmeal and cinnamon soap and it didn't turn out well. Not sure what I did wrong, I followed the directions and it turned out very thick and clumpy.
Brenda Burks says
Having not watched you make the soap, I think that it's possible that you did not stir your base while adding in the cinnamon.
Hi if I am using the pour already made soap base, can I use your recipes and get the same effect?
Stephanie Gerber says
Yes, these soap bars were made using melt & pour soap base as well.
Can i make these soaps and sell them?
Soap bar with coffee is my favorite. Nice work..
so beautiful. cannot wait to try this out!
How long do these soaps last?
Victoria Pinto Declet says
Good and interesting. I would like to make liquid soap. Which are the steps to do it? Thanks.
Jamie Woods says
Life Living Nook has instructions on how to make liquid soap.
Jamie Woods ☺️
Victoria Pinto Declet says
Muy amena e interesante la información. ¿ Que pasos debo considerar si quisiera hacer jabón líquido? Gracias.
mary jean haden says
Cna i use melt and pour goat milk base for this?
Nice will definitely try one of this
Oyelakin Adeola says
which other seed can be used apart from chia seed, and what is yoruba name for chia seed
Margaret Drennon says
Just wondering about adding water to the soap base never heard of that?
When you say water, can it be tap water or it has to be distilled?
After 4 years of speaking all my text messages you would think that I would know to check them before I sent them. LOL. Please excuse all the misspelled words in my last post. :-)
I have just started making soap and I Google could I use chia seeds in myself and I didn’t read down far enough to see that I could use chia seeds so I am going to make that tomorrow. I’ll let all of you know how it comes out. I’m trying to figure out what’s scent to use as chia seeds don’t have any scent to them.
This is really cool- I have sensitive skin and have never even thought of corn meal, that’s incredibly brilliant. Not looking to make soap but thinking about orange cornmeal exfoliating bars!
I want to make the coffee one with my kids for my husband for father’s day. So I think I kind of get how to do it (and I have everything I need), but I was wondering how you get that 2 toned look? Do I do soap base and coffee grounds first, let that cool, then add more soap base with the oil, water and more grounds on top of that? Like essentially melding two bars into one? Cause thats a really cool effect. It looks like a cappuccino almost.
Stephanie Gerber says
It’s easy! The coffee grounds will naturally settle at the bottom, that’s what creates the two toned look. Have fun!
your coffee one looks amazing! does the coffee stay preserved in the soap base? x
This soap look perfect for my skin. Thank you ! I’m going to share your post on my french blog ! ;-)
Can a black skin use any of this cos am black and i love the soapfs
To avoid slippery soap; slip it inside a small mesh jewelery bag. Tie the string tight. Helps keep the soap lasting longer, too.
Hi there! I’m trying to do this with all ingredients I have at home. Any chance I can shave up a bar of Dove soap to make this with?
Love, love, love your soaps! This is one of the best blogs around!
Can I use the same recipe with Suspended Olive Oil soap base?
Yes, I think any soap base will work!
Sona Jacob says
Your soaps look yumm! Just a quick question.. Does stuff like cornmeal or oatmeal spoil while the soap is being used? Or is the fact that it is in the soap enough to keep it from spoiling?
As long as the ingredients are dry when they’re incorporated (any moisture will cause mold eventually), they won’t cause the soap to spoil. Cornmeal & oatmeal last for ages on the shelf so they’re fine in a soap!
Karen brown says
I love using calendula in homemade soap…it’s so pretty the way it retains it’s gorgeous color! Milk, honey and calendula is a favorite. I want to take a stab at making sea salt soap, but haven’t tried yet. I hear salt is a good exfoliatiator and it just sounds like a good summer soap!
The coffee one would be excellent for a morning wake up, and it would also work wonders on cellulite!
The only problem with scrubby soaps is you have to hold the bar and move it around your skin to get a proper exfoliation, and they slip out of my hands.
I have been marinating on the idea of making my own soap bars and after seeing yours I am so making them. I’m eager to try the chia exfoliating bar and make a mint and cucumber one.
Thanks so much for sharing :)