Some of the best soaps you can find aren’t on the store shelves at your local grocery store.
You can only find them at farmer’s markets or online at marketplaces like Etsy.
Handmade soap is often superior to standard soap because they’re made with safer ingredients.
However, the price of handmade soap is also far more expensive than standard soap.
You may wonder what makes handmade soap so much more expensive.
Why Is Handmade Soap So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
Cheaper bars of handmade soap tend to cost around $7, but the more expensive varieties can go for anywhere from $15 to $50.
Certain factors like handcrafting, small production scales, and more expensive ingredients all contribute to a more expensive price.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Smaller Production Scale
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons handmade soap is expensive is that they have a small production scale.
Depending on where you’re shopping and what you’re buying, handmade soap is usually made by one or two people.
While some people go on to make their own soap businesses and hire several employees, a lot of handmade soap sellers are just making their products in their own homes.
They might even have a full-time job.
Making soap might just be a hobby or they might not be ready to invest and grow the business into something larger.
Because handmade soap companies are small, they’re unable to produce as much soap as commercial soap companies.
They don’t have the tools or large factories to make soap on a mass scale.
As such, there’s always a low supply of their particular soaps compared to the demand for them.
As a result, they have to price those bars at more expensive prices.
If the individual is looking to make a profit from their hobby, they need to ensure that they’re covering the cost of production.
They’re relying on selling only to a few buyers instead of a large body of buyers, too.
Commercial soap companies make enough soap to sell to the masses.
Handmade soap makers aren’t able to produce to that scale.
As such, they have to price their soap for a smaller scale of buyers.
Handmade soap is expensive because they’re unable to produce as much as commercial soap makers.
2. Made By Hand
As the name might suggest, handmade soap is something made by hand.
This means that the soap makers aren’t using an industrial factory to produce their soap bars.
They’re making each one themselves.
This comes back to the fact that a lot of soap makers make their own soap in their own homes.
Some might have official equipment while others might repurpose existing tools that they have to make the soap.
It’s usually only one or two people, or a handful of people, responsible for making the soap, too.
They don’t have a huge factory of workers producing the soap.
Because of this, making handmade soap is longer and more laborious.
Since labor costs are higher, the price of handmade soap is also more expensive.
Factory-made soap is cheaper because companies can automate a lot of the processes.
It also means they usually have a lot more room.
Handmade soap makers may only have a small space in which to make their soap.
That also impacts how much soap they’re able to produce in a given amount of time.
Handmade soap is expensive because handmade products are more expensive and time-consuming to make.
3. Smaller Supply
One of the biggest factors contributing to the expensive price of handmade soap is the fact that it operates with a smaller supply.
It’s difficult for handmade soap makers to make a large supply of soap in a short amount of time.
Since most are making their soap bars at home, they only have so much space.
Storage, for example, is one problem they face.
Since they have to wait for people to buy their soap bars, some makers might not have enough storage space to keep a large supply available.
This means that they’re unable to produce any more until their existing soap bars get sold.
If there’s a lot of demand for their soap bars, those who want one may have to wait until the soap maker produces a new batch.
It becomes a situation where the supply can’t quite keep up with demand.
They’re only able to make and store so much.
Another factor is just the production space.
To make soap, you need a large soap pot.
The pot has to undergo heating for some time.
There are several different sizes of soap pots available.
Handmade soap makers might only have room for a small or medium-sized soap pot.
That impacts how much soap they’re able to make.
Smaller pots may not make as many handmade soap bars as they need to satisfy demand.
As such, they have to put higher prices on their products to make them last a bit longer.
The lack of workers is another factor that impacts their supply.
If only one person is making the soap, then that’s a lot of work for one person to do.
Not only do they need to make the product, but they also need to stay on top of finances, shipping, and resolving any problems with customers.
Those are several different jobs in themselves.
That might impact how much they’re able to produce since they may have to take care of certain parts of the business solely while keeping the other parts waiting.
Handmade soap is expensive because independent makers aren’t always able to keep up with demand.
4. Shorter Shelf Life
Handmade soap is also expensive because it usually has a shorter shelf life than commercial soap.
Whether the maker is producing bath bombs or bars of soap, they tend not to last as long.
That’s because they usually use organic materials.
Organic materials fall apart easier or erode at faster rates than synthetic materials.
Since they don’t last as long, buyers have to buy more handmade soap more often.
This impacts the price of handmade soap for a few reasons.
The first is that it means there’s more demand for the soap.
The maker isn’t just selling to new customers.
They’re also selling to repeat buyers who need to stock up on the soap again because they’re out.
If the soap maker ends up with a thriving business, they could have a lot of demand for their soap bars.
Since they may have a low supply available, it means they’re going to have to raise their prices.
For those buying the soap bars, it becomes even more expensive because they’re buying expensive soap bars more often.
If they buy a soap bar that costs them $15 every three months, they’re going to end up with a heavy expense on the soap.
That’s compared to buying commercial soap that might only cost $10 and lasts for six months.
Since handmade soap is more expensive and doesn’t last as long, buyers spend more on the soap in a given year.
5. Long Production Time
Handmade soap is also expensive because it takes a long time to make.
Soap takes a long time to cure.
The process of making soap also takes a long time.
Depending on what process you’re using, cold or hot, you have several different steps involved.
When using the cold process to make soap, you have to carefully put the mixture into the pot and let it rest for a certain amount of time.
Then you have to wait for it in the oven.
Finally, once the soap has cured enough in the molds, you can remove and cut them into bars.
However, the process there, which is anywhere from an hour to two hours, is only the beginning.
Soap needs to further cure after leaving the mold.
For the best soap, you need to let it cure for four weeks.
Some might stop curing it after three weeks, but the rule of thumb is the longer it cures, the better it’s going to be.
As such, if the handmade soap maker wants to make high-quality soap, then they have to go several weeks before they can start selling their soap.
This also means that it can be hard for them to keep up with the supply if there’s a lot of demand for their soap.
Since batches can also be easy to get wrong, they may even have to start over.
They might not even know something was wrong with the batch until the curing process is over.
They may have wasted a month waiting for soap that isn’t to their standards.
This makes soap expensive because it means they’re going to need to spend more time making that batch of soap over again.
Soap making can be difficult to make a profit in simply due to how long it takes to make.
To ensure they’re making a profit, handmade soap makers have to price their products at higher prices.
Handmade soap is expensive because of how long it takes to make.
6. Healthier Ingredients
Another factor that makes handmade soap expensive is the fact that many use healthy ingredients.
One of the main differences between commercial soap makers and handmade soap makers is that handmade soap makers focus on healthy ingredients.
Commercial soap makers often use detergents and other harsh chemicals in their soaps.
Since some people are wary of rubbing harsh chemicals on their skin, they want to use alternatives.
Others might even experience allergies from using harsh detergents.
Handmade soap is often a great alternative because they just use essential oils.
Depending on the soap in question, some might use just high-quality essential oils while others will use a mix of different ingredients.
For example, some might use animal products in their bars of soap.
These materials are often expensive because handmade soap makers have to buy them at retail value.
They’re not always able to buy them in bulk like commercial soap makers.
As such, it costs more for them to make their soap.
Even before they start mixing ingredients into the soap pot, handmade soap makers might face high costs.
They need to offset those costs with expensive prices.
Some artisan handmade soap makers might even use rare ingredients.
They might source some special ingredient that makes their soap superior to others.
Because they’re one of the few soap makers who have that ingredient in their soap, they can charge a higher price for it.
Handmade soap is expensive because soap makers have high costs for ingredients.
7. Custom Molds For Unique Designs
Handmade soap is also expensive because many handmade soap makers use unique or custom molds.
When you buy commercial soap, you usually get it in bars.
Now and then, a company might produce soap in a fun shape, but the majority of them make bars.
A lot of handmade soap also comes in bars.
However, some makers create their own custom molds to make soap in.
The molds might be butterflies, shells, or other fun shapes.
The problem with using custom molds is that it adds some expense to their business.
First, the soap maker has to make those molds.
While they might be able to find some for purchase, in most cases, they need to make them themselves.
Making soap molds is an entire process in itself.
If the mold doesn’t come out right, then the soap isn’t going to either.
As such, a soap maker might have to make a few molds before they get the perfect one.
Since custom molds are sometimes more complex shapes than just bars, it also means the soap might not always cure well in it.
There may be certain sides of the mold that collapsed or didn’t form up.
Since there’s a higher risk of the soap not coming out well, it means the handmade soap maker might not be able to sell as many.
All these factors mean they need to put a higher price on their soap.
Handmade soap is expensive because custom molds increase the cost of production.
8. Unique Fragrances
Handmade soap is also expensive because some use unique fragrances.
Commercial soap companies usually produce soap in standard scents.
It helps them keep costs down which allows them to sell at low prices.
Handmade soap makers have a bit more freedom to experiment with different scents.
As such, you can find some pretty interesting fragrances in their soaps.
Because your body often smells like the soap that you use, the fragrance of soap is rather important.
Because adding fragrance adds to the cost of producing the soap, especially if it’s a rare or unique fragrance, the price of the soap is also higher.
Handmade soap is expensive because having a rare or unique fragrance makes it more expensive to produce.
9. Different Types For Different Needs
There are a lot of niches within the handmade soap industry.
Some people want a soap that helps with skin allergies.
Others are looking for strictly vegan soap bars.
Because there are unique niches, you’ll find handmade soap makers who make soap for those niches.
Since handmade soap makers are producing soap for a specific group of people, they’re able to put high prices on their products.
The reason is that that group is specifically getting catered to.
The product is just for them.
If someone who suffers from a skin allergy uses the soap and it helps reduce that allergy, they’re going to buy that soap in the future, too.
If someone wants a vegan soap and finds one that’s handmade, they’re going to buy it even if it’s more expensive.
It solves a problem that they have.
Handmade soap is expensive because you can find niche varieties.
10. High Demand
The handmade soap market is growing.
More people than ever have an interest in buying soap that targets specific problems.
Some have anti-aging effects while others are allergy-free.
Part of the push in demand is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People have a greater interest in ensuring they’re clean to reduce the chances of becoming ill.
The pandemic also created a desire to use healthier products.
Washing your body in harsh detergents is no longer as appealing as it once was.
More people have an interest in natural or organic products now.
Because demand is high, and supply is still minimal, it’s allowed handmade soap makers to put a high price on their products.
Handmade soap is expensive because there’s high demand for it.
Handmade soap often offers unique colors, fragrances, and health effects that you can’t find in commercial products.
The factors listed above give some of the reasons why handmade soap is also very expensive.