What You Probably Don’t Know About Soap Labels

Now that I’ve got about 400 bars of soap curing, I’ve been pretty darn busy on designing the labels!  This is literally my first prototype attempt with printer paper! Looks like the size fits perfectly. Labeling is such a meticulous and tedious process, but well worth it! 

Now, now, don’t think I went into Adobe Illustrator and whipped these “simple looking” labels up just like that. It took hours and hours of research to know what I’m legally supposed to put on these labels.  One of the books I recommend to soapmakers or to anyone who’s interested is Marie Gale’s Soap and Cosmetic Labeling book.

Hand-crafted soapmakers who classify their product as “true soaps” are under the supervision of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to assure consumer safety and standards. This is good for micro-businesses because it allows soapers to do what they do best without having to go through a bunch of political hoops and red tape and expenses just to sell their soaps. True soapers are, however, allowed to state the ingredients (but not required), describe the scents, and tell a lovely little story about their soaps.  The only claim they can make about their soap on the label or promotional material is to “clean” or to “cleanse.”

If I were to tell you that my soaps would beautify you or help change the appearance or feeling of your skin; i.e., soothing, glowing, exfoliating, I would not be allowed to call it “soap.” It would then be a “beauty bar” or “skin loving bar” or something similar. My product would have also been classified as a “cosmetic,” which means I would have had to strictly follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policies and manufacturing guidelines, pay a pretty penny, and do a lot of extra work (I wouldn’t even be allowed to use my super clean kitchen to make my soap). Even though these still literally would be soaps, the promotional claims would define them otherwise.

Marie Gale wrote a book called Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap and Cosmetic Handcrafters, which I recommend if you are also a soapmaker or cosmetic creator).

White Squirrel Soaps are “true soaps.” No detergents, no synthetics!

So, when isn’t the soap you’re using a true soap?  A true soap is made from an alkali (lye) and an acid (fatty acids, like in coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc.) Commercial soaps are made from synthetic chemicals and detergents (for example, look at Dove).  This why your skin may feel dry after using commercial products (oh no, did I just make a cosmetic claim?) Commercial soaps have lots of nasties in them. White Squirrel Soaps contains NO nasties! Next time you’re in the grocery store, look at what you have been told are soaps. Nine times out of 10, these cosmetics won’t say “soap” on their label because they are NOT true soaps and aren’t allowed to claim they are.

What if I claimed some of the natural ingredients I used in my soaps, like calendula, honey, clay, eucalyptus essential oil, or olive oil, would “treat” skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, or what if I promoted that my ingredients were “antiseptic” or “antimicrobial?”  My soaps would be considered “drugs.” This means I would be highly scrutinized by the FDA because I would be selling a product that literally contains a “drug.” I don’t even want to get into this ballgame, and don’t even get me started on how expensive it would be for me to get my labels approved (yes, each scent of soap would have to be approved by the FDA and be very costly and be a very timely process).

So, in order for my soaps to be affordable to you, I’m sticking with claiming my soaps are “true soaps” and nothing else. At your OWN discretion, I will let you research the ingredients in my soaps as you see fit. All I can say is that you will enjoy cleansing your mind, body, and soul with what naturally makes scents.

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