Properly labeling your soap and cosmetics is important for both consumers and your business. Let’s take a look at some of the rules and what you can do to make sure you are compliant with government regulations.
Regardless of what you sell from soap to candles, every product should be labeled with the name of the product, the identity of the product (brand), and the net quantity of the product (size or amount). This information should be displayed on the principle display panel, which means the main, front side of a box or package or the main, front side of a hang tag. Additionally, the name and place of business are also required, according to government regulations.
Listing the place of business on the package is the one requirement that gets small businesses nervous. Since many operate out of their home, they do not want to list the address of the business on the packaging. However, this is not a request, it is a requirement, and if you sell soap or cosmetics, you must include this. If you start reading packages regularly both in beauty and in food, you will see that all businesses list the place that the item was manufactured. I doubt you ever considered driving to the Coca-Cola manufacturing plant to complain that your soda was not fizzy enough. Likewise, it is highly unlikely anyone will do it to you. But there is a good likelihood of the government regulatory bodies stumbling upon your package and temporarily shutting your operation down until it meets the requirements. Professional companies follow required guidelines for packaging.
Required on Cosmetics
In addition to the requirements above, cosmetics (everything beyond soap, including synthetic detergents or soaps making cosmetic claims) have further requirements. Ingredients are a must, whether you make lotions, scrubs, lip balms, etc. Consumers have a right to know what they are rubbing into their skin or applying to their face. Not only is this requirement by the government, it allows the consumer to decide whether the product will cause an allergy or conflict with other products.
Directions for safe use and warnings (if required) are also to be included on cosmetic packaging. These requirements, along with ingredients can be placed on information panels, such as sides and back or inside a tag.
Regulated Special Claims
Perhaps you make your products with organic ingredients. While this is a great feature of your products, you may not refer to your product as ‘organic’ unless you are certified through the USDA to do so. For example, let’s say you make your soap using all organic oils, organic essential oils, and organic herbs for coloring. They are all certified organic ingredients from your favorite supplier. Unless you have become certified to sell organic materials, you are not permitted to call or advertise your soap as organic, except in the product’s ingredient statement (i.e. Ingredients: Almond oil, organic Lavendula Officinalis (lavender) oil, etc.) You are also permitted to list the percentage of organic ingredients on an informational panel of your product packaging, but not on the primary display panel or main side of the packaging. Failure to follow these rules can result in fines of up to $10,000.
Other regulated claims include edible products, FDA approved, made in the USA, and ‘green’ claims, such as recyclable. This means that there are special requirements that must be met before adding these claims to your packaging.
The term ‘natural’ is not regulated at this time. There is no one definition of natural, but most people view it as the product is made up of ingredients coming directly from the earth with little to no alterations. If you use fragrance oils or synthetic preservative, your product is not considered 100% natural. You can say your product is 98% natural, but leading consumers to believe that your product is made with nothing but completely natural ingredients when using synthetics is ethically wrong, and possibly able to be disputed legally from a false advertising point of view, although the government itself will not fine you or shut your business down. You can say ‘made with natural vegetable oils’ if making soap with fragrance to include the term ‘natural’ while remaining ethical.