Soapmaking is both a competitive and lucrative business. But one of the best things about it is that it is convenient—you can do it at home, the ingredients are easy to find and the regulations are not as strict as in making food or cosmetics.

But how do you know if your soap labels have enough information as required by law? Should you skip listing your ingredients on your soap labels?

soap labels

In this article, we discuss the general regulations governing soap labeling and the information you need to put on your soap labels.

But first, let’s recall why consumer products like soap need labels in the first place.

Why Should You Put Proper Labels on Your Soap?

As consumers, it’s easy to overlook the value of product labels. But when you’re running a business, you will find that labeling is one of your most important marketing tools. Product labels do the following:

1.

Labels Promote Your Product

Soaps can have the same shape, scent, and color, but not all will perform the same way. Customers will pick up on these differences and keep buying only the products they like. Your labels make it easy for buyers to find your product on retail shelves regardless of how closely it may resemble its competitors.

2.

Labels Magnify Your Brand

Branding is crucial to your business’s longevity. Remember that if you’re serious about investing in a consumer product such as soap.

The quality of your merchandise, customer care, your company slogan, social advocacies, treatment of employees, etc.—all these elements represent your brand. But on your labels, they are symbolized by your logo and its colors.

Products that impress will not take long to attract brand loyalists. About 80% of your earnings will come from repeat purchases from your old customers. These folks will proudly identify with your logo and its colors and look for them on your labels. 

For tips on how to magnify your brand using labels, read the enKo Products’ team’s articles on the following topics:

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350 Labels / Roll
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3.

Labels Protect Consumers

Your soap labels protect your customers, and protecting your customers also protects your soapmaking business.

American buyers have wisened up, thanks to consumer protection laws, information technology and the media. The discerning customer will base most of their purchasing decisions on label information. They will make sure that the products they buy are safe and have only the qualities they like.

Consumer-protective product information includes the following:

Customers appreciate companies that practice labeling transparency. If you do it in your business, they will not hesitate to buy from you again or give you free word-of-mouth advertising.

4.

Labels Let You Comply with the Law

Regulatory compliance lets you avoid legal hassles. Good labeling practices save you money from costly litigations and fines. They keep the government from halting your business operations. They also help you avoid negative publicity, which can hurt your brand. One of the first steps you can take to protect your business is by ensuring compliance with labeling laws.

Customers look at proper labeling as a sign of professionalism. This practice can build your reputation over time. 

Learn More:

soap bars

What Government Agencies Regulate Soaps and Their Labels?

The answer to this is, it depends on the kind of soap you’re selling.

The relevant laws governing soap labels include the following:

How do you know which ones apply to your product?

According to the FDA, “soap” is a product made from the “alkali salts of fatty acids.”

Soap fatty acids are chemically related to cooking oil. Meanwhile, lye is an example of an alkaline substance. Mixing them makes soap.

Products that are strictly soaps have their cleansing action coming only from these ingredients. However, to improve market appeal, some manufacturers add other components.

For example, soapmakers may add synthetic detergents to improve their products’ cleansing power. They may also include fragrances and moisturizers, which enhance one’s physical attributes, making their products attractive to buyers. From a legal standpoint, these properties make soap a cosmetic and should be regulated as such. Cosmetics fall under the FDA’s jurisdiction.

On the other hand, effects like whitening, acne relief and microbial control are drug effects. They interfere with normal body processes and do not simply improve a person’s physical attributes. They are regulated as drugs and also fall under the FDA’s control

Cosmetics and drugs have labeling requirements that are different, often stricter, than those of the typical soap. The CPSC regulates soaps devoid of these extra qualities. Their labels follow FPLA and FHSA rules. Soaps with colorants and other additives remain under the CPSC’s control so long as these extras do not turn them into cosmetics or drugs.

What Is Required on a Soap Label?

The FPLA’s requirements for labeling consumer products are simple. They include the following:

  • Statement of identity. In this case, it is simply “soap.”
  • Net quantity of contents, expressed in units recognizable in the US. For soaps, the net weight is declared, expressed in grams, pounds or their smaller units.
  • Manufacturer, packer or distributor information. This typically includes your business address and a hotline for questions and concerns. Web addresses and social media accounts are optional.

The FPLA has no specific rules about how prominently brand names and logos should appear on labels. Here, you have some creative leeway so long as you declare the legally mandated information.

If your soap packaging has several sides open for labeling, note that the most prominent one is the principal display panel (PDP). The PDP should have your brand name, logo, statement of identity and the net quantity of contents. Other information may be placed on the information panel, which can be on the sides or rear.

On the other hand, if your soap packaging only has one side for labeling, you can put all information on a single tag. This may happen if you have an intricately designed product that you want to keep visible under transparent packaging.

Legally Compliant Soap Label
An Example of a Legally Compliant Soap Label

For labeling soaps, enKo Products’ sheet labels are best as they are environment-friendly, top-quality, easy to use and affordable. Ultra-durable plastic stickers are not normally used on soaps as they can be pricey. But if you need them for style or other reasons, you may use polyethylene and clear BOPP labels.

Shop for Blank Sheet Labels Today.

Laser Printer Labels

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: 1″ x 4″ &  1-1/3″ x 4″ & 1″ x 2-5/8″

Do You Have to List the Ingredients on Your Soap Label?

Again, it depends.

Simple soap is benign when used normally. The CPSC does not require ingredient declaration for simple soaps. But if your product has a hazardous substance in it—anything that can injure a person or destroy property—then you must declare it per FHSA rules. 

On the other hand, ingredient declaration is required of cosmetic and drug-containing soaps. These products must comply with FDA standards because their additives may harm consumers even with ordinary use.

If you’re making simple soaps, you have the option to skip the ingredients list. But if you do include it, meticulous customers will appreciate the gesture. It shows transparency and caring for their needs.

Should You Use the Word "Organic" or "Natural" on Your Soap Labels?

It is understandable why you would consider writing the word “organic” or “natural” on your soap labels. They appeal strongly to some consumer brackets. However, neither the FDA nor the CPSC has a definition for these terms. So they do not guarantee safety for humans or the environment.

However, if you really want to market your brand as “organic,” you may look up the National Organic Program’s guidelines. The US Department of Agriculture administers the NOP. You must meet NOP certification requirements to use the word “organic” on your labels.

Additionally, you may apply for a Safer Choice Label to market your soap as an environmentally friendly product. The US Environmental Protection Agency runs the Safer Choice Program.

Do Soaps Need Barcode Labels?

Simple soaps do not require barcodes, unlike drugs. However, you may need to get some if you decide to sell in big retail sites like Walmart and Amazon. They typically require the UPC or EAN regardless of your inventory size. If you have a massive product supply, you may benefit from establishing a SKU system.

To know more about product barcoding, you may check out enKo Products’ articles on these topics:

Don’t forget: to make professional-looking barcodes without breaking the bank, use enKo Products’ barcode labels.

handwashing

Check out our Zebra Compatible Labels in different sizes below!

Zebra Compatible Labels 2″ x 1″
Zebra Compatible Labels 1-1/2″ x 1/2″

Conclusion

In summary, soapmaking is a business that is relatively easier to start than others. There are fewer regulatory musts for simple soaps as compared to other product types. Soap labels also require less information. The only mandated details are the statement of identity, net quantity of contents and seller’s business information.

Soap ingredients are safe under ordinary use. According to CPSC guidelines, you don’t need to list them unless you use additives that can put them under FDA jurisdiction. You may include the word “organic” in your branding strategy if you pass the USDA’s NOP certification. You may also apply for a Safer Choice Label. You don’t need barcodes unless you’re selling in big retail places or managing large inventories.

Finally, keep in mind that proper labeling is vital both for your customers and business. And we have made this guide to help you ensure that you make professional-looking soap labels.

Did this information help you? Explore the enKo Products website for more.

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