Soapmaking is a craft humans have worked on throughout history. Over time, the craft has evolved from one of simple functionality to an art form all its own. In modern times, soap makers have employed creative soap molds and vivid colors, while also utilizing natural materials and essential oils to create a product that’s beautiful, simple, and holistic.
As consumers continue to look for more natural, artisan products, makers must ensure they’re ahead of the curve with their packaging. Labeling soap is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, so a few guidelines come into play. We’ve taken a look at the requirements and have broken them down for you below, as well as a few other soap labeling tips.
Soap Label Requirements
Classify Your Product
First, you’ll need to determine whether your product actually classifies as soap. If your product is largely made up of the “alkali salts of fatty acids” (a material resulting when you combine oils or fats with an alkali, commonly lye), it can be classified exclusively as soap.
The main cleaning agent must be the oils or fats and alkali for your product to qualify as soap. If synthetic detergents or other material acts as the main cleaning agent, the product must follow the cosmetic labeling guidelines as mandated by the FDA, though you can still include the word ‘soap’ on the label.
To be labeled as soap, the product’s intended use must only be as a soap. For example, if your product claims to moisturize or deodorize skin, or make the user smell nice, it is classified as a cosmetic and must follow those guidelines. If the product claims to treat eczema, acne, or kill germs, it is classified as a drug and must follow those labeling guidelines as mandated by the FDA. In both instances, you can still include the word ‘soap’ on the label and market the product as such, but the label itself needs to follow the respective guidelines.
If your product does qualify as soap (as classified by the CSPC), then there are just a few details you must include on the label or packaging. We’ll break down each requirement below.
- Statement of Identity
- Net weight
- Business name and address
Statement of Identity
First, include the Statement of Identity. The Statement of Identity must include the word soap, but you can elaborate on that if you so choose. Artisan Soap, Goat’s Milk Soap, Rugged He-Man Soap are all great options. The Statement of Identity must be bold and conspicuously placed on the label so your customers know exactly what they’re getting.
Next, you’ll need to include the net weight of the product. The net weight should be placed on the bottom 30% of the front of the label (commonly referred to as the PDP). This text should be oriented parallel to the base of the packaging and should be no smaller than 1/16” in height, though we highly recommend it be no smaller than 1/8″ in height.
Manufacturer’s Name and Address
Finally, include the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor of your product. If you’re the one who creates, packages, and distributes your product single-handedly, that’ll be your address (because you’re awesome).
This information doesn’t have to be as conspicuous as the Statement of Identity or the net weight; you can place this information on the left, right, or back of the label. Contact information isn’t required, but we advise including either a phone number or email so your customers have a chance to let you know how great your product is!
Ingredients lists actually aren’t required on soap labels, but today’s consumers are extremely conscious of what they’re using in their homes and on their bodies. If you want to demonstrate transparency to your customers, include an ingredients list on your soap label.
Traditionally, the ingredients list is located to the right of the principal display panel (front of the label). The ingredients should be listed in order of heaviest to lightest, even if the lightest ingredient is the main one. Always use the common or proper name for an ingredient, so there’s no question as to what’s in your product. Keep font size no smaller than 1/16” (though we recommend a minimum of 1/8″).
You may also want to start considering what label material you’ll need for your product. Soaps are used in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms… pretty much anywhere where there’s water. Considering this, we highly recommend choosing a waterproof label material for your soap product.
Any material with “plastic” or “vinyl” in the name is definitely waterproof, so stick with those materials (okay… pun intended). Of these materials, you can choose metallic, clear, or a basic white, so you really have infinite possibilities when it comes to these choices.
If eco-friendly is more your niche, there are water-resistant materials out there that may suit your needs. TerraSkin is a label material made from crushed rocks (80% calcium carbonate and 20% polyethylene resin to be exact). Because of its makeup, TerraSkin is uniquely durable and water-resistant, perfect for a soap label.
The label finish also adds a unique look to your overall packaging. You can choose either a gloss finish for extra shine or a matte finish for a smooth, understated look. Both options are waterproof layers that lay on top of the printed label, so you never have to worry about the inks running.
Make it Fun
Though we’ve touched on the required information to include on your soap labels, it’s up to you to make your label fun and unique. Share a blurb about your business’s mission statement, write up some lines about the power of fragrance, include stunning graphic design–or all three! For eye-catching design, consider researching color theory or using a metallic label.
Whatever you choose, we’re here to help. Reach out if you have any questions about labeling your soap product, or if you’d like some input on your label design. Labeling is our passion and it’s our joy to help you with yours.