In this article, I’m going to talk about:
Why soap labels matter
Regulations that apply to soap labels
How to print high-quality soap labels
The info in this post will help you print amazing soap labels that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Let’s slip right into it!
1. Why Soap Labels Matter
First of all, they matter because they’re the final touch building the connection between you and the customers. The packaging is everything!
Your product may be extraordinary, but if you don’t show that to the world, it’s going to gather dust on the shelves. Or at home.
Some soaps come packaged in custom printed boxes. And that’s great. But others (mostly handmade soaps) come packaged in blank boxes, paper wrap, shrink wrap, or small bags. Or some in none. But in these cases, a soap label to complement your product is a MUST.
Labels are not all about making soap more appealing and convince people to buy. They are also about transparency and compliance.
That said, stick with me to find out more about compliance and soap labeling requirements. Before talking about design or printing, we need to check the law.
And that’s what we’re going to do.
Here we go.
2. Regulations That Apply to Soap Labels
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Soap, cosmetic or drug?
It’s important to know which regulations to follow. For that, you need to check if your product classifies as a true soap, a cosmetic, a drug, or a cosmetic and drug.
Traditional (true) soaps are made from fats and alkalis. In other words, they primarily consist of animal or vegetable fats or oils and lye (sodium hydroxide).
So you must label and sell them ONLY for use as soap. These “true” soaps fall under Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC)’s jurisdiction.
But things change if your product consists of other ingredients. And also if it’s intended as a cleanser or detergent, for example. In this case, the agency that sets the rules is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Now, let’s have a brief look at FDA’s regulatory definition of soap:
Or, if the product is intended to treat or prevent disease, such as by killing germs, or treating skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, it’s a DRUG.
You still can use the word “soap” on the label.
So who regulates what?
What if my ingredients are “natural” or “organic”?
So cosmetic products that are labeled with organic claims must comply as follows:
- With USDA regulations for the organic claim
- With FDA regulations for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics
Does all this sound a bit hazy or confusing to you? What’s soap, what’s not soap, but we still label it soap…
Stay with me, I’ll help you get a clearer view of things.
My product is...
|Intended use||Governing agency||Name on label|
|SOAP||fats/oils + alkali (lye)||Cleanses||CSPC||Soap|
|COSMETIC||synthetic detergents||Moisturizes, exfoliates, deodorizes, etc.||FDA||Soap|
|DRUG||synthetic detergents||Treats skin conditions, anti-bacterial, cures eczema/psoriasis, etc.||FDA||Soap|
So, as you can see in the table…
If your soap recipe is simple and contains mainly fats/oils and lye, plus its only claimed purpose is to cleanse, then it’s simply soap. It falls under CPSC’s jurisdiction and you don’t need to worry about the FDA’s requirements.
But if your soap is and does more than that, then you must carefully follow FDA’S applicable regulations.
Based on this classification, let’s see what exactly this means to you. Because it’s the starting point when you make your soap label design.
Here it is…
3. Soap Labeling Requirements
In terms of labeling, both CPSC and FDA require that the following appear on the label:
First, you must state the identity of the product. It must include the word soap and here you can elaborate in so many ways.
For example, if your soap recipe contains essential oils, fragrances, goat milk, honey, or other ingredients, you can play with words. “Cinnamon Deliciousness – A treat to make your skin smooth” doesn’t sound bad, does it? Or “Honey Lover” or even “Goat’s Milk Soap.”
It’s actually all about your imagination at work.
Plus, you can opt to use an image to express the related characteristics of your soap. Or write a short suggestive message about it.
Whatever you choose, make sure that the identity statement is in bold type and is clear on the label. You want to make sure that customers know exactly what they are buying.
Next, you need to specify the net weight or “net wt.” of the product. If you express the weight statement in ounces, then the term “oz.” will be enough.
However, make sure to read FDA’s Cosmetics Labeling Guide carefully about this.
Place the net weight on the front panel (commonly referred to as the PDP), or, if the case, on the information panel. Note that it must appear within the bottom 30% of the label, parallel to the base of the packaging. The smallest dimension accepted is 1/16” in height, and it changes depending on the front panel area.
Business address and name
Finally, include your name and address on the label. That is if you handcraft, package, and sell your own products, of course. If you make them but sell them through distributors, then write the distributor’s details instead.
You can place this information anywhere you like on the label. It can be on the front or back label if any. Just make sure it’s there.
And if customers can also see your website or even a phone number for quick contact, that’s great! They can check your business and your products anytime to find out more.
List of ingredients
When it comes to the ingredient list, if CPSC governs your soap labels, you don’t have to list the ingredients. CPSC does not ask for it. It’s enough to label it “soap,” say how much it weighs and where customers can find you.
BUT, even if not required by law, I still recommend you make that ingredient declaration. As per FDA’s guidelines. And I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this.
Because let’s be honest, everyone wants to know what they are buying. And more importantly, they want to know exactly what they put on their skin and body. Or what they use for their homes.
And that’s fair enough.
So why not go by the rule, be transparent, make customers feel safe and cared for, and also build a clean image?
Not to mention that this is the safest way to prevent mislabeling and avoid unpleasant situations.
Order of ingredients on your soap labels
Ways of listing the soap bar ingredients
In the U.S.A., there are 2 approved ways of listing the ingredients on the label.
#1 - By raw materials
- the ingredients you put in the pot before processing, in descending order of the amount used
Example: Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
#2 - By resulting product
- after saponification, in descendant order of the amount present after the chemical process
Example: Sodium Olivate, Water, Glycerin, Olive Oil
As you can see, the ingredients that you put in are not the ingredients that come out because they go through a chemical reaction. Therefore, some of their names change, too.
What we recommend is NOT to list the resulting ingredients as Saponified Olive Oil, for example. This is not considered a correct way of labeling, so you should avoid it.
If you want to choose the clearest and easiest way, go for the first option.
List the ingredients as they are before the saponification process. This is also the best way for customers to understand your label better, too.
Now that we’ve seen why it’s important to label your soap bars and how to do it properly, let’s move on to talk about looks.
4. Tips on Soap Labels Design
Whether you craft your soap bars for sale, in small or large batches, or offer them as gifts, make sure to make yourself seen and remembered out there.
And to complement your hard work and beautiful design, choose a high-quality material for your customized soap labels.
And since we talk about label material, you may find that YourBoxSolution may be the perfect solution for you.
5. Your Soap Labels Print Solution
We’ve been in the industry for over 29 years and we’ve got exactly what you need. We invest in quality, sustainability, and our client’s satisfaction. Just like you, we put our heart into our work.
Soap labels made of high-quality materials
All our labels are made of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP). This is a durable material that makes them oil & water-resistant, tear-resistant, chemicals & UV resistant.
Which means they are perfect for a soap label and to be applied on any type of material. They don’t get damaged.
They stick well and last so you can apply them on paper boxes, wrapping paper, shrink wrap, or even fabric.
On this material, you have three options. So you can choose which type of label fits your soap best.
Printed on white film. Any color can be printed on top of the white ink.
Printed on transparent background film. Illusion of an “invisible label”.
Printed on a silver substrate. Makes all printed colors appear metallic.
Plus, we’ve got your back with any soap label shape you want. We know it depends mainly on the shape of the soap and the type of packaging.
Circular or oval labels
Square or rectangular labels
Custom shaped labels
Don’t worry. Anything you think of, we’ve got it.
Gloss laminated labels (FREE)
Perfect choice for a shiny finish and a very reflective surface of the label.
Matte laminated labels (FREE)
Subtle, non-glossy lamination, perfect for a special effect.
Soft touch laminated labels
Shine-free and smooth surface – special sensation to touch and elegant look.
6. Need Inspiration for Your Soap Labels?
Not sure yet about how you want to package your soap? Or about how to design your label?
No problem. Perhaps our 209 Soap Packaging Ideas can get you started.
Also, you can always have a glimpse at your competition. You never know what bright ideas may pop up for your own labels.
Do you have questions or need guidance? We’re here to answer your queries and support you all the way and through the entire process. Your needs are our priority.
We’re just one call or click away. Ready? Hit the blue button and let’s create your soap labels!