5 Do’s and Don’ts of Labeling

You can have the most fantastic, most luxurious, most incredible product in the entire handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry, but if it’s labeled wrong it might as well be a lump of rock in a nice package.

Labeling is crucial to ensuring both you and your customer’s safety and also maintaining the integrity of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry as a whole. As with many instances, there is no such thing as herd immunity when it comes to labeling your products; just because everyone around you is labeling correctly does not mean you won’t be singled out if you don’t.

Labeling guidelines are not always the easiest to understand, so we’ve compiled a quick and soapy list of five do’s and don’ts you need to adhere to when you’re labeling your products.

  1. No fantastic claims, please. We all want a magical soap or lotion that makes us thin, smooth and 20 years younger but we also all know that soap and cosmetics don’t do that. So, while you might get a lot of attention by advertising your product as the miracle cure to a common skin ailment or sickness, we can guarantee you two things: a.) the majority of that attention will likely be from the government, and b.) the rest of it will be from angry customers who are still suffering from said skin ailment. Resist the urge to be a carnival barker and stick with approved benefits like…
  2. It moisturizes, it has skin-loving ingredients! That’s what we (and the government) want to hear. Tell your customers that it exfoliates and luxuriates, tell them that the scent will give them visions of tropical islands and faraway places. In essence, tell them what the experience will be like, as opposed to promises you cannot deliver on.
  3. Do list the weight. In this situation, as in every situation where weight is involved, you should not exaggerate the heaviness of your product. We all know that shrinking happens when soap cures, and it might not be the weight it started out at when you packaged it. That’s fine-what isn’t so fine is if you list the pre-shrinkage weight on the package, and your product reduces in size. Now, you have (perhaps unintentionally) sold a lighter product to your customer than what you’ve advertised, and that is a big no-no. The very preferable thing to do is reserve a few bars and let them sit for a few months, then re-weigh them. By that time, they would have shrunken and you will have a better idea of what the correct weight should be.
  4. Be up front and on the front. The name of the product or product type and the net weight all need to be prominently displayed on the front label. That means no hard to read text which includes fancy fonts, or text that is too small, too faint, etc. Then, list your ingredients on the back in descending quantity so that your customer knows what’s in it.
  5. Some things need to have a warning label. There are certain cosmetics that require a warning label. Examples are bubble bath, tanning products without sunscreen and feminine deodorant sprays. Don’t ignore this step-although we would like to think that most people will use the product as intended, there are a select few that may not, and this is where trouble pops up.

Think of all of the things you look at on a label when you purchase something at the store. You check to see who makes it, you look at the ingredients if it’s a food, drug, etc., and you probably look to see how much is in the package. It’s no different with your products. Your customer will expect the same transparency and so does the government; properly label your products so you, your customer and the government can all get along.

Need an in depth explanation? The HSCG is proud to carry Marie Gale’s full book collection! Check it out at https://www.soapguild.org/cart/books/145/complete-works-of-marie-gale.php

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