Friday, September 11, 2009

Cosmetic Labelling

Well, this week I promised myself I'd have all my paperwork finished - however, that was easier said than done! EU legislation is rigorous around the whole area of cosmetic labelling - given soap is considered a cosmetic, everything I produce must meet the regulations.  I totally agree with this of course, I want my customers to be very aware of what they are purchasing (I am planning an ingredients information page on my site, when I get it set up and running) - it's so important that people are aware of what they are putting ON their bodies as much as they are now becoming so aware of what they are putting IN their bodies.  All my soaps will be vegetarian friendly, not tested on animals (unless you consider my husband an animal that is!) and all will have added oils or butters and an extra moisturising factor in order to be as skin friendly (skin loving, skin adoring, all about the skin!) as possible.  You can rest assured that if I don't use it, you won't be - you won't be able to even buy it because I certainly wouldn't be selling anything to anyone that I wouldn't use myself on a daily basis.  So correct (and legal) labelling is really vital to us and to our customers. 

However, saying all that, in order to label fully, there is a huge amount of work to do in order to make sure you're doing it the right way.  Firstly you have to carefully list your formula, including all additions.  Each ingredient has an special INCI name - INCI means International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients - which lists all products with either it's Latin or scientific name.  For instance, instead of thinking manufacturers are really snobs because they write Water as Aqua, they are, in fact, legally obligied to do so. 

So, once you've written up your formula, then you must work out the percentages of each ingredient, then list the INCI name for each one.  Once you've done all that, then you know what is in your product, at what percentages and their correct legal name.  Only then can you list your ingredients, highest percentage ingredient on down (just like for food labelling). 

For every ingredient, you must also keep on file a Material Safety Data Sheet and show your calculations for any allergens that may be present in your product.  When I say allergens, I mean some substances in some fragrances (including both fragrance and essential oils) that occur within those fragrances - you may have seen something like Linalool or Limonene listed, these are the potential allergens.  Now, the reality is that they are in such a tiny, infintesimal amounts that few people would ever have a reaction (for instance, I have very sensitive skin and have never had a problem with them). However, again, where people want to know this information, it is vital for us to be able to provide it to them. 

So you can see just how much work goes into preparing all the legal information required to protect our customers - all hugely important to us but it all takes time. 

The great thing is that, once I have a final listing of ingredients, I get to design my labels which is really great fun! And today I have managed to finalise my design and I'm really happy with it - it's the right size and shape and colour(s) and I really really love them.  So, even if the paperwork is a big workload, though utterly necessary, I do get to make lovely things from them so I'm happy!!!

Keep watching this space as I hope to post pics of a new soap tomorrow.  Oh, and remember, it's Friday night!!! Yay!!!!

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