How to Sell Your Products Legally

Selling SoapIn your free time you love to craft and you have a hobby. You make soap and cosmetic products for yourself. You thought for a change you would hand make some lovely soap and skincare products for friends or family for Christmas presents.

They absolutely love them. They want to buy more from you or tell you how great it is and that you should sell it.

You think ‘Okay.Great I can make my hobby a business’ and ‘I can get a market stall or sell it online’.

If only it was that simple!

Not to say that it’s hard and you have to give up already, but there are a few things you have to do before you can sell anything.

What you need to do to sell your products legally?

  • Formulate your products and trial them – your friends and family come in handy
  • Obtain a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) – the Soap Kitchen has more information on Safety Assessments and what you need to do here
  • Establish a Good Manufacturing Practice – this ensures your products are always safe and manufactured in a professional and hygienic manner
  • Keep a Product Information File (PIF) – this is record of your product and latest batch produced should it be requested by the authorities or public
  • Give each batch of product you produce a unique batch code – this means keeping full record in a manufacturing log of everything you make and the ingredients used
  • Label your products correctly – that way everyone know what you are putting into your products and can contact you if required
  • Notify the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) – this is a database for the purposes of market surveillance, analysis, evaluation and consumer information.
  • Get the right insurance
  • NotifytheHMRC, Trading standards and any other authority that your are manufacturing products

Why do you need to do this?

Cosmetic legislation ensures that all cosmetic products that are on the market in the UK (and throughout the EU) are safe and fit for purpose. It is regulated by the European legislation, the Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009. www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-for-manufacturers#cosmetic-products-safety-regulations

Article 4.2 of the regulations states:

“For each cosmetic product placed on the market, the responsible person shall ensure compliance with the relevant obligations set out in this Regulation.”

If you are making and selling products you are considered the responsible person and you are responsible for all the obligations set out in the Regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with the regulations and carrying out all necessary record keeping and safety precautions.

The Cosmetic Regulation controls what may or may not be put into a cosmetic. The primary purpose of these laws is to protect human safety. It is important that your future customer has confidence in the safety of your products.

Cosmetics include soaps; shower gels;  shampoos; hair dyes, skin toners; moisturisers and cleansers; anti-ageing creams; antiperspirants; sunscreens; oral hygiene products such as toothpastes; and fine fragrances and other perfumery products to mention a selection.

For more information contact www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk

77 thoughts on “How to Sell Your Products Legally

  1. What are the rules when you are re-moulding a soap manufactured by someone else (who has met the necessary regulations already)?

    1. Hi Frankie,

      Thanks for your comment. It would depend on the actual product but generally speaking if you are not adding anything else to the formula you can use a pre-assessed product for your own label without having to have it re-certified. For example you could purchase our fragranced and coloured melt and pour soap bases, melt them and pour into moulds, then sell them as your own. You would need to register the product under your own brand name though. But you couldn’t add anything else to it like water, other colours or fragrances.

      1. Thank you so much for replying. I have had a look at your wholesale products and it’s a great idea to use these! I have read through you blog and found all the govt requirements around keep records etc. Also – I found a reference for labelling (something like.. “made for x by the Soap Kitchen”) I just wanted to check that I would need to also include all the ingredients on the label from your melt and pour label – is that the correct procedure? I couldn’t find any further details. Finally – is there anything else I could say about the wholesale melt and pour – for example can I say “not tested on animals” or “vegan”. Many thanks for your help.

        1. Hi Frankie,

          Yes you are correct, you will need to label the products with the full ingredients, you can find them in the additional information tab on the product page.You will need to include a batch number, either ours that is labelled on the base you receive or your own, just make a note on your own records so that our batch number tallies with your own.You will also need to add correspondence info, so a customer can contact you, either an email, website, contact number or address. None of products are tested on animals so you can use that statement. . The vegan statement would be up to you to substantiate, reading the list of ingredients for the melt and pour products none of them contain animal products but you would need to check the ingredients for any other products you use. If you need more info please do not hesitate to email us, enquiries@thesoapkitchen.co.uk (you’ve also given me some inspiration for our next blog post!)

      2. If I would like to add only essential oils, dry herbs like lavender or Rhassoul clay to your melt and pour base, will I have to do the Cosmetic Product Safety report or not as I am not changing the base of the product?

        1. Hi Anna, yes anything you add to the base changes the recipe of the finished product so it would need to get safety assessed. But if you wanted to have a few different soaps with various fragrances and botanicals, you can get these done under one assessment if you use the same base. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. I am producing a small range of both liquid and bar soaps, these are being produced using base products that have already been tested by the manufacture. I will be adding couloir and fragrance and these have also been tested too. Do these still require further testing?

  3. Hi,

    If you sell handmade soaps online, do you have to display the list of ingredients online as well as on the product label/leaflet? Is it optional, or is it law?

    1. Hi Emily, it is the law to display ingredients at point of sale, so if that’s not on the packaging it should be where the product is offered for sale on-line OR if in a shop and the product is difficult to label, you list ingredients on some kind of display next to the product.

      We hope this helps, if you have anymore queries or questions then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      1. So if I don’t physically label my products but have all the necessary info displayed beside the products in the shop, what about the batch numbers? There may be 2 or 3 different batches of each product on display. Wouldn’t the customer need to know the specific batch number of the bar they bought?

        1. Hi Emily, I’ve just checked the official legislation regarding labelling, and it states specific batch codes need to be on the correlating products, but all other info can be on a POS display or small card/leaflet attached to it. Hope this helps!

          1. Hello Soap Kitchen – Can you indicate where the legislation says this, please? Chapter VI Article 19 of the EU regs seems to say that this only applies to the ingredients list (Paragraph 3) – everything else including name & address needs to appear on the “container” (i.e. soap label) or on a tag or leaflet etc attached to the item itself (i.e. can not be relocated to a POS notice).
            Hope you can correct me!

          2. Hi Ian, Thanks for your question, we offer these guidelines based upon our own experiences and understanding of the law as it currently stands in the UK.

            The following information must be on the container and packaging in clear, indelible print. If you need a magnifying glass to read it’s no good.
            a) The name and address of the “responsible person” this is the person named on the CPSR (Cosmetic product safety report), the CPNP (Cosmetic product notification portal) and where your PIF (product information folder) is held.
            b) The weight / volume of the product must be clearly displayed on the product and packaging.
            c) A best before date.

            So as far as we’re aware this is what needs to be on the actual product itself, everything else can be on a POS, however I will contact trading standards directly to confirm this. As soon as they respond I will reply again. Thanks for your patience.

          3. Hi Soapkitchen
            Hope you can help…
            Can you indicate where in the EU rules it states that info other than batch codes can be on a POS display? I looked through them, and Chapter VI Article 19 says that for soap, the list of ingredients can appear on a POS display (Paragraph 3) but everything else must either be on the packaging/container (i.e. label) or on an tag or leaflet that goes with the product. I cannot find anything that says these other things can be relocated to a POS display.
            Can you clarify?

          4. Hi Ian, I am double checking with the trading Standards to get the correct information, I will be in touch again as soon as they get back to me. Thank you

          5. That is an extremely helpful and rapid response! (Apologies for the double-post, I thought it had failed 1st time). – Thank you, Ian

          6. Hi again Ian, Trading Standards have replied, I have copied their answer for you:

            The answer is to be found in the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2014 under Regulation 5 – labelling which states the following;
            http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/1478/pdfs/uksi_20131478_en.pdf

            5.—(1) Where cosmetic products are not pre-packaged, or are packaged at the point of sale at the purchaser’s request, information required to be provided in accordance with Article 19(1) (which provides for labelling) of the EU Cosmetics Regulation must appear on the container in which the product is exposed for supply or on a notice in immediate proximity to that container; (2) Where cosmetic products are pre-packaged for immediate sale, the information required to be provided in accordance with Article 19(1) of the EU Cosmetics Regulation must appear on an attached label, tag, tape or card, or in an enclosed leaflet. Where this is impossible for practical reasons this information must appear on a notice in immediate proximity to the container in which the cosmetic product is exposed for sale.

            EC 1223/2009 Article 19 (3) provides that where in the case of small products it is impossible for practical reasons for the info referred to in point (g) (list of ingredients) of paragraph 1 to appear on a label, tag, tape or card or in an enclosed leaflet, this information shall appear on a notice in immediate proximity to the container in which the cosmetic product is exposed for sale

            and Article 19 (4) For cosmetic products that are not prepacked, are packaged at the point of sale at the purchaser’s request, or are pre-packaged for immediate sale, Member States shall adopt detailed rules for the indication of the information referred to in paragraph 1 – and this is where the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2014 regulation 5 come into play.

            I hope this clarifies things for you.

  4. Hi

    When listing the ingredients on labels, c
    Do I have to use the scientific name for each products or will ‘water’ or ‘shea butter’ be sufficient?
    Many thanks

    Ryan

    1. Hi Ryan.

      When selling products you will need to use the INCI as to properly label your products. So yes, use the proper terms.

      Any further questions be sure to get in touch!

  5. Hi if I am making all natural organic products and adding essential oils ect or raw materials such as cucumber, grapefruit ect what do i need to do to sell this after listing all ingredients of about 3-5 items?
    Will this require further testing also?

    1. Hi Kelly.

      Any products you place in your product, whether it be a base or fruit will need testing and listing on the ingredients.

  6. Hi, This is a great article. I have a question. What if I’m manufacturing my products in the UK and want to offer worldwide shipping. What do I need to be able to do that? Thanks

    1. Hi Anil.

      Great question, if you’re looking to ship within the EU and your products meet the UK/EU standards than that is perfectly fine. However, if you’re looking to ship to countries outside the EU than you will need to look into their regulations.

  7. Fantastic article. A quick question, if I wish to be the distributor of the natural handcrafted soaps made in India, do I still need to follow the same process? What rules need to be followed by the manufacturer

    1. Hi S Joshi.

      Depending on where your soap is distributed, you will need to follow that countries regulations.

  8. Hi
    I want to produce 100% organic soaps, shampoos and others skin care products which will have natural ingredients I will grow myself. Do I still need a CPSR and to notify the CPNP? Do organic products also need licensing? Thanks, Adrian

    1. Hi Adrian,

      The answer to both of your questions is yes. All cosmetic products need to be safety assessed to ensure that the recipes are certified as safe to sell and under EU regulations.

  9. Every single recipe needs to be safety assessed, although many assessors offer a number of variants on a base recipe as a package, which saves a bit of money. It’s an expensive but unavoidable necessity. You’ll also need a set of “stamped for trade” scales (kitchen scales just won’t do) for weighing your end products for accurate labelling. And public liability insurance, of course. The Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers website has some useful information and only accepts members who comply with the law. It’s certainly not cheap to get set up and jump through all the legal hoops, but it simply has to be done if you want to sell even a single bar of soap, lip balm etc. But the good news is, once you’ve got properly set up, it’s really worth it to see your products selling and getting good customer feedback!

    1. Thank you for your input Emily and highlighting some major points in this article! 🙂

  10. Hello there, I would like to know how can I get in touch with a consultant regarding starting a home made product on eBay legally and how can I meet the requirements for safety? Many thanks

  11. am i allowed to buy wholesale bath bombs and resell them and if so what if any certificates etc do i need to do so they come with ingredients labels and batch numbers

    1. Hi Zoe,

      Yes you can! Our finished products are fully assessed and are available unbranded. You don’t need any other certificates as long as you can provide your customer with a batch code and ingredients information. The ingredients lists will be available online in the product info section and you will be provided with a batch code for those products when you order. Most people create their own labels and attach this info. Hope this helps and answers your question!

      Many Thanks

  12. Hello

    Do you know what is the exact process of selling legally home made creams? What am I required to do?

    Many thanks! Your website is great!

    1. Hi Agnes,

      All cosmetic products whether factory made or handmade at home will need to be safety assessed. To do this, you will need to develop your recipe and submit this for a chemist to assess. You can do this via us and the process is fully explained on our website to help you complete the application. You will need a safety assessment for each product you sell but, if your product has the same base recipe, our assessments can allow up to 6 variations (i.e. colour, fragrance etc).

      Here’s a link to the info on our website:

      https://www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk/safety-assessments/

      Hope this helps!

  13. Hi I was wondering if I could sell my bath bombs and body scrubs to friends and family that no they ain’t had a cosmetic safety assessment yet and they are fine with it, I’m trying to make money to pay for the assessments ?

    1. Hi Katie, thanks for your question, unfortunately if you mean to sell any cosmetic product you will need to get it safety assessed beforehand, you can ‘gift’ your products to your friends and family if you wish, but that’s it. Sorry!

  14. Hi, I am hoping to sell my homemade natural shampoos for children and families, initially just locally, but I am now aware that I might need to have the required approval and registration but I don’t know where to start. What would you recommend for the first step? It seems to be overall, with everything, quite a costly step for a small market. Any advice would be appreciated x

    1. Hi Sophie,
      Thanks for your question, if you are planning to sell your products no matter how small or big the market if you mean to exchange them for money, you will need to get your products safety assessed. If you have a developed recipe, then the first step is to fill out an assessment form, our form offers 6 variations of the same recipe, then this will get sent off, checked and approved. All details for this you can find online here: https://www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk/bespoke-cosmetic-product-safety-reports I hope that helps!

      1. Hi if went through you for testing etc how much would it be and how many out of the batch of products would i need to send. Many Thanks

        1. Hi Sarah, I’ve attached a link for safety assessment info (its for a melt & pour soap as I’m not sure what product you have) but the info on there can be applied to different cosmetic products, it is £150 for the report, this can be used with up to 6 variations, you do not send off your actual products, but you need to give extensive ingredients info. All info you need will be on the link there, let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

  15. Hi, can I just check, if I bought your ingredients to make my soap/bath bombs would I still have to register and get certificates?

    1. Hi Mel, if you intend to sell the product then yes, you’ll need to get them safety assessed, if they are gifts or personal use then that’s fine.

  16. Hi, Do I need an assessment for a laundry soap (solid bar)? It’s not a cosmetic, obviously, but it does come into contact with the skin. Thanks for all the useful info you provide on this thread btw!

        1. Hi Emily, if you are marketing the bar as a final product it will still need to be assessed even though it is just 100% coconut oil.

  17. Hi there,
    Does all this apply to products like a natural healing balm, massage oil or a roll on headache remedy?

  18. Hi, I make sugar scrubs, bath salts, body butter and lip balms.
    Does this mean I have to get all of these checked individually?
    Also what kind of testing would i need? Thanks

    1. Hi Jenna, thanks for your question, as they are all different products, yes you’ll need to get each one safety assessed before you can sell them, there is a safety assessment form for each product available here: https://www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk/safety-and-technical/, both the sugar scrub & body butter fall under this one ‘COSMETIC SAFETY REPORT DESCRIPTION BODY OILS AND BUTTERS’ all the information you need will be on there, please get in touch if you need anymore advice.

  19. Hi, if I want to sell herbs and flowers tea for facial steam and bath or if I want to sell all herbs powdered face wash, does it still require CPSR?? If I have 3-4 types of powdered herbs products (if I need assessment) how much would it cost ??
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Sahishta, thanks for your question, with any product that is intended for use with/against/on the skin is under the cosmetic umbrella, so it will need a CPSR. If you have the same base and simply change the herbs, this will come under the 6 variations, but if the base changes you will need a separate assessment for each one. Hope this helps!

  20. Really good advice here, thanks. If I run and ‘Make and Take’ workshop where customers make there own bespoke products with basic ingredients. Say Bath salts, then add chosen essential oils. So each separate ingredient has already got met CPSR approval. Is that OK?

    1. Hi Jenny, thanks for your question. As long as the products that are made are intended for their own personal use then that’s fine.

  21. Thanks for all this information – it’s very useful. Would the same apply if we asked for donations for items made? We are a charity and would be making them as a therapeutic session but would want to recoup our costs.

    1. Hi Hilly, I’m afraid that yes, you will still need a report! This is due to the product being exchanged for money publicly.

  22. Hi,

    We are looking at starting experience days which could involve make your own soap, lip balm etc. type activities. As these would likely be made ad-hoc (i.e. customers select the fragrances, certain ingredients etc.) would they need to be appropriately labelled/regulated in order to be taken home and used? The charge would be for the ‘experience’ rather than the products they may make and take home for use/to give away. They would probably not be made to GMP in such circumstances. Any advice you can provide would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Jordan, thanks for your question, it’s a good one! As long as the products created are taken home and not intended for sale then they themselves would not need to be assessed. Our chemist says you don’t need CPSRs because they the final products are not to be released onto the market, but you have a responsibility to make sure that the products are safe and H&S is in place; safety goggles, gloves etc etc. Also a quick check with your local Trading Standards wouldn’t hurt either.

  23. Hi,
    I am looking to start selling my home made all natural soaps for which I understand I will need to do all the legal stuff.
    How about if I want to sell soap for dogs, do they have a separate set of legal requirements?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Monique,

      There is no current legislation for soaps specifically made for animal use 🙂 Therefore you don’t need a CPSR for this.

  24. Hi, so I just got an email day responding to my enquiry about an CPSR, they told me each product needs one and it costs £300 pounds per product and all sorts of extra charges for various services. Am I meant to believe that every little etsy soap seller with half a dozen flavours has spent thousands of pounds just to be able to sell a few hand made soaps? Am I misunderstanding something?
    Thanks very much

    1. Hi George, thanks for your question, it can be a confusing topic when it comes to the legalities of selling soap. The main thing to understand is that with one soap base recipe you can get up to 6 variations on that base for the same price, we offer this service for £150 (plus VAT):

      We offer the option to certify your base soap recipe together with up to 6 different variations – each variation can include up to 5 additional ingredients, such as essential oils, colours, fragrance oils, extra superfatting oils, botanicals, clays etc. PLEASE NOTE: If you are using more than 1 fragrance oil or a blend of essential and fragrance oil in a variation, a further fee of £15.00+VAT per fragrance oil will be incurred.
      If you don’t currently have 6 different variations, you can use this package to certify what you already make, and then add to your reports at a later date as your business grows. Please note that there will be a small administration fee payable each time further variations are added (up to the maximum of 6) and so it is advisable to add several at a time.

      So, you could have 6 different soaps (as long as the original base is the same) …does this help? Here is the link to our main website with more details about CPSR: https://www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk/safety-assessment-cp-hp-soap/

    2. You’d be surprised how many sellers don’t bother to comply, either with the costly CPSRs or with adequate labelling. And it’s not just small sellers on Etsy either. Makes me cross, but all I can do as a legitimate seller is try to show my customers that I comply and WHY it’s important to comply. Buying any cosmetic products from sellers who don’t comply is a risk and we just have to hope more people realise that.

  25. If I am using the Melt and Pour Soap Base and adding essential oils to it. Will it need to be tested even though the actual soap base and oils are made and tested by someone else?

  26. Hello I have started to use Stevenson shea butter and oats melt and pour to make my handmade soap and add my own essential oils to the base . who do I need to contact to get safety test on my products to allow me to sell them on line, and what insurance would I need. etc

    1. Hi Anne, all the links were in the article above, but here is how to obtain a safety assessment: https://www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk/safety-assessments/
      With regards to insurance, if you are selling products online or at markets or through shops, you’ll need public liability cover, all insurance providers will have information about this. Hope this has helped 🙂

  27. Hiya, if i am just looking to make and sell pet friendly Doggy soap. would i still need the safety assessments to sell them on,

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