Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Labeling Your Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics

We are once again coming up on a busy time of year, one where many of you will be doing craft shows and a considerable amount more retail! It’s also a time of year when many of you will sell more body care than all other items combined! This is the perfect time to give you an overview on proper product labeling and send you to the right places for more information regarding this process!

First, ALL cosmetics must be properly labeled per the FDA. The FDA is regulated by Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). CFSAN is responsible for assuring that not only are all cosmetics are safe but also that they are properly labeled. Being a small business does not exempt you from the same rules as the big boys.

If you are making Cold Process Soap (or hot process, true
liquid soap but in general those made only using a lye solution and fats) you are exempt from product labeling through FDA guidelines but I would still recommend it for peace of mind. What if you used peanut oil and a customer with a peanut allergy used that product? Exactly! Soap labeling which is governed by the CPSC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/ Over the years there has been a lot of debate in the world of hand crafted soaps and cosmetics. Melt & Pour soaps typically are considered a cosmetic as they are made using chemical surfactant ingredients and are not considered true soap. I received confirmation on what IS needed on a soap label and what truly defines it as soap directly from the CPSC. This is copied and pasted from a response they emailed to me:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates true soaps that are made primarily of fats and alkalis and that are manufactured for consumer use. The CPSC has no specific labeling requirements for such soaps. However, if the product meets the definition of a hazardous substance, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) it may require cautionary labeling as specified under the statute.
Section 2(p)(1) of the FHSA, 15 U.S.C. § 1261(p)(1), requires that hazardous substances bear certain cautionary statements on their labels. These statements include: signal words; affirmative statements of the principal hazard(s) associated with a hazardous substance: the common or usual name, or chemical name of the hazardous substance; the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, or seller; statements of precautionary measure to follow; instructions when appropriate, for special handling and storage; the statement “Keep out of the reach of children” or its practical equivalent; and, when appropriate, first aid instructions.
A product is determined to be a hazardous substance if the substance or a mixture of substances is toxic, corrosive, an irritant, a strong sensitizer, is flammable or combustible, or generates pressure through decomposition, heat or other means, and if the substance or mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children. A determination that a product is toxic may be based on the results of animal tests or on human experience.
It is the responsibility of a manufacturer or importer of a product to determine whether its product meets the definition of a hazardous substance and, if so, to fulfill its obligations under the FHSA for appropriate precautionary labeling. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not perform pre-market clearance for household products containing hazardous substances nor does it certify those products.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act specifically excludes soap because soap is not defined in the act. In administering the act, the Food & Drug Administration interprets the term “soap” to apply only to articles that meet the following conditions:
1) The bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the detergent properties of the article are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds; and
2) The product is labeled, sold and represented only as soap.
The interpretation goes on to state that products intended to cleanse the body and which are not “soap” as defined above are considered “cosmetics” regulated by FDA.
If your product meets the definition above (1 & 2) then it would be subject to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. If the product meets the definition of a hazardous substance it is required to be labeled for the hazards it presents to the consumer during reasonable and foreseeable use.

Cosmetic labeling requires quite a bit of information. I strongly suggest that anyone making cosmetics of any kind familiarize themselves with the FDA website. There is a vast amount of information which is all current and lists all of the information necessary to be sure you are making a product that fits into the scope of the law. Their website is http://www.fda.gov

This information must show on the principal display panel of all cosmetic products, this is copied from http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Regulations/default.htm#information_required
The following information must appear on the principal display panel:
  • An identity statement, indicating the nature and use of the product, by means of either the common or usual name, a descriptive name, a fanciful name understood by the public, or an illustration [21 CFR 701.11].
  • An accurate statement of the net quantity of contents, in terms of weight, measure, numerical count or a combination of numerical count and weight or measure [21 CFR 701.13].
The following information must appear on an information panel:
  • Name and place of business. This may be the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. This includes the street address, city, state, and ZIP Code. You may omit the street address if it is listed in a current phone directory or city directory [21 CFR 701.12(a)].
  • Distributor statement. If the name and address are not those of the manufacturer, the label must say "Manufactured for..." or "Distributed by...," or similar wording expressing the facts [21 CFR 701.12(c)].
  • Material facts. Failure to reveal material facts is one form of misleading labeling and therefore makes a product misbranded [21 CFR 1.21]. An example is directions for safe use, if a product could be unsafe if used incorrectly.
  • Warning and caution statements. These must be prominent and conspicuous. The FD&C Act and related regulations specify warning and caution statements related to specific products [21 CFR part 700]. In addition, cosmetics that may be hazardous to consumers must bear appropriate label warnings [21 CFR 740.1]. An example of such hazardous products is flammable cosmetics.
  • Ingredients. If the product is sold on a retail basis to consumers, even it it is labeled "For professional use only" or words to that effect, the ingredients must appear on an information panel, in descending order of predominance. [21 CFR 701.3]. Remember, if the product is also a drug, its labeling must comply with the regulations for both OTC drug and cosmetic ingredient labeling, as stated above. To learn more, see "Ingredient Names," "Color Additives and Cosmetics," "Fragrances in Cosmetics," and "'Trade Secret' Ingredients."

Declaration of Ingredients http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Regulations/ucm126438.htm#Cosmetics

Cosmetics produced or distributed for retail sale to consumers for their personal care are required to bear an ingredient declaration (21 CFR 701.3). Cosmetics not customarily distributed for retail sale, e.g., hair preparations or make-up products used by professionals on customers at their establishments and skin cleansing or emollient creams used by persons at their places of work, are exempt from this requirement provided these products are not also sold to consumers at professional establishments or workplaces for their consumption at home.
The ingredient declaration must be conspicuous so that it is likely to be read at the time of purchase. It may appear on any information panel of the package, i.e., the folding carton, box wrapping if the immediate container is so packaged, and may also appear on a firmly affixed tag, tape or card. The letters must not be less than 1/16 of an inch in height (21 CFR 701.3 (b)). If the total package surface available to bear labeling is less than 12 square inches, the letters must not be less than 1/32 of an inch in height (21 CFR 701.3(p)). Off-package ingredient labeling is permitted if the cosmetic is held in tightly compartmented trays or racks, it is not enclosed in a folding carton, and the package surface area is less than 12 square inches (21 CFR 701.3(i)).
The ingredients must be declared in descending order of predominance. Color additives (21 CFR 701.3(f)(3)) and ingredients present at one percent or less (21 CFR 701.3(f)(2)) may be declared without regard for predominance. The ingredients must be identified by the names established or adopted by regulation (21 CFR 701.3(c)); those accepted by the FDA as exempt from public disclosure may be stated as "and other ingredients" (21 CFR 701.3(a)).
Cosmetics which are also drugs must first identify the drug ingredient(s) as "active ingredient(s)" before listing the cosmetic ingredients (21 CFR 701.3(d)).
All label statements required by regulation must be in the English language and must be placed on the label or labeling with such prominence and conspicuousness that they are readily noticed and understood by consumers under customary conditions of purchase (21 CFR 701.2).
It is my recommendation that anyone making cosmetic products take the time to browse these pages for more information with regards to proper cosmetic labeling. Just being a small business does not exempt you from the law. The FDA fines small businesses as well as larger ones. The information contained within their website is informative and easy to follow.

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Regulations/ucm126444.htm is the link to the entire FDA Cosmetics Labeling Guide. This is a MUST read for anyone making anything cosmetic. It includes the following: (this is hyperlinked right to the FDA site.)

Cosmetic Labeling Guide

Available in PDF (279KB)
The Cosmetics Labeling Guide provides step-by-step help with cosmetic labeling, with examples and answers to questions manufacturers often ask about labeling requirements under U.S. laws and related regulations.
On this page:
 Read the Cosmetics Labeling Guide fully. I can answer questions for you through our online chat, email or phone if there is something you can’t find or don’t understand as well. Bitter Creek and Bitter Creek South are committed to making sure you have the proper understanding when it comes to properly labeling your products!

Happy Cosmetics Making!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spice Grubbed Candles

I love that primitive, rustic, old look that spices give to candles. It's a warm, cozy feeling I get when I visit a home that is filled with antiques and prims. You can easily make from already made pillars, votives and tapers candle that have that old world feel to them in no time!

This is a project where you want to leave neatness at the door. It's not welcomed here! You want to have each candle look like it is unique. They won't be perfect, they will indeed have flaws but that is exactly what makes them both unique and beautiful. 


Here is what you will need to create these one of
a kind creations! 

Straight Paraffin Wax (I used IGI 1239)
Fragrance (These were done in Cinnamon Bun)

Brown Candle Dye (I used liquid)
A Dipping Pot (keep it warm in a pan of boiled water!)
Spices (this is a mix of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg)

Pliers (to dip with)
Candles for dipping. I used Emergency Candles from the dollar store and votives I had on hand here.
Scent and color your melted wax according to your desired shade. Take one of the candles and dip it into the wax, holding it for a few seconds so it slightly softens. This will allow for the spices to better adhere to the wax when you roll them in it.  

Roll the warm, waxed candles immediately in the spices. They will not stick all over, but instead
randomly. You can do one dip and roll or as many as you want. If you plan to burn the candles, I recommend only a single dip as I've shown but if they will be solely for decoration, do as much as you want!

Once the candles are spiced, dip them again to put on a protective layer. These beautiful candles not only look and smell fantastic. Place them in a bowl with fillers or potpourri for a very rustic, primitive look.
Happy Grubbing!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


One of my favorite scents from BCS is the Leather (This true leather fragrance has top notes of weathered leather and vetiver grass, heart notes of Oakmoss and brushed suede, and base notes of smoky Cade oil and thick musk.). This candle would be a great look to sell if you have a vendor booth at a Rodeo, but really anywhere they love Horses, Western Wear & of course The Rodeo!

Begin by making your pillar candle. I used the IGI 4625 Pillar Blend and the 30 Ply Flat Braid Cotton Wick & Leather Fragrance Oil with the Coffee Caramel Liquid dye.

Instructions for Use:

Heat wax to 190-200*. Once wax reaches desired temp, add your dye, blend well then add fragrance and again blend well. This wax should be poured between 185-195* into heated molds to minimize skip lines. It is advisable to poke relief holes around the wick of the candle once the wax has become solid but is still pliable.

After the first pour has cooled some, reheat your reserved wax from your first pour and refill the void (sink hole) in the candle until you reach the level of the first pour. You will want your second pour to be 10* hotter than your first pour to minimize lines from the second pour. Repeat the re-pour process as necessary.

Once the candle is cooled and out of the mold, you will need metal thumb tacks (push pins) I got a pack of 300 at the Dollar Store for..$1.00 and some hemp or sissal twine. 

Begin by literally pushing the tacks into the wax. This can be done at the top, the bottom or in a pattern. Your choice! Completely circle the candle with the tacks and you are pretty well done. Tie it in the center with a bit of twine for a more rustic look and you're done! 

This is a simple project that will set you apart from the crowd!

Happy Candle Making!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Palm Wax Pillar

Palm Wax is absolutely one of the most beautiful waxes out there. With absolutely no effort at all, you can create beautiful candles that all have a one of a kind appearance. Palm wax is a natural wax product and the pillars it creates are truly fascinating. This wax can actually be used in votives and container candles as well for a bit of diversity! 

Palm waxes are fun to work with and there are a variety of patterns taht can be created using it. This particular candle is made using our Granite Palm Wax.

Supplies List:

Granite Palm Wax
Square Braid Cotton Wicks (and tabs if using wick pins for a 3" round I use a 1/0. RRD wicks can also be used in this wax)
Seamless Aluminum Mold
Auto Wick Pin (optional)
Mold Sealer Putty
Mold Plug
Liquid Candle Dye

Assemble the mold by placing a round ball of mold sealer around the wick pin and pushing it through the bottom of the mold. Squish the sealer between the mold and pin to form a tight seal so that the wax will not leak through. 

Wax Instructions:
Heat wax to 205-210* add dye, blend well and then add fragrance and

blend well. Feather palm wax will hold up to 6% fragrance by weight. Pour the wax between 200-205* for best results.
This wax will require re-pours. Wait until the surface of the candle has crusted over, poke multiple relief holes through the surface of the candle around the wick and about 3/4 of the way down the candle, the candle center will still be fluid at this point.

Fill with reserved wax heated 10* hotter than the first pour. Repeat this process as needed. Palm waxes should be cooled a slowly as possible to inhibit the crystal structure to form fully. This can be done in a Styrofoam cooler or other insulated box. It is advised to use mold release when making palm candles in any mold.

Happy Candle making! Enjoy your new Palm Wax Pillars!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Custom Pillars!

I love doing something that the next person isn't. Custom pillars seems to be that thing! I have loved making these for ages and they are quite simple. All you need is a little imagination! Keep in mind I did this to show that indeed these were images I simply painted into the mold. 

I've done round candles, votive size that looked like peppermint candies in the past. I've also done them in multiple colors to look like a rainbow and more of a tie-dye effect. There is no right or wrong here. Just go with it!

I would recommend only one thing and that is to be sure to over-dip the candles when you are finished in a clear paraffin wax to seal them. The dye will rub off and make a mess if you do not.

Supplies list: 
Big Bowl or bucket With Ice or Snow (I am in Minnesota!) and ice cold water.  
Pillar Paraffin Wax, I used IGI 4625 for this  
Wick Based on the diameter of the mold. Square or flat braid cotton are best.  
A vessel that can be used to overdip the candle. It must be at least a few inches taller than the finished candle for this. I used a pour pot as my candles are all less than 5" in height. 
Candle Mold (I prefer seamless aluminum) Keep in mind this may stain your molds so be sure that is ok with you! 
Candle Wick Pin and Mold Sealer Putty  
Liquid Candle Dye (and a cheap paintbrush!)

First melt your wax and add fragrance according to these instructions: 
Heat wax to 190-200*. Once wax reaches desired temp, add your dye, blend well then add fragrance and again blend well. This wax should be poured between 185-195* into heated molds to minimize skip lines. It is advisable to poke relief holes around the wick of the candle once the wax has become solid but is still pliable.

After the first pour has cooled some, reheat your reserved wax from your first pour and refill the void (sink hole) in the candle until you reach the level of the first pour. You will want your second pour to be 10* hotter than your first pour to minimize lines from the second pour. Repeat the re-pour process as necessary.

While your wax is melting, use a cheap paint brush to lightly paint the inside of the mold using the liquid dyes. Go light, they will run if they are too heavy! I like using a round mold and painting it to look like a peppermint candy! Or a square mold with stripes! More than one color is fun too. Use your imagination!


When the mold is painted, insert the wick pin. Roll a ball of mold sealer putty up (I prefer white) and place it over the pin, and bring it to the bottom. Now place the mold over that and move it down and apply pressure to flatten the ball of sealer out to seal the wick hole and make a stable base.

Now place the mold inside the bucket etc that you have for ice water. fill it up but be careful it will not be deeper than the fully submerged mold. Only as deep as. 

Now it's time to pour the wax. Follow the pouring and repouring instructions above and have fun! When the candle is complete, remove it from the mold, blot off (don't rub!) any excess dye and before inserting the wick, place the candle back on the wick pin (so the bottom is facing down) and use that as a handle to overdip in your paraffin. You will want this wax to be about the same temp as you poured, about 180*. Just quick dip in and dip in a bucket of room temp water right away. Have fun with these candles, they can be quite fun to make!

Happy Candle Making!