Quantcast

Lye & Labels ????

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Lee Searz

New Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Location
Milford ohio
I make hot process and cold process soap that I sell locally. As far as labeling goes, do you legally have to put lye as an ingredient even though at the end of the process the lye should be no longer an ingredient?
 

Lee Searz

New Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Location
Milford ohio
I started putting the phrase 'sapponified oils'... solves the issue I think.
Creative wording I have heard is best ... I have had many people ask me if I make LYE free soap ... And my first response is .... it does not exist ... Thank you

Creative wording I have heard is best ... I have had many people ask me if I make LYE free soap ... And my first response is .... it does not exist ... Thank you
I never thought about it , but in reality there should not be any Lye , when soap is ready to use.
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
9,969
Reaction score
7,353
Location
Idaho, USA
Two different way to label, either list everything that goes into the soap, including water and sodium hydroxide or list what is in the finished product, such as saponified oil of____
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,281
Reaction score
10,186
Location
Southern California
I started putting the phrase 'sapponified oils'... solves the issue I think.
"Saponified" is not proper labeling and is not recognized by FDA. You either label what goes in the pot or what comes out of the pot. If labeling what goes in the pot then yes you have to include your lye. An example of what comes out of the pot such as Coconut Oil would be sodium cocoate, palm would be sodium palmate etc. Not Saponified oils of....
 

Primrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
791
Reaction score
1,283
So here's the problem with using "saponified oils of ... "

If you superfat your soap, some oils remain unsaponified. Without laboratory testing, you have no way of knowing which oils remain unsaponified and in which amount, therefore you cannot list them accurately
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,735
Reaction score
17,628
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
In the US, if you are selling soap as defined per the FDA, you technically don't have to provide an ingredients list. But if you do make one, do it right. Either list everything that goes in the pot or list what comes out of the pot. And use proper names, again per FDA rules. Marie Gale has a wonderful website for soap and cosmetic products, including a good article about creating a proper ingredients list.
 
Last edited:

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,111
Reaction score
1,318
Location
Oregon
I make hot process and cold process soap that I sell locally. As far as labeling goes, do you legally have to put lye as an ingredient even though at the end of the process the lye should be no longer an ingredient?
Ingredient Labels for Soap

What About Lye?
An ingredient declaration can state what goes into the pot or what comes out of the pot. Since soap has a chemical reaction that occurs, that gives two different ways to present the ingredients.

Into The Pot
In a typical example soap, what goes into the pot is oil, lye, water and additives. Therefore a valid ingredient declaration would be “Water, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sodium hydroxide, lavender essential oil, and mica”.

The oils could also include the Latin name of the plant.

Out Of The Pot
Using the correct INCI names, what comes out of the pot is mostly sodium palmate, sodium coocate, sodium olivate, lavender essential oil and mica. HOWEVER, there is also water, glycerin and any unsaponified oils.

The problem with declaring the ingredients based on what comes OUT of the pot is that you don’t (normally) know exactly how much water, glycerin, and unsaponified palm, coconut and olive oils are still in the soap – so you can’t put them in the right order.
 

amd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
3,569
Reaction score
4,847
Location
South Dakota
And please make sure you list them in the correct order (largest qty to smallest qty)! I ordered a soap from a maker friend and her label is in alphabetical order, so castor oil is her first ingredient. Now I know Castor Oil is NOT the largest qty in her soaps (or anyone's soaps). I'm still trying to figure out how to broach that subject to her gracefully...

Edited to correct spelling and missing word. My brain has a bad case of the 2020.
 
Last edited:

AlexanderMakesSoap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
98
Reaction score
94
Location
Los Angeles
I go the route of Bronner's soap we used to use and have a little * after the lye and write "*no lye remains after saponification" after the ingredients list. I also have a little write up with each soap listing discussing why we use lye and briefly describing the process in general.
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,281
Reaction score
10,186
Location
Southern California
I go the route of Bronner's soap we used to use and have a little * after the lye and write "*no lye remains after saponification" after the ingredients list. I also have a little write up with each soap listing discussing why we use lye and briefly describing the process in general.
Technically you really do not know if any lye remains and sometimes you really do not want too much information. Too much information can lead to questions. I have never had a customer question the use of lye and I have both Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide on my labels since I use dual lye in all my soaps.
 

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
722
Reaction score
1,080
Location
Florida
Technically you really do not know if any lye remains and sometimes you really do not want too much information. Too much information can lead to questions. I have never had a customer question the use of lye and I have both Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide on my labels since I use dual lye in all my soaps.
Can I ask why you use dual lye in soap? I am definitely not questioning you. I am learning.
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,281
Reaction score
10,186
Location
Southern California
Can I ask why you use dual lye in soap? I am definitely not questioning you. I am learning.
My vegan and non-vegan recipes are either high in palm or tallow/lard with shea so are quite hard being high in palmitic and stearic acids, low in coconut oil so are not very soluble. On top of that I soap with vinegar which adds more hardness :). To counteract this I use 5% KOH in all my soaps which helps them lather quicker since the KOH adds a bit of solubility.
 

AlexanderMakesSoap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
98
Reaction score
94
Location
Los Angeles
Technically you really do not know if any lye remains and sometimes you really do not want too much information. Too much information can lead to questions. I have never had a customer question the use of lye and I have both Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide on my labels since I use dual lye in all my soaps.
Our customer base tends to ask questions and likes to know exactly what's in the products they're applying to their skin. We've had many questions about our ingredients from our customers over the years - though nothing about the soap just yet as we've just been selling that for a few weeks. Though I do expect the questions will come!

I've always been under the impression that no lye remains in a properly made bar of soap.
 

GemstonePony

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
528
Reaction score
625
Location
Minnesota, USA
Our customer base tends to ask questions and likes to know exactly what's in the products they're applying to their skin. We've had many questions about our ingredients from our customers over the years - though nothing about the soap just yet as we've just been selling that for a few weeks. Though I do expect the questions will come!

I've always been under the impression that no lye remains in a properly made bar of soap.
Do you list in the pot or out of the pot? I know you would have to list the hydroxide for in the pot, because it definitely goes in there, but I was under the impression it didn't have to be added for out of the pot since that requires the saponified forms of all the oils.
Regardless, saying that it's been completely used up would indicate to me that it's dangerous if any molecules remain, and makes it sound scary.
If you feel compelled to something, just say it made the butters and oils into soap, and leave it at that. It's the only thing you can prove without a lab.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,111
Reaction score
1,318
Location
Oregon
Bottom Line. You NEED lye to make soap. You CANNOT make soap without lye. While there is no legal requirement to list your ingredients on “true soap”, best practices to do it. MOST people don’t know what ‘saponified oils’...they know Olive Oil, they know Coconut Oil, they know Palm Oil, but they don’t know sodium palmate, sodium coocate, sodium olivate And they you can have the happy happy joy joy of explaining what it is and why you are calling it that.

I’ve only had one person in the past year ask me about “Sodium Hydroxide”. I explained that it was commonly known as Lye and that you cannot make soap or good pretzels without. Unless you have some radical hippie on your hands, folks aren’t going to care...they will be more interested in your oils and butters, your colorants and you scents.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
7,221
Reaction score
6,729
Location
Western Illinois, USA
I started adding this to my labels a couple of years ago:

By definition, soap is 'an alkali salt of fatty
acids', which means [oils + lye = soap]

I do not sell, but I do give away a lot of soap.

I do list what goes into the pot, which is why I added the above, which I actually do put above the ingredients list.

This is a back panel of one such label, if you are interested:


1601470446720.png
 

Attachments

shunt2011

Staff member
Admin
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,250
Reaction score
9,446
Location
Michigan
I started adding this to my labels a couple of years ago:

By definition, soap is 'an alkali salt of fatty
acids', which means [oils + lye = soap]

I do not sell, but I do give away a lot of soap.

I do list what goes into the pot, which is why I added the above, which I actually do put above the ingredients list.

This is a back panel of one such label, if you are interested:


View attachment 50090
That would be fine for personal use but not for those who sell. If you label the soap with ingredients they must be in the order of highest to lowest. I list everything that goes into the pot.

I personally think those who try to wordsmith their labels are trying to hide something. Ive had a couple people in years question what lye/sodium hydroxide is.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
7,221
Reaction score
6,729
Location
Western Illinois, USA
That would be fine for personal use but not for those who sell. If you label the soap with ingredients they must be in the order of highest to lowest. I list everything that goes into the pot.

I personally think those who try to wordsmith their labels are trying to hide something. Ive had a couple people in years question what lye/sodium hydroxide is.
My point was about the first sentence, which is the definition of soap as per the FDA. My goal was to show an example of how to address the lye question on the label for people who may wonder why it is in the soap. But perhaps I should have only included that part for my example since that was my point. But I do need to address the rest of this as, of course, you are correct about the descending order information, Shunt.

As for wordsmithing labels in an attempt to hide something, I don't think that's what anyone here intends to do. Using phrases like 'saponified oils of...' is so commonly used on artisan soap labels, that lots of new (as well as old) soap makers see it as an acceptable practice. Why even Marie Gale does not condemn the phrase for soap, which does not require a label (reference).

I used to use the phrase myself for that very reason. I later concluded that the average person did not really have a clue what that meant, so decided it didn't serve a useful purpose on my labels.

So I started listing only the ingredients that went into the pot, following the descending order method using my formula to guide me in that. Somewhere along the line, I realized I had left water off of the list for some of my labels, not for any specific reason. I don't really recall how or why that happened, probably an oversight. Also the question of lye by some of my husband's co-workers had begun to come up and that's when it seemed useful to include the (FDA's) legal definition of soap on my labels. So again I revisited my method of label design.

How I moved from descending order (that I fully agree is preferable because it is required for selling in the US & is what consumers expect) to the categories on my current labels, I don't really clearly recall why I did that. Really, if I could explain what my thought process at the time was, I would.

Regardless of how or why I made that particular change, Shunt, you are right, on my current labels ingredients are not listed correctly for selling. So I thank you for mentioning that, because you have helped me to realize that perhaps it is time to again revisit my label design process, since consumers DO expect ingredients to be listed in descending order. After all it's not only my friends & family to whom I give soap, I do also donate it on occasion, I believe it is even more important to label correctly for strangers. (Not to indicate my family & friends deserve any less, of course!) :)
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
1,111
Reaction score
1,318
Location
Oregon
I personally think those who try to wordsmith their labels are trying to hide something. Ive had a couple people in years question what lye/sodium hydroxide is.
Agreed. I follow the KISS rule:

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Distilled Water, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil (RSPO). Sodium Hydroxide, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Sodium Lactate and Kaolin Clay. May contain colorants and scent.

And for anyone who asks, I don't detail colorants or scent for two reasons: 1) You can't please all of the people all of the time, but you can please some of the people some of the time. In other words, I don't always add colorants and/or scent to my soaps. 2) It's more cost effective to order 1000 of a single label that can be used for all my soaps, then it is to order 100 of 10 or 20 different labels or to sit there and print them myself. The only time I print my labels is for specialty soaps which I make in small batches like my Trades Soap or some seasonal luxury bars.
 
Top