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Lye & Labels ????

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TheGecko

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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).
Speaking of Ms Gale, she also says this: 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.

She also says: If you do decide to put the ingredients on a true soap, be aware that consumers expect that if you say “Ingredients: ____”, you are stating all of the ingredients in descending order of predominance. To withhold ingredients isn’t in violation of the FDA regulations, but it might be considered “deceptive”.

A better way to do it, if you are using non-standard ingredient names (such as “saponified oils of ___”, or are not putting all the ingredients on the list (ie saying “essential oil blend” instead of listing them out), it’s probably better to put it as information, rather than an actual “ingredient declaration.”

Something like “We make our soaps with saponified oils of ___ and scent them with only pure essential oils, including much-loved lavender and patchouli oils.” That makes it more informative, and the consumer can see that it’s not a true ingredient declaration as they normally expect on cosmetics.


As a side note, Ms Gale needs to update her website. Labeling for True Soap is no longer governed by the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, but by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC and Soap
 

shunt2011

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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!) :)
It’s ever evolving with labels. My least favorite part of it all. 😀
 

amd

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The only problem I have as a seller is that while my intention is to define my soap as only "it gets you clean", if you have an FB page, business page, or website with customer reviews and someone says "this soap is so moisturizing"... guess what, that puts you in the cosmetic labeling. When I started selling and working to get my label requirements, I decided that I would follow the cosmetic rules to cover all my bases. It's clear, straight forward, and if a customer has an issue with the word "lye" or "sodium hydroxide" then they would probably be better off not using my soap. I have fielded many questions about lye soap safe for use over the years and I explain the zap test to them. I tell them if they'd like to purchase a bar and lick it themselves they're welcome to. (This is also why my cutter was designed to make endcuts, so that I would have something to zap test. That endcut is then separated and put into personal use after the cure is finished.)
 

buttonsHT

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The only problem I have as a seller is that while my intention is to define my soap as only "it gets you clean", if you have an FB page, business page, or website with customer reviews and someone says "this soap is so moisturizing"... guess what, that puts you in the cosmetic labeling. When I started selling and working to get my label requirements, I decided that I would follow the cosmetic rules to cover all my bases. It's clear, straight forward, and if a customer has an issue with the word "lye" or "sodium hydroxide" then they would probably be better off not using my soap. I have fielded many questions about lye soap safe for use over the years and I explain the zap test to them. I tell them if they'd like to purchase a bar and lick it themselves they're welcome to. (This is also why my cutter was designed to make endcuts, so that I would have something to zap test. That endcut is then separated and put into personal use after the cure is finished.)
I'm curious, if the business isn't making this claim how would that change your labeling?
 

DeeAnna

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If there's a review on the biz website making a cosmetic claim, then that claim applies to the product. Doesn't matter if the biz owner makes the claim or someone else does it. It's still a claim.

If you want to label soap following the "it's just soap" labeling rules, you'd have to delete or edit reviews with cosmetic or drug claims -- anything other than "it's soap and it gets you clean."

If you label the soap per cosmetic labeling rules, you can avoid this kind of craziness. And you'll be giving your customers a proper ingredients list so they can be well informed.
 

LilianNoir

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Labeling for True Soap is no longer governed by the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, but by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC and Soap
Here's a question then.
Everything I find on the web says that, even for true soaps, packaging needs to state that it's soap, weight, and name and address of business. Those rules seem to come from the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

Now true soap is governed by the CPSC, and on their site, regarding soap, there is no mention of need for weight or business.

I'd still list weight, but the address thing always seemed a bit concerning (and outdated) to me.
So I wonder, if those things are still necessary/required.
My thought is, those aspects of the label (declaration of product identity, weight, and business info) are required by the FTC, but it's not clear if soap falls under their rule still. I'm assuming yes, but then why isn't that mentioned on the CPSC site/page?

 
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TheGecko

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Here's a question then.
Everything I find on the web says that, even for true soaps, packaging needs to state that it's soap, weight, and name and address of business. Those rules seem to come from the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

Now true soap is governed by the CPSC, and on their site, regarding soap, there is no mention of need for weight or business.

I'd still list weight, but the address thing always seemed a bit concerning (and outdated) to me.
So I wonder, if those things are still necessary/required.
My thought is, those aspects of the label (declaration of product identity, weight, and business info) are required by the FTC, but it's not clear if soap falls under their rule still. I'm assuming yes, but then why isn't that mentioned on the CPSC site/page?
Confusing I know. While soap may now be 'governed' by the CPSC, the FPLA still applies...as it applies to most everything...whether it is a bar of soap, a bottle of Ibuprofen, a Hostess Twinkie, a can of WD-40, a box of Corn Flakes. It is my GUESS, that the change in 'governing' agencies comes down to...well...product safety.

Let's be honest, there are handmade/handcrafted/artisan soaps that are on the market that flat out shouldn't be or shouldn't be before a minimum curing time has passed. The FPLA's scope of authority is as their name implies...packaging and labeling. If your label say 4 oz and your soap weighs 3.5, you can get in trouble for that. But if you end up with a rash or something because the soap is lye-heavy...nothing the FPLA can do about it. But the CPSC...they would have the authority to keep the soap manufacturer from selling that soap.

My GUESS is that why the CPSC doesn't provide more information is: 1) Their main focus is product safety. 2) The FPLA still applies. 3) This is a recently change and the government is really slow and bogged down in red-tape (I used to work for the Feds...their Policy & Procedure Manuals have a Policy & Procedure Manual).

As for the address being concerning and outdated...why? Don't you want to know where you stuff comes from? Don't you want to know who to contact in case there is a problem? Now while I realize that if you make soap out of your home, you don't want people showing up at your front door...especially if you have children, but if your address is publicly available, all you need to have on your label is city and state. And by publicly available...as an example, I have an Assumed Business Name so my address is on record with the Secretary of State. But not many people are going to go that far to contact me...they will use the information provided on my website and I have a separate cell phone and mailing address.

Personally, I would like to see MORE regulation with regards to soap making (United States) though nothing as strict as the EU/UK...that is just ridiculous, but I think more regulation and maybe some small fees would weed out a lot of bad soapers.
 

amd

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As for the address being concerning and outdated...why?
I'm probably going to be unpopular here... but I never understood why people are so reluctant to put their address on a label... but yet people should trust you to make good soap that they put on their body? Of course I've heard of a few soapmakers who were stalked, but I feel like this should be a significantly small amount of cases. It certainly would not prohibit me from following the rules. Although with the concern for meth in my area, my husband has installed security cameras and an alarm system in case someone should try to break in to steal sodium hydroxide. When I lived alone in the boondocks this was always a concern for me, but I still followed label rules.
 

LilianNoir

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As for the address being concerning and outdated...why? Don't you want to know where you stuff comes from? Don't you want to know who to contact in case there is a problem?
but I never understood why people are so reluctant to put their address on a label... but yet people should trust you to make good soap that they put on their body?
I don't want people I don't know to have direct access to where I live.
Yes, addresses are public information but you have to know to search for it. That's different from plastering my home address on products/items that get shipped out to people I don't know.

I think it's outdated, because most people don't use addresses to contact people honestly. People don't write letters typically. 😂

Anymore, email and phone is used to contact. Providing a working phone number, email, and city and state gives the consumer just as much (if not more) useful information and methods of contact than a physical address, without any security risk.

I'm not hiding anything. I just don't want people to come banging on my door.

That being said, I know that you don't have to post your street address if your information is publicly available, but I have to admit I'm still not sure how that works exactly. Street addresses are available on a number of public record sites. Does that count? I.e. my name is listed w my address on white pages.com. Is that enough? Or does the address have to be on a public site connected to the business? For example, does it have to be listed under "xx soap business"?

And by publicly available...as an example, I have an Assumed Business Name so my address is on record with the Secretary of State. But not many people are going to go that far to contact me...they will use the information provided on my website and I have a separate cell phone and mailing address.
How does that work exactly? My understanding is that your address has to be posted on a publicly available website?
ETA: per this article on HSCG site:per this article on HSCG site:
"it [street address] may be omitted if it is listed in a “phone or city directory” under the business name."
so does your record with the SoS count as a phone or city directory?
You can't use a PO box, it has to the main business address.
I'm a little confused on your method.

To be clear, I have no intention of leaving out required information. (I'm not even a business yet. lol)I just think the physical street address isn't helpful.

ETA @TheGecko your reply was helpful and along the lines of my understanding, so it was good to have that confirmed by someone else. Thank you for that.
 
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amd

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I'm not hiding anything. I just don't want people to come banging on my door.
And this is the mentality that I don't get. Why would anyone come banging on your door? I have never in 5 years had anyone just randomly show up at my house.
 

LilianNoir

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Maybe I'm jaded but have you seen the mob mentality of folks on the internet? You say the wrong thing on twitter and get death threats. You annoy a kid in an online video game and he calls the FBI on you. Doxing is a thing and I've seen too much entitlement and lack of common sense from a lot of people.

When I was in college someone left a dead white rat (so not a wild one) under my windshield wipers at the apartment complex where I lived. At the time, I kept pet rats and worked as a lead at the local pet store (where I was the one who got to tell customers "No"). I also was an office assistant for the biology department at the University, where I also had to occasionally tell students "No" to a request. Are these related to that event? Don't know. We never found out but it was, in addition to being upsetting, not impossible.

In that same complex, some time later, a neighbor (college student) had a party and one of their drunk "guests" came banging on our door demanding to talk to someone that didn't live and none of us knew, and REFUSED TO LEAVE because he thought we were holding out. We almost had to call the police.

I know friends who are members of online communities within twitter and Youtube who have been doxed and recieved death threats with indications that the person making the threat knew where they lived because people didn't like what they said.

ETA: I've also had car account collectors looking for my father come to my HOUSE, when his account/car was in repossession and they DEMANDED to see my garage.
My father did not live with me.
What they did was absolutely illegal and I told them as much at that if they came by again I would call the police. Two big men, who were at my door demanding I let them see into my garage. They clearly did not care that what they were doing was illegal, so what was going to stop them from forcing me ?
THEY CAME BY AGAIN. And I let my 85lbs german shepherd bark at them while I called the police. They left after that and didn't return. But yeah. I've had people randomly come to my house for things beyond my control in situations that were upsetting.

So yes, it seems possible to me that someone isn't pleased with a product, doesn't like your response/reply/offer to make it right, and decides to come see you in person. Unlikely? Maybe. But still possible.

Yes, we can say that these are rare incidents and unlikely, but they still happen. So yes, I'm still going to follow labeling, but this is why I have that mentality.
Call me paranoid, I guess. <shrug>
 
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LilyJo

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I have to say reading the US responses to legislation and labelling makes me smile. We cannot sell without a cosmetic safety assessment, your physical address must be on labels, ingredients are always INCI names and listed as provided by a cosmetic chemist.

Oh and you must have a physical address on your website and all orders have to have 30 day returns policy.

Yes if a pain but if you want to sell its just what you have to do to be legal!
 

TheGecko

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your reply was helpful and along the lines of my understanding, so it was good to have that confirmed by someone else. Thank you for that.
The odds of someone come knocking at your door are between slim and none.

The issue of the address isn’t about you it’s about your soap...specifically where your soap is made. And while the public may not show up at your door, the government will...and they will want to see your ‘manufacturing facilities'.

What the HSCG says...IMHO that is a bit outdated, I haven’t seen a “phone or city directory" in years.

But back to “address”. I have several products sitting around me and so I checked. I have some yarn from The Plymouth Yarn Co; it says in was spun in Peru for the company and lists it full address. Tums...Warren NJ 07059. Chapstick...Madison NJ 07940. Pure Leaf Tea...Purchase NY 10577. Admittedly these are all big name companies, but the one thing they all have in common is that if I want to find an address for them, I search for the company name, not the person who owns the company. And it would be the same with my company. With the exception of a few folks who know me personally, the majority of my customers have no clue who owns MCS, my name is not on the website and so my being listed as a person in any physical or online directory is no help. But a search of the company name, along with city and state, will lead you to the business section of the SoS website (and my website). In accordance with the law (which is pretty SOP among most states), there are three addresses: Principal place of business (physical location), Mailing address of business and address(es) of the owners/officers of the business. I can’t use a P O Box as my physical address, but I can as my business/mailing address.
 

LilianNoir

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The issue of the address isn’t about you it’s about your soap...specifically where your soap is made. And while the public may not show up at your door, the government will...and they will want to see your ‘manufacturing facilities'.
If a government or regulatory agency wants or needs to do that, there are other ways for you to have the information available to them.
I just don't see how a street address serves the public if there's not a storefront.
And I don't really think it's productive or valuable to continue defending my discomfort with putting my private home address on a label. 1. I know you don't have to put the street address on the product if it's listed in a directory and 2. I'm going to follow the regs anyway 3. my personal reasons for privacy aren't up for debate.


@TheGecko I think maybe you misunderstood or extrapolated part of my question and point. Re:

With the exception of a few folks who know me personally, the majority of my customers have no clue who owns MCS, my name is not on the website and so my being listed as a person in any physical or online directory is no help
Right. I understand that. I was not clear on how you were listing address as it wasn't clear that the SoS had web directory so I wasn't clear how you were listing the address in an online directory.

But a search of the company name, along with city and state, will lead you to the business section of the SoS website (and my website).
This clarifies my question. Thanks.
 

TheGecko

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Okay. I think there is some major miscommunication here. Have a good day.
 

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I have to say reading the US responses to legislation and labelling makes me smile. We cannot sell without a cosmetic safety assessment, your physical address must be on labels, ingredients are always INCI names and listed as provided by a cosmetic chemist.

Oh and you must have a physical address on your website and all orders have to have 30 day returns policy.

Yes if a pain but if you want to sell its just what you have to do to be legal!
Iv been reading through this with quite a bemused look on my face of some of the comments that have come up for this very reason! Iv just paid out for an assessment on my first own soap, I have a few assessments which were pre written by a uk based cosmetic chemist so not my own recipes and the freedom people in the us has seems very bizarre to me! Like AMD saying if someone in a review says this is moisturising then its classed as a cosmetic claim 🙈🙈 that's crazy. And in the pot and out the pot ingredients. Then theres not knowing what order to put water and glycerine that's all on our reports lol so we do know what order to put them on the label!

It's actually interesting to see how other countries work, but I'm shocked by how people can say they dont want to put their address, yet we have no choice at all on the matter and rightly so! Someone has said no1 writes letters anymore, that's not the point it's a matter of being traceable it's got nothing to do with someone wanting to write you a letter 🙈🙈 if you dont want someone knowing your address then either rent a place and out that address or dont sell ya soaps it really is that simple for us in the UK and EU
 

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Miz Lillian has specific personal safety concerns wrt to the often quite complex & multi governing agencies' regs in her own country & locale and it feels weird to see people mocking her.

Your area's regs are clear? That's good; but it doesn't help her.

She's also said she's complying.
 

TheGecko

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it feels weird to see people mocking her.
I wasn't not mocking her, which is why I was confused with her last response to me. I take soap labeling very seriously and did my best to address her questions and concerns based on the research I have done (and continue to do).

Iv been reading through this with quite a bemused look on my face of some of the comments that have come up for this very reason! Iv just paid out for an assessment on my first own soap, I have a few assessments which were pre written by a uk based cosmetic chemist so not my own recipes and the freedom people in the us has seems very bizarre to me! Like AMD saying if someone in a review says this is moisturising then its classed as a cosmetic claim 🙈🙈 that's crazy. And in the pot and out the pot ingredients. Then theres not knowing what order to put water and glycerine that's all on our reports lol so we do know what order to put them on the label!

It's actually interesting to see how other countries work, but I'm shocked by how people can say they dont want to put their address, yet we have no choice at all on the matter and rightly so! Someone has said no1 writes letters anymore, that's not the point it's a matter of being traceable it's got nothing to do with someone wanting to write you a letter 🙈🙈 if you dont want someone knowing your address then either rent a place and out that address or dont sell ya soaps it really is that simple for us in the UK and EU
And we in the US think that other countries...like the UK and EU...are overly strict and over reaching in their rules and regulations. I get the assessments and providing supplier information; one of the first questions we ask in the US when someone has problems with their soap is "Where did you buy your......?" But elsewise, all you are doing is providing your 'chemists' with a steady income. There should be no reason why you can't provide your base recipe and a list of your additives with suppliers and have them okay'd. Then if you want to use a new supplier

Soap in the US can be classified as a True Soap, Cosmetic, Insecticide and Drug, and is subject to different rules. Rules for True Soap are very few...just the basics that are required for every business...name of company, what the product is, where it is manufactured and size (weight/volume in Imperial and Metric). You don't even need an ingredient label. A "cosmetic" is an item that can change one's appearance...shaving products, anything that is conditioning or moisturizing, makes you smell better, etc. If I sell a soap that repels bugs...it's is deemed an 'insecticide'. If I sell a soap that helps with acne or psoriasis, it is considered a 'drug'.

In the pot/out of the pot comes from folks who don't understand that Sodium Hydroxide aka Lye is necessary to make soap...that you cannot make soap without lye and if you do, it's not a true soap, it's a detergent. All they know is that Lye is a caustic substance, it's a drain cleaner, it's a poison, it's not 'natural'. So deal with those folks, soap makers and manufacturers will use 'saponified oils of.....' And I'm sorry, but unless your reports are based on a chemical analysis of your soap after minimum cure time, you're just getting a guesstimate.

I agree with you to a certain extent regarding the importance of knowing the manufacturing location, but I also understand that their are crazy people who have no boundaries. I know a popular YouTuber farmer who recently experienced a 'fan' showing up on his farm at midnight. The fan used the satellite images from Google Maps to find the farm, broke into a vehicle for souvenirs and then wanted the farmer to autograph them. The police were called.

But the above is the exception rather than the rule. Outside of story of someone from the FDS showing up at someone's door, I haven't heard of any soaper having a customer show up at their house. BUT...if you are a parent, especially a parent with young children, I can understand the concern. Yet at the same time, these are the requirements of the business and if you are unable or unwilling to meet them, then you shouldn't be in the business. And it's okay to complain...it's how stupid stuff gets changed.
 

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And we in the US think that other countries...like the UK and EU...are overly strict and over reaching in their rules and regulations. I get the assessments and providing supplier information; one of the first questions we ask in the US when someone has problems with their soap is "Where did you buy your......?" But elsewise, all you are doing is providing your 'chemists' with a steady income. There should be no reason why you can't provide your base recipe and a list of your additives with suppliers and have them okay'd. Then if you want to use a new supplier

Soap in the US can be classified as a True Soap, Cosmetic, Insecticide and Drug, and is subject to different rules. Rules for True Soap are very few...just the basics that are required for every business...name of company, what the product is, where it is manufactured and size (weight/volume in Imperial and Metric). You don't even need an ingredient label. A "cosmetic" is an item that can change one's appearance...shaving products, anything that is conditioning or moisturizing, makes you smell better, etc. If I sell a soap that repels bugs...it's is deemed an 'insecticide'. If I sell a soap that helps with acne or psoriasis, it is considered a 'drug'.

In the pot/out of the pot comes from folks who don't understand that Sodium Hydroxide aka Lye is necessary to make soap...that you cannot make soap without lye and if you do, it's not a true soap, it's a detergent. All they know is that Lye is a caustic substance, it's a drain cleaner, it's a poison, it's not 'natural'. So deal with those folks, soap makers and manufacturers will use 'saponified oils of.....' And I'm sorry, but unless your reports are based on a chemical analysis of your soap after minimum cure time, you're just getting a guesstimate.

I agree with you to a certain extent regarding the importance of knowing the manufacturing location, but I also understand that their are crazy people who have no boundaries. I know a popular YouTuber farmer who recently experienced a 'fan' showing up on his farm at midnight. The fan used the satellite images from Google Maps to find the farm, broke into a vehicle for souvenirs and then wanted the farmer to autograph them. The police were called.

But the above is the exception rather than the rule. Outside of story of someone from the FDS showing up at someone's door, I haven't heard of any soaper having a customer show up at their house. BUT...if you are a parent, especially a parent with young children, I can understand the concern. Yet at the same time, these are the requirements of the business and if you are unable or unwilling to meet them, then you shouldn't be in the business. And it's okay to complain...it's how stupid stuff gets changed.
Ok so to start off with, you're speaking for an entire country now when you say that and not just your own idiotic and very incorrect opinion? I know it's the second one so the question mark is just to keep in with good grammar it's not actually a question I want answering!!!!!!!!!!
2 wow just wow, what an abrasive, vile and increadibly rude attitude you have towards something when you clearly dont know about how the system works! So in your opinion, are pharmacies just there to give chemists jobs too? Are research chemists just there to fill in the gap? That's basically what you are saying there! You also think having regulations stopping people making one bar then going on to selling it is a better one than making sure you weed out these potentially dangerous actions by inexperienced people giving those who do make good and safe soap a bad rep? Again dont want an answer because I'm not interested in your opion but it will give you something to think about quietly if you even care which I doubt you do!
Thirdly I wasnt even talking to you anyways so why do you feel the need to reply to me about something you are clearly very ignorant in and lack any kind of real knowledge on the reasons why and what the assessments and our regs even mean and control!
Fourthly the inci name ISNT what comes out the pot! The inci name is an internationally recognised name for ingriendents the inci has no connection with the soponified names which is what is out of the pot and is what we have to state on the labels and at pos! So before you go mouthing off about our rules maybe learn about the correct names for things before you post things that arnt even correct!
And fith and lastly I'm not replying again if you waste your time replying then I'll simply ignore you because you are commenting on something that has nothing to do with you and clearly you have no real knowledge about so your opinion is completely pointless! 👋👋
Oh and just a side note, YOUR kind of attitude and rudeness, shown by others on this forum, is the exact reason I stopped using this forum and will probably be the reason why I stop using it again!
 
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TheGecko

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Actually, my chemist income comment comes from a UK soap maker. And I’ve read the regulations and seen the prices being charged for assessments so I understand her frustration. $103.06 just to have a recipe assessed. $234.82 to have 8 soaps from the same recipe assessed. I make 18 different GMSs...$528.34 just to change the scent?!? All which come from reputable suppliers

Not sure what glasses you were using to read my response, but you might want to get new ones. I never mentioned INCI names.

I actually think there should be more regulation with regard to soap making in the US...at least to the ‘cosmetic’ level.

With that said, your rudeness and vitriol is completely unacceptable and unwarranted.
 
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