What's in a soap?

I have seen some stuff around the internet over the past few weeks about people setting up their own businesses in lockdown and I am absolutely not going to say anything about that because that is exactly what I have done. But what is actually in a soap? Why does my soap cost what it does?

I started making my own soap when a friend of mine bought me some back at the beginning of the first Covid lockdown. It appealed to me and my crafty side. I did some research bought some books and then I bought the ingredients to give it a go. I had a brilliant audience waiting to test my soap out for me in my work colleagues, friends and family. They liked what I made 🎉🎉🎉

I then spent a little time developing my first 6 soaps before launching on 14th September.

Brilliant you think that sounds great I can do that. Go for it I say. Having a hobby is so essential for mental health reasons amongst many others and there is an opportunity to make a little money on the side as well as some gorgeous presents for friends and family. BUT.... there is a caveat here. Do your research properly. You will soon realise that you cannot, or at least shouldn't be selling your soap without making sure that you have all your legal stuff in place.

What legal stuff? Well, firstly, although I don't think there is a legal requirement to do it, but you should have a GMP in place. GMP = Good Manufacturing Practice. This is a series of standard operating procedures about how you store your ingredients, how you store your finished product, How you undertake stock control and circulate your stock. It also includes things such as standards for the calibration of your scales, management and maintenance of tools, the management of your workspace and so on. This was no small undertaking and is an ongoing piece of work for me.

The other absolutely essential thing is obtaining my CPSR. This is the Cosmetic Product Safety Report. Thisprovides me with the legal documentation from a chemist, to ensure the safety of my recipes and finished products. This means that you be absolutely 100% sure that my recipes do not contain anything that is considered harmful and not too much of any ingredient such as essential oils that may cause a bad reaction. Obviously this does not take into account individual allergies but it means that I use amounts of oils that are safe for the general population.

Why on earth am I telling you all of this? I am telling you because lots of people got soap making kits and candle kits and wax melt kits and lip balm kits etc etc for Christmas gifts and whilst they are probably safe if they haven't got their safety certification or the other legal stuff required of them sorted out you may be at risk of reaction and they may be at risk of legal prosecution if harm is caused.

How can you tell if the product you are buying has been checked? Ask the owner. I would not be at all upset if you asked to see my CPSR documentation. Maybe it is mentioned on the website somewhere (I am off to see if I have done that on my website lol). Yes my prices may be a little higher that that other person selling soap but take a look. Do they have CPSR? Do they have insurance? As a customer I absolutely expect you to ask those kinds of questions

I hope this all made some kind of sense and I hope it helps you to be a bit more discerning about where you shop and the kinds of things you, as the customer, should look out for

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