How To Make Catchy Soap Labels in a Few Easy Steps

November 27, 2020
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Soap is one of the oldest cosmetic and personal care products. In one form or another, we all use it for our household and personal hygiene routines. Soap has actually become one of the most indispensable objects to our homes. The credit for that goes to ancient Babylonians, who invented the first soap recipe back in 2800 B.C. Thanks to them, we can now indulge in daily fragrant bathing and washing. What did their recipe contain? Three raw ingredients: animal fat, wood ash, and water. Ingenious, right? This would be what we call today a "true soap."              


                But with time the recipe evolved. Nowadays, there are several ways we categorize soap. We can talk about soap as being true, cosmetic, drug, or a combination of cosmetic and drug. And this depends on several factors. If you’re reading this, I'm guessing you're one of the Babylonians’ descendants (after all, who knows?).And if you want to sell your handcrafted soaps or your company's new soap line, then you know that having a great recipe is not enough. You need to be out there and make a mark. You've already got what it takes to create outstanding soap labels. But by the end of this post, you’re also going to have some extra tools.

In this article, I'm going to talk about:

  • Why soap labels matter
  • Soap classification
  • Regulations that apply to soap labels
  • How to print high-quality soap labels

The info in this post will help you print amazing soap labels that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Let’s slip right into it!

1. Why Soap Labels Matter

First of all, they matter because they’re the final touch building the connection between you and the customers. The packaging is everything!

Your product may be extraordinary, but if you don’t show that to the world, it’s going to gather dust on the shelves. Or at home.

Some soaps come packaged in custom printed boxes. And that's great. But others (mostly handmade soaps) come packaged in blank boxes, paper wrap, shrink wrap, or small bags. Or some in none. But in these cases, a soap label to complement your product is a MUST.


Here's why using soap labels as an option for soap packaging boxes is great:

  • They are attractive and affordable
  • They add value to your product
  • They show who you are
  • They inform customers about your soap bar
  • You can stick them on anything
  • You can apply them directly on the soap

Labels are not all about making soap more appealing and convince people to buy. They are also about transparency and compliance.

That said, stick with me to find out more about compliance and soap labeling requirements. Before talking about design or printing, we need to check the law.

And that's what we're going to do.

Here we go.

2. Regulations That Apply to Soap Labels

  Briefly, how soap is made and its intended use determines how it’s regulated.  So to make sure your soap labels are compliant, it’s essential that you understand which of the two government agencies will regulate your product:

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Let me expand on that.      

Soap, cosmetic or drug?

It's important to know which regulations to follow. For that, you need to check if your product classifies as a true soap, a cosmetic, a drug, or a cosmetic and drug.

Traditional (true) soaps are made from fats and alkalis. In other words, they primarily consist of animal or vegetable fats or oils and lye (sodium hydroxide).

So you must label and sell them ONLY for use as soap. These “true” soaps fall under Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC)’s jurisdiction.

Handmade bars of soap stacked one on top of the other.

But things change if your product consists of other ingredients. And also if it's intended as a cleanser or detergent, for example. In this case, the agency that sets the rules is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Now, let’s have a brief look at FDA’s regulatory definition of soap:

  • What it’s made of:

To be regulated as “SOAP,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.        

  • What ingredients cause its cleaning action: 

To be regulated as “soap” those “alkali salts of fatty acids” must be the only material that results in the product’s cleaning action. If the product contains synthetic detergents, it’s aCOSMETIC, not a soap. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

  • How it's intended to be used:    

To be regulated as soap, it must be labeled and marketed only for use as soap. If it is intended for purposes such as moisturizing the skin, making the user smell nice, or deodorizing the user’s body, it’s a COSMETIC.                


Or, if the product is intended to treat or prevent disease, such as by killing germs, or treating skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, it’s a DRUG.

You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

So who regulates what?

The FDA makes a clear statement about that, too:        

  • If your product meets the regulatory definition of SOAP, it’s regulated by the CPSC, not by FDA.
  • If it’s a COSMETIC, it’s regulated by the FDA. Neither the product nor its ingredients need approval by FDA, except for any color additives it contains. It is your responsibility to make sure your product is safe for consumers when it is used as intended, and to make sure it is properly labeled.
  • If it’s a DRUG, it’s regulated by the FDA. It must comply with the regulations (called “monographs”) for certain categories of non-prescription drugs or requirements for new drug approval. You will need to register your firm and list your products with FDA.
  • If it’s both a cosmetic and a drug, it must meet the requirements for both cosmetics and drugs. So FDA.
  • If your product meets the regulatory definition of SOAP, it’s regulated by the CPSC, not by FDA.

What if my ingredients are “natural” or “organic”?

FDA enforces laws and regulations that do not have definitions for “natural” and “organic”. However, you can read more on “organic” cosmetics here.

So cosmetic products that are labeled with organic claims must comply as follows:

  • With USDA regulations for the organic claim
  • With FDA regulations for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics
Four bars of soap covered in paperboard and wrapped around with twine.

Does all this sound a bit hazy or confusing to you? What’s soap, what’s not soap, but we still label it soap…

Stay with me, I’ll help you get a clearer view of things.

  Ingredients/Cleaning agent Intended use  Governing agency Name on label
SOAP fats/oils + alkali (lye) Cleanses CSPC Soap
COSMETIC synthetic detergents Moisturizes, exfoliates, deodorizes, etc. FDA Cosmetic
DRUG synthetic detergents Treats skin conditions, anti-bacterial, cures eczema/psoriasis, etc. FDA Drug

So, as you can see in the table...

If your soap recipe is simple and contains mainly fats/oils and lye, plus its only claimed purpose is to cleanse, then it’s simply soap. It falls under CPSC’s jurisdiction and you don’t need to worry about the FDA’s requirements.

But if your soap is and does more than that, then you must carefully follow FDA’S applicable regulations.

Based on this classification, let’s see what exactly this means to you. Because it's the starting point when you make your soap label design.

Here it is...

3. Soap Labeling Requirements

In terms of labeling, both CPSC and FDA require that the following appear on the label:

Identity statement

First, you must state the identity of the product. It must include the word soap and here you can elaborate in so many ways.

name-of-soap on label
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For example, if your soap recipe contains essential oils, fragrances, goat milk, honey, or other ingredients, you can play with words. “Cinnamon Deliciousness - A treat to make your skin smooth” doesn't sound bad, does it? Or “Honey Lover” or even “Goat’s Milk Soap.”

It’s actually all about your imagination at work.

Plus, you can opt to use an image to express the related characteristics of your soap. Or write a short suggestive message about it.

Whatever you choose, make sure that the identity statement is in bold type and is clear on the label. You want to make sure that customers know exactly what they are buying.

Net weight

Next, you need to specify the net weight or “net wt.” of the product. If you express the weight statement in ounces, then the term "oz." will be enough.

However, make sure to read FDA’s Cosmetics Labeling Guide carefully about this.

Place the net weight on the front panel (commonly referred to as the PDP), or, if the case, on the information panel. Note that it must appear within the bottom 30% of the label, parallel to the base of the packaging. The smallest dimension accepted is 1/16” in height, and it changes depending on the front panel area.

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Business address and name

Finally, include your name and address on the label. That is if you handcraft, package, and sell your own products, of course. If you make them but sell them through distributors, then write the distributor's details instead.

A bar of soap package with a label that reads "Handmade in the USA".

You can place this information anywhere you like on the label. It can be on the front or back label if any. Just make sure it’s there.

And if customers can also see your website or even a phone number for quick contact, that’s great! They can check your business and your products anytime to find out more.

List of ingredients

When it comes to the ingredient list, if CPSC governs your soap labels, you don’t have to list the ingredients. CPSC does not ask for it. It’s enough to label it “soap,” say how much it weighs and where customers can find you.

BUT, even if not required by law, I still recommend you make that ingredient declaration. As per FDA’s guidelines. And I’m sure you'll agree with me on this.


Because let’s be honest, everyone wants to know what they are buying. And more importantly, they want to know exactly what they put on their skin and body. Or what they use for their homes.

And that’s fair enough.

So why not go by the rule, be transparent, make customers feel safe and cared for, and also build a clean image?

A white label with green edges that displays the ingredients and other details of the product.

Not to mention that this is the safest way to prevent mislabeling and avoid unpleasant situations.

Imagine if a customer buys your soap in good faith and is sensitive or allergic to one or more substances in it. For sure they would’ve loved to read the ingredients list before they bought it.

Moving forward...

Order of ingredients on your soap labels

We recommend you list the ingredients in descending order of predominance. Start with those having the highest percentage. You can add any other substance that is less than 1 percent of the total at the end. Also, it's better to use the industry-standard names that are most commonly accepted. In this way, you avoid confusion and people know what’s in your product.      

Ways of listing the soap bar ingredients

In the U.S.A., there are 2 approved ways of listing the ingredients on the label.

#1 - By raw materials

  • the ingredients you put in the pot before processing, in descending order of the amount used

Example: Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

#2 - By resulting product

  • after saponification, in descendant order of the amount present after the chemical process

Example: Sodium Olivate, Water, Glycerin, Olive Oil

As you can see, the ingredients that you put in are not the ingredients that come out because they go through a chemical reaction. Therefore, some of their names change, too.

What we recommend is NOT to list the resulting ingredients as Saponified Olive Oil, for example. This is not considered a correct way of labeling, so you should avoid it.


If you want to choose the clearest and easiest way, go for the first option.

List the ingredients as they are before the saponification process. This is also the best way for customers to understand your label better, too.


Now that we've seen why it’s important to label your soap bars and how to do it properly, let’s move on to talk about looks.

4. Tips on Soap Labels Design

The soap making business is a blend of science and art. A bit of science in mixing the ingredients, a bit of art to play with color, fragrance, and shape.And a bit of both to make it stand out and be a guaranteed success. To do that, you need to invest some time and creativity and you’ll have some excellent soap labels. Soaps are crafted in all sorts of shapes, colors, mixtures, and fragrances. And that’s why we love them so much.              


What’s the shape and color of your soap bars? How do they smell? Do they have a story to tell, also? Who are they intended for? And more importantly, what’s the reaction you want customers to have when they see your soap boxes?  “I’m absolutely trying this!” or “Mno, I’m good. Thanks.” No matter what you choose to pack your soaps in, they need to shine. So when you start creating the design for your soap labels, have the following in mind:

  • Your name and logo
  • Make the soap name visible - use big fonts
  • Use images - they never fail
  • Play with colors - associate colors with fragrances
  • Be bold - send your message to the world
  • Organic, sustainable, fair trade? - Say it, expand your tribe
Four square packages of soap in paperboard with different designs.

Whether you craft your soap bars for sale, in small or large batches, or offer them as gifts, make sure to make yourself seen and remembered out there.

And to complement your hard work and beautiful design, choose a high-quality material for your customized soap labels.

And since we talk about label material, you may find that YourBoxSolution may be the perfect solution for you.

Here's why.

5. Your Soap Labels Print Solution

We've been in the industry for over 29 years and we've got exactly what you need. We invest in quality, sustainability, and our client's satisfaction. Just like you, we put our heart into our work.

Our team has experience in creating labels and packaging for various skincare and cosmetics products:

Soap labels made of high-quality materials

All our labels are made of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP). This is a durable material that makes them oil & water-resistant, tear-resistant, chemicals & UV resistant.

Which means they are perfect for a soap label and to be applied on any type of material. They don't get damaged.

They stick well and last so you can apply them on paper boxes, wrapping paper, shrink wrap, or even fabric.

BOPP Labels

  • Waterproof
  • Strong adhesive that lasts
  • Heat resistant
  • Sturdy & high-quality
  • High-precision printing & cutting
  • Free matte or gloss coating
  • Can be foil stamped
  • Print doesn’t smudge
  • Write-on with a permanent marker
  • Non-toxic

On this material, you have three options. So you can choose which type of label fits your soap best.

White labels
White labels
Printed on white film. Any color can be printed on top of the white ink.
Clear labels
Clear labels
Printed on transparent background film. Illusion of an “invisible label”.
Metallic labels
Metallic labels
Printed on a silver substrate. Makes all printed colors appear metallic.

Plus, we've got your back with any soap label shape you want. We know it depends mainly on the shape of the soap and the type of packaging.

Circular label
Circular or oval labels
Square label template that displays the width and length.
Square or rectangular labels
Custom shape label
Custom shaped labels

Don't worry. Anything you think of, we've got it.

Regardless of the material and shape you choose for your soap labels, the price for all labels is the same.

Extra customization

For a unique look, you can get embossed labels, and also choose a label finish that will make your soap labels stand out for sure.

Glossy coating labels
Gloss laminated labels (FREE)
Perfect choice for a shiny finish and a very reflective surface of the label.
Matte labels
Matte laminated labels (FREE)
Subtle, non-glossy lamination, perfect for a special effect.

"Wild Tonic Kombucha" label on a blue container.
Soft touch laminated labels
Shine-free and smooth surface – special sensation to touch and elegant look.

All labels are finished with a gloss or matte laminate for FREE.

Have a look here to see more options and what YourBoxSolution can do for your customized soap labels.

6. Need Inspiration for Your Soap Labels?

Not sure yet about how you want to package your soap? Or about how to design your label?

No problem. Perhaps our 209 Soap Packaging Ideas can get you started.

Also, you can always have a glimpse at your competition. You never know what bright ideas may pop up for your own labels.

Do you have questions or need guidance? We're here to answer your queries and support you all the way and through the entire process. Your needs are our priority.

We're just one call or click away. Ready? Hit the blue button and let's create your soap labels!

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