After my post the other day, there were lots of comments about my soaps. I have to hold my hands up and say that I make my soaps (in my opinion) the easy way, I use Melt and Pour Soap Bases. I had to make the decision to do this as when I first set out selling at Farmers Markets and needed to expand my lavender range to include more homemade products I looked into the rules and regulations governing selling handmade soaps to the public.
I found out that I would need a Safety Assessment for each type of product I made and each 'recipe' for soaps would have to be tested and approved. The most cost effective way around this for me at the time, (I was just starting out and didn't know if it would be a money earner or not), would be to go down the Melt and Pour route. This produces a 'hot process' soap, the main ingredient is your melt and pour base which has already been tested by the manufacturers so all the soap maker has to do is to submit the recipe for additional additives, in my case my essential oils and natural colourings. As each of these has already been tested and it is possible to get the MSDS's for all your ingredients from your supplier, the assessment can be done purely by submitting your recipes and guidelines for manufacture and then paying your fee.
Of course it is vital that you stick rigidly to your recipes and keep your Product Information File completely up to date, as spot checks can and are done by visiting Trading Standards officers at any Market or Fair. The certification I obtained was always in my file and copies given to the organisers of Farmers Markets etc if needed, this gives your customer a good level of confidence in your product.
For any of you who would like to make soaps for your own use or to give to family and friends as gifts of course it is so much easier. You can simply buy the Melt and Pour base and add essential oil and colouring. I use a full 10ml bottle of essential oil and 3 - 5ml of natural colouring for each soap 'loaf' which gives me eight chunky slices. Yo do not need any certification for soaps you are making yourself and giving away as gifts.
Some of you asked about the cost of making my own soaps, well the cost per loaf (as I obviously bought in bulk) worked out at around £3.60 per each 1kg loaf (that's including the essential oils and colouring). Since ending my little lavender business and having my closing down sale I had lots of soap base left over so it is this 'free stock' that will keep us in soap for the next few years. Once this supply runs out I intend to go down the cold process route and make my own soap from absolute scratch.
If any of you would like a go at making your own Melt and Pour type soaps the company I used and trusted is JustaSoap visit them HERE to see the full range of their supplies. I hope this helps those of you who are interested in having a go at this for yourselves.