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Legalities of Selling Homemade Soap in Canada: Need to Know

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 08:15 am

Thinking about selling your homemade soap in Canada but wondering about the legalities? 

This can be exciting but also needs to be clarified, especially if you’re new to soap-making.

Turning your hobby into a business sounds great, but it’s important to know the rules and regulations to avoid any legal issues.

That’s where we come in!

Legalities of Selling Homemade Soap in Canada

We’ll cover everything you need to know, from labeling requirements to Health Canada’s Cosmetic Notification Forms, to help you navigate the legal landscape.

Here’s a brief guide to make sure your soap-selling venture is both successful and legally compliant.

Regulations and Requirements for Selling Homemade Soap in Canada

Making and selling homemade soap in Canada involves following some important regulations to ensure your products are safe and compliant with all legalities. 

Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know.

Health Canada Regulations for Cosmetic Products

In Canada, Health Canada oversees the sale of homemade soap under the Food and Drugs Act and the Cosmetic Regulations. 

These rules are in place to make sure all cosmetic products, including homemade soap, are safe for consumers.

Registration and Licensing Requirements

You don’t need a special license to sell homemade soap, but you must notify Health Canada by filling out a Cosmetic Notification Form

This form includes details about your product ingredients and your contact information.

Ingredient Restrictions and Labeling Requirements

Your soap labels must follow specific rules set by the Cosmetic Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act

Labels should clearly list the product’s name, ingredients, usage directions, quantity, and expiration date. 

Ingredients must be listed by their common or scientific names. 

Health Canada also has a list of ingredients that are either restricted or prohibited in cosmetics, which you need to follow.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Guidelines

Health Canada recommends following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure the safety and quality of your homemade soap. 

GMP guidelines include:

1. Facility and equipment standards

2. Training and hygiene for personnel

3. Selection and handling of raw materials

4. Production and process controls

5. Packaging and labeling requirements

6. Quality control and testing

Following these practices shows your commitment to producing safe and high-quality soap.

Health Canada practices

Provincial Regulations and Considerations

Besides federal regulations, you also need to be aware of provincial rules. 

While no specific licenses are required at the provincial level, some provinces may have additional regulations or permits.

Provincial-Specific Regulations

Check if your province requires you to obtain a business license or register your business. 

It’s important to research and comply with any provincial-specific regulations.

Local Health and Safety Standards

Ensure your production facility meets local health and safety standards, including:

1. Proper sanitation and cleanliness

2. Adequate ventilation and lighting

3. Proper storage and handling of materials and products

4. Compliance with fire and building codes

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the safety and quality of your homemade soap, protecting both your customers and your business.

Ingredient Safety and Testing

When making homemade soap, it is crucial to use safe and high-quality ingredients.

Soap makers should carefully research and select ingredients that are suitable for skin contact and comply with Health Canada’s regulations.

Using unsafe or untested ingredients can pose potential health risks to consumers.


Ingredient Safety Assessments

Ingredient safety assessments are conducted to evaluate the safety of individual components used in cosmetic products, including homemade soap.

These assessments typically involve reviewing existing toxicological data, published literature, and safety information provided by ingredient suppliers.

Soap makers should rely on reputable sources and consult with experts when assessing the safety of their ingredients.

Testing Requirements for Homemade Soap

While Health Canada does not mandate specific testing requirements for homemade soap, soap makers should consider conducting the following tests to ensure the safety and quality of their products:

Microbial Testing

Microbial testing is essential to ensure that homemade soap is free from harmful bacteria, yeast, and mold.

This testing should be conducted on finished products to verify that microbial counts are within acceptable limits.

Stability Testing

Stability testing helps determine the shelf life of homemade soap and ensures that the product maintains its quality and safety over time.

This testing may involve evaluating factors such as pH, color, odor, and physical appearance under various storage conditions.

Safety Assessments for Novel Ingredients

If a soap maker uses novel or unfamiliar ingredients in their formulations, they should conduct additional safety assessments to ensure that these ingredients are safe for use in cosmetic products.

This may involve conducting toxicological studies or consulting with experts in the field.

Labeling Requirements for Selling Homemade Soap in Canada

Legalities of Selling Homemade Soap in Canada

Mandatory Labeling Information According to Health Canada

Product Name and Net Quantity Declaration

Health Canada mandates that the product name and net quantity declaration must be clearly visible on the label of homemade soap products.

This information helps consumers identify the product and understand the quantity they are purchasing.

List of Ingredients

Homemade soap labels must include a comprehensive list of ingredients used in the product.

Ingredients should be listed by their common or scientific names without any additional information.

This requirement ensures transparency and helps consumers make informed choices about the products they use.

Manufacturer or Distributor Information

The label of homemade soap should display the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

This information allows consumers to contact the responsible party in case of any questions or concerns regarding the product.

Directions for Use and Precautions

Health Canada requires that homemade soap labels include clear directions for use and any necessary precautions.

Providing proper instructions ensures that consumers use the product safely and effectively, reducing the risk of misuse or adverse reactions.

Additional Labeling Considerations

Allergen Labeling

Soap makers should consider allergen labeling on their products to inform consumers of potential allergens present in the ingredients.

This is especially important for individuals with sensitivities or allergies to certain substances.

Language Requirements for Labeling in Canada

Labels on homemade soap products in Canada must comply with language requirements.

In bilingual regions like Quebec, supplementary French language labeling may be necessary.

It is essential to ensure that all labeling information is provided in both English and French to meet regulatory standards.

Marketing and Advertising Considerations

Legalities of Selling Homemade Soap in Canada

Ensuring Compliance with Advertising Standards

Truthful and Not Misleading Claims

When marketing homemade soap, it is essential to ensure that all advertising claims are truthful and not misleading.

Claims about the benefits or properties of the soap should be accurate and supported by evidence.

If you make false claims, people might not trust you, and you might get in trouble with the law.

Avoiding Health Claims that Could Classify the Product as a Drug

Don’t say your soap can fix health problems. 

If you do, it might get treated like a drug. 

To comply with regulations, you should avoid making any claims that suggest therapeutic benefits.

Understanding Restrictions on Product Claims

Cosmetic vs. Therapeutic Claims

It is crucial to differentiate between cosmetic and therapeutic claims when marketing your homemade soap.

Cosmetic claims focus on the soap’s cleansing and beautifying properties, while therapeutic claims suggest that the soap can treat or cure a medical condition.

Homemade soap should only make cosmetic claims to avoid being classified as a drug by regulatory authorities.

Keep it cosmetic, not therapeutic.

Claims Related to Organic or Natural Ingredients

When advertising homemade soap, claims related to organic or natural ingredients should be accurate and substantiated.

If the soap is marketed as organic or natural, the ingredients used must meet the relevant standards.

Misleading claims about the organic or natural content of the soap can lead to consumer confusion and regulatory scrutiny.

Selling Channels for Homemade Soap

After considering all the necessary legalities in Canada, now it’s time for Selling your homemade soap.

This can be done through different channels. 

Let’s explore two main options: selling online and selling at local markets or events.

Selling Homemade Soap Online

When you sell your homemade soap online, you have the chance to reach customers far and wide. 

Platforms like Etsy, Shopify, and Amazon are popular choices for showcasing your products. 

To make the most of your online store, make sure you have great product images, clear descriptions, and competitive prices. 

Don’t forget about marketing – using social media and SEO can help attract more customers.

Remember, there are regulations to follow, depending on where you’re selling from. 

For example, in Canada, you need to meet Health Canada’s labeling and ingredient disclosure guidelines as we discussed above.

Selling at Local Markets or Events

If you prefer selling your soap in person, local markets and events can be great places to connect with customers. 

But before you set up shop, check what permits or licenses you might need. 

This could include a business license or a temporary food service permit if you’re offering samples.

Health and safety are important too. 

Make sure you’re following local regulations, like having a hand-washing station and keeping your booth clean. 

Being transparent about your ingredients and processes can also help build trust with customers.


To sum up, if you are considering selling your homemade soap in Canada, these are the legalities.

You’ll need to follow rules set by Health Canada and your province. 

Test your ingredients to keep things safe, and make sure your labels and marketing are up to snuff.

Understanding and following these rules isn’t just about keeping people safe – it’s also about avoiding legal trouble.

Don’t let the rules scare you off! 

Selling homemade soap can be a cool way to start a business in Canada.

Get creative and dive in!

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