Learning to Make Soap: Part 9

Apr 22, 2021

Why I have been procrastinating

I am now getting to the point where I need to finalise my soap recipes so that I can submit them for safety assessment. You may not know but all soaps sold in both the UK and the EU need to have their recipes safety checked by a certified chemist. They produce what is known as a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR) and without a valid one you are not allowed to sell soaps within the EU and UK. The reason that it has taken me quite a bit of time to get to submitting my recipes for assessment is it costs, quite a lot, and you have to get every variation of your soaps checked. So that means that essentially each soap needs its own CPSR - even if they are essentially the same soap just with a different essential oil blend, colour or maybe you have added something like an exfoliant.

If you consider that a small independent soap company might want to have maybe 5 or 6 different soaps you have to pay for each one - it is approximately £150/soap although some places do offer a generous discount if the soap base is essentially the same and you are just changing scent/colours. Although in reality you won't have a clear idea of the actual cost until you have submitted them for a quote and based on your recipes and variations they will tell you the cost.

Obviously it is super important that the soaps are safety checked - they are made with sodium hydroxide, a caustic substance and if the recipes are incorrectly formulated that could lead to a soap that is really drying or at worst unsafe. Also essential oils and fragrances need to be used in specific amounts because if they are used at too high a level they may also be unsafe. But the reality of how the current process is set up means that you can't easily change/tweak your recipes such as change the colour or add an exfoliant like oats, as that would require another CPSR (and £150). So because of this I am putting a lot of pressure on myself to design the perfect soaps so that when I submit them I won't have to do it again until I decide to add extra products to my line. And this has lead to a serious amount of procrastination from my point of view!

The last thing that has been playing on my mind is that these reports can take a while - on a number of websites that offer this service the quoted timelines is 2-3 months!! When I read this I had a bit of a panic because if I don't hurry up I won't reach my launch date (by quite some time). Luckily I have found somewhere that hopefully has a more sensible timeline.

But how do I break free of this procrastination, how do I move forward? What should I do next?

Well I think first things first I need to make my peace with the fact there is no such thing as a perfect soap, what I like in a soap might not be what someone else likes in a soap! An affirmation that I have been repeating to myself recently to help me with this is

I let go of perfection and focus on progress

It is a good reminder that perfect is a myth and if I keep working to achieve that nothing will ever get done!!

And the next thing I need is a plan, a checklist of what to do in what order. Although I am moving away from trying to design the perfect soap, there are a few things I want to improve in my soaps. Luckily for this I already have a plan of how to do that, but now once I have done that I need to stop and be happy that is my base recipe (or as it turns out currently recipes!).

Then I need to decide on the number of soaps I want in my first collection and what scents I want to include. One is definitely going to be scent free, and I have a few other that are definite and just a few still to try (these are being tested in my base recipe tweaks).

Next I need to decide on any additional botanicals I want to add to my soaps, such as oils infused with flowers for colour or exfoliants like poppy seeds or oats and again these will be tested in my base recipe updates.

Once I have decided on all these things then I need to do a test run of each complete soap recipe I intend to submit to make sure all the components work together. Send them to my parents to test (and for the all important hard water test) and ask my friends and the rest of my family to test too. I don't need to worry about how exactly they are going to look as I can work on that whilst the recipes are being checked!

Then I need to submit the recipes, in the correct format, with all the appropriate info for a quote and hope the number isn't too painful!!

Blimey that is a lot to do, but at least I have a clear plan now - best get cracking. Right I am off to buy some more soap ingredients - I think I am gonna need them!! Until next time my lovelies, take care xx


I am Kelly Townsend and this is the Small Kindness Blog. I am a scientist, a bee lover, a rewilding obsessive, and I want to spread Small Kindnesses through the medium of soap. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for your daily dose of kindness (as well as to see how the soap making is going!)