Consumer Information


What is handmade soap?

“Handmade” means different things to different people. The processes of making handmade soap involve many different steps, including, but not limited to: formulating the ‘recipe’, designing the soap,

The processes of making and selling handcrafted soap and cosmetics are complex and involve many steps. These may include creating the recipe; measuring and mixing; adding scent and color; creating the shape by molding, cutting and/or trimming; selecting containers and closures, designing and creating packaging; as well as marketing, displaying and selling the final product. Depending on the methodology of the individual, some of these steps are done “by hand” through creative and artistic expression of a pre-fabricated base or all of these steps are done “by hand” beginning with the raw ingredients.

The NZSMA defines handmade soap as follows:

  1. The soap or soap base is made with lye; and
  2. the majority of the processes are “by hand” and not by use of mechanised equipment.

Find an NZSMA-accredited business or soap maker

How soap is made

Describe process lye + oils, maybe short history blabla

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Types of soap

Lye based soaps, soap bases, melt and pour soaps, milled soaps, blabla

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About lye

Why lye is necessary, no soap without lye, no lye in end product, chemistry maybe, difference between soap and surfactants blabla

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Consumer safety

What consumers can do to make sure that the products they buy are safe to use. What to look out for blabla

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Making health claims

What is and isn’t allowed. Health claims, therapeutic products and law blabla

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NZSMA accreditation

Accreditation program to ensure soap makers abide by law blabla

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