Florida Regulations – Changed 2017

UPDATE (June 24, 2019) — For a concise summary of the most up-to-date details for Florida, see Florida Regs – 2019 Recap.

floridaAfter work by a number of people and groups, the Governor of Florida has just signed new legislation that makes it easier for cosmetic manufacturers in Florida.

Prior to the changes

Up until now, Florida Cosmetic Manufacturers were required to get a Cosmetic Manufacturing Permit at a cost of $800 every 2 years, and register each and every cosmetic product at $20 per product every 2 years (or when changed).

Needless to say, the costs alone were prohibitive, not to mention the burdensome paperwork associated with submitting registration paperwork including all ingredients and product labels for every product to be sold.

New Laws

The new legislation, just passed into law on June 2, 2017:

  • Eliminates all cosmetic product registration and fees
  • Changes to fees for Cosmetic Manufacturer Permits to “sufficient to cover the costs of administering the cosmetic manufacturing permit program.”

Cosmetic Manufacturer Permits

Cosmetic manufacturers are still required to get permits from the state in order to manufacture cosmetics.  That has not changed, nor have the requirements for getting said permits.

General requirements for a permit are:

  • The permit may only be issued to a natural person (not a business entity) who is at least 18 years old.
  • An establishment that is a place of residence may not receive a permit and may not operate as a cosmetic manufacturer or repackager.
  • Good manufacturing practices must be sufficiently in place to ensure that the products produced are safe and are not (and won’t become) adulterated.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Division of Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics, handles the Cosmetic Manufacturer Permits.

Florida Soapmakers

None of this changes for soap that is exempt from the definition of a  cosmetic — that is, it is the alkali salt of fatty acids, and is marketed and sold only as “soap”. No claims for the product can be made other than it “cleans”  (no moisturizing, soothing, softening, or other “cosmetic” claims).

If you are only making soap that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, the cosmetic manufacturer regulations don’t apply to you.


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214 responses to “Florida Regulations – Changed 2017”

  1. Hello,

    Quick question for you as an aspiring CP soap maker looking to starting a business in the next 12-18 months:

    If I manufacture CP soap that contains Castor Oil (which is in fact an oil with moisturizing properties) but do NOT list it as a moisturizing agent or ingredient and do not make any claims that the bar will provide any cosmetic benefits, will I be able to legally sell without cosmetic licensing and manufacture in my personal residence?

    Castor oil would be listed as an ingredient, but I would not make any direct claims of cosmetic features.

    • It’s what you SAY about the product in order to tell the consumer the intended use – so if you SAY castor oil is moisturizing, then that would make the intended use “moisturizing” … which makes the soap a cosmetic. What you put in the product doesn’t determine the intended use.

  2. So if salves are a cosmetic I need a cosmetic manufacturer permit and cannot make such items in my home. If it is a drug then what are my federal and Florida license requirements?

    • For drugs (federal and Florida) there are two issues:

      First, for a drug to be entered onto the market it must be approved as safe and effective. There are two types of approvals – over the counter and new drugs. The new drug approval process is long, complex, and expensive (think about how much a company goes through to get any new drug on the market. Even the covid vaccines, being rushed through and skipping many of the testing/safety requirements, took months and months and millions of dollars. Over-the-counter drugs are ones that already have safe specifications and the product must meet those specifications for active ingredients and exactly what can be said about it. For example, a product with a certain percent of salicylic acid may be sold as an OTC acne treatment, provided only certain statements are made. Each OTC drug has a “monograph” which details the allowed active ingredients and the claims that may be made.\

      Second, the facility must be licensed, registered and approved as a drug manufacturing facility. The good manufacturing practices are specified in regulations and they must be met in order for the facility to stay in business. The GMP is at the level that would be required to manufacture ANY drugs so – as you can imagine – they are very detailed and exact.

      Drugs are approved (and the OTC specifications set) at the federal level. Drug manufacturing facilities must be registered and approved at both the federal and state level. Neither of these things are within my area of expertise, so if you want to go down that path, you should find a consultant that specializes in drug manufacturing.

  3. Marie, thank you very much for all the time and effort you have done to get this information. Are salves considered cosmetics then? I make salves from the herbs I grow such as comfrey, peppermint and lemon balm. Wading through all the regulations is NOT for the faint-hearted. I understand the labeling requirements, I think. But I am just not sure about the licensing that I need from Florida. Yes, I live in Florida. Thank you!

    • Yes, salves are cosmetics, when they are applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying or promoting attractiveness.

      Keep in mind that if the intended use of the product or the ingredients is to treat, mitigate or prevent disease or to alter the function or structure of the body — based on any statements you make about the product or the ingredients — then the product is a drug.

  4. Marie Gale, you are a saint and a treasure. Thank you so much for your knowledge and tutelage. Manufacturing in Florida is not for the faint of heart.

  5. Wow, this has been incredibly helpful! I like to ensure that I follow all of the rules and laws. Living near the GA border I plan to take my RV across state lines to manufacture, package, and label my products before bringing them back to Florida. Seems so crazy but I’m hoping I can avoid the craziness that Florida has. I emailed the department responsible for cosmetic oversight to ask if this would break any laws. I’ll be so sad if I can’t do it.

  6. Hi, I’m very confused about the regulations. my question is , in order to sell homemade bodybutter do I need permisitons and all of that ?

    • Body butter is a cosmetic. If you make it in Florida to sell, then yes, you need to be registered as a cosmtic manufacturer. You can’t have your manufacturing in your home.

  7. I did not find the exact information, please tell me. If I make soap in Florida, not cosmetics, can I make it from home? What are the requirements for the space? Thank you!

    • If you are making a non-cosmetic soap — that is, a soap that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, then you don’t have any legal requirements or restrictions at the state level. You may need to check with your local city or county zoning ordinances about what sort of business you can have in your home.

  8. Hello Marie. Thank You for this information. If I were to rent a place out to make my skincare products, does the location need to be in a manufacturing zone or commercial zone is sufficient?
    Also If i have an establashed manufacturer in the state of florida manufacturer my products and send to a fullfillment center or to my home for storage and shipment, I don’t need to have a lic/registration to sell online correct? The products would already be pre packaged may just have to put my label with the listed ingredients without opening the products.
    Another question. scented candels are not cosmetics, is it ok to have homemade candles to sell online?

    • Whether the location of your manufacturing facility needs to be in a manufacturing or commerial zone is normally a factor of the local (city or county) requirements. You’ll have to check locally to see what ordinances apply.

      If your products are manufactured for you and all you do is label them, without opening them, you shouldn’t require a manufacturer’s license.

      As you said, candles aren’t cosmetics. There aren’t any additional federal regulations covering them; I don’t think there are any additional regulations in Florida (but I haven’t checked in depth). If you are making and selling candles, I HIGHLY recommend that you have product and general liability insurance. The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild has good insurnace options available.

  9. I would like to share this scenario and get your thoughts. Lets assume I’m making and selling soaps from home, following all guidelines that exempt me from registering as a cosmetic manufacturer. Now I want to sell items that fall under a cosmetic definition. So I source a legal supplier, and simply re-label for my business. I know that I must not make any claims or use any descriptive language on the soap that I am actually manufacturing but am I allowed to make claims and use that language on cosmetic items that I’m simply “relabeling”?

    • The Flordia law says:
      (r) Cosmetic manufacturer permit.—A cosmetic manufacturer permit is required for any person that manufactures or repackages cosmetics in this state. A person that only labels or changes the labeling of a cosmetic but does not open the container sealed by the manufacturer of the product is exempt from obtaining a permit under this paragraph.

      So, if you get the product and ONLY relabel it and never open the container, then you don’t need a permit.

      However, it you get the product in bulk and then repackage and label, then you DO need a permit.

  10. I am interested in possibly developing my own skin care line marketing mostly to people with sensitive skin and eczema such as myself. I am new to Florida and live in an apartment, so a separate building is not possible at this time. I would appreciate any advice on where I could manufacture my products, such as a commercial kitchen or some other space. TYIA!

    • It’s not just about the facility …. it’s also about your manufacturing practices in general and making sure both the procedures AND the facility meets good manufacturing practices. so far I ahven’t heard of anyone who got approved in a temporary (rented or shared) commercial kitchen. If you have a facility of your own, you’d just need to ensure that good manufacturing practices specifications are met for the facility and have your own GMP procedures in place.

  11. What about shower steamers? Technically, they are not applied to the skin. You throw them in the shower for an aromatherapy experience.

    • Shower steamers are sort of borderline. Could be considered either a cosmetic (because you’re in the shower and the steam is in contact) or a room freshener (as you say). I haven’t seen anything specific about how they are being addressed, either in Florida or at a federal level.

      Personally, i wouldn’t start a business based on shower steamers being a non-cosmetic because there would be too much of a possibility that some government official at a state or federal level could interpret the laws/regs in a way that would shut me down.

      • Hello Marie,
        I was wondering if a “Bath type bomb” that contains melt and pour (real) soap that is made with lye and oils, citric acid and baking soda would be considered a cosmetic? Or would it be considered soap since it has what is considered soap in it? Would I be able to make and sell those if I labeled it as soap balls?

      • The only thing that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic is a product that is primarily the alkali salt of fatty acids (lye/oil/water soap) AND is marketed and sold only as “soap”.

        So even if a bath bomp is made with “real” soap, if it is marketed as a bath bomb it is a cosmetic.

        Also, a bath bomb is probably primarily other ingredients than the soap, so it wouldn’t be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic because of that as well.

      • Hello!

        I’m incredibly surprised and grateful that this thread has lasted this long. I also want to mention that you have the patience of a saint by answering so many repetitive questions! I took my time to read through this thread and I have a question that I don’t think was answered. (I apologize if it was) I did read that someone wanted to give a free bath bomb if a customer purchased a certain number of products.

        My question is more along the lines of a giveaway. My business would not carry any other cosmetics, just home fragrances (candles, diffusers, room sprays, etc.) I would like to do a giveaway for massage oil candles (no purchase necessary). The entry would just be to sign up and become part of the email list. A massage oil candle is simply a candle that can be used as a massage oil once melted (which I’m assuming is a cosmetic). I just want to test out to see if I should add them to my line because after reading all of the regulations, I’m not so sure it would be worth the headache. Would I be able to do something like a giveaway?

      • A “free gift” must be a FREE gift. If it is given with a product that is sold, then it is considered part of the sale (and therefore a consumer product) and must be properly manufacturer and labeled. In florida, for a cosmetic (like a massage candle) that would include being registered as a cosmetic manufacturer.

  12. This is very helpful! Question: I am interested in making a skincare product for the face. If i work with a FDA approved manufacturer facility that will help to create the product I desire, will i still have to do anything as far as permits? Trying to figure out, before I contact them. Also, if i am selling the product on say: etsy, would their name go on the product label, or would it be the name i create?

    • It sounds like you are looking at private label manufacturing. A company (with all the registration and such in place) makes the product for you, complete with seal and label. The label would have your name on it, saying “manufactured for [your company]” (which shows that you didn’t manufacture it, but you are the “responsible person”.

      In florida, so long as you haven’t don’t open the bottles or apply the labels, you are not the manufacturer. You may have to register the products, however.

      If you are working with a reputable and experienced manufacturing company, they should be able to walk you through all the requirements.

      • Is it okay if I purchase ready-made soap (wholesale) to repackage and sell to customers? I found soap loaves that are pre-cut, but have to sit 2 weeks to fully cure. Then, I can separate the pieces and package them.

        Also, can I make shower steamers? They are tablets that release aromas in the shower, but are not intended for the human body.

        My other concern are spiritual businesses. In Florida, there are many establishments that sell dried herbal bags, which I know how to make, and the customer follows directions to create their ritual bath. I’ve tried to find what the laws are related to religious establishments, but couldn’t find anything.

        Under the Cottage Law, I can make my own teas, correct?

        Thanks for your help. This blog has saved me from making a big business mistake.

      • In Florida, for the SOAP it depends on whether it is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic. If it is made up of the alkali salt of fatty acids (lye/oil/water soap) AND it is only marketed as “soap” with no cosmetic claims (ie exfloiating, moisturizing, etc), then you don’t need to be registered as a cosmetic manufacturer (since it’s not a cosmetic).

        Shower steamers are somewhat questionable … I don’t know how the State of Florida interprets them generally. I think it would depend on how they are marketed – the “steam” definitely gets on to the body, but the biggest factor would be what the intended use is. If it is intended to “promote attractiveness or beautify or cleanse” then it would be a cosmetic. Perfumery is also a cosmetic, if there is any intent for that. If it’s just a “room freshener” and only there to make the SHOWER smell good, you might have an argument that it’s not a cosmetic.

        Spiritual businesses aren’t a thing. There can be products which are used as part of a religious practice, and the PRACTICE and USE of those products may be covered by religious freedom. The MANUFACTURE of those products probably still falls under regular regulations applicable to the type of product. So a bath tea, since it is used in the bath, is applied to the human body. Under normal circumstances it would certainly be a cosmetic product. Even when used for a religious purpose, it still may be considered a cosmetic (make the body “more attractive” in a spiritual way). It gets into some pretty interesting law there! My guess is that regardless of the potential religious use, the manufacture would still be goverend by cosmetic manufacturing regulations (so a cosmetic license would be requried).

        I can’t address teas for consumption in Florida as I am unfamiliar with the food laws (cottage or otherwise). However, if you are making the tea for YOURSELF it’s probably okay … it’s generally when you start selling to others that the laws kick in.

  13. So, if I want to make soap from soap base that does not contain lye, that would be considered a cosmetic?

    • It depends on how the soap is made. If the soap in the soap base is made from detergents (not soap from saponification of oils with lye) then it is a cosmetic.

      Note, however, that some soap bases state their ingredients are “sodium olivate” or “sodium palmate” — and those are the result of saponification of oil with lye – even though there is not “lye” in the ingredient list.

      You need to understand the ingredients in the soap base in order to determine – or check with the supplier.

  14. I am making beer soap. With the ingredients of beer, lye, oils and clay. Is there any regulation for adding beer into the soap?

    • I have not seen anything in the cosmetic regulations concerning beer. In general, when it comes to alcohol, the typical rule is that if it is no longer consumable for the alcohol content, you are okay to use it.

      If you are over 21, buying retail, and not giving access to minor who may imbibe, should be good. There are additional regulations for purchasing without the alcohol tax for reuse in other products – but those regulations are generally pretty strict as they are designed to ensure people don’t buy tax-free consumable alcohol and then drink it.

  15. Hi Marie!
    I was relieved to find this thread has stayed alive for so long, as I found the information you’ve provided very informative; not only in the article itself, but throughout the comments section as well! Not only immensely helpful, you’re extremely patient with the help you’ve offered so many crafters and artisans too, as I’ve read MANY redundant questions (ie: Are bath bombs cosmetics?) which you still took the time to answer for each individual! In truly hoping to not make this a repetitive question myself, I read through as many comments/answers as time would allow me, but I still want to apologize in advance if this is a question you’ve previously addressed and I missed it…
    My husband is active military, so we get moved around quite frequently. For the last 4 years, we’ve been residing in Florida, where I make and sell cold process soaps under my registered LLC. with no cosmetic claims. These soaps are sold almost exclusively on my website. However, for the months of December through January of every year, as well as late May, I return to my home state of Arizona to visit and stay with family. My question is: Since Florida regulations pertain to the manufacturing of cosmetics, would I be able to make my lotions & body butters exclusively in the state of Arizona, then list and sell them on my website when I return home to Florida? If so, would I need to clearly specify in the product’s listing on my website that these items were made/manufactured in the state of Arizona? My reasoning for this is that I myself only purchase (through online purchases) handmade skincare products, and currently I order all my facial creams from a handmade crafter located in New York. This leads me to the belief that BUYING and receiving handmade products (made elsewhere) within the state of Florida is no problem, it’s the MANUFACTURING of these products within the state of Florida where these regulations apply.
    In a nutshell, in your excellent knowledge of this subject, do you feel I would be permitted to resell handmade cosmetics (lotions & butters) which I made in Arizona, so long as this were specified with the product’s listing on my website?
    Thank you so much for your time and help, and again, my sincerest apologies if this is the same, or similar, to a question already asked and answered.
    Wishing you a beautiful day!

    • The key for FLORIDA regulations is that cosmetic manufacturers must register and get licensed. If you aren’t actually making (or repacking) the cosmetics in Florida, then no manufacturing license is needed. Any business can purchase packaged cosmetic products to sell on their website, in person, to stores, etc.

      Since you have a registered business in Florida, you probably already have your basic business requirements in place (taxes, filing, accounting, business registration and all that). You could purchase product from any company – or make anything that is legal for you to make – to sell in your business.

      If you go to Arizona and make the products, you essentially end up having a business in Arizona that makes cosmetic products (under the laws of Arizona) and then transfers them to your company in Florida. You may run into a BUSINESS issue (for which you may need accounting and/or legal assistance) having to do with your corporate structure and taxes. Are they the same business, with offices in two states and registered in one state as an “out of state corporation”? Are they two different businesses, one selling to the other – in which case you probably need business registration in EACH state, with taxes and such (and the Florida business buying from the Arizona business)? There may be other scenarios that work as well … again, that’s something you should work out with an accountant and/or attorney to figure out what is best

  16. Hello, you have provided some very valuable information. Have you heard of anyone being able to rent a commercial kitchen and use that space to be licensed as a cosmetics manufacturer?

    • I have heard of several people considering this option, but I don’t know if anyone has actually been approved.

      • According to the state, the commercial kitchen can only be used for cosmetic manufacturing, no food commercials kitchen qualify.

  17. Ingredients soap base: Olive Oil (Grade A Extra Virgin), Coconut Oil, Palm Oil,Safflower Oil, Glycerine (Kosher, of Vegetable Origin), Purified Water, SodiumHydroxide (Saponifying Agent), Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol (Made from VegetableGlycerine), Sorbitan Oleate (Emulsifier), Oat Protein, Titanium Dioxide.

    • That looks like soap that is made from oil/lye/water. Keep in mind that the ingredient list shouldn’t have “explanatory” text (the stuff in parenthesis). Add that to the label content if you want to explain.

  18. Hello! Tell please, if I do soap from soap base and add in it oil, flavor, dye, mica and’m pouring in different forms, I still can to do his homes and this will nazyvatsya soap? My state is Florida. Thanks!!!

    • In order to be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic it must be an oil/lye/water based soap AND marketed and sold only as “soap”. No cosmetic claims – no claims that it will do anything more than clean. Adding oil, flavor, dye and color additives doesn’t make a soap a cosmetic.

  19. Hello! Tell please, and if soap has flavor orange or the other flavor, i.e. it not has properties aromatizatsii, and simply has flavor, then such soap becomes cosmetic product? Thanks!

  20. Thank you so much for your hard work educating us. I do have a question that hasn’t yet been asked. I am close to becoming a certified Aromatherapist. My plan was to make blends of essential oils, repackage bulk orders of oils as well as lipids and solid butters. Since these are applied to the skin, I am assuming that they would be considered cosmetic because I won’t be making claims about what they can do. Is this correct? I would’t be making things per sey, but mostly decanting.

    • Yes, if the products are applied to the human body (to beautify or make more attractive) and you are NOT making any claims that they will alter the function or structure of the body, then they be considered cosmetics and be subject the the laws and regulations that apply to cosmetic products.

  21. I’m curious if this applies to products designed for animals, such as sunscreen, paw protectants, etc. Do you know anything about the licensing and manufacturing issues related to these products?

    • Cosmetics are defined as products that are applied to the human body … so products for animals are not cosmetics and don’t fall under the cosmetic manufacturing laws. Keep in mind, however, that sunscreen is considered a drug as are “skin protectants.” I’m not sure if paw protectants would fall under the same category. If a product is intended to alter the function or structure of the body it’s a drug … and the FDA regulates animal/veterinary drugs the simiarly as they do human drugs.

  22. Thank you Marie for sharing all your knowledge. Can you please tell me where I can find the cosmetic manufacturing requirments for Tennessee? I bought a building in Florida and Tennessee for the manufacturing of creams, lotions and bath bombs. Florida requirements just seem to be beyond my abilities to obtain, so I think Tennessee may be my only option. I have called every office in Tennessee and everyone is telling me I don’t need a license? Can you please help me? Does anyone really get approved in Florida or id this just a myth?

    • I don’t have much on Tennessee – what I do have is on my States page. Scroll down to Tennessee. As far as I know, there aren’t any requirements.

      There may be general business requirements (business name registration, local (county level) business license and such). But I don’t see anything specificto cosmetic manufacturing.

  23. I have read through this and found it to be extremely helpful so thank you so much! I am thinking of making my tattoo balm to sell, but am not sure where it falls in that fine line of cosmetics to medical. I am not claiming that it cures or heals anything (I use it while tattooing to lubricate the skin) and I feel it would fall within the cosmetic area. But am just not positive and am finding it to all be very confusing!!!!

    • It really depends on how you market the tattoo balm and what it is intented to be used for. It if is to treat, mitigate or prevent disease (which would include anything antibacterial or that reduces the chance of infection), or it is intended to alter the function or structure of the body (heal faster, less scarring, less pain, etc), then it would be a drug.

      If it is just to moisturize and make the tattoo LOOK better (improve appearance) then it would be a cosmetic.

  24. Marie, love your site and you are so helpful and patient with people … very impressed. I am in Florida and would like to make and sell lotions and potions that would be considered cosmetic, but the cost makes that impossible for at this time. What specifically can be done, or possibly is being done, to change these regulations? Florida is such a great place for year-round farmer’s markets and fairs it seems so unfair to make the regulations so strict for these small businesses. My understanding from your information is that other states take a much more realistic stance on the regulations. I would like to see about getting this changed if possible, or at least try. Can you tell me if a movement has been started somewhere that I can join or if maybe you can point to a state with reasonable regulations whose policies we can propose to the powers that be in Florida? Thanks for your time.

    • I don’t know of any campaigns to change the registration regulations. There was recently a successful move to remove the requirement (and cost) of registering all products, but removing the registration … not that I know of.

      There has been FEDERAL legislation in previous years that might have had an effect — but anything has to be reintroduced in the new legislative session and we’ll have to wait and see what comes.

  25. This article has been very informative, and you’re graciousness to answer questions in the manner that you do, doesn’t go unnoticed. I live in Florida. I make homemade lye soaps. Hot process, cold process and detergent free melt & pour. Where are all of the locations and ways to sell, not requiring the licensing, permits, fees, (being exempt)? i.e. farmer’s markets, festivals, online, local stores, etc? Thank you kindly for your time and help! You’re a gem on here for us!! Blessings

    • Where you sell really depends on your business plan and marketing program. Generally, the most usual ways to sell are online (through a website), local or regional events (crafts shows, farmers markets), or through wholesale sales. If you haven’t already, put together a business plan, and do the necessary research to see where and how to sell your products. If you are looking to sell locally, check your local library for any books or publications that list local events or farmer’s markets and contact them.

  26. Wow! Such great information! We are trying to get information on producing Bath Salts- and not the drug kind! Just basic salt blends for soaking in the tub with herbs, botanicals and essential oils- Specifically with CBD isolate, but I know that comes with completely separate licensing. We’ve called the state numerous times and no one seems to know how to answer our questions! We are assuming salt blends are cosmetic, but if you have any info, either with or without CBD, we would really appreciate it!! We have a commercial production space for our soap production already, but wondering if we can legally expand our product line. Thank you!!!!

    • Bath salts are a cosmetic. If you don’t already have a cosmetic manufacturing license, you would need to get that from the state.

      I don’t know about using CBD in Florida. With the passage of the Farm act legalizing growing of hemp (non-THC), there is a big gray area. CBD has already been approved as a drug, so it can’t be in any ingestible product or nutritional supplement. There is no specification in the regulations for cosmetics, so that’s gray. Most certainly you CANNOT make any claims that the product will mitigate, treat, diagnose, prevent or cure a disease (an in any physical issue) NOR that it can alter the function or structure of the body — that would make the product an unapproved new drug.

  27. Trying to do some research into the legalities of selling my homemade room spray. I know as a room spray it is not cosmetic. I have heard that I need to look into the local legalities of selling products that contain alcohol. My recipe uses vodka. However I cannot seem to find any info for CT. Where should I ask? Also wondering if I have any more range in how I market it as any claims would be in the area of metaphysical benefits not physical healing or body claims? Thank you! Your article has been the most helpful so far!

    • Some states have regulations about buying and selling alcohol for non-beverage use (such as a room spray). I couldn’t find anything on the Connecticut websites, but I did find some information here: https://organicalcohol.com/permits/connecticut. Apparently this company sells alcohol for non-beverage uses. If you CAN get non-beverage alcohol, you are probably going to be much better off business-wise because you won’t be paying the retail alcohol tax (which is about $5.40 per gallon in Connecticut). That tax can really up your product costs.

      As far as claims, stay away from anything physical (colds, flu, sinus issues, anti-bacterial) or that is specifically “mental health” (depression, insomnia). Metaphysical type claims will probably work, depending on what they are.

    • How does one make bath bombs in Florida legally and what permits would I need? Could I have someone from out of state ship them to me and then label them or would that be a nono?

      • Bath Bombs are a cosmetic. In Florida you must have a cosmetic manufacturers license if you MAKE them, OR if you receive them naked and LABEL them.

        If you receive them already made, packaged and labeled, you do not need a cosmetic manufacturer’s license.

      • Just curious about this.. I am looking that the Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act, section 499.01 under permits, and section p says the following: “Cosmetic manufacturer permit.—A cosmetic manufacturer permit is required for any person that manufactures or repackages cosmetics in this state. A person that only labels or changes the labeling of a cosmetic but does not open the container sealed by the manufacturer of the product is exempt from obtaining a permit under this paragraph.”

        Wouldn’t that mean that you are exempt from a permit if you are labeling (changing the label) of a cosmetic as long as it is sealed?

        Also, I recently discovered that a few bath and body products that I am selling (as a distributor not as a manufacturer or as white label) are manufactured by a large company in Florida that doesn’t seem to be licensed. Am I liable as a distributor?

      • Yes – if the product remains sealed and all you do is apply a label, then a manufacturer’s license is not required.

        I don’t know about the liability as a distributor of a manufactured product. I doubt that it would fall to you … unless, MAYBE, somebody went on a serious warpath about the product and tried to sue everyone in the supply chain.

        In determining if the large company in Florida is licensed, keep in mind that they might be getting the products made for them by a contract manufacturer … that is VERY common.

  28. Great info. Wondering if I have to follow same laws and regulations if im only using my products on my clients aa an esthetician during facials and not selling them? What is your opinion. Thank you

  29. This is a great idea! I’m just getting started and had no idea Florida was so strict. I’m located in the panhandle and would love to look at sharing a space to reduce costs! If interested, lmk!

    • If you have a business in Florida then you need to be registered with the state. There may be a business tax, but I don’t think so. Florida does have a tax of some tangible property (there’s a form to fill out each year) and they have SALES tax (which you have to collect if you selll products in Florida). But there isn’t an INCOME tax in Florida.

      If you are starting a business to sell soap (or for any other thing) I strongly suggest that you get with an accountant to get your financial stuff set up and in proper order.

  30. Hi Marie, I just moved to FL a few weeks ago and after pouring over everything I could find, your page here seems to be the most informative. Before moving here I just started making and selling salve. I was so excited to start fresh here in FL and actually build my business but it’s sounding like the $$ involved in the uber expensive permits/licenses and the added expense of outside (the home) workspace on top of the cost of starting a business and product costs… I’m feeling like this is the end of the road, before it truly ever started. Am I being a Debbie-downer here or am I being realistic and saving myself and my family from losing tons of money?

    • Starting a handcrafted cosmetic business in Florida can be a challenge. It can be done – but it’s a challenge.

      Before investing a lot of MONEY, I’d suggest you invest all the TIME needed to thoroughly research what it would take in terms of financial investment and time committment. Then decide if it’s something that you want to undertake.

    • If your soap is exempted from the definition of a cosmetic, then you don’t need to be registered as a cosmetic manufacturer. To be exempt, it must be the alkali salt of fatty acids (made with the reaction between lye and oil), and marketed and labeled only as “soap”.

      A CP soap that is called “soap” and only claims to clean would meet that definition and be exempted from the definition of a cosmetic.

  31. Hello, I am also new to the whole soap, bath bombs, bath salts, etc. making thing. I’ve read just about every comment on here and have learned so much – thanks, Marie!! To recap a bit, if I am making TRUE SOAP (according to FDA requirements), I can make soap ONLY from out of my residence. Is that correct?

    • If the soap you are making is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, then it isn’t a cosmetic and you don’t have to get a cosmetic manufacturing license in florida. So you are not limited by the requirements of the cosmetic manufacturing license… and can make the product in your home (provided there aren’t any other issues).

      In order to be exempt, the bulk of it must the the alkali salt of fatty acids, and it can only be labeled, marketed and sold as “soap”. So that means no claims other than it cleans.

  32. Hi Marie,

    I make bath bombs and soaps. I had no idea of the laws in FL until I started researching on what legal steps to open up bath buisness. I am trying to find a way around not being able to produce my products at home. Would I be able to rent a commercial kitchen space and make/package and label from there? I am not able to rent out a store at this time and really don’t want to give up on this.

    Thank you

    • A suitable space in a commercial kitchen would probably work for the physical space requirements. Keep in mind that in addition to the space, is making sure that basic good manufacturing practices are in place is a hefty portion of what they look at. All the things necessary to making sure that your products won’t become adulaterated or misbranded. It includes things like batch records, batch numbers, retain samples, proper handling of raw materials, written procedures, etc. If you don’t have my book on GMP, it would be a good place to start. You can get it at Amazon.com here.

  33. Hi Marie,
    To your knowledge has there been any clarification on whether or not we can manufacture with a cosmetic license out of a separate building on our residential rural property? Assuming, of course, that it meets inspection and is GMP compliant.

    I know calling the state to ask has previously gotten confused and conflicting answers. Thank you for your help!

    • I haven’t seen anything definitive from the State of Florida. Most reports I get are like you said – confused and often conflicting.

      The actual statute says, “An establishment that is a place of residence may not receive a permit and may not operate under this part.” The regulations that implement the statute don’t seem to have anything more specific.

      It apparently comes down to how “establishment” and “is” (as in “is a place of residence”) are being defined. And THAT seems to be somewhat arbitrary based on who you are talking to. Could be the BUILDING, could be the PROPERTY.

      Keep pushing to get a clear answer …. and let me know what happens!

  34. Hi Marie,
    I understand of soap not falling under cosmetic quidlines, I have 2 questions, adding essentials or fragrances does it considerate as cosmetic? And second, I didnt quite understand, even just “soap that cleans” I can’t make at home?

    • The key is the definition of “soap” from the regulations – it has two parts:

      1) If the “bulk of the non-volatile portion is the alkali salt of fatty acids” (that is, it is made with lye & oil) it is considered soap. Note that it’s the “bulk” of it …. so adding fragrance, color or even some additives (clay, herbs, etc) would still leave the “bulk” of it as soap.

      2) It can only be labeled and marketed as “soap” and only claim to CLEAN.

      Soap becomes a cosmetic if either of those things are violated —- for example:

      If the soap is made with detergents (not lye/oil)
      If the soap claims to moisturize.
      If the soap claims to make your skin softer, smoother, brighter, happier, etc.

      In Florida, a COSMETIC manufacturer must be licensed and inspected and cannot make the product in a residence.

      When the product is a SOAP that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, then no licensing is necessary and it CAN be made at home.

      • Oh, sorry, one more question about the last soap statement in this section! Do you still need a business permit to make soap in your home that you intend to sell?

      • If you are working under a business name, then you’ll need to register that with the State of Florida (don’t have to if it’s in your own name). If you are starting a business, you’ll need all that stuff in order to have a bank account in your business name. The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild How-To Library has a good section on business and business start-up requirements.

        Business permit or license depends on the city and/or county you live in. Some cities say you can’t have a business in your home – some limit the KIND of business that can be in a home — some don’t care and don’t have any permit or license requirements. You’ll have to check locally.

  35. Maria-have you heard anything about Cottage industry being set up in Florida for soaps, lotions and the like? I think there is one for jams, Jellies, honey, breads. In Florida.

    • No, I haven’t heard anything. I specifically asked about a year ago and was informed that there were no exemptions for small/cottage business allowed in the law.

      The (federal) Food Safety Modernization Act that went into effect several years ago DOES have some provisions for small businesses and farms that make food products (especially from produce they grow), but it doesn’t apply to cosmetics at all.

  36. Hey Marie, I wanted to thank you for being so responsive on this long thread, it’s really answered a lot of my questions before I asked them. Here’s mine, since I haven’t seen it yet. We live in Florida about 30 miles from the AL state line. We work from home and don’t want to rent a place solely to manufacture bath bombs. So, I was thinking we could just rent a place in AL on the weekend maybe once a month or so and manufacture/package all of our bath bombs while we are there. I would be sure to document it all so that there’s evidence that it’s not being done in FL whatsoever. Do you think this would work out? I’m thinking this is pretty safe, but just wanted more opinions.

    Also second question, I read where the SFIC M&P soaps were OK to use, and I found another site with ‘detergent free’ M&P, but I was wondering if the base M&P that I want to use (cost efficiency) would qualify as a real soap as well? Here’s the ingredient list. Glycerin, Prop. Glycol, Coconut Oil, Triethanolamine, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Myristate, Sodium Laurate, Sodium Stearate, Sorbitol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Purified Water.

    thanks again for everything!

    • In answer to your first question – I don’t know what the State of florida would think about your manufacturing in AL. My GUESS is that if they decided to come after you, it might be hard to prove that you are not a “Florida manufacturer” if you don’t have some sort of legal presence in AL as a cosmetic manufacturer. Of course, the point could be argued either way.

      If you had a business entity in AL, and THAT entity manufactured and then sold the products to your Florida business, it would more clear-cut. But much more complicated for the paperwork, taxes and such. I’m sorry I can’t be more help — possibly an attorney in Florida could give you some guidance.

      On the other point – the acutal makeup of “soap” to be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic is that “The bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the detergent properties of the article are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds.

      Sodium Cocoate, Sodiuym Myristate, Sodium Laurate and Sodium Stearate all all alkali salts of fatty acids. However Glycerin and Prop. Glycol, Coconut Oil and Triethanolamine are the largest percentage ingredients. And then – some detergent properties would come from the Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is a synthetic detergent. Without knowing the actual percentages, it would be hard to say if the “bulk” of the nonvolatile matter meets the definition. I rather think not, but I can’t be sure.

  37. I am in the same predicament in which I want to make hair oils for African American hair, I am literally just mixing oils and just starting out with no real customers, Florida requires you to act as if you are a big business. I am looking to see if there are facilities that allow people to share rent wise to make products. I also want to do hair shows for which I can mix the product on the spot, which is an issue as well. I was told if I provide the bottles and allow the customers to mix the oils then technically I do not have to have a license. However, I also am mixing butters which is where the problem lies. It is just very frustrating that soap is literally applied to your body but not regulated and everything else is. Nonetheless, I am wondering if we can work in someone else’s manufacturing facility or start a group facility ? Any takers?

    • Hello Marie, is there any source I can look up to learn about building’s coding, zoning, age, conditions, or other requirements for a cosmetic manufacturing facility in Florida? The only info I could find that a facility could not be the residential type of property. There are plenty of retail spaces, standing along office buildings, and warehouses that can be repaired to comply with GMP … but I could not find anything on the Florida state prerequisites for that matter. Thank you so much!

      • The requirements have their basis in Good Manufacturing Practices and ensuring that the product won’t become adulaterated or misbranded. You can read the actual requirements in Florida Rule 61N-1.010. From the lined page, click on the “Final” version – it is available as a Microsoft Word document.

  38. Hello, I understand we cannot Manufacture bathbombs, lotions, scrubs etc. in Florida without all the proper requirements. Could you have your items made out of state and shipped to you and then you sell them? They would carry your label etc. Then would it be legal since your not actually manufacturing? Also, would the person making them in the other state need any permits etc? They would be in New York. They will not be getting paid or benefiting in any way. They would just be making the products to help out. Since they cannot be made in the state of Florida. Would this be a OK?

    • If you are purchasing products that are made somewhere else, and you don’t open or repackage them before you sell them in Florida, then you are not a “manufacturer”. That is, you aren’t actually MAKING anything in Florida. In that case you would be more like a distributor or retailer.

      You can get the products made for you with your name on the product – you would just need to put that it was “manufactured for … ” or “distributed by ” … your business and address in Florida. That way it’s clear to anyone looking that you are responsible, but you didn’t make the product (in florida).

    • So long as your soap isn’t a cosmetic, then you are not a cosmetic manufacturer.

      In order to be exempt, soap must be the alkali salt of fatty acids (that is, made with lye and oil) AND all you can say about it is that it is soap and it cleans. If you say much else about it, then it will probably become a cosmetic.

      • Yes, This is how I make soap PURE soap. But can I make soap (for Cleansing) from home and sell it from home?

      • If the soap is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, then you don’t need to register as a cosmetic manufactuer. Only cosmetic manufacturers are limited to not making products in a residence.

  39. Hello I live in Florida I want to make a face oil for myself and friends and give it away just to see how well it does. However if I wanted to start selling privately to friends and family only how would I go about doing that? I am not a professional cosmetologist or anything I just want to make something for me and my friends and family for now before I actually start a business. However I would like to sell it for very cheap just enough to keep ordering the supplies I need. Please help. Thank you

    • Technically, as soon as you start selling, you are a “cosmetic manufacturer” and would need to fulfill all of the cosmetic manufacturer regulations. Probably not something you want to attempt until you have decided if you want to go into business or not.

      If you are just market testing, don’t sell it – give it away. But if your friends or family wanted to help you buy some of your supplies because they love you….

  40. If I make soap with goat milk at my home, can I sell it at craft shows as soap and not get in trouble?

    • For soap to be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic (and thus the cosmetic manufacturer regulations) the bulk of the product must be the alkali salts of fatty acids (that is, it is made from the saponification of oils with sodium or potassium hydroxide) AND it must be marketed only as “soap” AND it can only claim to clean.

      You can’t state that the soap will do anything else.

      If you say that it will moisturize, or do anything other than cleanse, then it is no longer exempt from the definition of a cosmetic.

      So long as it’s exempt from the defintion of a cosmetic, you can make it in your home and sell it.

  41. Hello,

    Hello, Your blog is very informative. I have been searching for the FL regulations. Where does it say specifically that cosmetics can’t be made in your home and require a separate facility?

    • It’s in the Florida Statutes, section 499.

      Section 499.01 states who is required to have a permit.

      Section 499.012(1)(b) states “An establishment that is a place of residence may not receive a permit and may not operate under this part.”

  42. Great information, thank you for this. So if I make a facial soap and I label it “soap for the face” would that be ok as well? Thank you, Marie.

    • That would be most likely. However, keep in mind the determination is based on the intended use, which is partly from what you call it, but also partly from all the other things you might say about it. If it came to an inspection, it would be up to the inspector to determine if the product was “true soap” and only claimed to “cleanse” …. or if it has the intended use to improve appearance or beautify in other ways than just cleansing.

  43. Could I give my shampoo bar, which is a CP soap, an alternative name, such as “hair soap” or “soap for the hair” to avoid FL cosmetic laws? Also, where does dog or pet soap fall within these regulations? Thank you so much.

    • The Florida definition of a cosmetic is just about the same as the FDA definition. From the Florida statutes [499.03]:

      (13) “Cosmetic” means an article, with the exception of soap, that is:
      (a) Intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on; introduced into; or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance; or
      (b) Intended for use as a component of any such article.

      They don’t define “soap” in the statute, and I didn’t see it in the regulations that I have reviewed. I expect they use the same definition that the FDA uses [21 CFR 701.20(a)]:

      (a) In its definition of the term cosmetic, the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act specifically excludes soap. The term soap is nowhere defined in the act. In administering the act, the Food and Drug Administration interprets the term “soap” to apply only to articles that meet the following conditions:
      (1) The bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the detergent properties of the article are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds; and
      (2) The product is labeled, sold and represented only as soap.

      So long as the product is “soap” and meets the definition of soap, it is likely to be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic.

      As for pet products – the definition of a cosmetic is for articles applied to the human body … so pet soap is not a cosmetic. It may be regulated under some different regulation (I haven’t researched Florida regs for pet products).

  44. True soap is oils, water and lye. What if I add Fragrance oil and micas? Is it ok in FL? I need to stick to the regulations?

    • The full definition is “the bulk of the non-volatile portion is the alkali salt of fatty acids”.

      So the vast majority (“bulk”) of it needs to be oil/lye/water soap (the “alkali salt of fatty acids”). Putting in fragrance, color additives (mica, pigments, etc), other additives (herbs, plants, extracts, etc) and even “fillers” (clay, etc) is all fine … so long as the BULK is true soap.

  45. PS
    I ordered your labeling book from Amazon and I finished it in one day it was extremely helpful and enlightening thank you so much for putting the book together

  46. Hi Marie
    First thank you so much for putting this information together and responding to everybody so thoroughly. What I find difficult to believe is that every single vendor at the numerous events around the state are all either from out of state or have followed all the rules for the state of Florida and have manufacturing of what is considered cosmetics outside of their homes. In researching there were at over 100 businesses at events I’ve attended in the last six months who sold what are considered cosmetics and resided in the state of Florida ….when asked said “they whipped it up in the kitchen” or something to that effect. There was also a huge gap in labeling of the products.

    Is it just hit or miss, fly under the radar til they are caught…or is there possibly a complete lack of knowledge with regard to the regulations? Is there a lobby or special interest group that we can join to push further changes in these Machiavellian cosmetics regulations in Florida ?

    • I expect that the State of Florida puts their attention on regulating the larger manufacturing companies. Most State agencies (and even the FDA) don’t have the resources to go after every violator … so they concentrate on those that make the most impact if they are in non-compliance – the ones that make a lot of product used by a lot of people.

      BUT, that doesn’t negate the law or the regulations. Our society is set up so the laws and regs are in place and people are expected to follow them voluntarily – not follow them only if they are “caught” not doing so. Once too many people are in violation of some law or regulation, the typical path is that it starts getting enforced “before the fact”. Most countires require that cosmetics are registered BEFORE sale, or are approved BEFORE they can be sold (like drugs in the US).

      So, I always recommend that people voluntarily follow the law and regulations – DESPITE what others may be doing. The more people who are in compliance, the better the argument for not making stricker laws. Conversely, every time someone is “caught”, it gives the regulators one more reason to put stricter laws in place.

      If we play by the rules, the rules are less likely to be made tougher.

  47. So even if you make no claimes whatsoever, even if it’s just called skin cream or just sugar scrub….. it’s a cosmetic? So really we can’t make anything but soap in Florida. The thing we absolutely do rub on our body.

    • That’s right – anything that is applied to the human body is a cosmetic … except soap, if it fits the definition and is ONLY marketed as soap. Pretty much Florida regulations suck for handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers.

  48. Hi,
    I started years ago in Florida, but the regulations forced myself and several other body care businesses out. We all left Florida.

    The state searches for you, or competitors would report you to the state, then you get that knock on the door, and I had a separate facility. They were there taking photos, going through all my supplier invoices, it took them about 5/6 hours to totally comb over things, then they hand you a cease and desist notice. Production had to immediately be stopped. I had about 1100 orders waiting to be filled. Had to refund everyone and move my home, my facility, my family out of state.

    It was a competitor that reported us. No other state I ever worked in was like Florida’s regulations.

    I do wish Florida would at least go with the federal laws, and be as easy as all the other states I’ve worked in.

    • I have heard similar horror stories. The biggest threat is the high cost of operating a home-based soap-making business IMHO. Forcing small businesses to flee the state to support ourselves and families makes no sense at all for Florida. That size “operation” pays taxes, fees, and generates other types of income producing activities for the state. Thinking of tourists, travelers, boutiques, hair salons, health “food” stores, etc. I still own property in Wisconsin and I maintain my business registration, etc there. That way I “manufacture” my products in another state. Florida requires the business register here, so they can potentially collect sales taxes for products sold retail within the state. (I probably over simplified that, but you get my drift – no doubt).

  49. Hi Marie,
    I wish to start produce and sell “soap” in Florida.
    I got that to produce soap where the bulk of the non-volatile portion is the alkali salt of fatty acids don’t need permission and don’t fall in “cosmetics” matter.
    I want to be sure that this true even if I add some ingredient like parsley or avocado or honey or whatever but don’t claim for their properties.
    Thank you,

    • It’s the BULK of the non-volatile portion. Bulk = Most of; high percent of. You can put in additives, and as long as MOST of the non-volatile part is the alkali salt of fatty acids, you are okay.

  50. thank you! ill hold off on the shaving soap (only make it for the family for now) and thank you for your quick reply! the only reason I put the ingredients on my products is that as a buyer of handmade soap I prefer to know what I’m putting on my body and I assume others would want to know as well =]

  51. thank you for your reply!
    i have a couple more questions.

    im going to hold off on all the other stuff until im able to get everything needed.

    my questions are.
    am I able to make shave soaps? or does that fall in the lines of cosmetic?

    and can I make face bars if labeled
    Face Soap with ingredients listed on the back

    • In Florida, a shaving soap is probably considered a cosmetic because the intended use isn’t to CLEAN, it’s to make it possible to SHAVE. Soap can only be marketed as sold as “soap” AND can only claim to be cleansing.

      “Face soap” – so long as it is intended only to CLEAN (and not to moisturize or do anything else) is a soap.

      Ingredients aren’t required for soap (although they may be included); they are required for cosmetics.

  52. Hi,
    I have learned so much reading all of this, so thank you.
    I definitely decided to stick to making soaps, but I was wondering if I could describe the soap as mild?

  53. so I’m wanting to start selling
    bath bombs
    bath salts (maybe)
    lotion bars scrubs (salt and sugar)
    and melt and pour soaps (colors and fragrance oils added only) not detergent based

    what do I have to do to sell these legally?
    if I understand correctly i can make the soap in the home and sell no problem.

    just not sure about the other products.
    since its just frangrance oils and colors added to the soap with no claim that it makes the skin soft or heals.

    i would list everything thats put into the soaps and other products
    for example
    *name of soap*
    on the back listed ingredients***

    would this labeling be correct for the soap?

    • Assuming you are in Florida …

      For the soap, if it is not detergent based (is lye, water, oil), then it is not a cosmetic and you don’t need to be licensed as a cosmetic manufacturer, PROVIDED you only call it soap and you don’t make any other claims than that it cleans/cleanses.

      Bath bombs, lotions, scrubs, and bath salts are all cosmetics. You do need to be licensed as a cosmetic manufacturer to make those products in Florida.

      The labeling you described is basically correct. You also need your business name and address (including the street address unless the business is included in an online listing).

      • In Florida, registered businesses can be search online (Sunbiz). Does this satisfy the requirement of having an online listing, to be able to leave off the street address from labeling?

      • The regulations for cometics say the street address may be omitted if it is listed in a “phone or city directory.” The last word from the FDA to the HSCG said “online phone directory” was acceptable. Technically, Sunbiz isn’t a “phone directory”.

        On the other hand, it IS a searchable directory and is easily publicly available and findable and the FTC determined that that would meet the requirements of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The HSCG has a petition in to the FDA to allow it.

        You’ll have to make your own judgement call as to whether you want to go with the existing regulations … or go with a possible future change. If you get inspected by the FDA there’s no telling how it would go, although you’d probably have an arguable position.

        Florida doesn’t require labels to be submitted for cosmetics, but they may have an interpretation as to whether a listing in Sunbiz would be sufficient for omitting the street address.

  54. I just went on the site to see if they have updated any information as of yet. I am still waiting to see how much that it will cost. Would you happen to know a number that I could call to get the information ? The application still has not been updated. Thank you.

    • From what I heard, the price for registration isn’t going to change — it’s just that the listing of individual products (and the costs associated with that) are supposed to go away.

      The Florida Cosmetic Manufacturers page has been updated since the last time I looked at it (not much information there right now). It says to call the Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics Program Office at 850.717.1800 if you have questions.

  55. I will be purchasing soap bars/loaves (cleansing purposes only!; non-cosmetic and non-drug) and bath bombs (cleansing purposes only) from a wholesaler and labeling items as my own to sell online. The items will be labeled as “soap” and “bath bombs”. Do you need a license, permit or insurance through your department or agency? The items would be delivered to me, I would put labels on them and mail them to purchasing customers. Again, the soap and bath bombs will not be considered cosmetic or drug; cleansing purposes only. I will be only putting the soap and bath bombs in shrink wrap and placing the label on the items.

    • Bath bombs ARE a cosmetic. The only product that goes ON the human body for cleansing or “beautification” that can possibly be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic is a “true soap” – that is, a soap where the bulk of the non-volatile portion is the alkali salt of fatty acids. It must be an oil/lye soap, not a detergent based product.

      That being said, if you are purchasing the products packaged, and are selling them under your own label, you don’t qualify as a cosmetic manufacturer in Florida.

      Keep in mind that since the bath bombs are a cosmetic, you will need to include the ingredient declaration on the label. Check the soaps you are purchasing, if they are detergent based (some melt & pour soaps are), then they wouldn’t qualify as “soap” and would also need the ingredient declaration on the label. Your supplier should provide you with the information you need to correctly label the finished product for sale.

  56. Hi Marie, I live in Florida and make lye soap. I was wanting to add salt scrubs and bath bombs to my inventory to sell. Am I allowed to make and sell these products without a permit? I’m only using household ingredients like baking soda, salt, oils, etc.. Also, I was going to make bubble bars but I use SLSA sometimes and Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Coco Betaine) which is made from coconuts. Its a bubbling agent. I’m sure the bubble bars fall into the cosmetic area. If I can’t sell these products, may I give them away? Like buy 3 bars of soap and get a bubble bar free?
    Thank you, Joan

    • Bath bombs are cosmetics and to legally manufacture them in Florida, you need to be licensed as a cosmetic manufacturer (unless, of course, you are making them for yourself and not selling them). That’s true even if you give them away with another purchase — you are still manufacturing them and the consumer still has to purchase something in order to get them.

  57. Hello, I have a question. I make lye soap and was going to add salt scrubs and bath bombs to my line. Am I ok to sell these products? They only contain basic household ingredients. Baking soda, corn starch, salts, oils. Etc… I make no claims. Also, was going to sell bubble bars but they have Cocamidopropyl Betaine ( Coco Betaine) which is made from coconuts and is for bubbles. I’m sure this falls into cosmetics? Can I give them away instead of selling them and not need a permit? Like buy 3 soaps and get a free bubble bar? Thank you
    PS : I live in Florida also.

    • Those are all cosmetics. So you’d have to be licensed as a cosmetic manufacturer in Florida.

      I doubt you can give them away with soap, because purchase is “required” in order to get the product … so they are essentially buying the product. Again, that would make you a commercial cosmetic manufacturer.

  58. I have searched myfloridalicense.com for many soap companies who I know make creams in Florida, either in their home or store. I am unable to find one company that has a Florida Business license. I’ve found them on sunbiz.org with a dba registration, but can’t find any with a state license. Can you help….I feel like I must be doing something wrong in my search. Is it possible to give me one example of a small soap company making their own handmade soaps and creams with a state license?

    • I believe there are some that are licensed and officially registered, but I don’t know the names. Sorry, I can’t help with that.

  59. Is shampoo bars considered cosmetic ? Could it be label d as shampoo bar? Being made via cold/hot process without making any claims other than soap

    • A shampoo bar is generally considered a cosmetic because it is “shampoo” not “soap”. If you just market and sell it as “soap” with no other claims (including that it’s “shampoo”) then it could be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic. But as soon as you call it a shampoo bar, and say that it does anything at all for hair, then you have crossed over into making it a cosmetic.

      The good news is that all you need to do is add the ingredient declaration and you are good to go. All the other requirements, identity (“soap” or “shampoo”), net contents and business name and address are required regardless of whether it is a cosmetic or not.

  60. I just moved to Fl and made soap mostly for myself and family members… do i need to register or do anything if my soaps are melt and pore base nothing added but color and scents?
    what about other processed soaps? i dont really add anything into them other then scents and color. sorry as i stated i just moved here my old place didnt have any laws regarding soap making

    • If you MP soaps are “soap” — that is they are the alkali salt of fatty acids (made with lye and oil), then they are exempt from the definition of a cosmetic and you don’t need to get registered as a cosmetic manufacturer in Florida. If they are DETERGENT based, then they ARE cosmetics, and you must jump through all the hoops to be a cosmetic manufacturer. In that case, I expect it would be much easier to change your base than to become a registered cosmietc manufacturer in Florida.

  61. I make salves. I want to sell them at the market with my herbal teas. Nothing I find really talks about what salves are really considered. I personally wouldn’t consider them cosmetic but I’m thinking the state of Florida might consider them that. I really don’t have the funds right now to rent a commercial space to do all this. Any insight???

    • Since salves are applied to the human body, they are either a drug or a cosmetic – in Florida and everywhere else.

      If it’s used to “beautify or improve appearance” (soften, moisturize, exfoliate, etc) then it’s a cosmetic.

      If you make any claims that it treats, cures, prevents or mitigates disease or changes the function or structure of the body (for bruises, sprains, sore muscles, cuts, burns, etc), then it is an unapproved new drug (and illegal).

      Even if you don’t say anything about it, but it is applied to the human body, then it would at LEAST be a cosmetic.

      In Florida, to legally make the product you must be a registered cosmetic manufacturer.

  62. Hello Marie,
    I am so confused. I live in florida. I make only detergent free M&P soap. I understand i can make this at home and sell without a problem. However, if i am not required to registered/licence, and if i get insurance (to protect myself) would that be sufficient? By the way, do i still need to get a tax id #???? Some craft shows required tax id # to participate.
    Thank you so much!!!!

    • Talking apples and oranges here. Since you are making detergent-free MP soap, you are exempt from laws, regulations and licensing for cosmetic manufacturers. There are still plenty of other things that you have to take into account when starting a business and selling products. A local business license may be required (depends on the city and county in which you live). A federal tax id is required if you have employees, if your business is not a sole proprietorship, or if you don’t want to use your personal social security number for your business. A state tax id is probably required if you sell retail (for collecting and reporting sales tax) – that’s what craft fairs normally required. Ficticious name filing with the state is required if you are doing business as something other than your personal name. Your bank may require additional documents for a business account, and your accountant or tax person may need you to keep specific records for tax purposes.

      Check the Business and Finance portion of the HSCG How-To Library – there is a whole section on business start-up.

  63. In my humble opinion, since I used to help customers open businesses and register licenses that have to deal with state, city and/or county licenses and fees; if you are selling a product that customers will either consume or apply to their body, we should have such regulations. Other wise who knows what will be sold to the public and who knows what their reactions might be if they’re not inspected or regulated? I look at it as if it were a restaurant, and believe we should all be inspected and regulated. And as far as the fees go, well if there is a $950 application fee, it should be worth your while other wise don’t sell or make that product. Again, my humble opinion.

  64. Hi Everyone,
    From my point of view, Product registration is nothing compared with the actual facility requirement. For all of you that are just starting out, this is the end. The setup costs, insurance, GMP compliance, permits.. will kill all your initial capital and without selling a jar. The same way that a kitchen can be authorized for commercial purposes, a home can qualify to be in compliance with GMP (I know what I’m talking about). Regulation just doesn’t make sense.

    • It’s unfortunate that regulations often don’t make sense! Maybe they were based on a good idea at the beginning – but it rarely stays that way.

    • Dear Javier,
      Did you try to open cosmetics manufacturing in Florida? Do you know requirements for facility where you can manufacture cosmetics in Florida. I am trying to find information about cosmetics manufacturer compliance and how to open cosmetics manufacturing facility in Florida.

    • Again, it depends on what the hand soap is made of and how you market it. In order to be exempt from the cosmetic manufacturing regulations, it must be “true soap”, and only marketed as “soap” without any other cosmetic claims. Otherwise, it’s a cosmetic and the cosmetic manufacturing regulations apply.

    • I am so bummed out about Florida regs I am planning to move to Florida and I make soap and body butters. I don’t know if I want to live there if I can only make soap. I live in the northeast and we dont have these restrictions. Considering another state. This is just too costly for a small home-based business. How are people making out with these regs and cost. This would be prohibitive for me.

      • I can understand your concern. You should write the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and tell him that you were planning to move there but probably won’t be doing so because the small/home business restrictions.

        I don’t know how people are doing it. I expect there are quite a few flying under the radar.

    • Hi there, Thank you so much for all your hard work and comments and keeping us updated. I just have a question in regards to soap making/selling. If I were to create solely “soap”, the lye and oils definition, would I still need to have the safe practices in place ie. not created in my home? I have been soaping as a hobby and many of my friends have encouraged me to start selling but I’m not sure what is all required. It would only be marketed as soap, so then would I be able to sell the soaps that I create in home here in Florida? Thanks so much!

      • In Florida, as with the FDA at a federal level, soap can be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic. If you are in Florida and are just making soap, since it’s exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, the cosmetic regulations (including licensing) don’t apply. There are no restrictions on making soap in your home and selling it.

        Good manufacturing practices are not REQUIRED (and no one will be checking what you have in place) but they are still a good idea. In fact, assuming that your soap is clean and your are being watchful as you make it, you probably already have many of the the GMP basics in place. I suggest you get the book, Good Manufacturing Practices, so you can gradually work toward getting your own GMP in place. (The link goes to Amazon.com and opens in a new tab or window.)

    • If you want to make cosmetics in Florida, you need to register with the state. You’ll need your good manufacturing practices in place and probably a location outside the home to manufacture. I believe the fees for REGISTERING your products have been waived, but I don’t think the actual registration and inspection fee has been waived.

      You should contact the state for additional information if you are planning to go ahead.

      Also note that you might need some sort of local business license depending on what your city and/or county require. If you are using a business name other than your personal name, you’ll need to register a ficticious name with the state as well. And Florida has sales tax, so if you are selling retail, you’ll need to get a sales tax license (or whatever they call it in Florida).

  65. Hi Marie,

    I use a foaming bath whip base to make whipped soap. I will post the Ingredents later so you can help me decide. Unless you kbow what I’m talking about. Thank you for all the help.

    • I looked at several bath whip bases online and both were detergent based. I don’t think there is a “true soap” whipped soap base (it would be extremely difficult to do). If the product you are using contains Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, then it is a detergent-based product. It would be a cosmetic.

      • Oh Florida.
        So I understand that if I’m making soap from lye and fatty acids and /or using mp bases that are not detergent based, I don’t need a cosmetic liscence. But do I need another liscence to sell the soap? That’s what I can’t find a clear answer on. What do I need to do to legally sell soap?

      • Correct – no cosmetic license if you’re not making cosmetics (and lye/fatty acid soap is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic — unless cosmetic claims are made).

        The OTHER things you need (licenses, etc) aren’t about soap, but arer about your BUSINESS (same as most any other business). You need to register your business, get a tax license/id, collect sales taxes, etc. Your local city or county may require that you have a business license in order to do business in their jurisdiction (that just depends on the local laws). Also depending on your local city or county, you may have zoning requirements for manufacturing (soap or anything else) – some places have stricter rules for what can be done in residential or downtown areas. I don’t know of any place that requires a “professional license” for soapmakers (like a hairdresser or masseuse, for example).

        In Florida, much of that is managed at https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/. They also have general information on starting a business.

  66. Marie,

    I need help. I started making soap and I am afraid it may fall under the cosmetic law. Can you pleasee help me too see how I can figure this out. What do you need from Me? Just my Ingredents? I am in Florida.

    • You must meet three main criteria for you soap to be EXEMPT from the cosmetic laws:

      1) The main portion (bulk) of the soap must be the alkali salts of fatty acids (in other words, made with lye and oil). If you are mixing up the soap from lye and oil, it meets this criteria. If you are using melt and pour soap, check the ingrediets to make sure they are primarily lye and oils (or are listed as “sodium ____ate” i.e. “sodium olivate” or “sodium palmate” etc).

      2) You only call it “soap”

      3) You only claim that it cleans/cleanses. No other claims about what it will do (moisturize, soothe, etc). Just cleans.

      If your soap is made with a detergent (some MP soaps are) OR you call it something else (“shampoo” for example) OR you say it will do anything more than clean … then it falls under the cosmetic rules.

  67. For everyone worried about making soap in your home. Unless they let my friend slid by the “rules” she is making soap and other products IN her “residential home”. She makes bath bombs, lotions, chapstick, soaps, hand soaps, shampoos and other things as well. She upgraded her license and was approved just recently.

      • Marie,
        Is there anything new based on this question? We are starting our soap and scrub business and were unaware of the restrictions here in FL. Just wondering if there are exceptions and what we need to do to get the correct licenses and permits to make the scrubs in our home.
        Thanks for all the great info!

      • I have heard rumors that enforcement is changing in Florida, but you should check with Florida State for the current information and to find out if they are allowing any exceptions.

    • Rebecca & Marie – hi! I’m wondering if I could get a clarification as far as your friend goes, Rebecca? Moving to FL this summer and would like to continue my soap business from home as well 🙂 Thank you so much!

    • Did anything come up on this as of late? Be interested to see what enforcement and residential restrictions looks like given the pandemic.

      • Nothing has changed as far as I know. It’s actually in the Florida LAW about no residential cosmetic manufacturing (not just agency regulations). What shutdowns and the pandemic have done to enforcement is unknown, however restrictions have lightened up in Florida, so that may not be much of an issue.

  68. I tried calling them yesterday…we’re not helpful.. almost argumentative. I had 2 simple questions l wanted clarification for and did not have an answer. If l produced, packaged and labeled in another state and just brought back to sell could l get in trouble….no answer? I read the law like 10 times…seems like it would be legal? And if a separate bldg on a rural property would be acceptable….why can’t it be in your own property….l would obviously do and follow all the requirements…..so confusing…..l should not have moved here l guess before checking back these laws. I had no idea….so disappointed in Florida!!

    • Yes, hard to deal with Florida — I don’t think they realized there are so many small manufacturers that are covered by the law … they don’t want the headache. Even so, the regs are the regs.

      As far as I have been able to determine, even a separate building on a residential property is not acceptable — but there has been conflicting information on this. It depends on whether the regulation is interpreted to mean “not IN a residential home” or “not ON a residential property”.

      As for selling products that are made and packaged in another state — I believe that would be like purchasing products from somewhere to resell … the “florida cosmetic manufacturer” regulations apply to manufacture IN florida. You should (mind you, this is my un-lawyer opinion) be fine.

      • As lifelong Texans, recently relocated to Florida (forced to relocate by jobs), just the simple act of building our shop (aka to Floridians, “shed”), was a feat. We had to have an engineer draw up the design for the slab alone. We decided to have our home reappraised recently after spending a considerable amount on our shop, outbuilding, shed, etc., and they had to appraise it under a “commercial outbuilding” because of the specs…nothing else in the vicinity to compare it to (2K sq. ft). SO I am wondering….could this be our out?? we are DIYers and want to make soap (lye-based), AND lotion bars, etc, but I also had an Etsy shop. Why can’t I make what I want and sell wherever I want (and if I have to, not ship anywhere in FL??). Does this make sense?

      • If the appraiser considered it a commercial outbuilding and the county is taxing it as such, you might have good grounds for getting okay to manufacture cosmetics there. I expect it would be up to the inspector to determine if it is still “residential” or not. Can’t hurt to try!

  69. Thank you for your wonderful work and information on your blog. I currently make handmade soap in Florida and was wondering if I can sell whipped soap legally in Florida if I don’t make any other claims other than that it is soap in a “whipped” form. All of these regulations are so confusing. Thank you so much for your help!

    • In order to be exempt from the definition of a cosmetic, and there fore exempt from the cosmetic manufacturing regulations in Florida, the “bulk of the product must the the alkali salt of fatty acids” AND it must be marketed and sold only as “soap”. No cosmetic claims for the product OR the ingredients. No other surfactants (detergents) used.

      Whipped soap, so long as it fits the definition of a “soap” to be exempt, is still soap.

      If you are using any MP soap in your products, make sure they are the alkali salt of fatty acids, and not using some other synthetic detergent base. Any detergent-based soap is automatically a cosmetic – no exemptions.

  70. So in Florida is it legal to make just soap in my home and sell it? (without making “medical” claims)
    Is there anything I should know or do first?

    • It’s not just “medical” claims.

      In Florida you can make soap that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic (so the cosmetic rules don’t apply).

      In order to be exempt from the definition the soap must be the alkali salt of fatty acids (that is, made with lye/oil/water – not a synthetic detergent) AND it must be marketed and sold as “soap”. That means the only claim can be that it cleans – no claims that could make it a cosmetic (moisturizing, soothing, otherwise changing the appearance) … for the product itself OR any of the ingredients. (For example, you can’t say that it contiains “moisturising” shea butter. (Shea butter, yes, but not “moisturizing”).

  71. The $800 bi-annual fee and inspection fee of $150 are on the updated cosmetic manufacturing permit effective July 1, 2017.

    • The Florida Cosmetic Manufacturer information has been updated to reflect that cosmetic products no longer need to be registered (based on the bill that was signed on June 2nd).

      The current permit (updated 2017) still has the $800 two-year fee. I guess it’s more complicated for them to figure out how much is “sufficient to cover the costs” of administering the program.

  72. Marie, the Florida Statutes still state thus far that the permit costs “may not be less than $250 or more than $400 annually” (https://goo.gl/VKv6iW), and the DBPR seems to have removed the online application version. The paper-based application still reflects the old fees. Being that this just went into (official) effect on July 1st, 2017, I’d say it’s safe to presume that it will take many administrative hours to update all connecting documentations and forms with the new information that just passed.

    In a private Facebook Group specific to FL-based soapmakers, some of the members were sharing phone call experiences to the DBPR on the topic of whether the place of manufacturing to be permitted can be on your residential lot, or not (and not attached to the residence). So far, there have not been clear-cut answers, as a clear-cut answer seems to possibly impede on each county’s Zoning Laws enforced (for example, one person stated that the location to be permitted needs to be Zoned for Manufacturing only and cannot be Zoned for Commercial). This is one part of the bill that is so utterly confusing, vague, and undefined, and mixed answers from the DBPR do not seem to inform callers inquiring of this information with specific answers. However, I would also presume defining the “permitted location” may negatively impact small businesses already permitted.

    • Thanks for that info! Please keep me updated as you find out more about what they will and won’t allow.

  73. I’m wondering if a residence had an attached apartment that was it’s in “dwelling”, if that would meet proper qualifications. The only entrance is from the outside of the apartment.

    • I believe the regulations just say “in a residence”. It’s my understanding that a separate building has been approved, but I don’t know if an attached unit would be acceptable. You’d have to check with the inspector.

      • Marie I have a friend who just a few months ago got her FDA approval to make soap, creams and other products which are made in her home.

      • The FDA doesn’t approve cosmetic facilities … Is your friend located in Florida? Were you referring to approval to manufacture cosmetics in Florida?

      • If I were to buy bath bombs private label outside of Florida and just put my label on them, would I need a permit?

      • If you are labeling them in-house in Florida, then you are a relabeler, which needs a cosmetic manufacturing license as far as I can tell.

    • The website has probably not been updated yet.

      The actual bill changes the wording of the cost of registration permit.

      It used to say the cost of the permit “may not be less than $250 or more than $400 annually.”

      With the change, the regulation will say the cost “shall be sufficient to cover the costs of administering the cosmeting manufacturer permit program.”

      My guess is that it was a compromise since they are losing the revenue from the individual product registrations. At this point it is unknown what the actual registration permit fee will be.

    • Im confused please help. Im a skin specialist been making my own products to use on my skin clients at my spa in Colorado. I dont sell or charge for product just usage . i make custom for each facial .. Moved to fl. Question if im not selling or charging do i still need to register as a manufactor and what are my guide lines for only using not sellinh. Please help

      • Tricky. I don’t exactly know how Florida interprets their laws in this case.

        At a federal level, the labeling is for products that are being marketed and sold – if it’s for personal or professional use, they don’t apply.

        I would think that if you are just “mixing up beneficial components” for each customer individually at the time of the facial, it wouldn’t really be considered “cosmetic manufacturing”. Although it’s possible that some officious official could say otherwise, your’re probably okay.

  74. I know this refers to just Cosmetic manufacturers.

    What I found interesting was these two requirements;
    -An establishment that is a place of residence may not receive a permit and may not operate as a cosmetic manufacturer or repackager.
    -Good manufacturing practices must be sufficiently in place to ensure that the products produced are safe and are not (and won’t become) adulterated.

    The first would eliminate manufacturing at a home. Of interest would be a clarification if a separate segregated space would suffice or must they locate to a separate building or location.

    The second outlines a duty to follow cGMP. Inherent to that is a requirement to have programs into place and to record compliance. If this is a wek area for you, I would purchase a copy of Marie’s book on Cosmetic cGMP (available on Amazon).

    • Florida Regulations physical facility requirements of smooth floor and smooth ceilings. A smooth ceiling requirement can FDA approved ceiling tiles that are waterproof which can simply replace the common used the suspended ceiling tiles, and be bought online. From what I been seeing a case of 10 2 x 4 drop in tiles are about 110. 00 a case. The smooth floor is a totally different story. The material used must be FDA approved and from what I am finding its an epoxy. The thing about a smooth floor is that it has no seems. A seamless linoleum floor could be a cheaper alternative but not sure if its FDA approved.

      The FDA also wants all your corporate information so send them copies with your application to save some time. They also want copies of your product labels. From what I was told, all labels must be FDA approved first before selling the product. I asked the time period to have labels approved but never got that answer and was told I need to be more specific with the question. There is also an application received wait period from 22 – 28 days for your application to be review. Also application page 8 section VII Manufacturing Activities requires written policy procedures to be included in the filing of the application.

      There is a whole lot going on here in Florida especially when it seems they just tagged soaps cosmetics as drugs to appease lobbyist of senator dianne feinstein of California and senator susan collins of maine with the origination of the Personal Care Products Safety Act. The President said he wants to bring manufacturing back to made in USA so its time to become a personal lobbyist and petition the President and the over the top regulations to sell some soap and lotions.

      As for me, I am trying to figure out how to get exempt from the FDA smooth floor requirements with different easy to clean flooring since their regulations has very little to do with the harmless nature of soaps, cosmetic and or repackaging.

      P.S. I hope i didn’t discourage anyone out there
      P.SS. I was thanked for my 950.00 payment to the FDA
      P.S.S.S If all else fails I just might write my own soap and cosmetic bill that’s logical, doable, and sensible for all the handcrafted entrepreneurs and then press the politicians with it, and to boot a simple comprehensive internet tax plan to keep the IRS off our backs.

      Peace out Richie

      • I assume when you are talking about the “FDA” here, you are referring to the State of Florida licensing for cosmetics?

        You are right about cosmetics just getting tagged onto the drug regulations … that’s where all the GMP requirements come from. It was in place well before the current Personal Care Products Safety Act, though. If the PCPSA goes is approved with the preemption section intact, it may make it much easier in the states (like Florida) that have more difficult regulations.

      • Cosmetics are NOT regulated by the FDA, so why does the building need to be of FDA standards? Seems like they want to be of some say but not want the total responsibility for regulating Cosmetics.

      • Actually, cosmetic ARE regulated by the FDA … they just don’t have a lot of requirements outside of the basics of labeling and the mandate that products may not be adulterated or misbranded.

        The labeling regulations cover the misbranded part.

        Implementation of good manufacturing practices is considered to be the way to ensure that products don’t BECOME adulterated.

        Florida has gone a step further by requiring licensing for cosmetic manufacturers — the standards for which are the same as the basic GMP guidelines for cosmetics.

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