April 19, 2016

Is your candle legal? Part 2

Melt Burners

So this is something we did a while back and I thought that perhaps it would benefit from being revisited and updated.

Everything below is still an up to date assessment of candle labels for UK and EU sales but given the popularity of fragrance blends, overpours and embeds I thought it would be useful to add an update on how these should be labelled.

Yes, you did read it correctly, is your candle legal? Are your wax melts safe? Do you know what to look for in a safe home fragrance product?

Most people when asked those questions would simply say “I don’t know” or “how can a candle even be illegal?”

It’s fair to say that many in the UK and EU have no idea of the rules and regulations on candle safety and even fewer people know about the laws that came into effect in 2015.

From 1st June 2015 the CLP (Classification, Labelling, Packaging) regulations came into force which essentially means that anyone who sells scented candles, wax melts, room diffusers etc MUST comply with new legislation around labelling.  This states that anything which is designated a mixture (in essence for the purposes of candles etc, it means anything with fragrance and/or dye) must be labelled in accordance with CLP regulations.

So what does CLP require?

Wax Melts

CLP labelling is different to the candle safety labels that many of us will have seen with the simple illustrations and candle safety warnings, which are generic.  Under the new rules every candle (or melt or diffuser) will have a different label explaining the specific hazards present and which are largely determined by the fragrance content. This is specific to the fragrance/dye and the fragrance/dye quantity used in the finished product

The provision of this is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT and is not optional.

Each label should include:

  • Fragrance name
  • Manufacturer name
  • Manufacturer contact details – address, email, phone (in the event that someone develops a reaction to a chemical the authorities need to be able to contact the “responsible person” so generic details will not suffice
  • Allergens present in product
  • Warning symbol/pictogram
  • Instructions of “what to do in the event of..”

Although many people have interpreted the rules as that melts do not apply, that is incorrect.  As small products (under 125ml) full CLP does not need to be included however the bulk of the information above does still need to be present on any label.

Looking at many small candle and melt producers on Instagram, Facebook etc it’s pretty apparent that they do not understand the CLP laws and do not comply with them – to be honest there are a number of candle/melt reviewers/bloggers who do not appear to understand the rules either.  If someone is promoting a scented product surely it is incumbent on them to ensure that that Company abides by all necessary rules and that the products they endorse are safe for the public?

So anyone who is involved in the business of selling candles/melts/diffusers get yourself up to speed with the CLP regulations and make sure that you understand how they apply to the products you sell/endorse. The rules have been established to create a level playing field and although, as usual, some of the huge candle companies have found a loophole, the laws do apply to most everyone else!

And if you are buying a candle or a cute set of melts, do please check that the person you are buying it from has full legal labelling on their products and that they understand their responsibilities – at the end of the day, if someone has an allergic reaction to a product that someone has sold, there will be a liability issue which will in all probability be excluded from any insurance.

This is by no means a comprehensive set of instructions on CLP and there are plenty of people out there far more legally proficient than us at explaining the rules – we just felt that we should make sure more people understood the law pertaining to candles/melts.

Thanks for reading!

Update 2017

OK, so IG and FB are full of custom blends and melts using overpours and it struck me that I couldn’t see how any of these were complying with CLP.  Having asked a few vendors how they labelled things it became clear – they WERE NOT following the law.

According to the regulations (please see above) each and every fragrance blend MUST have its own SDS (Safety Data Sheet) which in turn is used to create the CLP label.  You cannot use the CLP for each separate fragrance and put them on a product in a list – it is not compliant.

Let me give you an example – a custom blended melt bar containing strawberries and raspberries with a vanilla overpour.

Each of the fragrance oils (or essential oils) has its own specific set of allergens which are present at maximum usage levels so hypothetically let’s say

Strawberry has A1 at 0.4%

Raspberry has A1 at 0.5%

Vanilla has A1 at 0.25%

If the label was written based on this, each individual fragrance would be under the maximum usage level of say, 1%. However when the fragrances are combined the total of allergen A1 is 1.15% which could be sufficient to trigger an allergic reaction.

You cannot label wax melts or candles by using the list method, it is not accurate and is potentially illegal. Furthermore, if your labels are incorrect and someone has an allergic reaction and sued you, your insurance policy (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE – make sure you have insurance before you start selling to ANYONE!) could be rendered invalid and you would then become personally liable. NOT to mention the Trading Standards investigation that could follow.

If you are buying candles, melts etc, please make sure that you understand who you are buying from and that they have the correct labelling – just because someone is on Facebook or has an Etsy shop does not make them a compliant business. If you have a reaction to a scented product, take some time to look at the label and try to understand which ingredient you have reacted to, in doing so you could save yourself another reaction but also if you know which ingredient affects you, you can avoid it and still enjoy your candles!

Any questions do please drop me a line and I will try to help!

56 thoughts on “Is your candle legal? Part 2

        1. Hi

          So I’m starting to make wax melts which I will hopefully be selling soon. This will just be to work mates etc. I need to make sure everything I am doing is ok with regulations, so if I get the safety stickers and put them on packaging of melts is this ok? Thank you

          1. Hi Lucy

            If you are selling you will need more than safety stickers which are generic.

            You need fragrance specific CLP labels which detail the allergens for each specific fragrance at the percentage used. You will also need to ensure you have Product Insurance.

            The laws have changed and all wax products now must, by law, have the correct information. If anything happened with one of your products you would at best invalidate your insurance and at worst be liable personally for any damages.

            HTH

      1. Does this apply to pure beeswax candles that we are making and selling. We have the usual safety label on and saying pure bees wax labels. We are following the examples of our other bee keeping friends.

        1. Hi

          If its a pure candle with no fragrance then CLP doesnt apply as you arent creating a mixture. If you add fragrance at all then CLP would apply and you would need to do the labes discussed.

          HTH

  1. Hi I make scented candles in a wine glass but I do not make the wax I buy shop scented candles, melt it then redesign it. I’ve got CLP lables is that all I need ? I’m getting a bit confused .

    1. Hi Lisa

      So you buy ready made candles and remelt them? As you are selling (I presume you are selling) you will still need to provide a CLP label for each fragrance type. The label must list all the ingredients and the allergens – it is more than the warning labels you often see on eBay or Amazon.

      HTH

  2. Hello. I am BRAND NEW into the candle making industry. I’m wanting to put jewellery inside the the candle as a ‘surprise’ when it’s melted (like the imperial candle concept). I’ve read this but I’m utterly baffled. Any chance of being able to private converse regarding the legal requirements etc?

    Thank you!

  3. Hello, I am a hobbyist and don’t intend to sell my candles. If I give away candles as gifts, would I need to include CLP labels for them?
    Thanks,
    Gill

  4. Can I please ask a quick question. I notice you said the legal limit for chemicals is 1%.

    A previous document I read said that anything over 1% means the chemical must be named on the clp and anything under 1% the chemical doesn’t need to be named but it’s hazards do.

    I’m not sure if this makes sense but I hope it does x

    1. Hi

      Not entirely sure what you mean but my understanding is that 1% is the limit when calculating the CLP and that any component part that is below 1% does not need to hghlighted as an allergen but still needs to be listed as part of the ingredients.

      Does that help?

  5. Hello, I have started a research about legal requirements for selling candles in UK. I would like to make and sell cup cake candles, but I was really disappointed reading that is illegal to sell proucts that:
    have a form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size which is likely to cause persons, in particular, children to confuse them with food and in consequence to place then in their mouths or suck them or swallow them; and
    b) where such action as is mentioned in a) above is taken in relation to them, may cause death or personal injury.
    Could you, tell me, please, do I have any chance to sell cupcake and ice-cream candles? Thank you!

    1. Hi

      The rules relate to Food Imitation and apply to all products including candles, soap, toys. In general I would say its not worth going dowm that route as you would be breaking the law before you start.

      TBH I would think about something else.

  6. Thank you! What about making the candle from soya beans, so the cupcake candle would be from a natural food product and if a child would eat it by mistake, it certainly would’nt harm the child as opposed to paraffin candle.

    1. Then it would need to be foodsafe – all of the ingredients would need be foodsafe and it would be treated as a food.

    1. What do you think about making cupcake candles in UK, but selling them abroad on the websites like etsy or ebay. Is it illegal too? Thanks for help

      1. I think you need to speak to Trading Standards, I cannot give you legal advice all I can do is provide my interpretation of the rules as I understand them.

        If you are selling to any of the coutries within the EU you are governed by the same rules as selling in the UK. The same would be true for foodstuffs.

        If you are thinking of changing your wax to soya that suggests you have not finished developing your product nor have you carried out full product testing – you cannot just change the wax and expect everything to perform the same. I would suggest you rethink your idea and come up with something else.

        Be aware that if you sell candles that are not allowed owing to Food Imitation rules, trading standards can stop you selling, seize your products or prosecute. They are very tough on products that they think may pose a rise to small children. I know of several interent sellers who have been visited by TS and have had action started against them. They have had to start all over again with a completely new product line.

        HTH

  7. Hi, i new to making wax melts. Currently practicing but hoping to sell in future. This clp and sds im finding rather confusing. The sds forms do we get that from the company we get fragrance from? Also im making wax melts so does my label need ingredients listed or is it just the scent with warning and my address? Thanks in advance. Katie

    1. Hi

      Yes the company selling the fragrance should provide you with the SDS which you can then use to create your CLP.

      As far as wax melts are concerned they are generally under 125g and so they need the reduced CLP and not the full version but they still need the ingredients, warnings and pictograms. Oh and your contact details.

      HTH.

  8. Thank you for this very informative.
    I sell bath & body products so know all about labeling, record keeping and the legal side of selling products. I’m considering venturing into candle making so the allergen side of essential oils is quite straight forward for me. Should I keep a product file similar to what I do for my other products and if trading standards came calling is this the sort of thing they would expect to see for candles?
    Many thanks

    1. Although the record keeping is similar, the labelling is completely different – you will need to create a CLP label (with an SDS) for every fragrance and at whatever varying percentages you use.

      The labels are not simply a list of allergens as you are creating a mixture with every blend you create so it would researching CLP/SDS before you start. ALso, EOs are tricky with candles so be prepared to undertake lots of testing to get your wick, wax and fragrance combination right.

  9. Hi
    I want to sell candle before this December,
    But I’m still confused about the regulation.
    So I need fragrance specific CLP label, and also need to ensure I have product Insurance.
    But, what is the product insurance?
    Can you please explain about the product insurance? Please.
    Thank you

    1. Hi

      Where are you based?

      In the UK (and I believe the EU) you need to have product liability insurance as a minimum – this protects your customers in case they are injured in some way through one of your products.

      There are lots of insurance brokers who can help provide you with the correct level of insurance and the correct policies. If you are intending to sell at a market or craft fair you will need insurance of between £2 and 5m as standard and they should ask for a copy of your policy before you trade. Just google product liability insurance and you should find a broker who can help with a quote etc.

      HTH

        1. HI

          You dont necessarily need to have products formally safety tested but you must undertake your own tests and have the records available if needed. You must, BY LAW, have SDS available for all melts/candles and you must provide CLP information in the correct format for every individual fragarnce. You cannot apply a generic label.

  10. Hi
    I am making soy candles in a tea cup, no fragrance and no colouring. Apart from safety instructions what else should I put in a label?

    1. Tea cup candles are notorious for breaking and can be tricky to wick given their slanted sides.

      Assuming you have safety tested the integrity of the cups and they can withstand thermal shock, and there is no fragrance and no dye you only need safety labels and pictograms, CLP is not required.

      Best practice would be to include contact details in the same way as you would for a CLP.

      HTH

  11. Hello,

    I’ve been making wax melts for personal use and now want to sell to the public. When packaging wax melts, where & how should I add my safety warning & CLP? Should they be stickers attached to the bag the wax melts are in? Or could they be on separate pieces of paper/card put into the postage bags when I send to customers?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. HI

      Its pretty hard to say without knowing how you are packaging them. In general the details should be on the product but with single small melts that isnt always possible and so a seperate leaftlet is permitted.

      Dont forget you will need insurance and each fragrance will need its own CLP data.

  12. i’v been making candles in jars, novelty candles and wax melts for some time and have taken on board the new laws and now all my goods have the relevant info from the sds sheets provided by person I buy the fragrances from. However, its very difficult to find room for both this label and standard warning label which is also required. I have yet to come across a single person who has been approached by trading standards and am aware of so many new people making melts thinking its an easy way of making money who dont have a clue to the laws. I do believe the authorities themselves are still not 100% but I have tried my utmost, at great expense, to make by market stall legal.

    1. Hi

      I do know a few people who have been approached by TS and have been asked to remove goods from sale as they are non-CLP compliant; TS also remove goods for sale if they fall foul of the Food Imitation Regs as well.

      There are also a number of hazards with candle making that many people arent aware of including exploding glasses and cups caused by insufficent testing and subsequent thermal shock, I know a few people who have been injured either whilst manufacturing or as a customer. As far as labels are concerned the regs do allow a degree of flexibility but the key is understanding what is and isnt required.

      The ony advice I can give is to be wary of creating your own CLP information direct from SDS sheets as it is very easy to make a mistake and include more than you need – blends are even more tricky and I wouldnt advise anyone do it unless they have a chemistry background or a solid foundation in candle safety (or handy CLP software which retails at about £2k!).

      Trading standards are picking more of these up now and as the grace period has now expired anyone without correct labelling is breaking the law and will also invalidate any insurance they may have leaving sellers potentially personally liable for any injuries or damage caused to customers.

      HTH

      Just had a look at your facebook page – are you creating your labels yourself from the SDS?

  13. Hi,

    Could you please give some examples of the types or allergies candles might trigger? I’m about to start selling my soy wax scented candles and never thought of this aspect. I use soy wax, essential oils / fragrance oils and cotton and wooden wicks. Thank you

    1. Hi

      You need to get the SDS sheets for your fragrances and if you use essential oils you will need to get someone to create the CLP information for you. Most reputable sellers will be able to help with CLP and they must by law provide you with the SDS. Each fragrance has a different allergen profile which is why every blend or fragrance MUST have its own SDS and CLP data. You cannot use generic information.

      You cannot sell candles without having the appropriate insurance and you must by law have correct CLP labels on all of your products.Failure to do so may invalidate your insurance and should anyone have a severe reaction to your products you could end up being personally liable. Allergic reactions can vary from asthma attacks, skin reactions and even death so its not something trivial.

      HTH

  14. Hi there.
    Your website has been so helpful, reading these comments has given me a lot of insight so thankyou.
    I have been creating candles for a while now in the UK, and would like to sell them on etsy or maybe at craft fairs, I do not want this to be my main job though.
    I have been researching for the last few weeks and just want your knowledge on whether I need to do anything else. I have created my own CLP label which is stuck on the bottom of the candle which I have made from examples- and used the information off the SDS sheets from the producer. I will also get liability insurance- Is there anything else legally I need to sell candles? I have read a bit about safety testing, If I safety test them myself, I read above this is ok but need to keep records- what kind of records would this be?
    In addition, I read somewhere that we need to keep product codes and records of our batches- is this something you would recommend for small traders? Maybe use an excel sheet?
    Sorry for the bombardment of questions- very nervous about doing something wrong.
    Kind Regards
    Sarah

    1. Sarah

      I am assuming you have created CLP labels using templates from suppliers rather than created the info yourself? There is an expectation that the CLP information is available whilst the candle is burning and so it would be a good idea for the CLP and safety information to be on the side or on the packaging rather than on the base.

      As far as safety testing, you should have a clear understanding of wick size, burn time and have thoroughly tested the containers, wick and fragrance combinations – you should keep a spreadsheet of what worked and what didnt. As far as I am aware there is no legal expectation of batch codes (as there is for bath products) but in reality it is good practice as it enables you to trace products if something does go wrong.

      All I would say is that this is a very crowded market (both etsy and craft fairs are pretty much packed) and is extremly hard to make money at particularly in the run up to Christmas when hobby sellers come out in force. Many people will not have done the research you have and will sell without an understanding of the law.

      HTH

  15. Hi,
    i am new to the candle making business and have been made aware of the CPN Requirements. i have the warning label on the base of my candle and was wondering if i could include the CPN Warning as a card within my packaging and whether this is sufficient or not. Also what insurance is best for this and how much is it on average. i have tested my product and it burnt fine for a few hours or so is this sufficient testing i got my products from a reputable candle making website that sells glass containers for candles which i have been using, is this enough?

    Kindest Regards,

    Charlotte

    1. Hi

      No its not. You need a generic watrning with pictograms of ‘do not place in draughts’ etc but you also need a fragrance specific CLP label for each and every fragrance variation – the label should be afixed to the candle and should be visible when the candle is sdet down (i.e. not on the base). The label need to have all the necessary allergens and both kinds of pictograms as well as your business name, address and contact details in the event of an incident. You cannot use a PO box address.

      Depending on the size of the candle depends whether you need full CLP or the reduced size.

      You need product and public liability insurance which can very from around £100 to about £250, depending on the level of cover. There are loads of sources for this it will depend on where and how you sell.

      The testing you are meant to be doing isnt just to see if the container can withold the temperatures (to determine that takes more than burning it for a few hours, you also need to consider thermal shock). However, if your containers are sold as specifically for candles, you should be ok with that. The testing you should be doing involves checking the wick size, the correct melt pool, whether the wick curls, smokes or burns dangerously. You need to have tested a number of wicks to determine you have the correct size for your candle and your fragrance.

      HTH

      However

  16. Hi,
    A comment in one your replies related to “blends can be tricky”. Can you please advise on what requirements are needed if you are blending two individual waxes together and they are both wax manufacturer provided .

  17. Hi, firstly, what a great find you are.
    I am starting to make soy wax tin candles and also looking at doing glass jars too (bought from a candle supplies shop, so will test, but trusting they’ll be fine) My question is- My fragrance suppliers do offer the free CLP labels for the different fragrances to download and print myself, so are they sufficient, obviously after adding my details for contact? I also just learnt from these messages that I also need to have ads on hand, so I’ll be printing all those out today too!

    1. Hi

      It depends on whether they are fragrance type and percentage specific or just generic. Labels should change depending on the fragrance type and the percentage you use and the allergens would vary accordingly – the ones where is stays the same no matter what you do are not accurate.

      HTH

      1. Hi, Thanks for the reply. The CLP labels differ for each scent, the suppliers let you download each one for the different fragrances, then I just have to add my details to it, address etc.. x

        1. Hi

          As long as the percentage of fragrance matches and you change the label according to the amount used i.e. using small quantity exemptions etc you should be fine. Make sure you have the correct warning or generic warning pictograms as well and make sure they are visible.

          HTH

  18. Hi. I’m wondering if you could give some advice on the legality of candles that look like cocktails. I understand imitation food is not allowed but are candles in say wine glasses allowed etc as long as the warning NOT FOOD. DO NOT EAT is visible. Thanks

    1. Hi

      All I can do is to give you my opinion, I am not a legal expert and you would be well advised to consult your local Trading Standards team for their view on how they enforse the regulations in your area.

      There are a couple of things with candles in wine glasses, the first is that they are often not tested for candle safety and unless you have carried out stringent thermal shock tests I would be wary about selling them. The glass is not designed to hold a candle and they can easily crack or even explode. Secondly, there are differing views on food imitation relating to things like this; my own view is that a do not eat label is not sufficient as the biggest risk is to children who cannot read and therefore such a label would not work.

      This is a useful link Hampshire Trading Standards which does mention specifically a latte candle – I think to be safe I would speak to Trading Standards. If they were to say its against the Food Imitation regs and you continue to sell you could be at risk of prosecution.

      Not sure if that helps or not but let me know if you need anything else.

  19. I am currently setting up my own home business making a selling candles, no scent but colour. I will be using bees wax, soy wax and paraffin wax. Are standard labels fine for this or will I need anything specific? I will also be making rolled bees wax candles, do these require anything specific?

    1. Hi Edward

      Assuming you are not adding anything to your wax then I believe standard pictogram warning labels are find and you would not need to prepare a CLP label.

      HTH

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