Why Do I Need To Do It?
As a business owner, this section on labelling your candles is a very important one – not only because you could very well be breaking the law if not done correctly, rendering your insurance invalid, but also the practise of having legally compliant labels on your products means that, ultimately, customers will trust you (which is what every business owner wants)!
The regulation in practise here is EU’s Classification, Labelling & Packaging Regulation (CLP for short) which after 1st June 2015, stipulated that all new products with hazardous substances must be labelled accordingly. CLP applies to a non-cosmetic product of any size containing a hazardous substance such as fragrance or essential oils (e.g. candles, wax melts, room mists, reed diffusers etc.).
If the candle is not classified (i.e. it DOESN’T contain any ingredients that are classified as hazardous) then there is no requirement for it to be labelled in accordance with CLP. The wax used in candles, is very unlikely to be classified as hazardous and instead it is the fragrance oils that will be the main concern.
Many ingredients in the fragrance oils are known to be eye or skin irritants and environmentally hazardous substances. If present at certain concentrations, they trigger various health or environmental warning statements and safety pictograms. It’s your job to make sure your candle labels are showing the right thing.
With your candles ready on the shelf smelling absolutely fab, I know you must be itching to start selling and making some well earnt money on them. But before you do, it’s crucial you’ve nailed the labelling.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) & CLP Compliant Labelling
Before moving on, you should be aware of “Safety Data Sheets” (SDS for short). This is essentially a safety document that determines ingredients in a particular mixture (a fragrance oil in our case). It contains contact details of your supplier and other important safety information including potential hazards, information on handling and storage as well as emergency measures in the case of an accident.
Note: This would be provided by your supplier. As mentioned in this previous article, if you are creating your own custom blend by mixing fragrances, according to the regulations, it MUST have its own specific SDS as mixing two chemicals together will in turn create a new chemical with potentially different properties and hazards.
In most cases a SDS will be provided for 10% fragrance, as this is generally the maximum concentration that a candle can hold. It will also be provided for 100% concentration as this is the concentration that you will be handling the fragrance oils.
With the SDS, you can technically create CLP compliant labels for your candles which will have the following information:
- Product identifiers
- Hazard pictograms
- Hazard statements
- Allergen information
- Signal words
- Precautionary statements
- Supplier information (your business address and contact number)
Although it is perfectly possible to learn how to display the CLP information yourself, it does take some time and effort to become proficient and confident in this. Unfortunately, it is outside of the scope of this article to provide step by step instructions on how to do this, but with lots of research, assistance from your local Trading Standards and of course with the SDS, it can be done.
Luckily for you, there’s a 99% chance that your supplier already has a CLP template for its fragrance oils making the job easier for you. Once you’ve got the template all you have to do is edit it with your company logo and supplier identification details.
Here, at Craftovator, we provide you with both SDS and CLP label templates for a 10% fragrance concentration, free of charge. You will find this information on every individual fragrance oil page with a link to download. (Please note that the information we provide is just the CLP elements required on your labels. You might also want to add safety instructions for your candles/wax melts)
Remember: each of your candles must have a unique label based on the different fragrance oils used – one label won’t be able to be used for all your candles if they vary in what they are made up of.
An Example of a Candle Label
Here’s an example of a label just to make things a bit clearer (all the different components have been labelled):
Remember: It is not necessarily true that all fragrance oils will trigger hazard pictograms, signal words or certain hazard statements and precautionary statements – it will vary according to the fragrance in question.
Understanding What is Required of You
As a candle maker, you are entitled to a SDS from your supplier for any fragrance oil which has been identified as being potentially hazardous.
If you are selling your candles directly to your customers who will be the end users, you won’t need to supply a SDS but you will need to ensure your candles are labelled correctly, according to regulations - this label will give all the consumer information required.
If you are not supplying directly to the end user (e.g. you may be selling to a hotel or a lifestyle shop) then a SDS will have to be given by you to the retailer for each fragrance oil used in the candles you supply them.
Remember if your candle isn’t classified as hazardous/doesn’t have any hazardous ingredients, you won’t need to even label them under CLP law.
All the above information has been nicely summarised in the flow chart below:
Positioning Your Labels
Your candle label should be firmly affixed to the packaging that immediately contains the hazardous substance or mixture. Warnings should be easily visible and readable horizontally when the package is put down normally.
If your product is too small or has a funny shape, it does still need a CLP label but there are certain exemptions. You can for example apply the labels in alternative ways – e.g. using ties or tags, fold-out labels or by providing full information on outer packaging (e.g., the box). More details on this as well as further guidance can be found here: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/23036412/clp_labelling_en.pdf/89628d94-573a-4024-86cc-0b4052a74d65 (section 5.3 of this ECHA document (pages 43-50), & 5.3.2 (pages 47-50) focus on smaller products).
If you do have any concerns about your labels, you can always get a second opinion from Trading Standards or the British Candlemakers Federation (BCF).
Candle Safety Information
In addition to the CLP labels, candles must also have a candle safety label, giving general candle safety information – for example having the statement “Never leave a burning candle unattended”.
We are actually in the process of writing a separate article about this – stay tuned for a soon-to-be released blog all about the different safety warnings and pictograms for the safe use of candles.
Where Can You Find Some Additional Information?
Below are two useful links providing further information:
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - https://echa.europa.eu/regulations/clp/legislation
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - http://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/legal/clp-regulation.htm
That’s It Folks!
We hope this article helped clarify any misconceptions or uncertainties about how to go about labelling your candles. If you’re still a bit unsure and need a bit more guidance, please don’t be afraid to drop us a message. We’ll be more than happy to help!