Possible U.S. Soap Regulation Changes


Soaps are perhaps one of the most widespread consumer products. They are used in industrial applications, by businesses, and in the home. Products with soap functions include toothpaste and shampoo. Currently, a soap product can be regulated as a cosmetic, a drug, or a “true soap” depending on its ingredients and claims.


Made almost solely from the alkali salts of fatty acids.


Labeling of the products is limited to physical action.

The product contains synthetic detergents.

The product is also intended to make to user more attractive through deodorising, fragrance or moisturising properties (e.g. shampoo).


Labeling of the product includes physiological action (e.g. killing germs, treating eczema/acne).

What’s Changing?

Products that are classified as soap are outside of the FDA’s jurisdiction as they are considered consumer products. However, the Chevron doctrine allows courts to give weight to regulatory agencies’ interpretation of laws that are at issue. But a draft bill was recently issued that proposes to stop this consideration. This means that the FDA’s definition of what products are considered soaps may not be given weight in courts. This could have an impact on the current content and labeling regulations of products with a soap function.

Another possible result of this is that importing soap products from Europe might be easier than it was before. On the other hand, production costs and more limited regulation could also affect the pricing and variety of domestic options.

We hope that this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Focal Point Research. We are industry leading U.S. Personal Care Products, Cosmetics, and Drug Consultants that you can trust to help guide your company in the right direction.