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Hey guys!

Savanna Bell here with My Massage World and

this week’s video is inspired by a question

that was posed in our private members’ only

Facebook group about homemade products like

sugar scrubs and things like that.

So it got me thinking, there’s some serious

risks involved with selling this sort of thing,

and I don’t think a lot of therapists are

aware of these risks.

So let’s look at the 3 big legal protections

you MUST have in place if you’re selling

homemade products in your massage practice.

So whether you’re selling your own products

or someone else’s, there are three major

considerations to make if you’re selling

anything like sugar scrubs, lotions, lip balms…anything

of the sort.

#1: You MUST use a preservative for the absolute

majority of these products.

If there is even a speck of water, or water-based

ingredient, or if the product is likely to

be exposed to moisture in the air or have

someone’s fingers scraping into it, it needs

a freaking preservative!

Both because that’s just the thing to do

to be a decent human being that works to not

harm others, and you really don’t want the

lawsuit that can happen if you’re guilty

of not doing this.

Now you may think, well it’s just little

old me and my products I only use the best,

all natural, organic ingredients, blah blah


That’s great and all, but guess what.

Mold is freaking organic and all natural!

So are bacteria!

And what if your client goes to put that infested

scrub or lotion onto their skin over even

a slight cut or opening in the skin like a

nick from shaving?

That nastiness just breeched the barrier and

is now possibly infecting that little opening

and potentially invading their blood stream.

And what if, heaven forbid, that person is

immunocompromised due to an illness or a medication?

Ok, look, I’m not trying to scare the bejeezus

out of you, but well I guess I kind of am.

This isn’t something to mess around with.

This is very serious and needs to be addressed!

But I’ve seen therapists make these products

or buy from someone local who makes them with

all these great ingredients, but no preservative…and

then they sit on a shelf for 6 month or a


And just because something looks or smells

fine, does not mean it is fine.

For the love of all that is holy in this world,

put a freaking preservative in your products!

And no, essential oils of any kind, while

they may have some properties that are anti-bacterial

or anti-fungal are not full spectrum, safe,

and reliable preservatives.

And the sheer amount you would have to add

to a product to reach the level of possibly

making an essential oil act as a preservative

would usually render the product unsuitable

or even hazardous.

There are all natural ones out there.

Yes, parabens, phenoxyethanol, and those sorts

of things are preservatives, and I’m right

there with you on not wanting to put that

crap in my products or on my own skin.

But you can find all natural broad-spectrum

preservatives that will keep away bacteria

and fungi if you don’t want to use the harsher


For example, just to name a few, you could

use Will Bark extract which is all natural

or Preservative Eco which is a special formulation

of benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerin

and sorbic acid; all of which are naturally


When going with all natural preservatives,

you’ll often need a much higher concentration,

so the preservative will have to make up a

larger percentage of your product than some

others would.

This is not something to guess at!

Research this stuff thoroughly and test it!

Now let me make one distinction here that

I think is important.

There is a big difference between rancidity

and growth of mold or bacteria.

Again, just because something smells or looks

fine doesn’t mean it is fine.

Mold and bacteria can be growing at a microscopic

level long before you ever see or smell the

first little tinge of something funky.

This growth happens due to moisture and a

good food source, like sugars and much of

the other stuff we like to put in these products.

Rancidity on the other hand is when the oil,

butter, or other fat-based ingredients within

your product go bad.

For example, almond oil has a shelf life of

1 year.

So it will smell fine and the oil will still

be good for a year from the time it’s made.

Once you get close to that year mark, the

smell will start to turn.

So the product may still be “safe” if

preservatives were used, but the oil is basically

just old and rancid.

BUT, if that same product is exposed to moisture

at all or you include any ingredients that

contain water, like hydrosols, floral water,

or aloe vera juice, they can grow bacteria

and mold long before you ever see or smell

the first signs that something is wrong.

So please, please, please, use a preservative

in your products.

We live in an age of being able to order ANYTHING

online…do your research and find a preservative

that works for what you’re making.

And if you’re using or selling someone else’s

homemade products, make sure they’re using

a preservative and that it’s at the right

concentration to be effective.

Ok, moving on…

#2: Label your products clearly

This is not just a preference, this is a rule

of the FDA here in the US.

And I’m in the United States, so that’s

what I’m referencing, is the legalities


If you are outside the US, please check with

your local and national laws and regulations.

Laws get really detailed and complex here,

but I’m going to try to keep this simple

for you.

Now, while the FDA does regulate cosmetics,

somewhat, which many of these sorts of spa

products would fall under, there are some

serious concerns over the claims made about

your products so that you’re not falling

under what would be classified as a “drug”.

So let’s look at exactly what the FDA says

here on this…

“A product is a cosmetic if it is intended

for uses such as cleansing the human body,

making a person more attractive, or changing

a person’s appearance….Some products meet

the definitions of both cosmetics and drugs.

This may happen when a product has two intended


For example, a shampoo is a cosmetic because

its intended use is to cleanse the hair.

An antidandruff treatment is a drug because

its intended use is to treat dandruff.

Consequently, an antidandruff shampoo is both

a cosmetic and a drug.

Among other cosmetic/drug combinations are

toothpastes that contain fluoride, deodorants

that are also antiperspirants, and moisturizers

and makeup marketed with sun-protection claims.

Such products must comply with the requirements

for both cosmetics and drugs.”

So unless you feel like going far more in

depth with legal requirements and lab testing

for your products, don’t make any claims

about treating any sort of medical condition,


Even seemingly small stuff like minor skin


That would still fall under the classification

of a “drug”.

If you’re claiming to make any changes to

the structure or function of the body and

any components of it, including the skin,

then it is classified as a “drug”.

Now a few points here when it comes to labeling

and such for your products.

You don’t have to get your custom candle label template approved

by the FDA beforehand.

It is your responsibility to ensure your label

is accurate and follows all guidelines:

-You must have the name of the product on

the label.

-All ingredients must be listed by their common

name and/or scientific name without any further


If they’re “certified organic” that

can be used as part of the name in that list.

But this is why you sometimes see a little

star next to each ingredient on a label and

then that star is explained below the ingredient

list as marking those ingredients that are

“all natural” or “naturally derived”

or “organic” or whatever other description

they want.

You just don’t list that type of descriptive

term WITH the ingredient in the ingredient



-You must have a “directions for safe use”

section on your label.

-You must list out any warnings, like don’t

use on open wounds, not meant to treat, cure,

or prevent any medical conditions, things

like that.

And just because something is “natural”

does not mean it is safe for everyone.

Arsenic is natural for heaven’s sake!

So is botulism!

Let’s be adults here and look at reality.

Even essential oils and such, that many people

claim are “natural” can be quite hazardous

to people with certain conditions and when

not used properly.

-As for cosmetics, color additives are the

only ingredient that has to be approved by

the FDA.

So you probably just shouldn’t use those.

-The term “natural” is not a regulatory

term and you can use that however you want.

It doesn’t mean squat to the FDA or as a

term of safety, but is more so used as a marketing


-The FDA does not regulate the use of the

term “organic”, but the USDA does.

So you cannot state your product is organic

unless you have it independently tested and

approved by them.

Instead, you will list out all of those ingredients

individually that have been officially classified

as organic by the USDA and come with that

little seal showing that legally standing

approval, and you can say it is made with

USDA organic ingredients.

But your product, unless you want to pay the

big bucks and get it officially approved by

the USDA, cannot be labeled as USDA organic,

even if every ingredient you use is.

Make sense?

-The FDA requires cosmetic labels to identify

the name and place of business of the manufacturer,

packer or distributor.

You need the physical address of your business,

or the business that makes your products for

you, on your label.

Not a PO Box, not a website address alone.

Those things are fine to include if you want,

but you still have to have the physical address


-The quantity of the product must be listed.

Ounces, grams, whatever.

Measure it and put it on the label.

-Every bit of the typeface on the label needs

to be large enough to be clearly legible.

-There’s even regulation regarding the size

of what they call the Principal Display Label,

or basically the primary label you use on

the packaging.

So for a rectangular package, the label has

to take up one entire side.

For cylindrical packages, the label has to

be 40% of the height x circumference.

And for other shaped containers, the label

needs to be 40% of the total container surface,

not including top, bottom, neck, and other

decorative protrusions.


This is the law.

-If you have an outer container holding the

primary container with the product inside,

you need to have a similar label with all

this information on both containers.

-And, you will also want to include an expiration

from open.

So this could be something like “use within

6 months from the date opened” or just the

little symbol of a jar with 6 month written

on it.

OR you could even have a blank space on your

labels so you can write in the date it was

made, and the use by date.

And lastly, and I’ll keep this one short,

because it’s pretty straightforward…#3:

You MUST collect sales tax

This will obviously depend on your area, but

for most places, yes, even if you are only

selling a few items here and there, sales

tax will still need to be collected.

So you will have to apply for a sales tax

permit or ID with your state, collect that

tax, and then pay it to your state every month,

every quarter, or every year, depending on

their requirements and your preferences.

Now some of you might find this obvious, but

I’ve seen many therapists who do not do


They think they’re just selling a few things

and it’s no big deal.

But you know what is a big deal, tax fraud

and tax evasion.

If you were just making some crafts and selling

a little every now and then, some areas may

not have regulations on that, but you’re

a business.

And your business is selling a product.

Therefore, you need to collect sales tax.

Now whether you add this on top of your product

price, or include it in the price is totally

up to you, but either way, the state expects

to get their piece.

You better give it to them.

Plain and simple; collect and pay the tax.

Now I know this video has thrown a lot of

information at you, but this is the stuff

you have to think about.

You’re a business, act like one.

This stuff isn’t all that hard, it’ll

just take a little time to put it all together

at first and make sure everything is on the

up and up.

Then it’s smooth sailing from there, with

no worries about someone getting hurt or getting

in legal trouble for failure to properly label

or pay your taxes.

For more info and tips on how to grow your

massage practice, be sure to join the free

My Massage World Facebook group.

Thank you so much for watching today.

As always, check us out at,

like us on Facebook, subscribe to us on YouTube,

and stay tuned for more videos – there’s

a new one every week.


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