You must register with AICIS if you:
- make soaps in Australia by a process involving a chemical reaction (such as saponification using lye) for commercial purposes — this includes selling the soaps in-store, online, at local markets and giving out free samples to market your product
- Import soaps from overseas — including packaged soaps ready for sale and soaps that will be packaged locally
- Import chemical ingredients into Australia for soap making intended for sale
You don’t need to register with AICIS if you:
- make or buy soaps for personal use only
- sell soaps made with pre-made melt-and-pour bases that you bought from a local Australian shop, supplier or manufacturer
- re-sell soaps (packaged and unpackaged) that you bought from a local Australian shop, supplier or manufacturer
- make soaps and gift to family and friends or sell them for the cost of the materials only (no profit)
The process you use to make your soaps is important
If you’re making soaps to sell, the way you make them determines whether you need to register with AICIS.
Check that your ingredients are on the Inventory
Next, you must check that each chemical ingredient in your soap is on our industrial chemical database called the Inventory. You can do this by searching our Inventory using the chemical’s CAS number or CAS name.
Examples of common ingredients used in soaps
The following tables list examples of common ingredients used in soaps. Ingredients and chemicals often have many names. The best way to search the Inventory is to ask your supplier for a CAS number.
Soaps made from natural or organic ingredients
All soaps, including ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ soaps, contain industrial chemicals. It’s also important to know that many natural and organic ingredients do not meet the legal definition of a naturally occurring chemical.. This is because many ingredients from natural or organic sources are made using a process that involves a chemical reaction, such as steam distillation or solvent extraction (for example, to make essential oils).
If you plan to import soap or make soap using natural or organic ingredients, you’ll still need to register with us (unless you meet the Who doesn’t need to register criteria) and check that each ingredient is on our Inventory. You don’t have to register if you buy pre-made soap from an Australian supplier to re-sell or re-package as your own (the supplier has already registered with us).