Product Overload – Slippery When Wet

September 10, 2008 at 7:11 am 3 comments

This is the third post about my attempts to get rid of STUFF and to pay more attention to the products I do buy.  To see more details check out the original posts under the category Product Overload.


August 29, 2008

The category is SOAP. 

With 776 bar soaps listed on the Cosmetic Database I should be able to find a soap to replace my dearly beloved Ivory soap.  I checked out all the soaps in the “natural” section at the local Cub Foods.  I was curious to see if these products are actually safer than the ones in the “regular” aisle.  There are just 4 so I’ll (briefly!) evaluate them all.  The first two are products I didn’t like because of their strong scents, not to mention expensive price tags. 

Reviva Labs All Natural Seaweed Soap  3.49 for 4.5 oz.  This exact product is not listed, but 79 other Reviva Labs products are, with hazard scores ranging from 2 to 9.  While only 1% of the 299 ingredients the company uses rate a high hazard, 95% have no data / high uncertainty and 93% have no FDA review.  I’ll skip this brand.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps All-on-one Hemp Rose  4.19 for 5 oz.  This product rates a 2 hazard score, which is a good start, but has a 79% data gap and 91% of ingredients have no FDA review.  49% of bar soaps have lower concerns.  Geez Louise.

I guess the lesson here is that I need to research all products, even if the company labels it “natural”.  Please don’t take away from this that products in the natural section are no better than anything else.  Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap still rates better than Lever 2000 (7) or Dial, Dove and Aveeno (all 5s).  I know this process takes a lot of time – it’s taking up more time than I anticipated.  I am surprised and unhappy about how many unknown and potentially hazardous ingredients are used in these common products. 

Look, I don’t want to walk around fearing I’m going to get cancer from touching a bar of soap.  In the past, when I’ve started to read about the potential hazards of body products I just felt overwhelmed and frustrated.  This time I’m taking it one product category at a time and I think in the end I’ll fell better knowing I’ve made the best and most informed choice possible.   

Runner-up:  Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap.  (Also available in Olive & Aloe)  Now we’re getting somewhere.  I should buy this product.  It has a hazard score of ZERO and a data gap of only 33%.  The data gap is because of the Olive Oil which has had no FDA or industry review (for topical use I presume, but considering how much olive oil I injest I’m not going to worry about it being a hazard as a soap).  NO PRODUCTS are listed as having less concerns – this is the safest out of 776 bar soaps.  I cannot detect any scent through the paperboard packaging and it is the best deal at $3.49 for an 8 oz. bar.  But, I am intimidated by the weight.  What if I drop it on my foot?  This happens at least once per week since A. I am clumsy and B. soap is slippery when wet.  Also, it is made in Greece then distributed in New York.  That’s a long way for a bar of soap to travel.

Finalist:  Clearly Natural Lemon (Also Cucumber, Unscented and several others).  I am intrigued by the lemon scented variety.  At $1.99 for 4 oz this is also one of the better deals and is made in Georgia.  The clear plastic packaging which shows off the rainbow of colors.  Unlike the Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap which I suspect is a dull brownish color, the lemon soap is a bright pretty yellow which will match my bathroom.  Shallow?  Perhaps.  What can I say – I’m the oldest, I like things to match.  The Clearly Natural only rates a low 1 for the hazard score.  HOWEVER, there is a 91% data gap and 100% of the ingredients have no FDA or industry review.  And one of the ingredients is sodium hydroxide, about which the EWG says, “one or more animal studies shows metabolic effects at very low doses” and “one or more animal studies show sense organ effects at very low doses.”   Agh!  I was getting so excited.  So …

The winner is:

Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap

Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap

I have liked many Kiss My Face products and I’ll just have to be careful to not drop the soap on my toes.  Eventually the bar will get smaller.


Out of curiosity I checked the price on the recently banished Ivory Soap.  It costs $2.09 for 4 bars, total 18 oz.  That is cheaper.  But is it a better deal?


Entry filed under: Product Overload, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , .

Nuts About Nelson, part 3 Ah Crap. I fell off my pedestal of self-satisfaction.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lewis Goldstein  |  September 10, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    hi, i lead the marketing at kiss my face and saw your blog entry recommending our olive bar soaps. thanks so much for using our products and liking them enough to recommend to family and friends. we also have 4 oz sizes of each flavor so if you want something smaller, it is available. as a small token of our thanks for recommending our products, please use and feel free to share code KMFBLOG3 at for 30% off any order until 9/20. thanks again for your support, Lewis Goldstein, VP Marketing,

  • 2. Wardrobe Becky  |  September 15, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Whhhoo-Whooo! Lookie at You! The VP of marketing found you and thinks you are a rock star. Can’t you just throw a party for a soap! Invite everyone to read your blog and order to celebrate the great news! I am still gonna love Mr Dr Bronner soap. I get why they may have a testing gap. I mean, they test chemicals. And Castille soap has no chemicals. 91% No FDA review? Let me share why: Water, saponified coconut, hemp, and olive oils (with retained glycerin), olive fatty acids, pure essential oils (vary with product) and rosemary extract. Dude! Its all plant based. No wonder the FDA doesn’t test it. They probably only test the rosemary extract – that leaves 91% of stuff they don’t test.
    And since we’re people who passed Science class I’m not afraid to share that it takes Fat to make Soap.
    Our friends at Wikipedia share this about Fats and Soaps.
    “Soap is derived from either vegetable or animal fats. Sodium tallowate, a common ingredient in many soaps, is derived from rendered beef fat. Soap can also be made of vegetable oils, such as palm oil, and the product is typically softer. If soap is made from pure olive oil it may be called Castile soap or Marseille soap. Castile is also sometimes applied to soaps with a mix of oils, but a high percentage of olive oil.

    An array of oils and butters are used in the process such as olive, coconut, palm, cocoa butter, hemp oil and shea butter to provide different qualities. For example, olive oil provides mildness in soap; coconut oil provides lots of lather; while coconut and palm oils provide hardness.” [wikipedia, soap].

    Now you know! I respect your choice for Kiss My Face, but I’ll be a life long Dr Bronner & Vermont Castille Soaps fan. I know why the FDA doesn’t test coconuts, hemp and olive oil. They are foods, not chemicals. And that explains the data gap. And I’m okay with the data gap and the FDA leaving food alone! Happy washing!

  • 3. saratoday  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Becky – I want to respond to this because you make some good points. Yes, I should have noted that many of the untested ingredients in the Dr. Bronner’s soap are untested but probably safe as they are edible (i.e. cocunut oil). However, one should not assume that because an ingredient is “natural” it is automatically okay. Dr. Bronner’s soap contains ethanol (hazard 5) and citric acid (4). While these are not as bad as, say, the formaldehyde (10) found in many anti-aging products, they have not been thoroughly studied.


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