I bought two kinds of Kiss My Face soap at the Grocery Outlet – both made from olive oil. There’s not a big difference between the varieties of Kiss My Face olive oil soap as they are all made with 86% olive oil. The unscented variety contains only three ingredients – olive oil, water, and salt – while the other versions also contain plant extracts: lavender, aloe, or green tea.
Soap made from olive oil is one of the oldest forms of bar soap, going back millennia, and it’s one of those staple products that haven’t needed any improvement. Of course, that doesn’t stop companies battling over market share with new formulations so that we now have an assortment of soaps that are way too complex and full of ingredients that are dubious in terms of sustainability and/or safety.
Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap – review
I’ve used Kiss My Face soap on and off for years and consider it a good choice from most perspectives. I usually opt for the unscented or the aloe version, but I think they are all fine. They function well for both hands and body and don’t dry out my skin. Olive oil soap, sometimes called Castile soap or Marseille soap, is well regarded for its mildness.
If I was being fussy and trying to find a downside, I would say that the large 8 oz. bars are a bit awkward to handle. I sometimes cut these large bars in half, lengthwise, so I end up with two bars that are about the same shape as regular soap bars. Or I just buy the smaller 4 oz. bars 😉
Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap – ingredients
Unscented olive oil soap: Sodium Olivate (Saponified Olive Oil), Aqua, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt)
Olive & Aloe soap: Sodium Olivate (Saponified Olive Oil), Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt), Parfum
A big factor for me in buying soap is that I’ll avoid soap made from palm oil, unless I’m certain that it’s sustainably sourced, which is rare. That was the main reason why the Tom’s of Maine soap that I reviewed recently only scored 2.5 Green Stars. Tom’s of Maine scored a medium (rather than terrible) rating because there are several positive aspects to the company – there are both worse and better soap choices.
Unilever’s Dove soap, made from palm oil, animal fat, and a bunch of other ingredients, is probably one of the worst soap choices, ethically.
There are several soaps on the other end of the spectrum that support communities and habitats, for example Alaffia (also known as Good Soap) which I wrote about on the Green Stars Project.
Bar soaps versus liquid soap
The first consideration when buying soap is whether to buy a liquid or solid soap. Liquid soap has a significantly higher footprint, requiring five times more energy for raw material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do. Liquid soaps also don’t last as long: on a per-wash basis consumers use more than six times the amount of liquid soap than bar soap.
Are olives a sustainable crop?
As Kiss My Face soap is made mainly from olive oil, it’s worth asking the question: how sustainable are olives? First off, I was surprised to see that the yield of olives can be really high!
A good consistent yield [of olives] would be about 4 tons per acre (9 metric tons per hectare) – University of California
The yield of oil per hectare is also pretty decent – typically higher than sunflower oil but not as high as coconut.
Besides yield, I also like that olives can be grown on land that wouldn’t be that useful for many other crops – like hillsides or dry, rocky ground. The trees provide stability that helps maintain soil health and get crops through droughts and water shortages. Of course, olives can also pose problems if farmed intensively. You would imagine that the olive oil used to make soap can also reduce waste, if it makes use of oil that wouldn’t sell for culinary use.
Kiss My Face – ownership
The company seemed to have a glitch in late 2018 and some (very loyal) customers had trouble finding their products. At that point, Kiss My Face was acquired by Aliph Brands and Aliph partnered with some new manufacturing partners. I’m not sure if there were financial difficulties or maybe the founders wanted to reduce their workload – they had been at it for over 35 years since establishing Kiss My Face in the 1980s. You can read about the founders in this blog post, or watch the short video, below:
The olive oil soap, mentioned in the video above, is still made in Greece, so perhaps not much has changed.
Ethical rating for Kiss My Face
Overall, I think that Kiss My Face deserves 4.5 Green Stars for social and environmental impact, based on these factors:
- This soap is vegan, as are all Kiss My Face products, except for a couple that include honey or beeswax.
- Products were never tested on animals. Kiss My Face is PETA-endorsed as cruelty-free.
- Kiss My Face use good ingredients for its whole product range – using olive or coconut oil for surfactants, combined with plant extracts and some organic ingredients.
- The olive oil soap is packaged in paper that’s 80% recycled.
- Kiss my Face are not as transparent about their operations as some companies like Dr. Bronner’s – it’s hard to find information on things like their energy use and whether ingredients are sustainably farmed or fairly traded.
- Supporting LGBTQ and animal rights.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Kiss My Face:
- 4.5 gold stars for quality and value
- 4.5 green stars for overall social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, be excellent to each other.