section 1: Chemicals
section 2: Moisturizing
section 3: Sustainability
CHEMICALS IN SOAP
Learn More - section 1 of 3
What's the Difference Between Essential Oils and Fragrances?
Essential Oils are real scents (natural).
Fragrances are fake scents (synthetic).
What are Phthalates?
Phthalates (pronounced "THa-lates") are widely-used chemicals found in cosmetics, fragrances, body wash, soaps, and other personal care products. Phthalates have been linked to cancer, endocrine-system disruption and other health problems. [scroll to end for sources] Our soaps are made with essential oils—not fragrances—and contain no phthalates.
Chemicals in Soap
If fragrances are so bad, why do so many companies use them?
Because fragrances are extremely cheap. They're cheap because they're made in a lab from inexpensive chemicals. In contrast, essentials oils are made from pressed plant matter. You have to press a lot of plants to get a little bit of oil, which is why essential oils are 2x to 10x the price of fragrances. We only use the highest quality organic essential oils.
What about 'natural' fragrances?
There is no such thing as "natural fragrance." All fragrances are synthetic, lab-made chemicals containing phthalates. "Natural fragrance" is a term created by the cosmetics industry to greenwash their products and deceive consumers into believing their products are safe and natural. Only essential oils are safe, natural and phthalate-free.
Which is better: Bar Soap or Body Wash?
And the winner is...Bar Soap! Why? Three reasons:
1. Chemicals: Body wash is detergent, not real soap. Detergents are synthetic cleansers that can strip your skin of needed oils. In contrast, soap is made from plant oils or animal fats and isn't as harsh to skin as detergent. Moreover, most detergents contain a host of chemicals (phthalates, parabens, dyes, etc.), some of which are linked to serious health problems. Many of those chemicals are added to bodywash to counteract the drying effects of the detergent. For example, EDTA is a synthetic moisturizer linked to health problems but it's added to most body washes.
2. Carbon Footprint. Body wash is 90% water and 10% detergent. Why pay for a plastic bottle that's 90% water? Moreover, shipping water in plastic bottles puts unnecessary greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
3. Plastic Pollution: All plastic is made from oil extracted from the earth by oil companies. It takes 400 years for a plastic bottle of body wash to degrade. 91% of plastic is not recycled. The ocean is so polluted with plastic that there are several country-sized islands of floating plastic, one of which is called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch". And the patch is getting bigger fast because 8 millions tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
Every year, countless whales, dolphins, turtles, birds and other creatures die by consuming plastic. In 2019, one dead beached whale was examined and it's stomach contained a shocking 88 pounds of plastic. "It was full of plastic — nothing but nonstop plastic," said marine biologist Darrell Blatchley who autopsied the whale. This is madness. We must protect Mother Nature and it starts by reducing our plastic usage. Using bar soap instead of body wash is one way to significantly reduce plastic usage.
What's the Difference Between Soap and Detergent?
Soap is made from plants.
Detergents are synthetic chemical cleansers.
Many 'Soaps' are Actually Detergent
Body Wash = Water + Detergent
HOW WE MAKE THE WORLD'S MOST MOISTURIZING SOAP
Learn More - section 2 of 3
A Rare, Ultra Premium Ingredient...
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from the 1st press of olives. It's packed with anti-oxidants which makes it anti-inflammatory and super hydrating for skin.
But it's expensive so 99% of soapmakers don't use it. We do because the 1st press yields the best oil with the most anti-oxidants and the most skin-nourishing benefits.
The Four Types of Olive Oil
Organic Extra Virgin
Regular / Light
Plus 3 More Premium Organic Ingredients...
WHAT MAKES A SOAP 'SUSTAINABLE'?
Learn More - section 3 of 3
Why We Don't Use 'Sustainable' Palm Oil...
We don't use any palm oil in our soaps because palm oil plantations clear and burn rainforests, accelerating global warming. We also don't use 'sustainable' palm oil because currently, there is no such thing as 'sustainable' palm oil. [2, 3, 5] Those using sustainable palm oil are trying to do the right thing and that is commendable, but unfortunately, 'sustainable' palm oil is not actually sustainable.
Greenpeace says plainly: “‘Certified sustainable’ palm oil is a con.”  The sustainability certification for palm oil has been described as a "meaningless certification."  A study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that there was "limited evidence of the conservation effectiveness" (page 43) of sustainable palm oil.  The study also notes that the certifying body, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: “appears to have few benefits for orangutan populations in Sumatra”(page 61).  [scroll to end for sources]
Brenda Needs Our Help
This is Brenda, an orangutan attacked by palm oil operators attempting to drive her from her Indonesian rainforest. Sadly, her mom did not survive the attack. (photo from Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) More about Brenda.
Your support of palm oil-free products protects Brenda and other endangered animals like her.
S.M.O.C. Skincare is a member of 1% for the Planet, which means we donate 1% of our revenue to environmental non-profits.
Palm Oil vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Since palm oil causes rainforest destruction, why do so many companies use it?
Because it's extremely cheap. Palm oil is 1/3 the price of extra virgin olive oil. It's cheap because it comes from massive palm oil plantations growing on cleared rainforest land in developing countries. Look at the label of any soap and you'll most likely see "palm oil" or the scientific name: "sodium palmate" or "sodium palm kernelate." At S.M.O.C. Skincare, we use no palm oil.
Why don't other soap makers use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Because extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the most expensive oils, 3x the price of palm oil. Organic EVOO—what we use—is the highest grade possible and is even pricier. We use it because we know that it provides incredible skin-nourishing benefits that you will see and feel after you try our soap. We also believe it's important to use only organic products.
Is Plastic Really a Problem?
Yes. Plastic takes 400 years to degrade. Thousands of turtles, dolphins, whales and other animals die from plastic ingestion every year. There's so much plastic in the ocean that there is a massive island of floating plastic called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does S.M.O.C. stand for?
Sustainable Maximum Organic Content. Our certified organic soaps are vegan, sustainable, and always made with the maximum organic content possible.
Where is S.M.O.C. soap made?
Our artisanal soaps are handmade in Portland, Oregon. Maximum Organic LLC, owner of S.M.O.C. Skincare, is based in Anchorage, Alaska.
How long do S.M.O.C. soaps last?
It varies by person, of course, but most people report that our soaps last 3 to 5 weeks, which is longer than regular soaps. Our soaps contain premium solid butters like shea butter and are cured (air dried) for several weeks before packaging, which results in a harder, longer-lasting bar. A Starbucks latte is $5 and lasts about 5 minutes. After a shower with our soap, your skin will feel clean, luxurious and moisturized, and you'll still have about a month's worth of showers left!
Are all S.M.O.C. soaps certified organic?
Yes. All of our soaps are certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Formed in 1974, Oregon Tilth is a non-profit Accredited Certifying Agent (ACA) for the USDA's National Organic Program. Not all organic certifiers are the same. Many are for-profit mega corporations who care more about profits that organic agriculture. Oregon Tilth is a non-profit with nearly 50 years experience and they're one of the strictest and most trusted organic certifiers in the world. https://tilth.org/about/
Why does S.M.O.C. soap cost more than products like Dove®?
1. First, most regular mass market soap brands are not actually soap. They're detergents with some added soap. Mass market 'soap' brands are made from detergents because it's much cheaper to manufacture detergent than it is to make real soap. What's the difference between soap and detergent? Soap is a natural product made from plant oils or animal oils. Detergents are synthetic cleansers contaning numerous chemicals linked to health concerns. Detergents are great for cleaning your floors, but not your body.
2. Second, it comes down to ingredients. Palm oil is the cheapest oil that can be used to make soap and is found in about 95% of soap. We don't use any palm oil because of its harmful effect on the environment. We use premium, food-grade, organic ingredients like organic extra virgin olive oil, the highest possible grade of olive oil. Most other soap makers don't use any olive oil because of the cost, and if they use olive oil they use pomace olive oil, the lowest and cheapest grade of olive oil. We are making soap completely differently from nearly all other soap makers. Virtually no other soapmaker makes soap with organic shea butter or organic cocoa butter because those are ultra-premium, high-priced ingredients that significantly increase the cost per bar. We scent our soaps with essential oils, never fragrances. Essential oils come from pressed plants. Fragrances are cheap, lab-made chemical compounds. They contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates linked to cancer but they are widely used in soaps. Why? Because fragrances are cheap! For example, a 16 oz bottle of grapefruit fragrance is about $20. A 16 oz bottle of organic grapefruit essential oil is over $200. We are one of the only companies on earth making soap with premium organic essential oils.
Lastly, regarding cost, keep in mind that a Starbucks latte costs $5 and lasts five minutes but one bar of S.M.O.C. soap will provide you with a luxurious shower experience every day for 3 to 5 weeks.
How much is shipping?
• For delivery to the continental USA, standard shipping (4 to 6 business days) is $5.90 for any order size.
• For delivery to Alaska, Hawaii, US territories (VI, PR, etc.), and international destinations, shipping is calculated at checkout.
Does S.M.O.C. soap kill coronavirus?
Yes, all soap kills coronavirus, including our soap. In fact, soap is more effective at killing coronavirus than hand sanitizer because viruses including coronavirus have a membrane made of fat, and soap molecules dissolve the virus’ fatty membrane, tearing the virus apart and killing it. The soap and water then wash the dead virus particles physically of your hands/body. According to Dr. Daniel Pastula, a UC Health neuro-infectious disease expert, “It doesn’t need to be antibacterial soap. All soaps work the same.” And compared to hand sanitizer, “[Soap] is just better,” Dr. Pastula said. “If I have the option, I use soap and water. I use hand sanitizer as a backup.”Also keep in mind that soaps labeled as"antibacterial" may contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive problems. For example, triclosan was the active ingredient in best-selling antibacterial soaps (like Dial) for decades until it was banned by the FDA in 2016. Plain ordinary soap is all you need to safely and effectively kill all germs, viruses, and bacteria.
Sources: Triclosan, found in antibacterial soap and other products, causes cancer in mice, Washington Post, Nov 24, 2014.
Antibacterial Soaps Have Phased Out Controversial Ingredients, But Concerns Remain About New Ones, Forbes, Sept 4, 2016,
The Chemicals to Avoid in Your Shampoo and Body Wash, Healthline website, October 7, 2020.
Antibacterial Soap? You can skip it, use plain soap and water, FDA website
The coronavirus is no match for plain, old soap — here’s the science behind it, MarketWatch, April 8, 2020.
UC Health Today website, Why soap and water work better than hand sanitizer to remove the coronavirus, UC Health, March 30, 2020.
How can I get in touch?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your research sources?
1. National Geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/whopping-91-percent-plastic-isnt-recycled/
2. Monga Bay News, ‘Meaningless Certification’: Study makes the case against ‘sustainable’ palm oil, by Hans Nicholas Jong. August 5, 2020.
3. Journal of Science of the Total Environment, Vol 742, Nov 10, 2020, Certified “sustainable” palm oil took the place of endangered Bornean and Sumatran large mammals habitat and tropical forests in the last 30 years, Roberto Cazzolla Gattia, Alena Velichevskaya.
4. Oil Palm and Biodiversity: A Situation Analysis by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Oil Palm Task Force, 2018, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. Meijaard, E., Garcia-Ulloa, J.,Sheil, D., Wich, S.A., Carlson, K.M., Juffe-Bignoli, D., and Brooks, T.M.
5. Greenpeace, 5 Problems with ‘Sustainable’ Palm Oil. https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/5-problems-with-sustainable-palm-oil/
6. Harvard School of Public Health - Phthalates should be resticted or banned. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/the-big-3-why-phthalates-should-be-restricted-or-banned-from-consumer-products/
7. Common weed killer glyphosate increases cancer risk by 41%, study says. https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/health/us-glyphosate-cancer-study-scli-intl8. ‘Disturbing’: weedkiller ingredient tied to cancer found in 80% of US urine samples https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/09/weedkiller-glyphosate-cdc-study-urine-samples
8. Study Finds Exposure to Phthalates May Increase Children's Cancer Risk https://www.med.uvm.edu/uvmcancercenter/news/2022/03/16/uvm_cancer_center_research_phthalates
9. Final report on the safety assessment of EDTA,...https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12396676/ "Oral exposures to EDTA produced adverse reproductive and developmental effects in animals."
10. One Casualty of the Palm Oil Industry: An Orangutan Mother, Shot 74 Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/world/asia/orangutan-indonesia-palm-oil.html
11. These people are helping save orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia, Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/photography/2020/02/17/these-people-are-helping-save-orangutans-sumatra-indonesia/
12. Phthalates, found in hundreds of household products, may disrupt sex development of male fetus. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/03/06/phthalates-found-in-hundreds-of-household-products-may-disrupt-sex-development-of-male-fetus/
13. 3,163 ingredients hide behind the word "fragrance". https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/3163-ingredients-hide-behind-word-fragrance
14. Why have sperm counts more than halved in the past 40 years? https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2021/may/03/why-have-sperm-counts-more-than-halved-in-the-past-40-years-podcast
15. This Chemical Can Impair Fertility, but It’s Hard to Avoid. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/25/parenting/fertility-pregnancy-phthalates-toxic-chemicals.html
16. Why You Should Say No to Fragrance, https://www.treehugger.com/why-you-should-say-no-fragrance-4857860
17. NPR: Big Oil Lied About Plastic Recycling. https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-the-public-into-believing-plastic-would-be-recycled
18. Phthalates Linked to Early Death, CNN: https://us.cnn.com/2021/10/12/health/plastic-chemical-early-death-wellness/index.html