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Clearly Natural Soap Review: Unscented Bar for Body (and Possibly Shampoo, Too)
Reader's Reviews of Unscented Clearly Natural
I Knew Not the Wonders of Glycerin, Until...
Before I discovered glycerin soap, I favored an unscented soap bar made from virgin coconut oil, both as body soap and as shampoo. It was great--but it dried my skin on my face and tended to make my hair more straggly than I would like. It was also expensive. My husband had already tried Clearly Natural soap and asked me to order some online (we do about 80% of our shopping online, since we're slaves to convenience--and one day, I suspect we'll be ordering our groceries regularly online).
I researched prices and found a 24-pack case of Clearly Natural Unscented Soap was pretty cheap when I ordered it online in bulk, so I ordered two cases for him. I continued to use my coconut oil soap until I ran out. While waiting for the new order of my soap to arrive, I tried his.
I Became a Glycerin Soap Convert
I liked it on my skin. It didn't have a lot of lather, but I really, really liked how soft my skin felt, and my skin never dried out, not even on my face. As promised, the soap didn't have any scent, which was important to me because I'm sensitive to fragrances--I have to get unscented laundry detergent and dish detergent, too, or I get atopic dermatitis.
Anyway, I liked it so much I used it instead of my coconut oil soap for washing, but kept the coconut oil soap as a shampoo. Then I ran out of the coconut oil soap again. When I went to re-order that soap, I winced. It was twice the price of the glycerin soap. But I bought some, anyway.
That was my last order of organic coconut soap. Because one day, I tried the glycerin soap as a shampoo.
Why try using soap as shampoo? In brief, to avoid sodium laurel sulfates and sodium laureth sulfates...and the high prices of specially formulated liquid shampoos that leave those detergents out. Some soaps are better than others when applied to the hair. Most soaps dry out my scalp and make my hair a frizzy mess. The glycerin soap didn't lather quite as much as the coconut soap, but it made my hair beautiful and didn't cause any frizz at all. It also rinsed out better, for some reason.
Glycerin is No Byproduct--Its THE Product
My husband, a self-taught chemistry whiz, lectured me about glycerin. Glycerin, he said, is extracted as a by-product in the production of regular soap. Why is it extracted? Well, not because it's undesirable. On the contrary, it's so desirable it's extracted in soap making because it can be used more profitably as an ingredient in other far more expensive beauty and personal care products. Used as a soap, it is superior. Clear and translucent, low-lathering and gentle on the skin, glycerine soap tends to be more expensive than the opaque soaps.
Which is what I was surprised about with Clearly Natural Unscented Soap. This glycerin soap is not nearly as expensive as other "luxury" brands, but it seems to be just as good. Better, in my view, because it comes in an unscented, fragrance-free variety as well as all the scents (which I haven't tried, naturally).
I bought several cases of the soap the next time I ordered, since I was using it regularly now, too. I've never been disappointed. In fact, each time I place an order now, I order one more case than the last time.
We discovered one flaw with the soap's packaging. We live in a moist area of the country and don't have air conditioning. The glycerin soap is wrapped individually in plastic and tends to release moisture into the plastic. So after about nine months of storage, our soaps emerge kind of sticky when we unwrap them. It hasn't noticably affected the quality of the soap or how long it lasts, as far as I can tell, though.
Clearly Natural Soap
We use this unscented soap for our hands and body and even hair - at least, the husband and kid's hair. It doesn't lather enough for my hair to be a good bar shampoo for me.
Update January 2015
Well, it has been several years now, and I have used this soap, off and on, during this time. Because of our hard water, I mostly have converted from this glycerine soap to an unscented bar soap brand that suds up better. But my husband and child continue to use it and love it. I still like it - it remains gentle on my skin and I have atopic dermatitis, which doesn't tolerate many chemicals well at all. It just doesn't get sudsy enough for me to wash my hair.
There is one caution. We bought a recent lot of this soap from Vitacost because the prices were awesome. Well, apparently they stored it right next to some scented soaps, because it arrived full of fragrance. I called up the company that makes the soap and asked them if their formula had changed. They said yes, but that the soap still shouldn't have a fragrance. So they sent me a sample from their own supplies. It was as great as usual - I frankly didn't notice any changes they had made. So we ordered from their website directly to be assured of getting bars that not only were manufactured without fragrances, but that remained fragrance-free.
We use this liquid regularly. We buy it directly from the company's website. It truly is unscented and doesn't bother any of my family's skin. It also suds up a bit better than the solid bar soap, for some reason. This is the refill. The first time you get it, I'd try it in the available pump.
© 2009 Chris Telden