Bargain of the Week: Clearly NaturalPosted: April 21, 2010
I’ve been seeing Clearly Natural soaps in my local supermarkets for a few years now. I have to admit that I overlooked them because they look cheap. Too cheap. And the $1.99 price tag didn’t help Clearly Natural look any better in my eyes. But lately I’ve stopped buying expensive department store skin care. I’ve been searching for inexpensive, back-to-basics skin care products. I’ve tried a variety of facial soaps (the most basic skin care item I can think of) from supermarkets and drugstores, but I’ve gotten bored with the usual Dove, Purpose, and Cetaphil bars which tend to dry out my skin. So when I saw two bars of Clearly Natural soap one week at the grocery store, only to see them sold out the next week, it piqued my interest. Whenever I see a non-mainstream item sold out, it makes me think there’s a select group of women who are “on to something.” I want to be one of those women. So when I saw a huge selection of Clearly Natural bars at my local Market Basket, I bought a couple. Market Basket has probably carried them for years, but like I said, I probably just never noticed them before.
Clearly Natural are glycerine-based soaps that come in a number of fragrances, as well as unscented. They are chunky, jewel-toned transparent bars. I bought two bars, an Unscented, and a Vitamin E bar. Other fragrances include aloe vera, lemon, lilac, rainforest, green apple, jasmine, honeysuckle, cucumber, peppermint, and strawberry. Looking at the reviews for this soap on Makeup Alley, drugstore.com, and the Clearly Natural website, it looks like this soap has had a cult following for years. Many testimonials attest to the soap’s moisturizing benefits, and some claim to help with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and acne. My skin is combination, but sensitive, and acneic, so I hoped Clearly Natural would help reduce my breakouts while effectively cleansing. The first bar I tried was the Vitamin E. I used it for a few days before switching to the Unscented because the Vitamin E bar smells like men’s cologne. But as for its cleansing benefits, it left my skin clean but not dry. My only minor gripe is that it doesn’t lather as much as other cleansing bars that I’m used to, but that’s because it doesn’t contain sulfates. It’s a trade-off for healthy skin that I’m willing to make. The Unscented fared much better, but I do enjoy a nice fragrance in my skin care products. I’ve since gone back and purchased a Lemon and a Lilac bar. I get bored with skin care products and am notorious for switching brands. With the large variety of fragrances, I can continue to use Clearly Natural without getting bored.
I’ve seen Clearly Natural soaps range in price from $1.49 to $1.99 in stores and online. But at Market Basket, it sells for 89 cents! After I found them at Market Basket, I discovered www.iherb.com, an online vitamin and health site, usually sells them for $1.52, but sometimes they have special offers, so if you purchase a bar in combination with another item that they’ve paired with it, the cost is reduced to 79 cents. Clearly Natural is a cheap but gentle way to care for your face and body in these tough economic times, but I might just keep buying them because they’re natural, gentle, and effective.
There seems to be a couple of different formulas floating around of Clearly Natural. The first two bars I bought featured a label that simply said “Clearly Natural Glycerine Soap.” The third bar is called “Clearly Natural Essentials,” with a tag-line that reads “All natural glycerine soap made with the finest ingredients.” The fourth is also a “Clearly Natural Essentials” but it features a seal that claims “New and Improved!” The tagline now reads “A luxurious blend of essential oils and natural vegetable glycerine.” I hope this doesn’t mean the newer bars are no longer “all natural.” This bar also features an ingredients list, something the other bars lacked. According to the FAQ section of the company’s official website, www.clearlynaturalsoaps.com, the ingredients are: glycerine, sorbitol, alkyl polyglucoside, sodium stearate, and sodium citrate. But the website shows bars with both the old as well as the newer “Essentials” label, adding to the confusion. The newest bar that I purchased, the one that claims its “New and Improved”, lists the ingredients as glycerine, sorbitol, alkyl polyglucoside, sodium stearate, sodium citrate, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, blend of natural aromas and essential oils including citrus medica limonum (lemon) fruit extract, saffron, and sodium chloride (ingredients in bold are specific to this particular fragrance, the Lemon soap)
I haven’t yet tried these two “Clearly Natural Essentials” variants, but if they’re different from the original two bars I bought then I’ll post an update. I hope the company hasn’t “pulled a Pears” and radically changed the formula, just like Pears Soap did. If they had, I predict there will be a lot of angry, disappointed people out there.