Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Cleansing Bar and Hydrating Toner (review)

I love browsing beauty shops, looking at all the different brands and types of products (Richard and I have spent many an hour sifting through Liberty's Beauty Hall). The high street can be just as rewarding. Take The Body Shop for example; even the small stores stock a wide variety of interesting cosmetics and toiletries. And that's where I found what looks like a bar of a soap.
The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Cleansing Bar and Hydrating Toner
Except it isn't soap at all, as the assistant was keen to point out: “it's a facial cleansing bar, suitable for all skin types. It's great, you should try it!”. I was reluctant. This bar looked too much like actual soap for my comfort – it'd been drummed into me since forever that you never use soap on your face. “but it's not soap!” she protested, looking exasperated.

At home I read the reviews for the Facial Cleansing Bar and it looked positive. The Body Shop's website users loved it awarding it 4.8 out of 5, Make-Up Alley users give it 4.4 out of 5, so I placed an on-line order for the Cleansing Bar and Hydrating Toner and this is what I think...

The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Cleansing Bar unwrapped
Facial Cleansing Bar
I didn't need to be so suspicious, this 'soap-free' bar of soap cleanses well (although don't expect it to remove make-up) and doesn't dry out my skin. Hooray! I say this as a normal-oily skinned person, though, but even dry faces don't seem to suffer with it. It does feel strange on after using foaming cleansers for such a long time, but you get use to the slightly rubbery feel after rinsing. 'Rubbery' doesn't sound good, but I mean it in the best possible way – it's such a hard sensation to describe, but it's not horrible.  Don't get it in your eyes, though, it stings like mad!

Hydrating Toner
Like all Body Shop toners I've tried this feels thicker than rival's more watery consistencies, but I can't say I've noticed any benefits. It smells lovely, though, very fresh and 'clean' and leaves you looking and feeling fresher. Is it £8 worth of freshness, though? No. Even the best toners don't do a whole lot and this is no exception. It's perfectly adequate and it is, thankfully, non-drying but it is overpriced.

How natural is this range?
Not especially natural if I'm honest. There are even more artificial face cleansing products and there are far more natural options, too.  This sits somewhere in the middle. At least The Body Shop doesn't test on animals and uses a few fair trade ingredients.  Unfortunately sodium palmate is included - this is from palm oil, which is being overly cultivated. It's more of a pity that their parent company, L'Oréal, scores so poorly in the eco stakes. A middling score for The Body Shop at best.

Are they good value?
The bar cleanser is, no question. I'm still using it, it's going to last for ages and it only cost £3.50 to begin with! The toner isn't such good value. Nivea's Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner is an absolute bargain in comparison yet it does just as good a job. I don't know how The Body Shop can justify a near 120% price increase over that.

Are they disability friendly?
If you have mobility issues you won't want the soap; you won't even be able to open it as the wrapping is quite fiddly. If you have poor sight you'll struggle to find your language on the back as many, many languages are printed there. The flip-cap lid on the toner works well, though, and it's easy to hold. While companies like L'Occitane use Braille, you won't find any of that here.

What else is there?
If you don't like the soap you can try the regular Vitamin E cream cleanser, the wash or the wipes (which I like). There's a spray mist too; ideal for setting make-up. In terms of moisturisation options there are numerous serums, oils and creams to try, including an SPF lip balm. With 25 face and body products currently in the range you're bound to find something you like.

Cleansing Bar works surprisingly well
Toner is vastly overpriced
Doesn't dry out dry skin
Not really a natural choice
Both products are nice to use


Brand: The Body Shop

Cleanser Size: 100 g
Cleanser Price: £3.50 (£3.50/100 g)

Toner Size: 200 ml
Toner Price: £8.00 (£4.00/100 ml)

Manufactured: United Kingdom

Cleanser Ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua, Glycerin, Parfum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citronellol, Citric Acid, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Etidronic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Linalool, CI 77891, CI 17200

Toner Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Diglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Parfum, Disodium EDTA, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ Oil), Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Farnesol

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