Clarify & Cleanse Bar
Good Molecules’ Clarify & Cleanse Bar is one of a growing number of decent soap-free bar cleansers on the market but it falls short of reaching the heights of some of its competitors.
First, the good: as advertised, this bar doesn’t contain any soap ingredients, yet still does an effective job of removing dirt, oil, and debris from skin. It creates a creamy foam on contact with water, making it easy to move around the face. In use, this feels cushioning and comfortable. Despite the fact that it contains vegetable oil, it rinses cleanly without residue and leaves skin feeling hydrated, not dry, stripped, or tight.
The ingredients included make it clear why that’s the case: there’s glycerin, grape seed oil, and rosehip oil in the mix. Also making an appearance are antioxidant cocoa powder and soothing salicylic acid. Because this is a rinse-off product, there’s no long-term benefit of these ingredients, but they’re all thoughtful inclusions.
At issue, though, is that this also contains tea tree oil. The smell from the tea tree oil here is strong and lingers, even after rinsing. Tea tree oil has long been used to treat the oily, acne-prone skin this bar was designed for, and high amounts do have antibacterial benefit for skin – but its fragrant components mean it also poses a risk of irritation, especially if you get it close to eyes or nostrils.
We advise skipping this, and selecting one of the alternatives on our list of best cleansers, which includes other soap-free cleansing bars.
One final note: Good Molecules claims this bar can detoxify skin, but that simply isn’t possible for a skin care product (see More Info below for details).
- Soap-free cleansing bar does a good job removing dirt, oil, and debris from skin.
- Rinses cleanly while leaving skin feeling comfortable.
- Includes hydrating, soothing, and antioxidant ingredients.
- Includes tea tee oil, which puts skin at risk for irritation.
Why Beauty Products Cannot Detoxify Your Skin: Despite the claims of many cosmetics companies, you cannot “detox” your skin. Brands that make this claim never really specify exactly what substances or toxins their products are supposed to eliminate, which makes sense, because your skin does not store toxins.
Toxins are classified according to whether they are produced by the body or are introduced into the body, usually through eating or inhaling. Toxins are produced by plants, animals, insects, reptiles (think snake venom and bee stings), and so on. Toxins also can be inorganic, such as heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others.
When it comes to your skin, toxins cannot leave your body through your skin or sebaceous (oil) glands—it’s physiologically impossible. Other parts of your body, mainly your kidneys and liver, handle the process of “detoxifying” just fine, as long as you have a healthy diet.
There are a handful of studies indicating that sweat acts as a carrier in “detoxifying” by removing trace heavy metals from the body; however, the methodology of those studies is considered questionable when reviewed by third-party experts.
Nonetheless, if you choose to sauna, steam, or exercise to increase sweating, that’s a lifestyle option to discuss with your physician, but it does absolutely nothing as a purifying skincare activity.
Skin care products are not going to “detox” your body or skin. As we always say: Stick to what the research says really works, and ignore the fantasy claims because they aren’t going to help your skin or your budget.
References for this information:
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, December 2015, pages 675–686
Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, pages 1–10
Forget everything you know about cleansing bars. This ultra-gentle, soap-free bar clarifies and detoxifies skin without stripping for a comfortable clean. Made with a pH-balanced blend of cleansing and soothing ingredients, Good Molecules Clarify & Cleanse Bar washes away impurities from face and body to leave skin clear and even—never tight, irritated, or dry.
Good Molecules is the house skin care brand of online retailer Beautylish. Beautylish got its start in 2010 in San Francisco and features articles on makeup and skin care topics, community reviews and feedback, and of course sells beauty products from a variety of brands.
Good Molecules launched in 2019 because the team behind Beautylish wanted to create a skin care company that focused on effective ingredients with a bargain price, not unlike the line’s most direct competitor, The Ordinary, which Beautylish also sells.
To that end, Good Molecules focuses on a small core of booster and treatment-like products, some being notably better than others. Just like The Ordinary, some of the formulas are one-note (focusing on a single ingredient or a pair of ingredients, instead of offering a more well-rounded option). This isn’t what research has shown is best for skin any more than eating only one healthy food would be a wise dietary choice; however, at these prices, some of these one-note products can make a nice addition to a great skin care routine.
Another concern is that almost all of the packaging is in bottles that need to be stored out of light to protect their ingredients. And we’re not thrilled that one or two products include citrus ingredients known to be irritating and the drying type of alcohol. Unlike many of the options from The Ordinary, however, the textures of the Good Molecules products are generally quite nice and layer well.
Still, the line’s philosophy is solid and there are some worthy entries, as long as you keep your expectations realistic (a single ingredient isn’t the solution to any skin concern). For more information about Good Molecules, visit https://www.beautylish.com/b/good-molecules.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.