This soap-free bar cleanser is similar to the classic bar cleanser from Dove, just a lot more expensive and potentially problematic! That's because Dermalogica's Clean Bar contains irritating plant oils of lavender and sandalwood plus numerous irritating citrus oils. If you prefer this type of cleanser (though we wish you didn't because it can be too drying and irritating for all skin types), save your money and stick with the Dove Beauty Bar instead. The dryness and irritation Clean Bar can cause are a big step backward for all skin types.
One more comment: This cleanser contains lactic acid, an ingredient that when used in a well formulated leave-on product can work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, AHA ingredients are far less effective for exfoliation, if at all, in a cleanser or scrub. That's because they are rinsed off before they can begin to work. If you are hoping for this cleanser to provide exfoliating benefits think again (the retinol doesn't exfoliate).
On the other hand, lactic acid can impart hydrating benefits during its brief contact with skin. Despite that positive, there's too much that's problematic about this bar cleanser to make it worth buying, especially given the numerous gentle, fragrance free options on our list of Best Cleansers.
According to company history, Dermalogica products came into being because founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skincare lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients he believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems.
The line is positioned as a no-nonsense, no frills take on skincare, with clinically-inspired packaging that does protect its beneficial ingredients from light and air. Speaking of ingredients, Dermalogica does include a lot of beneficial ones in its skincare, though there are a number of formulas in the line that also make the misstep of including potentially-irritating fragrance ingredients.
For more information about Dermalogica now owned by Unilever, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.
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.