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By David Lynch

The Neutrogena box has entirely too much white and is a strange and disturbing size.

I recently purchased a bar of Neutrogena soap. It cost $2.47 for a bar that weighed roughly 3 oz, which is a considerable amount more then more traditional brands, such as Irish Spring or Lifebuoy. Said facial bar was procured at Taylor Drugs, a local pharmacy that caters to the needs of locals. The Neutrogena was separate from the other soaps, and was instead placed with facial cleansers, which shared an aisle with the cleansing soaps. There is a wide variety of Neutogena soaps, each assigned to ease a special skin condition. I decided to go with the regular variety, which I assumed to be the original type of Neutrogena product.

The package consists of thin cardboard with a glossy outer covering. The box is 2 and 1/5 by 3 and 1/5 inches wide, and 1 and 1/10th inches thick. This is extremely unorthodox sizing, and I find it rather obnoxious. The box is primarily white, with a black band circling the center. The black band is about 6 centimeters thick, with 1 centimeter white stripes flanking it. The white stripes are closed in by light blue stripes, which are also one centimeter thick. "Neutrogena" is written inside the black band in a white Times New Roman font. "original formula" is written above the top blue line, and "the transparent facial bar" is written beneath the lower blue line, and "Net wt 3.5 oz (100 g)" is written below that. The flaps continue the band motif seen on the front, and nothing else. The top of the box has the band traversing the left corner at a slanted angle, and features the Neutrogena logo in light blue. There is a light blue line beneath the logo, and "for beautifully clear skin" is printed beneath the blue line. The bar code is printed on the bottom of the box, and the UPC number, for those who are interested, is 70501 01010. The back is completely white, with neat black print on the back, and reads as follows:

Neutrogena Original Formula Cleansing Bar 
For Beautifully Clean, Healthy-looking Skin

Pure, gentle     Made with glycerin and other quality ingredients
cleansing        Hypo-allergenic formula contains no detergents, dyes
                 or preservatives. Dermatologist proven to be extremely
                 gentle. Non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores.

Superior         Rinses quickly and completely, leaving no irritating
rinsability      residue.

Formulas by      Also available in Dry Skin, Oily Skin, Baby, and
Skin Types       Fragrance-free formulas.

Ingredients: TEA-Stearate, Triethanolamine, Sodium Tallowate, Glycerin,
Purified Water, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Ricinoleate, TEA-Oleate,
Cocamide DEA, Fragrance, Tocopherol.

                (c)Neutrogena Corp., Los Angeles, CA 90045
                   Product #101, Made in U.S.A. 1010-M1

      Package design is a trademark of the Neutrogena Corporation

All in all, the packaging has a clinical, almost medicinal air to it. It can be somewhat offputting, but I think the soap makes the dull, dry packaging worth it.

The soap itself resembled nothing so much as a small, rectangular chunk of amber. There was no printing or embellishment anywhere on the soap, and had a blocky rectangular shape. It was initially somewhat clear, in that I could make out magazine covers but was unable to read the back of the box through the bar of soap. I washed my hands with it, and found it to be much more slippery than Lava, and more slippery then Zest to a lesser degree. It produced very little lather, but that turned out to be a bonus, as the small amount of lather worked up congealed on to the bar when it was dry, and made it cloudy and opaque. The soap was very gentle on my hands, and rinsed clean very easily. The odor was unlike any soap I was accustomed to, but fairly pleasant. It smells more of shampoo then a soap, and has undertones of patchouli, and sometimes I detect a slight cinnamon odor. Also, I was delighted to discover that Neutrogena becomes much clearer when wet, clear to the point that reading the shampoo bottle through the bar was child's play.

Extremely satisfied, all that was left was the field test. I wrote "MEATLOAF" on my right hand in a black ink pen, and proceeded to scrub it off vigorously. My expectations for cleaning power were extremely low, and I was delighted to find the offending ink was washed clean in a little under a minute. Unfortunately, this process used up a noticable portion of the bar, making it unfeasible for every day hand-washing. Next up was a test of its dermalogical powers, and my own face was one of the hardest tests possible. I have a complexion as to make alligators weep, and a sizeable amount of zits. Immediately after washing, all signs of scaliness had disappeared, and the amount of pimples gracing my figure has had a sizable drop, thanks to regular use of Neutrogena. The soap had lived up to its own hype, and I was as pleased as punch.

So all in all, I heartily recomend Neutrogena to those with skin problems, or those with a taste for the unique in toiletries. It's a truly marvelous soap, and a great conversation piece. Incidentally, the package came with a coupon for a special Neutrogena soapdish, complete with a "sample bar", which I presume to be the size of hotel soap bars. I intend to send away for it fairly soon. I have been told by friends that when Neutrogena is worked down to a sliver, it is bendable, similar to rubber in consistency. I can hardly wait to find out.

P.S. If anyone has tried Eternity soap for men, please let me know your opinions. It's completely out of my price range, and I'm curious as to what kind of merits it has to warrant such a ridiculous price.

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