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By David Lynch

This is the almost hypnotically redundant box of Tone Soap. Yet another brand utilizing the devious "force 'em to buy two" packaging technique.

I recently purchased two bars of Tone with Cocoa Butter, a.k.a. The Skin Care Bar. The rationale behind my dual purchase is as follows: It is impossible to purchase Tone in single portions, so in order to examine the soap, I was required to buy a two-pack. The soap is packaged in two individual boxes which are held together with a large sticky label that encompasses the boxes in a manner similar to that of a saddlebag. The individual length and width of the boxes is 4x2 1/2 inches or somehere near that measurement.

The problem with text reviews of soap packaging is that it is sometimes difficult to describe the colors of the boxes. This is especially true in the case of Tone. I have been told the correct name for the label and background of Tone is "buff". Your dictionary probably has a description of the color, but it doesn't really help you visualize it. You'll have to either go to the store and check it out, or wait and hope some kindly soul with a scanner creates binaries and posts them to alt.binaries.slack. The rest of the package's coloring is much easier to identify. The logo is the word "Tone" written in a flourishy, script-like font of dark brown with a pink shadow effect. Brinted below in the same elaborate font, but without the pink framing, is the phrase "with Cocoa Butter". Beneath that, "THE SKIN CARE BAR" is printed in small, precise, dark brown lettering. There are three thick streaks printed beneath the text, all in a upwards right diagonal pattern. The first streak is a pinkish peach color, the second streak is pink, and the final streak is a light golden shade. The first streak is overlapped with the word "Butter" from the phrase "with Cocoa Butter", and "CARE BAR" from the phrase "THE SKIN CARE BAR". This really has no effect on the casual observer, at least as far as I can tell. Printed at the bottom of the label and overlapping all three streaks is the following information: TWO 4.75 OZ BARS (TOTAL NET WT 9.5 OZ) 269g. When it says "269g", I am not sure if that means the weight of one bar or both, but I presume it's the weight of one. Upon further deliberation, I have determined that the only purpose the streaks serve is to add a little variety to the generally dull packaging. The label I have just described is the basic logo seen on all sides of the box, with a few variants. The flaps on the left have "CREAM BATH SIZE" printed in dark brown in small letters in the upper right corner, and "LIFT HERE TO OPEN" on a tab at the bottom of the flap. The flaps on the right are identical, except for the lack of a tab. The back of the label has a list of ingredients, which are as follows:


The logo of the Dial Corporation is printed below the ingredients, which is a lowercase "d" printed inside a small block with rounded corners. Printed to the left of the Dial Corp. logo is "The Dial Corp", beneath which is a line, under which is printed PHOENIX, AZ 85077. Beneath "If you have any questions or comments, please call toll free 1-800-258-3425." To the right of all of this is the bar code. The UPC number is 174890, for those of you who are curious. "T-3-0489-01" is printed vertically to the right of the bar code. I couldn't tell you the signifigance of this.

It should be obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that the packaging for Tone has a distinctly feminine air to it, which may be a cause of concern for some readers. All I can say is that if your gender identity is so weak as to be concerned with the masculinity of your soap, you have more problems than I can help you with. Now, on to the soap.

Tone is the color of egg nog, as is the packaging to a certain extent. I have a great personal love of egg nog, so the soap is a pleasing color to bathe with. The bar is smooth to the touch, and is neither shiny or dull. I think the soap's greatest appeal is its visual and tactile qualities. The soap is oval shaped, and is recessed in a manner that suggests the Oriental yin-yang, which represents the duality of nature. The left bulge of the yin-yang curvature has the Tone logo imprinted upon it in place of an inner circle, and the right has a teardrop shape in place of an inner circle. I hypothesize that a teardrop is employed to conjure images of water, which is an important element for the proper use of soap. I find this fairly clever, and believe it adds an indefineable something to the soap in a positive manner. There is a thin ridge, about a centimeter thick, circling the soap. I take this to be an indication that the soap was originally in two separate pieces, and was fused together at some point in its production. This is not a cause of concern for me, and I do not feel it reflects poorly on the soap. Indeed, this ridge adds to the already delightful tactile sensations.

When I speak of tactile sensations, I am referring to its feel in the user's hands, its feeling upon the skin, and the quality of lather produced through vigorous scrubbing. I'm proud to say that Tone excels in all these categories, and further, has a beautiful clean odor to it. Tone becomes pleasantly slick when wet, and slides easily beetween the hands. The feeling of Tone the on the skin is the sensation evoked when rubbing something firm and pleasant against the skin, which I cannot adequately describe. Tone produces the most pleasant lather of any soap that I have sampled. The copius amount of foamy lather produced evokes thoughts of thick dairy cream, or a good body gel. Tone also leaves your skin feeling soft and baby-smooth after lathering, and leaves a light, clean odor. The odor is basically soapy, with undertones of perfume and an extremely slight hint of toffee. All of these elements combine to make a truly delightful bathing experience.

As per my usual reviewing practices, I tested the cleaning ability of Tone by writing "PACKER'S" on my right hand with a red Scripto Super Stic Med. Pt, which was produced in Mexico. I'm pleased to announce that the offending word was obliterated completely within 52 seconds. I'm not sure if this makes Tone the new champion in quick cleansing, but even if it isn't, it's still GREAT time for a skin care bar. I honestly can't think of anything even close to disappointing about this soap.

I wasn't left with any questions about Tone except for the vertical numbers printed by the bar code, which could be easily resolved by calling the toll-free nuber thoughtfully provided on the box. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this soap to a friend, and I would ask for it by name at drug stores around the country. The closest thing to a complaint I have is that Tone isn't sold in individual packaging, and that the name is rather irrelevant to the product. But in all honesty, this is a really neat little soap, and I value it highly. I would rate it before Neutrogena but after Lever 2000 on my personal scale. Give it a try some time, folks.

Reader Comment 1

On 14 November 2002, a reader sent in this comment (thankyou Kayleigh!):

I came across your review for Tone soap while searching for information on gentle soaps for my husband who has sensitive skin. I found your take on the product interesting enough to read completely but, decided I needed to comment.

"The closest thing to a complaint I have is that Tone isn't sold in individual packaging, and that the name is rather irrelevant to the product."

Well, this is not really true. Tone is marketed to attract people looking for, among other qualities, a product containing Cocoa Butter. Cocoa Butter has long been known to nourish and "tone" the skin. Many women use cocoa butter products such as soaps and moisturizers on their bellies to help tone and tighten the skin during and after pregnancy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. There are even several products made exactly for that purpose.

I enjoy and find reading reviews such as yours on common products very useful, especially when it's something I might be hesitant to spend money experimenting with (and possibly getting stuck with 2 bars of it!!). I hope you find this information not as a criticism, but as my thanks for knowledge I might not have gotten else where.

Very truly yours,

Kayleigh Bach

Reader Comment 2

On 18 march 2004, another reader sent in this comment (thankyou Christiane!):

I read your review of Tone soap, had to reply. I live in Montreal, Quebec where Tone soap is not available. I have been getting it from anyone who goes to the US for almost 25 years now. It is the best soap on the market, as far as Iím concerned, and everyone I have turned on to it has been going to the same trouble as me to get it. There is quite a following for this product in Montreal that the company is not aware of.

Christiane Larose