Sunday, November 7, 2010

Concepts I Get, Executions I Don't: Bath & Body Works Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Gel!

The Good: Smells all right, Appears to work, Easy to use
The Bad: Seems expensive for this size, Little beads do nothing!
The Basics: A good-smelling anti-bacterial gel, Bath & Body Works' Winter Candy Apple smells strongly of apple and is available only for a limited time.

When my mother got the Bath & Body Works Snowman Figural Antibacterial Soap Dispenser (click here for that review!) for Christmas last year, no one in the family had any idea that it would set off in her a strange obsession with the Winter Candy Apple products from Bath & Body Works. As it stands, though, that is exactly what has happened: my mother has become obsessed with collecting the various Winter Candy Apple scented products. The latest in her attempt to get them all as they are clearanced to make room for the spring line is the Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel.

Ironically, before this product was discovered by my mother, she used to deride me for my use of anti-bacterial hand gels. Now, however, she uses it pretty regularly and has taken to keeping a small bottle in the car. She also threw a bottle my way and I've been using it for the last three weeks and, frankly, I'm not sure what her obsession stems from. This is a very average product and, frankly, the scent is not all that great.

Bath & Body Works has several scents for products which it rolls out for the winter holidays and Winter Candy Apple is one of them. The Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel comes in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top lid. The gel itself is a thick fluid (about the consistency of jelly, a little less fluid than most liquid soaps) which is translucent pink with tiny purple and pink microbeads suspended in it. For my lack of understanding of why my mother is suddenly obsessed with this scent product from Bath & Body Works, I am even more baffled by the microbeads. The 1 fl. oz. plastic bottle (30 ml) sells for $2 - $3 in the stores.

Use of the Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel is absolutely simple. Flipping the lid open with a thumb or finger exposes a small hole through which a dollop of anti-bacterial gel may be squeezed out onto one's hands. Once it is there simply rub your hands together and the product both kills bacteria and evaporates leaving no residue to wash off. Here, however, is why I am baffled by the microbeads: they don't appear to do anything at all. The microbeads in the Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel appear to simply be a different color gel, not even hard enough to cause any additional friction or agitation on one's skin. In other words, if your hands have a slight ground-in dirt, the microbeads will not clean out the ingrained crud. They appear to be decorative microbeads, which defeats the purpose of microbeads.

As for the scent, Winter Candy Apple is a scent dominated by apples, though when one begins rubbing their hands with this anti-bacterial gel, the scent turns strongly to one of rubbing alcohol in addition to apples. In addition to apple and alcohol, there is a slight cinnamon undertone to the scent of the Winter Candy Apple anti-bacterial gel, which was not evident in the soap in the snowman dispenser. Similarly, Winter Candy Apple is supposed to smell like orange in addition to apple and cinnamon, but I was unable to detect even a subtle citrus scent on my hands.

The smell of Winter Candy Apple remained on my hands for about three hours or until I washed my hands again. Because anti-bacterial gel is intended to replace hand washing when that is not an option, this seems to work as it is supposed to. At the very least, the rubbing alcohol that is in the Winter Candy Apple Anti-bacterial Hand Gel leaves my hands feeling fresh and clean (and, honestly, a little cold). When rubbed in properly, the hands are dry within thirty seconds and, presumably, the vast majority of the bacteria one has on their hands is dead and gone.

I write "presumably" there because I have no objective test for bacterial counts on my hands. Instead, I tend to live a pretty clean life anyway and not swim in bacteria, so I was not getting ill before I started using this on a daily basis. To be fair to the product, I have not gotten ill since using this product and whenever I've sneezed in the last few weeks, I've cleaned my hands afterward with the anti-bacterial gel.

What is impressive about the Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Gel, and why I recommend it despite not terribly impressing me with the scent and the fact that it is a little pricier than other, basic anti-bacterial gels, is that the Bath & Body Works anti-bacterial gel does not dry my skin out. While the gel does appear to work quite adequately at eliminating germs and bacteria, my skin feels clean and I have had no adverse reactions to it. There has not been a time I have used it and it has left my skin red or agitated. Instead, I smell vaguely like apples for a little while and my skin feels clean without any discoloration or dryness. That is pretty impressive in my book.

The 30 ml size is the smallest size anti-bacterial lotion Bath & Body Works sells and it lasts for about thirty-five uses, assuming one is judicious in squeezing it out. It is a good product which appears to do what it claims, even if the scent is (despite what my mother seems to assert) not the absolute best in the universe.

For other skin care products, please check out my reviews of:
Dr. Scholl's Smooth My Sole
Burt's Bees Hand Salve
Pleasures Edible Warming Oil Cheesecake flavor


For other health and beauty reviews, please check out my index page for an organized list by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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