Tuesday, December 7, 2010

At Least As Bad As The Snowman, The Bath & Body Works Polar Bear Disappoints!

The Good: Cute (in a kitschy way), Works, Soap inside seems to work (generally)
The Bad: Expensive for a plastic soap dispenser, Kitschy, Scrubbing beads can be a bit annoying, Scent.
The Basics: Given how overpriced the soap dispenser is, the Polar Bear Figural Soap Dispenser flops completely because the mild liquid soap inside smells unlike vanilla.

When the holiday season was upon me, I found myself in the unfortunate position of living in a place where I could not control the décor. As a result, when my mother inserted the Bath & Body Works Snowman Figural Antibacterial Soap Dispenser (click here for that review!) into our house’s lone bathroom, there was little I could do or say. Despite finding this overpriced plastic soap dispenser to be ridiculous and kitschy, I bit my tongue because it was in my mother’s house and the soap it came with is actually not the worst thing in the known universe. That said, when she got a second one for the holiday, I was unprepared for what would happen. She went back and exchanged one of her two Snowman figural soap dispensers for the Polar Bear Figural handsoap dispenser. And already, I loathe this even more than the other!

Like the Snowman, the Polar Bear is a rather expensive way to purchase a very inexpensive product. While it comes with a Bath & Body Works liquid hand soap - Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel - what one is actually paying for is the dispenser, which seems to hold only about 6 fl. oz. of hand soap. This is a pathetically little amount for a soap dispenser, especially at the price the Polar Bear comes at.

The Polar Bear dispenser is arguably what people are truly paying for with this package. With the pump up and ready to go, the Bath & Body Works Polar Bear Figural Soap Dispenser is seven inches high and two and three-quarters inches in diameter. The pump is a plastic soap dispenser shaped like a seated polar bear (legs out) with a smiling face, a red Santa hat on its head and a bright red scarf. The pump comes out of the top of his (it could be a “her,” it is gender neutral and certainly not anatomically correct) red santa hat and to refill this, all one needs to do is twist the base of the pump at the top of the hat and it easily twists off. This point is rather easy to find because (completely ridiculously) the pump is white instead of red. So where the Snowman Figural soap dispenser tried to blend the pump with the hat, this clearly contrasts the hat.

As far as the pump goes, it allows easy access to the liquid soap without making a mess. I like pump dispensers better than liquid soaps with a flip top lid because when my hands are dirty, I don't like the inconvenience of having to hold the soap bottle with a dirty hand and flip the top with another dirty hand. The polar bear pump is pretty light and it may easily be tipped as a result, especially by children who are reaching up and pumping down at an angle. I, however, can dispense the soap inside by simply pressing down on the pump with the very tips of my fingers. But, as I have large hands, the pump probably dispenses a bit much for children.

The Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel Soap has a slight grit intended to do deep cleaning of the hands, but the beads are so soft as to be utterly ineffective at cleaning the hands in a deep way. As a result, I found it worked best for me for general daily use and not, for example, when I came in to wash my hands after cleaning up the pine boughs my mother had around the house. This soap is not ideal for ground-in dirt, but it works well on mildly soiled or greasy hands.

However, even with the size of the droplets dispensed by the pump, I got pretty good mileage out of the Vanilla Bean Noel soap inside. The reason it lasted as long as it did certainly has to do with the lather quality. With the quarter-sized dollop the pump dispenses and with patience and "proper" handwashing technique, the soap lathered up nicely.

One quarter-sized droplet of Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel liquid soap is enough to more than sufficiently clean one's hands when one uses a little water and rubs their hands together. The Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel forms a consistent lather that quickly coats the hands within ten hand rotations (i.e. ten times you rub your hands together to form a lather). The resulting lather is white and I tend to rub my hands for approximately twenty seconds before rinsing the lather off.

The Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel has a consistency of your average shampoo, perhaps just a little more fluid, and when it lathers, it bubbles up nicely into a coating which needs to be washed off. Properly rinsed off, Vanilla Bean Noel does not leave a residue. I've found it rinses off fairly easily, with all of the lather dissipating in less than eight seconds under running water. The liquid soap leaves the hands feeling clean.

Unfortunately, the Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel is not the ideal liquid soap for consumers who like good-smelling things. My partner and I went through all sorts of permutations of guesses trying to figure out what this was supposed to be and I was dead-set on the idea that this was either chocolate or graham cracker by the scent (I figured, maybe it was “Holiday Smore!” – it was not). In other words, this soap does not smell like what it claims to. As well, it leaves this odd mix of indistinct smells on one’s hands and this only makes one want to wash their hands again!

Like most liquid soaps, the Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel is pretty ineffective against sap, though. Then again, most people don't look to a liquid soap to take on sap. This liquid soap also manages to leave the hands feeling clean without drying them out. In fact, no matter how frequently I washed my hands, the light moisturizers in the Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel kept them both clean and soft. Despite the smell, it does not taste particularly good and it is surprisingly mild when it gets in your eyes, but it should not be used to wash your mouth out or clean your eyeballs.

As well, once the Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel is gone, the figural polar bear dispenser may be refilled with any liquid soap. Those buying these on clearance will find they have a long time to use up the soap that came in it. Purchased this season, ours had an expiration date of August 2012 on it, so that's two seasons more!

Still, even on clearance, the liquid soap is not that wonderful and I cannot write to its antibacterial properties with any credibility. And for a plastic soap dispenser this seems ridiculously expensive even with the trendy soap inside. If one feels the need to throw away their money, I’d say go with the Snowman instead; at least the soap in that smells like it is supposed to!

For other Bath & Body Works product reviews, please check out:
Winter Candy Apple Anti-Bacterial Gel
Sassy Strawberry Mint 3-in-1
Mentha Hair Conditioner


For other health and beauty aids, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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