Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stable But Expensive, The Bath & Body Works Christmas Tree Soap Dispenser Adequately Dispenses A Weak Soap!!

The Good: Decent appearance, 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: For 2010, Bath And Body Works adds to its figural soap dispensers a Christmas Tree with the same weak Vanilla Bean Noel soap. Still pricy, though.

Bath & Body Works has a reputation for impressing me with products, but annoying me with swag. I can live with the fact that many of their products are initially expensive because they tend to go on sale. But for some reason, the accessories they release tend to annoy me more. Even though many of their products like soap dishes, stuffed animals and luffahs periodically do go on sale, the company sets me off with how expensive their accessories are initially. I’ve already panned the Bath & Body Works Snowman Figural Antibacterial Soap Dispenser (click here for that review!) and their Polar Bear one (reviewed here!). So far, though, the Christmas Tree soap dispenser is actually the best of the bunch so far. For some reason, arguably because of how big it appears, the Christmas Tree soap dispenser does not annoy me quite as much with its $10.00 price. Even so, the soap inside is not superlative in any way.

Unlike the other two figural soap dispensers I’ve reviewed, the Christmas Tree dispenser does not look cheap or kitschy. Like the polar bear, 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 about 8 fl. oz. of hand soap. The Christmas Tree dispenser is cute and stable and while it might be a little more expensive than most soap dispensers, the soap inside is a particularly uninspired blend.

The Christmas Tree dispenser is what most people pay for more than the soap inside. With the pump up and ready to go, the Bath & Body Works Christmas Tree Figural Soap Dispenser is seven inches high and three and a quarter inches in diameter. The pump is a plastic soap dispenser shaped like a decorated Christmas tree. The pump comes out of the top of the tree where the star is and to refill this, all one needs to do is twist the base of the pump and it easily twists off. This point is rather easy to find because (completely ridiculously) the pump is yellow instead of the sparkly green of the tree.

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 Christmas Tree dispenser is very stable because it is wider at the base. Thus, it does not tip easily, even from kids. The soap inside comes out by simply pressing down on the pump.

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 wife and I went through all sorts of permutations of guesses trying to figure out what this was supposed to be and she loves vanilla-scented products! This soap 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 wounds.

As well, once the Antibacterial Vanilla Bean Noel is gone, the figural Christmas Tree 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.

Even on clearance, the liquid soap is not that wonderful and I cannot write to its antibacterial properties with any credibility. The Christmas Tree dispenser is bright, festive and fun and does not seem nearly as cheap as the others. Thus, despite the quality of the soap inside, the Christmas Tree soap dispenser is the classiest of the seasonal figural dispensers and it is most worth it, even if it is more expensive than comparable empty seasonal soap dispensers one might get elsewhere.

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

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