Product Type: Pears Bath / Shower
Newest Review: ... transclucent oval shaped bar, with a slight dip in the middle and the brand Pears engraved into it. It is a rather thick bar of soap w... more
Pears the soap old chap!
Member Name: Jojoborne
Advantages: A great soap that does its job
Disadvantages: The new version isn't quite the same as the old
Pears Transparent Soap
Good old Pears soap. I remember first using this at my Grandmother's house as a nipper and begging my Mother for a bar. It was looked on as a relatively adult soap back then in the seventies and it made it feel even more special to me.
Back then you could buy the bars loose in any chemist shop, such as Boots and they were easily recognisable, as they still are today as the Pears logo was engraved into each bar on each side of the soap.
Nowadays they come in a box with the Pears logo on it as well; so we are under no illusions as to what soap we are using whether it is in or out of the box. The soap is an oval, concave shape and is pretty easy to hold, even when wet. It is a good size and I usually buy the one hundred and twenty five gram bar, which I am reviewing here. You can also buy a seventy-five gram bar, which is a little better to hold for the ladies who use or for those men with small hands.
There isn't a really distinctive smell to the soap when you take it out of the box and have a sniff but once it is wet the smell does come through quite well. I used to think it smelled medicinal as a child and could never really pinpoint any one aroma with any accuracy, and this just added to the mystery even more. The soap looks like a nugget of amber and always reminds me of the movie 'Jurassic Park'. I always expect to see a mosquito or similar insect embedded in the soap.
I love a good lather when it comes to soap and Pears is probably one of my favourite soaps to get a good lather from. It really foams up well and surprisingly, the way I go at it, it lasts a really long time. A bar can last me a good two or three weeks. I say this through gritted teeth, as this used to be the case but the soap has now changed (see later on in the review).
The lather feels really soft to the skin and leaves you feeling fresh and clean.
The soap was always advertised as being "Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic" and Pears always represented this fact on their boxes. That has now changed because in 2009 Pears changed the way the soap was produced and had to take this claim off the product. Many fans of the soap said this must be due to the production process now using more chemicals and were aghast at the fact that the original ingredients of the famous soap had now been tainted.
I mentioned that the bar lasted a long time but due to the new elements. The bar now feels softer and does not last as long. In fact in a test for myself, I held the soap under hot water. The old bar would've generated a little lather and would've come out unscathed and still solid. The new bar goes really soft and after applying minimal pressure I squeezed it into a sticky mess of gloop. I saw this as the end of an era and I personally believe that Pears have watered down there soap in order to mass produce it in the cheapest possible way and at the greatest possible profit to themselves.
OK, they are a business and in business there is no room for sentiment but Pears have been making their famous soap with the old formula since seventeen eighty-nine and for me it is almost sacrilegious to change a winning formula; to coin a cliché (pun intended), if it ain't broke, then don't fix it.
There was indeed uproar and fans of the original soap created a Facebook page to demand that Pears bring back the original formula. A spokesperson for Pears agreed that they would indeed be bringing the old formula back in 2010. This was never to materialise and another statement followed which announced that they would try to enhance the new formula to make the soap smell more like the original. I don't know about passing the bar of soap but the proverbial buck as definitely been passed through a few hands.
One of the main factors in the new soap being different is the fact that it doesn't contain glycerol like the old soap. The new soap also contains limonene and various other chemicals such as, sorbitol, sodium chloride, etidronic acid, propylene glycol and alcohol; all of which the old soap did not contain. So it is hardly any wonder that the new version does not smell or feel like the old version.
One argument for the new soap is that it is supposed to be free of any of the more severe ingredients that were also used in cleaning products. The old soap was supposed to contain these and the new soap is meant to be friendlier in terms of the content. I really don't see how this is possible as the new ingredients read like a list from a chemistry set. Pears do argue that the 'secret' Pears ingredients still remain so it is really hard to argue for or against either one with any clarity.
All I know is that I used to love this soap and still do to a certain extent but feel a little cheated as the bar doesn't last as long so I have to buy it more regularly now. I did however, visit a quaint little soap shop in Delft, the city famous for its ceramics and pottery and I picked up a bar of soap that was attached to a loofer type sponge. The bar does not say Pears on it but it is exactly like the old bars of Pears soap and it has lasted me months.
Pears is still a good soap and you still get a good clean from it but it has been changed by progress, but what isn't these days. It still holds fond memories for me and I will always remember using it as a kid.
I would've given it five stars but the new version has knocked it down to a three for me.
Summary: A traditional soap that has succumbed to change and not for the better