Dan Thompson: Beauty Busted


Beauty: BUSTED! Wonderbar

Is this "miracle" cleanser worth the money?


Spring always sees the release of new skin care products.

For years now, cosmetics companies have been in a race to see who can produce the most expensive products in certain categories. This has been obvious in the moisturizer and skin cream sector, with moisturizers reaching well beyond the $150 mark for 50mL of product. Are they worth the money? Sometimes. More often than not there are much more reasonably priced alternatives available.  

This year it seems the cleanser category is being ramped up for major price increases. The question begs: are these new cleansers somehow so much more advanced that they warrant the extreme prices?

Wonderbar, $40 for 25g or $140 for 100g

This cleansing bar is not a soap, and I want to be clear about that. Soap is not meant to be used on the skinever. That is another conversation, however.

This is a cleanser in a solid format. This does not actually mean it is somehow a superior cleanser to others on the market.

Claims: corrects acne, dry skin, sagging skin, dull skin, large pores, melasma, rosacea

Let's examine these claims:

First, a single product cannot possibly correct all of the concerns listed. Seriously, some of the conditions are medical issues that require either medication or intense treatment from technology found in dermatologists' offices.

Second, the ingredient list does not support the claims. There are only 13 ingredients on the list. If we remove cleansers (which will only clean the dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin), thickening agents (which are included only to create the "bar" format), humectants (which do provide some moisture benefits, but are standard ingredients in all cosmetics), anti-oil ingredients (which again are standard in most cosmetics), exfoliator (which is a precursor ascorbic acidagain, standard in most cosmetics), plant extracts of olive oil and chamomile (both great ingredients, but, again, standard in cosmetics), all that remains are two ingredients.  

Third, the "miracle" ingredients:

  • Heilmoor Clay: sourced from Austria, this is a Moor Mud. Moor Mud is an ingredient that has been used in cosmetic formulas for literally hundreds of years. Yes, heilmoor clay may be rich in hundreds of plant extracts, but that does not mean anything when referring to skincare. Immediately I askwhat are the plant extracts? Not all plant extracts are good or even safe for skin.
  • Chlorey'nahre (CLO): a proprietary ingredient derived from algae and manipulated with nanotechnology. What does it do? There is no published information about this ingredient, it is not listed in any cosmetics ingredient data base recognized by the industry, and it does not appear in the International Cosmetics Ingredient Dictionary (INCI system), which all cosmetics companies are legally bound to adhere to when listing ingredients on packaging. The only information available is from Wonderbar.  It is a blend of algae that has been mironized to penetrate deeply into the skin. Algae is found in many cosmetics and is a powerful antioxidant and rich in vitamins.

Based on the actual ingredients listed versus the marketing claims, this product is so overpriced it is shocking. Every single ingredient is as basic as a cosmetic formula can be. There is not a single ingredient that cannot be found in almost every cosmetic cleanser on the market todayboth expensive and inexpensive.  

Less expensive option:

Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar, $45 for 150g

Contains very similar cleansers, thickeners, humectants, and even has an exfoliator built in. This product also uses sea mud, which is infused with algae extract. Gram for gram it is almost 450% less expensive.

For more Beauty: Busted! check out my reviews of MAC Cleanse Off Oil and Anti-Wrinkle Creams.