I’ve always struggled with bad skin. It’s just one of those things. I had your typical teenage acne but it just never seemed to go away. It plagued me into my twenties and thirties and along the way, I tried every possible fix to remedy my skin.

I have tried nearly every facial care product that’s on the drugstore shelves. I’ve tried every combination of cleanser, toner and moisturizer. I’ve tried scrubs, foams and gels. I’ve opened my wallet even further, and tried more expensive department store brands. I’ve tried pills, natural remedies and at-home treatments. Each tube, bottle or jar of product was always like an elixir of hope. Maybe this is the product that will solve all my woes.

Alas, none of them worked and I’d come to terms that caring for my skin was going to be a lifelong and laborious process.

A few years ago, my husband and I took a Mediterranean Seabourn cruise. As we were unpacking our things inside our cabin, I realized that I’d forgotten my facial cleanser. OH. NO.

With no other options, I resorted to using the bar of soap that was in the shower to wash my face every morning and evening. With so much excitement about our cruise and the great destinations on our itinerary, I quickly forgot about the cleanser I’d left at home. (I know for some of you, this may not be a big deal but when you suffer from bad skin like I did, it’s definitely something you think about.)

So, we enjoyed an incredible cruise and it wasn’t until I’d returned home that I really looked at my skin and realized how clear it was. Might I say it was glowing? Yes. Yes, I might. My skin had never, and I mean never, looked better and for a few moments, I wondered why. And then … I did the simple math that made me realize that the simple bar of soap I’d been using for the past two weeks might just be the magic ingredient.

I continued using a bar of soap to wash my face and now, two years later, I’ve never looked back. I can’t believe it. My skin has never been clearer than it is now and I’m not using an expensive cleanser. Just a bar of soap. Any bar of soap. After two decades of spending a fortune on every skincare product out there, of visits to dermatologists and of generally feeling bad about myself, I realized that the simple solution had been before my eyes all along.

I’ve written this post in the hopes that it helps anyone else who may suffer from problem skin. It’s not fun and it took me years to realize that perhaps all those expensive products were just exacerbating my existing problem, causing me to fork out even more money. A simple bar of soap and my skin has never felt cleaner or looked clearer. I hope you give it a try!

9 Comments on The Essential Beauty Secret I Learned While Traveling

  1. Jocelyn Christie
    August 27, 2014 at 11:44 am (10 years ago)

    I have used nothing but Pears soap on my face for two decades – and I haven’t had any serious skin problems in all that time. Plus, you can’t beat the simple, clean feeling of soap-washed skin. I have never trusted the residue that always seems to get left behind with expensive cleaners. Definite pore-clogging potential there.

    • Natalie
      August 30, 2014 at 12:00 am (10 years ago)

      I don’t know why I didn’t just use Pears like you, twenty years ago!! I’m late to the party but I’m here now 🙂

  2. Marian
    August 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for this great piece. I will definitely try this suggestion as I too struggle with bad skin. I’m going to try this.

    • Natalie
      August 30, 2014 at 12:00 am (10 years ago)

      Hi Marian,
      I hope it works for you – let me know!

  3. Sophie Murray
    August 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm (10 years ago)

    I. understand completely. I’m an oldie now and don’t experiment any more. I just use moisturizer. But I found as you did that soap (Lava which I keep handy for hand washing clothes) works wonders on my hair. I’ve just returned to your site, from before you were married. I wish you well. Sophie

    • Natalie
      August 30, 2014 at 12:01 am (10 years ago)

      Thank you, Sophie!

  4. Nancy
    September 16, 2014 at 11:48 am (10 years ago)

    I’m glad you have had success Natalie!
    Everyone always tells me I have beautiful skin and want to know what I use. Bar soap in the shower.
    I’ve never liked any cleansers and could not afford them as a teen (with oily skin). I’m 62 now and will continue to use it.

  5. Kim
    October 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm (10 years ago)


    This is great to hear! I have had skin problems for the past couple decades, too. Going to a aesthetician to clear up the problems is really, really expensive. Maybe I’ll take to the plain old soap idea, too. It would save so much more money, which can then be spent on clothes 😉

  6. Kfina
    February 26, 2015 at 10:43 am (9 years ago)

    Hi Natalie,

    After years of suffering from oily skin and acne I too discovered using a simple bar of soap, Dove Beauty Bar or some generic moisturizing beauty bar has worked better than anything. It was when my daughter became a tween and I was buying products for her to try. I didnt buy any for myself because I had already tried everything since I was her age and her skin is much better than mine. So I gave up spending on my skin and bought the cheap soap. Best thing I’ve ever done!


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