The dust has settled on our biggest new product launch in years. So we finally had a chance to talk with Jay Schaper, HiBAR co-founder and our product development leader.
Q: First off, Jay, why choose face wash as HiBAR’s first non-hair-care product?
Our shampoo bars and conditioner bars put beauty first, and have environment as a great side benefit. We wanted to find another product category that had beauty as its main goal, but that also used a lot of single-use plastic packaging. Face wash looked like an appropriate challenge, and one where we could make a difference.
Q: What are people currently using?
Bottled face wash products are the standard because they are gentle with the right PH level. They leave your skin’s natural moisture barrier intact. In bar form, all people think about is soap which works as a great cleanser, but is too harsh for the face and ends up stripping off the natural moisture barrier. Soap is a PH of between 8-10 while your skin is 4.5 to 5.5.
Q: How about detergent based bars?
These bars are a lot better than soap, but still not perfect. Their PH is generally around 6.5, but they are generally made using a commercially sold base that allows only a small percentage of skin loving ingredients that can be added, so not what we wanted to do.
Q: So how did you land upon amino acid based bars?
Amino acids speak the same language as your skin and can only be found in expensive high end bottled face wash products. They clean away dirt, dead skin cells and work with your skin’s natural rejuvenating process. They don’t dry your skin out and are perfectly balanced. To my knowledge there isn’t an amino acid based face wash bar on the market. We are bringing that same bottled quality to a solid product which hasn’t been done before.
Q: To the untrained, acid sounds bad. What is the cleaning action of the acids?
These are not just acids. They are amino acids and are a staple to the healthy function of the body, skin, and hair.
Q: Are there any similarities to conventional soap bars?
Our Face Wash bars do have ingredients that break the surface tension to release the dirt and grime like soap, it’s just not the main ingredient.
Q: And what about being fragrance-free, what was the thinking there?
Though it’s common with bottled products, it is an unnecessary ingredient. We only wanted ingredients that are benefitting the skin. The skin on your face is sensitive and fragrance can be irritating and unnecessary.
Q: Gotcha. Now tell us about the different bars.
What is different across this product line is they have 12 different amino acids, rice protein, vitamin B5, hydrogenated olive oil, olive squalane, and several humectants to help attract and keep moisture on your skin, maintaining that natural moisture barrier.
Hydrate is an interesting bar because it is a creamy face wash experience. It doesn’t foam. It isn’t sudsy. It is a very gentle, creamy cleansing experience to help maintain moisture so you won’t experience that tight skin feel after use.
The Cleanse bar is a foaming face wash with more of a gentle surfactant blend than Hydrate. So it is like a foaming face wash you’d normally have to buy in a bottle. It’s the closest to the type of face wash most people would be familiar with.
Q: And tell us about Renew.
Renew is an excellent exfoliating face wash bar. First of all, it exfoliates using both the amino acid ingredients the other bars have, but it also has a blend of both an acid blend and super-fine olive seed powder. We also added willow bark extract which is a natural source of salicylic acid, known to gently remove dead skin cells as well.
Q: So it’s almost like you took away the ingredients that dry your skin, and you added some moisturizing ingredients?
Well, what we did is take a high end gentle face wash that has traditionally been sold in a plastic bottle and reformulated it into a solid bar. Bottled face wash products are very good. They just come with plastic and our mission is to reduce the amount of plastic. So that is what we did.
Q: Do you think there are situations where people might use a combination of different bars through the week?
The Renew is a bar that I think people will use as they would any other exfoliating product they have in their face care regimen. So maybe a few times a week. Then I think it’d be a choice between the hydrate bar which is a creamy, very gentle face wash experience. And for those who like a gentle foaming lather, the Cleanse bar. These bars are not meant to be used as a regimen, but as a replacement to a high end bottled face wash product.
Q: Thanks Jay. Sounds like this has been a labor of love.
Yeah, it’s been a good challenge, and really fun. And now we have another set of products that perform as well as their bottled competitors. Take that, plastic!