PurErb Brightening Cleansing Bar Review

PurErb Brightening Cleansing Bar

PurErb is a Southern California based herbal skincare and aromatherapy brand. They specialize in Meridian facial massage¹.

I’m trying out and reviewing their Clarity Brightening Cleansing Bar:

The claims: This all-natural bar soap is said to “lift impurities, brighten dull skin, reduce hyper-pigmentation while boosting alertness”. It’s a bar soap with 38 different plant extracts, over two dozen said to “brighten the complexion”. Also, it was developed by a “respected Korean Master Monk”.

The scent/appearance: It’s not much to look at. It’s a disc with a dark muddy color with a soft, almost oily feel. It smells like a supplement that would be sold as alternative medicine. It is earthy/rooty (like ginseng) but sweet like molasses and dried hay. The foam is like a tan/hay shade.

How to use: Wet your hands and rub on the bar until it lathers. Massage the face and neck for 30 seconds and leave the foam on for two minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

PurErb Brightening Bar

Quick reminder of my skin type – I’m normal-to-dry. My biggest priorities are with discolorations, anti-aging and hydration.

My experience: I can’t remember the last time I’ve used a bar soap on my face. Most bar soaps are extremely harsh and drying. However, I’m finding that there are more bar soaps, especially from Korea that are gentle and have a cult-following. Products can have a terrible pH in any form². I tested the pH of this soap and it’s 7 (give or take). This is not ideal but it’s also more neutral than a lot of foaming cleansers on the market.

The bar lathers easily and washes off easily. At first I only used in the morning because I didn’t know if would remove makeup. Well, it removes makeup, even stubborn Korean BB creams and sunscreen. To my surprise, it didn’t leave my skin feeling dry or tight. Even with the more neutral pH, my skin did not break out either.

The only thing I don’t like is the smell. I didn’t realize that I was so sensitive to this until I tried it. It’s not even a “bad” smell but I’m so sensitive to anything that reminds me of molasses (this is why I hate immortelle in perfume). The scent doesn’t linger on the skin but I admit that I make sure I wash it off very thoroughly because I don’t like it. It’s that I’m standing in the shower for 1-2 minutes with an aroma on my face that I don’t enjoy.

As far as the brightening effects, I can’t say because I use a lot of other brightening products. I do feel like over the past month my skin has appeared more radiant/”clear” but there may be other factors impacting this. All I know is that the past month my skin has looked great.

Ingredients: Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin Orange) Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi (Bearberry) Extract, Mitracarpus Scaber (Mitracarpe) Extract, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Cuscuta Chinensis Lamarck (Chinese Dodder) Extract, Salicornia Herbacea (Slender Glasswort) Extract, Phaseolus Radiatus (Mung Bean) Extract, Agarum (Sea Colander) Extract, Agarum (Sea Colander) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Trichosanthes Kirilowii Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Primula Veris (Cowslip) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle) Extract, Veronica Officinalis (Gypsy Weed) Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Platycodon Grandiflorum (Balloon Flower) Extract, Ligusticum Porteri Root Extract, Dahurian Angelica Root Extract, Bletilla Striata Extract, Ampelopsis Japonica Extract, Dolichos Lablab Linn (White Hyacinth) Bean Extract, Japanese Hogfennel Root Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Wild Flax) Extract, Trigonella Melilotus Coerulea (Blue Fenugreek) Extract, Houttuynia Cordata (Heartleaf) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria (Chamomile) Extract, Kaempferia Galanga (Aromatic Ginger) Extract, Agastache Rugosa (Korean Mint) Extract, Bupleurum (Chinese Thoroughwax) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract.

Overall, I think this is a product worth trying if you are looking for an all-natural cleanser. Or if you are looking for a product that is easy to travel with. It is extremely convenient for travel – can go in your carry on, no fear of leaking.

Two sizes are available (1 oz which is shown and a 3.5 oz bar). Prices range from $10 to $35 at PurErb.

My best guess is that a soap bar the size that I have will last 2-4 months with daily use.skincar

¹More about this and techniques here. 

²Here’s a great introduction to pH and cleansers. There’s a follow-up article that is worth reading because there’s more factors than pH when finding a great cleanser.

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*Disclaimer – Product provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Product pics are mine.

10 thoughts on “PurErb Brightening Cleansing Bar Review

  1. I totally understand what you mean by the smell… I’m very used to natural and earthy scents so it didn’t bother me, but a couple of people I know would have a problem with it. Good news is it doesn’t linger on the skin!

    1. And it’s totally a me thing because anything that reminds me of maple doesn’t sit with me BUT some people will LOVE this scent. Overall, it didn’t linger so I can’t complain.

    1. I came across a blog not long ago where she has a tab of what she’s currently using skincare-wise. I thought that was such a great idea. That changes for me but for the most part stays the same for months/seasons. I thought it was cool that she had that and she followed up with a blurb if she liked the product or not.

      I use a few different things but right now I’m using prescription retin A and azelaic acid. There’s a spot treatment hydroquinone from Alpha that I use when it’s super stubborn and I don’t use it for too long. I try to make sure that my creams have a lot of niacinamide in them. I use Paula’s Choice BHA lotion every other day in the morning. And a licorice/antioxidant serum daily (totally obsessed with something from Garden of Wisdom right now). But, most importantly I use sunscreen in layers (like sunscreen/primer/foundation/powder). I find for me, one thing doesn’t cut it. In fact, a bunch of stuff barely cuts it. Oh, well.

      And of course, I use all those Korean sheet masks that claim to “brighten” and brightening products from brands like Olay (Pro-X is slow but I do notice results…eventually). No clue if those work but I’m a sucker for the marketing. My skin hasn’t found a vitamin C serum that it likes yet but maybe I’ll find one some day.

  2. Another very good recent article related to cleansing skin was written by Michelle, a PhD chemist and science educator on her blog It not only talks about pH, but also other factors that impact skin during cleansing. It’s called “All about cleansing and how to chose a gentle cleanser” in case this link doesn’t work:
    She also references the link in your second footnote.

    Face cleansers are one of those products I don’t care to experiment with for whatever reason. Maybe because I think other products that stay on your face longer have a more significant impact. But I do wish I had a twin and could do the actual experiment :).

    Ugh on the scent and that’s an impressively long list of extracts in the ingredient list!

    The Drunk Elephant JuJu bar is what I use in the warmer months. Although technically a ‘bar’, according to Beautypedia it’s not actually ‘soap’ because of the formulation. It’s pretty mild on my combo* skin. The other favorite is the Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost liquid cleanser. My skin always feels so clean after it, but never ever tight.

    *combo: oily T and surprisingly dry cheeks/neck – I like footnotes too LOL

    1. I’ll read that ASAP. Until recently I haven’t cared at all about pH because I didn’t realize it was a big deal. I realize that it’s more than pH involved to find a cleanser that works for your skin (and during different seasons, etc). It matters what you follow up with (like acids, etc). But, cleansing in general, I didn’t realize water isn’t so great for the skin. I can’t remember if I put it in the review but I bought the strips and “tested” various cleansers. This bar soap was less alkaline than all the foaming Korean cleansers that I have which are surprisingly alkaline with 9+ pH. I’m not convinced bar soaps are evil, but I’m convinced foam may be.

      Anyway, I KNOW! I wish I had a skincare twin that could try all things out for me and my other wish is to have a body double that tries on jeans for me and saves me from the torture of trying to find pants that fit right. They can just show up with the perfect fitting pants and spare me the mental anguish and hours wasted in dressing rooms.

      Same, I’m much more likely to spend money on moisturizers, serums, eye creams and treatment products. I mean, if I could afford to do it all, maybe I would but I have to prioritize.

      For the most part, I like CeraVe, Paula’s Choice and Glyderm face washes. I will use other things because I’m curious.

      As someone that footnotes more than they want to, I’m in awe of people that do it so professionally in their personal/hobby life. In comparison to skincare bloggers, I’m LAZY.

  3. All this pH info takes me back decades to Redken Amino Pon Beauty Bar. Non-alkaline bar, non-foaming (that was a weird experience the first time). They don’t make it anymore, but it does appear they have a line for men now that has a pH balanced cleansing bar.
    I’ll have to get some pH strips and test things out. I moved away from lathering products for my face years ago. Still have to make the move for my body, although much of the lather comes from using a mesh pouf, which also makes a little bit of cleanser go a long way.
    I agree with Das, that is an amazingly long list of ingredients. I understand about the maple syrup smell — can’t do it either.

    1. OMG, my grandma (the one that I inherited my “product gene” from) has told me so many stories about Redken Amino Pon and it’s non-foaming magic!

      For a long time, I avoided it. My skin was sooo dry and then it became more “normal”. Actually started using foaming after visiting Hong Kong and seeing it on all the shelves. I thought, “Hey, it can’t be that evil, right?” Well, my favorite Korean foaming cleanser has a pH of 11! Actually, I suspect it’s higher because it’s even more extreme than the color chart provided. So yeah, probably won’t be using that anymore.

      I’m so dedicated to bar soaps and soaps. I know that I need to switch over to gentle stuff for my entire body but I’m too nostalgic and stubborn. But, I think I chose one of my goals for 2017 – try to use non-alkaline soap from head-to-toe.

      PurErb has me very interested in all those scalp massaging tools. I use a jade roller on my face daily. Is it necessary? No but I love the cooling feeling especially during these months of seasonal allergies that I’ve been suffering from.

      1. Jade roller? Oooh, sounds wonderful.

        My scalp massaging comes from using a non-lathering shampoo. L’Oreal Professional Volumetry.
        I suspect the alleged volume comes from the amount of detergents in it vs any silicones. Also has salicylic acid — hah, Listed almost at the end. I put it on my scalp at the beginning of my shower on the theory that the extra time will provide some good. 😀
        Not sure it’s even made anymore as I bought it at Winners (Canadian TJ Maxx).

        1. Totally unnecessary but feels good. I’ve had seasonal allergies just terrible this past month (ragweed) and my eyes are so poofy and swollen when I wake up (sleep elevated, all of that). The jade just feels so good.

          My scalp needs some TLC right now. Once again, no clue if it is allergy related but my scalp isn’t happy. I bought one of those Japanese shampoo/scalp brushes. I like it but I need a shampoo for my scalp too…or an oil massage, something.

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