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By David Lynch

An unfolded package of Lux Soap in it's nefarious "multi-pack".

I recently obtained a three-pack of Lux soap from the local Kroger. I find the trend of only distributing soaps in multi-packs to be an annoying drain on my cash flow, and would like to see more individual packaging for soaps. This form of trickery reflects poorly on the manufacturers, but has absolutely no effect on the soap's quality. Still, it's a lousy way to have to start a review.

The soaps come in a glossy wax wrapper, and are held together by a glossy, sticky wrapper that fits on the soap wrappers like a saddlebag. The individual soaps are 3 and 3/4 by 2 inches wide, and a little more then 3/4ths of an inch thick. The left side of the sticker is light blue, with a red banner and white letters, and it suggests that you "COMPARE and SAVE". By this they mean that you chould compare the price of Lux (which is 3 for 99 cents), see that it is considerably less than that of other brands, and save money by buying Lux, as opposed to the rival brand. Personally, I think Lux is supposed to be the rival of the better-known Ivory, because they look very similar, and smell somewhat similar as well. Beneath this colorful banner is the Lux logo, which is the word(?) "LUX" written in dark blue letters with light blue shadowing. "SOAP" is written in light blue inside the right concave of the X. This is over a white background, with thin red lines near the top and bottom of the logo, with a thin white line at the very top and bottom. "3 BATH SIZE BARS" is written beneath the logo in yellow, and "4.5 OZ/127.6g BARS TOTAL NET WT. 13.5 OZ./382.7 g" is written beneath that in white letters. The top of the saddlebag begins with red, with slightly slanted yellow letters that say "COMPARE & SAVE", as opposed to "COMPARE and SAVE", which is what is printed on the left side. There's a blue line beneath that with "3 BATH SIZE BARS" written in yellow inside it. Beneath that is a thin white line, followed by a thin red line, and the top of the label is completely white after that, with the Lux logo in the upper left corner, and "QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? CALL TOLL-FREE 1-800-598-5005. (c)1994 LEVER BROTHERS CO. DIST. BY LEVER BROTHERS CO. NY, NY 10022 MADE IN U.S.A." printed beneath it. To the right of that is a little recreation of the Lever company's logo, which is the word "LEVER" in slanted and somewhat bubbly dark blue letters, with a blue line beneath that. There is a gleam on the loop of the R, which implies cleanliness. taking up the rest of the white space is a dark blue bar code. The UPC number for Lux is 11111-04424, for those of you who were wondering. The right side is the same as the left, except it's printed vertically as opposed to horizontally. The tops and bottoms and flaps are all imprinted with the Lux logo, and the sides are left blank. The individual packages are the same shade of light blue as the saddlebag sticker. The packaging has the overall feeling of a sailor's uniform, or a small schooner.

The bar of soap is extremely, and probably intentionally, similar to a bar of Ivory in its pure white coloring, its clunky square shape, and its dense and brittle composition. I haven't seen a bar of Ivory for a while, but I'd bet that Lux and Ivory also smell pretty much alike. The only real difference beetween Ivory and Lux, as far as I can tell, is that Lux has "LUX" printed on the front of the bar. Personally, I think this is a dishonest way to sell a soap, and would have preferred it if Lux had been given its own distinctive style. Lux smells very much like baby powder with a hint of perfume. The smell of baby powder always reminds me of dirty diapers, so the scent is not wholly desirable. Lux is a fairly hard soap when compared to Dove or Irish Spring, but is very crumbly, and I was able to dig a chunk of soap out with my fingernail quite easily. This would be ideal for those interested in soap shavings, but I find it obnoxious. It makes me wonder how the soap will hold up to washing, or being dropped in the shower. Not very well, I'd guess.

All that was left was the test of Lux's cleaning power. I wrote "Pronto" on my hand with a Scripto Super Stic med. pt. pen, and proceeded to vigorously scrub my hands under warm water. It took me a whole 1 minute and 19 seconds to completely remove all traces of ink from my palm. This is substandard cleaning performance for a soap, and I was somewhat disappointed by this poor showing. That said, I was impressed by the thick yet bubbly lather that was formed while lathering. The soap's smell and texture improve notably when wet. I was especially taken by Lux's clean odor, which lasted an hour after washing my hands. This is probably the only real reason for actively purchasing a bar of Lux.

One thing that puzzled me about Lux ever since I purchased it was its name. I've developed two theories as to its unorthodox naming which are both completely unfounded and pure speculation on my part. I first hypothesized that the soap was once called Luxury Soap, which became too cumbersome and difficult to incorporate into a logo, and was shortened to Lux at some point in its marketing. It later occured to me that "Lux" was Latin for light, and was so dubbed because of its light hue. I have no idea if either hypothesis is correct, but I like to believe that my first conclusion was basically true. All in all, I was unimpressed with Lux, but its long-lasting odor and fresh scent made it suitable for public use. I'd recommend it for rugged individualists and people who can really work up a good head of B.O. Otherwise, stick with your usual brand.

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