To be clear, acne scars, texture, and pigmentation are completely normal and natural—but that doesn't make it any more fun to experience. Though my fear of letting people see me without makeup on has faded, my thirteen years of acne scars have not.
After about a decade of battling cystic, acne-prone skin and the scarring that came with it, I've had some help from years of chemical exfoliants, retinol-based serums, and Vitamin C-packed moisturizers.
The cleansing part of my routine has always been pretty basic. I'm really just looking for something to lightly cleanse or remove makeup without irritating my dry, sensitive skin. I thought that's all a cleanser was, until I tried the TikTok-viral Urban Skin Rx Cleansing Bar ($15, Ulta). If the TikTok beauty community was right, the cleansing bar was supposed to even out my skin tone for a brighter, glowier complexion.
Usually, I'm a bit nervous about trying anything in the skincare world that's trendy. As a South Asian woman, a lot of brightening products on the mass market aren't catered towards my skin type. But, when I saw that nearly every review of the TikTok-viral cleansing bar was by medium to dark-skinned beauty lovers and that Urban Skin Rx's tagline is "Clinical skincare for diverse skin tones," I jumped at the chance to try it out.
Here's my honest review:
It didn't strip my dry skin of its natural oils.
As someone with parched, dry skin, I have a hard time finding cleansers that clean my skin without leaving it parched or stripped of its natural oils. Because this cleanser is in a bar format, it doesn't include a lot of added ingredients to make it liquid. In fact, two of the first three ingredients in the bar are nourishing coconut oil and moisturizing safflower oil.
Usually, I have to overcompensate with a heavy moisturizer after cleansing. But I didn't have that squeaky-dry feeling at all after using this cleansing bar. My skin felt perfectly moisturized and supple after using it.
My skin was glowing after just one use.
I know, I know. You're reading that and thinking there's no way that any skincare product could actually work after just one use. As a massive skincare cynic myself, I don't blame you. (But at just $15, you don't have much to lose by trying it yourself).
Even though I've been using this cleanser for a month, and have been seeing consecutively more impressive results in my skin texture and tone since then, I saw a big difference in my skin after just one use. The best part? The radiance (if I do say so myself) that I saw in my skin after the first time I used it one morning lasted the entire day.
Yes, the change I saw was probably too subtle for anyone else to notice, but I saw fresh acne scars along my jawline completely disappear and then stubborn pigmentation around my mouth brighten immediately. Now that I've been using the bar for a month, I've seen some extremely stubborn pigmentation (some scars that I've had for years!) go away.
The bar was fun and easy to use.
If you've already fallen into a TikTok rabbit hole of the countless video reviews this bar has received, you'll know that many of them are just of people foaming up the actual bar into an extremely satisfying lather. Essentially, the cleanser is formatted in a jar filled with a solid Jell-O-esque substance with a circular sponge on top of it.
You simply run the sponge under water, then rub it into the solid product to work up a lather. That part of the process was so calming, I'd almost say it was an ASMR-like experience. Afterward, rinse the sponge. You can even rinse the solid cleansing bar. (You're welcome, germaphobes!).
I use the cleanser twice a day every day—in the morning as a light cleanser, and at night after taking off my makeup. I used the Even Tone Cleansing Bar—it's gentle, effective, and fun to use for all skin types.
If you have acne-prone skin, you'll definitely want to try the Clear Skin Cleansing Bar specifically meant to treat acne. If you don't trust me, you'll want to check out the thousands of clear-skinned TikTokers who obsess over the brand.
Neha Tandon is the E-Commerce Editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Bustle, BRIDES, POPSUGAR, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.