... a breezy social history with a health angle, an easy read by a charming, sassy author ... offers some very welcome debunking of cosmetic claims ... I can quibble about various omissions, like shaving (what does that do to the skin microbiome, I ask, hundreds of disposable razors later), and about Mr. Hamblin’s reliance on the well-trod conceit of experiential journalism, with his visits to predictably zany places like the Natural Products Expo and the Goop website. But the science writing is accessible and articulate—graceful even—and there are some wonderful surprises, like when Mr. Hamblin cooked up a homemade men’s grooming product with a hilarious name too obscene to print here and posted the stuff for sale online to illustrate how utterly unencumbered by regulatory agencies such products and their claims can be.
In this entertaining and deeply researched book, he suggests that our addiction to soap and skincare is creating more problems than they solve ... Organized and thorough, the research and history Hamblin presents are uncomfortably compelling. This is a fascinating, rich mix of science, marketing and culture that will have you questioning everything you think you know about your daily skincare routine.
... engaging and informative ... more than the rantings of a postmodern urban hobo. In addition to a careful critique of how Americans obsess about cleanliness, he offers valuable information and insight into the complex nature of the skin, the history of cleanliness and the business of skin care.