About the item:
3.5oz for $5.95
Available in any size 3.5oz and up
The Official Lush Cosmetics website lists Porridge Soap as a new item, describing it as a soap “stuffed with real oats for an exfoliating scrub and fresh orange juice to invigorate sleepy heads.” Lush goes on to compare the smell to sweet molasses and says the soap is ideal for sensitive skin.
Its safe synthetic components are Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Perfume, Sodium Palm Kernelate, and propylene Glycol. Its natural and/or organic components are Water , Pinhead Oatmeal (Avena sativa), Fresh Organic Orange Juice (Citrus Aurantium dulcis), Titanium Dioxide, Labdanum Resinoid (Cistus labdaniferus), Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis), Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, and Limonene.
Porridge, eh? You know, I always ranked the stuff amongst slop, gruel and the other flavorless grey goops in terms of all term worst breakfast foods. So it was a bit of a shock when Sally first brought a sample of the aptly named soap home and bade me smell it. I don’t know how to adequately put this into words, but I’ll try my best: it smells like happiness. No, I don’t mean it sounds like a knock off of the Clinque fragrance Happy. I mean it smells sweet and wonderful and homey in a kind of ’round the hearth,’ old-timey way, back before modern man invented Instant Grits and cereal bars. Best of all, it leaves you feeling delicious and clean and hurts like a good exfoliating soap ought to.
So, getting past the first and most impressive attribute (for which I have nothing but praise and flowery language), we can safely move on to its other lovely characteristics. As you can see from the ingredients, it has been rendered largely from coco fat and palm oil, probably in addition to or in lieu of the normal Lush soap base. In soap making terms, these two fats will produce a result best described with adjectives like luxurious, creamy, lathery, moisturizing, mild and generally well rounded for a good skin care soap. Compositionally, orange juice was an interesting choice, given the scent combination, and at first I was a little weirded out by it. But in fact, it works remarkably well. Not to mention there are all kinds of pleasant vitamins in orange juice and although I’m a wee bit skeptical as to the degree vitamins and nutrients are absorbed into the skin via the washing process, I suppose it can’t hurt in any case.
The one thing that will make or break this soap for most people is the amount of oats they’ve thrown into the mix. Soap makers put oats in soap for three reasons: pleasant aroma, nutritional value (by which I mean acids, fats and vitamins that are healthy for the skin. See Sally’s review for more details) and last but not least, rough, exfoliating texture. Personally, nothing is better than a good exfoliating soap. Not so much because I think it’s good for the skin or because I need to get rid of dead cells or any of that junk, but simply because washing up should hurt, if at all possible. I just feel so much cleaner afterwards. And this ain’t your grandma’s oatmeal we’re talking about either. Pinhead oats have a texture more like ground walnuts or those tough brown bits you find in wild-rice than the typical dropping, flaccid lumps that stick to the side of your breakfast bowl. And did I mention there’s a hell of a lot of the stuff in here? Not for the faint of heart, but interestingly enough designed for sensitive skin (a nod more to its alchemical properties and the gentle disposition of its base that its tolerance for weak, wussy skin). Common complaints are that this soap is too rough, but in my book it’s just right. A great product for those of you who liked “Buffy” as well.
My only qualm with this soap is that it doesn’t last very long. And no, it’s not because I eat it, though I’ve thought about it on several occasions. For one thing, the soap is pretty soft due to the ratio of fats used (probably the curing time as well). If you hold it in your hand long enough, you’ll notice it’s a bit melty at room temperature. As a general rule, the softer and more fatty the soap, the better it is for your skin, but the faster it disappears. The other reason it doesn’t last long is that towards the middle of the bar, the grain-to-soap ratio is pretty strong on the grain side. In other words, because the actual soap base is ‘cut,’ in the parlance of our times, with so much other stuff, the bar itself doesn’t last that long, or hold together after continuous use. Trust us. When they cut you off a bar, it may look more soap than porridge, but the minute you get past the outer rim, it’s Goldilocks time and the family of bears is lookin’ awful hungry… ahem… yeah.
Overall, this is one of my favorite soaps from Lush. Delicious, rough and moisturizing. Best of all it’s extremely cheap for a Lush product, which should help to counteract the accelerated erosion time. Just don’t accidentally leave it on your kitchen table around breakfast.
Bang-for-Your-Buck Rating: $$$
Overall Rating: 5