Category Archives: Soaps

Reviews of Lush Soaps.

A use for slivers of Lush soap!

Looking for something to do with your old, tiny slivers of Lush soap that are collecting in your bathroom? One of our favorite readers, TrailerTrashPrincess, offers a great idea:

 

Lush soaps are made from a melt-and-pour type soap base, so it is relatively simple to make MultiSoap bars with all the little leftover bits. Especially if some of them are still squishy-soft and fresh, or if you’re willing to sacrifice part of a soft bar of soap to help it all along. (think of it like nuts in a chocolate bar… melt the chocolate to hold the nuts in place) Waxed paper drinking cups from fast food & coffee places make perfect molds for this!

Use a pyrex measuring cup if you have one, or a smooth-sided microwave safe bowl/mug and add in all the random soap bits and a splash (tablespoon or so) of water. Put in the microwave for 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on your nuker, until the water gets hot, almost boiling, and the soap starts to melt. Add in the soft, sacrificial soap (or buttercream), give it a good stir and pop back in the microwave for a little bit longer – it doesn’t all have to melt, but it needs to be melty enough that it’ll all hold together.

When it’s Soap Stew, pour it out into your paper cup or soap mold if you’ve got one (silicone cupcake cups work, too) and either let it sit out to cool or pop it in the freezer. If you don’t have a micronuker, you can use a double boiler to melt it all.

When cool, peel the paper cup off and toss in the recycle bin – and enjoy your MultiSoap!

 

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Noubar Soap by Alex

About the Item:

Noubar Soap

3.5 Oz for $5.95

Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush Website says that Noubar is “as delectable as it looks,” containing ”smoky vetivert oil and Turkish rose absolute to keep you sweet every time you wash…You’d be nuts to miss out on Noubar.”

This item contains: Water (Aqua), Glycerine, Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil (Brassica napus; Helianthus annuus; Cocos nucifera), Chopped Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), Chopped Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Chopped Walnuts (Juglans regia), Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume, Titanium Dioxide, Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera), Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides), Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Cedarwood Oil (Cupressus funebris), Sodium Chloride, Geraniol, *Citronellol, FD&C Blue No. 1.

My Review:

Peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios? Did someone drop an industrial-sized tin of mixed nuts into one of the soap vats? And what’s with the name? I mean, props for referencing Diran Noubar, but is an obscure French documentary filmmaker really that relevant (kidding of course. Nougat + Bar = Noubar)? Of all the Lush products I have tried thus far, I think I was most resistant to this one. The smell simply did not enliven my pallet and I found the handful of tasty morsels peppering the soap more baffling than enticing. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by Noubar’s alien texture, verdant hue and latent air of mystery/edibility. And since it was technically free along with my $17 dollar chunk of Karma under the auspices of the Clean Slate Sale, I thought I might as well suffer what slings and arrows might lie ahead in the interest of providing you, fine readers, with a comprehensive review.

Looking at the list of ingredients, Noubar seems pretty light on the soap and heavy on the fixins’. This may explain why some people have a hard time getting this soap to lather. Personally I haven’t had an issue, so I can’t really complain. It’s got the standard palm-oil free soap base, of course (good news for endangered species everywhere), along with a healthy dose of earthy, woody and floral scents. Gardenia and rose mix with cedar and vetivert to produce the subtle but unmistakable aroma of a healthy garden or a well manicured lawn. As I mentioned before, I was not initially turned on by this green-funk, but when I got the soap home and used it for a few days, I found its clean, botanical aroma had started to grow on me. It’s certainly an acquired taste however, and I actually prefer it as a hand soap to one I lather up with in the shower. I don’t really need or want my pits to smell any more like fresh cut grass than they already do. On the other hand, catching subtle hints of Noubar lingering on my palms is a nice feeling throughout the day.

Alright, but seriously, what’s up with the nuts? Granted, many of the most decadent, luxurious and moisturizing fats in the world are derived from nuts (cocoa butter, almond and coconut oils, etc.), but these are usually highly concentrated (not to mention added to the soap during the saponification process) and not confined to the cellulose prison of an indehiscent seed. As Lush suggests in their description, the nuts do indeed serve other purposes: namely olfactory and tactile appeal. As I mentioned before, this soap definitely has a natural smell and the nuts certainly lend a kind of barky, mossy richness to the whole concoction. Also, anyone who has read my other soap reviews will know that I’m a sucker for anything that exfoliates the skin; usually the rougher the better. The nice thing about using nuts to accomplish this goal is that they are rough in texture, but unlike dense seeds or coarse minerals, they have a natural flexibility that makes them relatively forgiving, and less harsh on the skin. I find that the nutty protrusions that develop over time from soap erosion can be used like the scouring side of a sponge, softening my callused, battle-worn, time-gnarled and work-hardened hands, while at the same time moisturizing them to the pliancy of a broken and well-oiled catcher’s mitt.

Lastly of course, there is the matter of the soaps peculiar appearance, which I’m actually rather smitten with. Let me paint it for you: half a dozen shades of green — from creamy, St. Patrick’s Day beer-foam and pistachio gelato, to translucent TMNT Ooze — all speckled and swirled together, with splashes and constellations of brown, chunky nuts, like rocky islands lost in an alien sea. The photo truly does not do it justice. In an odd way, I’m inclined to say this soap is actually one of the loveliest I’ve seen at Lush (which would put it high in the rankings for loveliest worldwide); a triumphant synergy of Lush’s unique aesthetic and conscientious world view. In short, a soap to unite the muddled and over-commercialized “green” movement, to inspire and lead the apathetic masses into a fertile and sustainable future with like… wheat grass just growing all over the place and… kids running around with Super Soakers full of sunshine and… huge bees everywhere and all that. Yeah….It’s going to be awesome.

Weird-hippie-tangent aside, this soap really is easy on the eyes. And, as it turns out, the wallet as well (at least by Lush standards). At $5.95 per 3.5 oz. you really can’t go wrong. Hurray for defying expectations!

Bang-For-Your-Buck Rating: $$$

Overall Rating: 4 as a hand soap. 3 as a body soap. -20000 if you’re allergic to nuts.

Karma Soap by Alex

Karma

About the Item:

Karma Soap

3.5 oz for $7.95
Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush Website lists this soap as one of their best sellers. “A spicy orange and patchouli soap to calm and soothe a tired mind…Lemongrass, pine, orange and patchouli essential oils can turn a boring shower into a truly groovy experience!”

This item contains: Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Perfume, Glycerine, Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin), Orange Oil (Citrus dulcis), Lavendin Oil (Lavendula hybrida), Pine Oil (Pinus), Lemongrass Oil (Cymbopogan flexuosus), Elemi Oil (Canarium commune), Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides), *Citral, *Geraniol, *Citronellol, *Limonene, *Linalool, FD&C Red No. 4,.

My Review:

So, it’s a new year. Time to start things off right and get going on one of my several resolutions (next to graduate and get a job…): Update content on the regular. I know, I know, it’s been a while since I put anything up here and a damn long while since I reviewed any actual soap, but frankly, I was just getting too bogged down with school, money, the holidays and so on to even think about Lush. It just became another commitment. Every time I bought something I’d think “well… I really ought to review this… but I kinda just want to wash my face with it…”

However, with the advent of the recent holiday sale, I got a second chance (Big ups to Lauren at the Burlington Mall Lush for all of her help!). See, I got to splurge a little without having to worry too much about my mounting debt issues, and as a result I picked up a chunk of Karma, which I had previously snubbed because, well, Sally can’t stand it and I figured I probably wouldn’t dig it either. Oh how wrong I was. On first smell, I was intrigued but not blown away. But the more I let it linger, catching whiffs of it as I continued to browse, I realized how pleasant and subtle it was and how clean it made me feel. I was sold.  So much so, in fact, that I just bought another chunk of it this morning (I bought that last one the day after Christmas… less than a week ago…yeah… it’s a problem).

So, let’s get down to business. First of all, love the color and the over all design of the soap. I like how simple and chic it is. Just a big block with a giant lotus stamp in it. I mean, I do love how creative they get some times; the swirling loops and spires on Spice Curls, the crazy highlighter-soup and glitter of Angel’s Delight. But the simple, clean elegance of this soap fits very well with its M.O. Relaxed, earthy, and rich.

The smell, of course, is the major selling point of any soap (let’s face it, they’re almost all technically composed of the same melt-and-pour base). The overtones are patchouli and orange, blended with lavender, pine and lemongrass to add depth and tone. Sally says she doesn’t like this one specifically because of the patchouli, and I’ve heard this complaint from a number of people. I’ll admit, in just about every other context, I dislike the smell. I find it over-powering and way over-used by dirt-children and wannabe hippies. But I think this soap balances it well. In fact, it smells like… something else entirely. There’s definitely that rich, musky smell from the patchouli but it’s not that nose-wrinkling, pungent-inscence-stand-next-to-the-foodcourt smell I typically associate it with. It’s waaay toned down and it’s full of little subtleties that keep me coming back for another whiff. The lavender gives it a breezy, clean-laundry smell and the orange and lemon grass make it just a little bit fresh and citrusy like an open window in the spring time. The best part (and this goes for a lot of Lush products) is that it smells natural. It smells like something my body produced on its own if I stuck to a diet of flower pettles, rain water and sunshine.

A brief word on the technical side of this soap: As far as Lush soaps go, this one is more on the glycerine side of things than most, which means that it cuts easily, lathers nicely and disperses its odour very well. However, it also melts like crazy, especially in salt-treated water like we have at my house (to combat the minerals we get from our well water). Glycerine soaps absorb moisture well, so on hot, humid days this soap will be very gooey to the touch. I reccomend keeping it in a dry place and toweling it off after use if possible. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program…

In general, this soap is balanced and well put together. It’s not overly ambitious. It’s beautiful and charming in its simplicity. It’s Karma. I’m not going to bother getting into the actual meaning of that word, nor am I going to mix up my Asian cultures by talking about how “Zen” it is or how “Fung Shui” or “Tai Chi” or any of that crap that marketing people typically tac on to things that seem like they come from The Mysterious Orient. The truth is, it doesn’t matter why they call it that. The intoxicating smell and vivid orange-red color speak for themselves without flashy clicks and whistles.

I never want to stop smelling like this. Seriously. Ya feel me?

Bang-for-your-Buck Rating: $$$ (Or $$$$$$$$ if you happen to get it on the Holiday Sale going on until the 11th of January!)

Over-all Rating: 5
PS: I am aware that they make a Karma perfume and that it does not come from the bodies of people who ingest rainwater and sunshine exclusively. Maybe some day I’ll give it a try, but for now I’m satisfied with the soap.

B Electro by Sally

B Electro Soap

About the Item
B Electro Soap
3.5 oz for $6.95
Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush Website lists B Electro Soap as a new (and limited time only!) guest soap infused with “grapefruit, jasmine, rose and fennel.”

Its safe synthetic components are: Sodium Palm Kernelate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Perfume, D&C Green No. 8, D&C Blue No.1, D&C Yellow No.7, D&C Red No. 27.

Its natural and/or organic ingredients are: Fennel Oil (Foeniculum vulgare), Grapefruit Oil (Citrus grandis), Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum officinale), Rose Absolute (Rosa centifolia), Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Farnesol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, and Limonene.

My Review:

I hate to say it, but this is one of the few Lush products I’ve tried that I’m not absolutely dying over. When I read on the forums that it was finally available in the U.S., I ran out to Providence, RI to snag it from the mall. It was propped up on a table right near the register, and I grabbed a huge piece in my hands, smiled, closed my eyes, tilted back my head, took a deep whiff and… cried out in disappointment. Really, I think I actually said “What?” out loud and snarled my lip. What was this soap? It was like a cheap impression of Sexy Peel without the soulful orange undertones and the lick-your-lips citrus fullness.

As I sit here now, I imagine melting down sexy peel, adding not-quite-ripe grapefruits and then watering it down significantly (and of course, dumping the contents of a whole pack of yellow highlighters inside).

I tried not to show my disappointment. Instead, I picked up a piece to buy and had Alex try smelling it to see if I was crazy. He thought it was good (I think?), but it wasn’t the delicious punch in the face that Porridge is for us, so he pretty much walked away to toy with some other soaps.

I bought it, took it home, sliced off a little piece and set it in the shower to replace my big Ice Blue bar that I’ve been working on for almost a month now. My first shower with it was just a few days ago, and I must say that the experience was about as wonderful as my first impression of the soap was. Don’t get me wrong– I’m going to give this some more time– but it didn’t have great lather and had no aromatic qualities that really stuck with me thoughout my shower. In fact, I sort of found myself rushing with it because the smell was so sour to me. It isn’t horrible, by any means, and I’m actually a HUGE fan of citrus scented goods… it just didn’t pack a punch the way I had hoped it would. I detect the grapefruit, but it really just comes off smelling like a big-ass bar of sexy peel went sour. Booo!

What have others said about the scent? Most reviews I’ve read just keep saying that the scent is up in the air– they hated it, but can see how some would like it, or loved it but could see how some could hate it. The one thing they all agree upon is that B Electro would be suitable for men and women as it isn’t overtly floral or girly.

That being said, we judge a soap on more than just our personal scent preferences, because I know plenty of people who LOVE the B Electro smell. I have to give this soap MAJOR points for color payoff– it LITERALLY looks like someone dumped highlighters into this baby. When I rubbed it on my wash cloth to wash up, it was glowing like we were under a blacklight. The picture really doesn’t do it justice.

The ingredients in this present another huge upside to the soap. As written in my Porridge review, B Electro also has the typical ” base of Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil and Coconut Oil. These oils combine to moisturize in an unbelievable way– complete with vitamins A, D, and E, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.” However, on top of that, this soap has Fennel Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Rose and Jasmine Absolutes! This baby is GREAT for your skin! I haven’t noticed much of a difference yet, but like I said, I’ve only used it once and was so put off by the smell that I doubt I was grazing my skin to check my good work.

Another upside to this soap is because it lathers so little (as opposed to Porridge, which is soft and lathers like crazy, or even Rockstar, which is medium-soft and lathers a little) it will probably last a reaaaallllyyy long time. Hope you like the scent!

Bang-For-Your-Buck Rating: $$ (for long lasting for the semi-expensive price)

Over-All Rating: 3 (for long lasting, unisex capabilities, and fabulous color)

Do you want to try this soap? Leave a comment and be entered in a raffle to win a sample (with free shipping) sent right to your door!

Porridge Soap by Alex

About the item:

Porridge Soap

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.

My Review:

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

Porridge Soap by Sally

About the item:

Porridge Soap

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.

My review:

When I walked into Lush to look around, a Lush employee enthusiastically shoved a piece of Porridge in front of my face for me to smell, asking if I had tried any yet. I was a little annoyed until I smelled the little bugger– it was the most delicious scent I could have ever imagined (think: waking up to fresh oatmeal with brown sugar and orange juice… served in bed by your significant other… while on vacation in a fancy bed and breakfast… in Vermont. Yes, that good.). I bought a chunk and was soon enthusiastically shoving it in front of other peoples faces for days, until I went into Lush a few weeks later to buy two more big chunks (I hadn’t even used all of the first one, yet!). The point I’m skirting around (not-so-subtley) is that it was love at first sniff, and after reading the ingredients and their effects, I’m not surprised I liked it so much.

First, this baby has pinhead oatmeal in it. When you pick up a chunk, it looks like smooth taffy with pieces of oatmeal in it– great for exfoliating. The oatmeal also has calcium, carbohydrates, iron, Vitamin B1, and various proteins in it, making it a super moisturizing (yet still exfoliating) soap. Even better, oatmeal is the only food that naturally contains gamma linolenic acid– a fatty acid sometimes found in vegetable oils– which is a proven anti-inflammatory weapon. If you have sunburn, a rash, or skin irritation, then this soap is for you (as long as you can tolerate the slight roughness of the oats).

On top of the oatmeal, Porridge Soap has organic orange juice in it to give you a dose of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as to tighten pours, reduce aging, and invigorate skin. Oils inside of the soap help with dry and itchy skin, while anti-bacterial components found in Labdanum Resinoid combat germs.

All these components are mixed in with the usual Lush base of Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil and Coconut Oil. These oils combine to moisturize in an unbelievable way– complete with vitamins A, D, and E, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Not to mention, I get to bathe with something that smells like delicious oatmeal-and-orange-juice breakfast (though, many Lushies compare it so an oatmeal cookie or molasses)!

After trying Porridge Soap, my opinion didn’t change. It smelled delicious in the shower and made my bathroom smell like porridge for hours after, even though I removed the soap after using it. It created a generous lather and made my skin incredibly soft. Some reviewers feel the oatmeal was too rough for sensitive skin, but I loved it… it caused no irritation whatsoever and only exfoliated dry patches I had on my upper arms.

After a few uses, I have begun to notice that my Porridge Soap bar isn’t lasting as long as my other soaps usually do– it seems to be a bit softer in texture, though some Lush employees have told me that it was a fresh batch that needs to sit to “cure”. I get the feeling this soap is just a little softer, in general. The oats have begun to fall oat of the bar of soap as I use it. This isn’t a real surprise, as what goes in the soap must eventually come out, and I am happy to see that I’m not losing them in huge amounts that clog the drain or cling to my body… I just lose a few here and a few there each shower.

Overall I am very happy with this soap. It has probably become my favorite lush soap (perhaps even my favorite lush item!) mostly because of it’s incredible scent and exfoliating properties. I leave the shower, everytime, feeling totally moisturized and happy. Not to mention, this soap is completely affordable as it is one of the cheapest soaps that Lush offers!

Bang-For-Your-Buck Rating: $$$

Overall Rating: 5