Tag Archives: worth it

Cupcake Face Mask by Alex

About the Item

Cupcake Face Mask

1 Pot (4-8 uses) for 10.95

 

The official Lush website has this product listed in the Biofresh section, which means that it is too fresh to be mailed and must be purchased at a Lush retail location and refrigerated. The website says the product contains “mint, Rhassoul Mud and absorbent cocoa powder to treat spots, black heads, open pores and oil happy skin in a delicious chocolate mask.”

 

Ingredients: Rhassoul Mud, Linseed Infusion, glycerin, talc, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, fresh mint, sandalwood oil, vanilla absolute, spearmint oil, peppermint oil (mentha piperita), Limonene Perfume.


My Review:


I’ve got to say, this one was a first. I’ve always liked the idea of using mud to clean pores and using something that smells and feels just like cupcake frosting is practically Through the Looking Glass (or if you’d prefer, Bizarro World) in terms of skin care. How deliciously ironic.

 

A few logistical things before I get into the review itself. First of all, this product cannot be purchased online because of its fresh ingredients and it must be kept refrigerated. It also has a decreased shelf life of about 14 days for this reason. And before you ask, freezing the mask to increase the shelf life is out of the question. It would kill the helpful enzymes found in the fresh ingredients. I spoke to the Lush employees about this product at the store in Harvard Square, Cambridge and they suggested starting out with a face scrub (I used Herbalism), then applying the mask and leaving it on for about 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and finish with one of their moisturizers, Enzymion, Imperialis or Gorgeous. Lush face masks are also good for spot treatments and break-outs, but should be used 2-3 times a week maximum.

 

I must admit, I hadn’t done a whole lot of research on this product before I used it, which I think ultimately gave me a better perspective on the results, as you shall see. So, having washed with Herbalism, I applied the brown, thoroughly cupcake-scented mask, popped in a frozen pizza and sat in on about 10 minutes of Angel with my boy Langer and his lady friend Amanda. I got a few laughs from the pair, mostly because I looked like a caveman with my mud-caked face and crusty beard, or Gene Wilder from that blackface scene in Silver Streak. It was tough not to smile, but I endured the ridicule with a stony face and tried desperately not to smile for fear I’d mess up the mask’s mojo. Anyway, after washing it off, I immediately noticed a difference. My skin felt tight and stretchy, which at first I thought might have just been because it had felt so coarse and brittle from the mask (felt a little like I imagine botox would), but after I put on some moisturizer I could definitely tell something had changed. My skin felt smooth and clean and… bouncy. It’s hard to describe, really. You know how your skin hurts a little sometimes when you stretch it out for a big bight of a sandwich or a huge toothy smile? After using the mask I felt like I could fit a whole horse in my mouth without much trouble. My skin was incredibly elasticy and flexible. I was surprised to find, upon doing some research, that this was more or less the intended effect. Rhassoul Mud, which makes up the base for this mask, comes from Morocco and apart from being anti-microbial, deep cleansing and full of healthy minerals like Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium (properties belonging to most types of volcanic mud) it is known to reduce aging lines and wrinkles by making the skin more elastic and pliable. So I guess there was a little truth to my original claim. The mask also has peppermint and spearmint oils, which help sooth the skin and cleanse pores.

 

Another huge benefit is that the mask left my face smelling like rich, chocolaty cupcakes. It’s remarkable to me that the people at Lush can make mud seem so appetizing.

 

I can’t really think of a lot of cons for this product apart from its limited shelf life and perhaps that its not something I would consider a necessity. I am lucky to have been blessed with a relatively acne-free face, nor do I often wish my skin was more flexible, so it’s less of a staple and more of a luxury for me (which is not necessarily a con). Cost wise, It’s about what I would expect to pay for a mask like this. It gets extra bang-for-your-buck points because the ingredients aren’t the kind of things you can easily acquire. I always have a hard time paying for something I could put together my self for the same cost, but I’m not going to go out of my way to import Rhassoul mud from Morocco when Lush can do it for [probably] cheaper. Not to mention, masks like this usually cost $30 or more for one treatment at a spa and although Lush says that you can get about 4 uses out of a pot, I think the average user could easily get 6-8. I’ve also heard that this stuff is good for softening up your whiskers before a shave. Haven’t given it a shot yet, but as a fellow who appreciates just about any product that makes the daily scrape a little more bearable, you can bet I’ll be trying it out as soon as I work up enough scruff to truly put it to the test.

 

Bang for Your Buck: $$$

 

Over-all Rating: 4

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.

Magic Bath Bomb by Alex

Magic Bath Bomb

Product Preview! Brand new for Christmas 2008!

About the Item

$5.95 (Or at least we think so; there is not yet a price listed on the North American Lush website, as it has not yet been released for general consumption, but it costs 3.10 in the UK.)

This item contains: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Perfume, Thymus Mastichina Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Eugenol, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Linalool, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 5, D&C Red No. 33, and Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract.

The Official Lush Website lists Magic as a new product for Christmas 2008. It was available at the September UK Forum Party and the October NA Chat Party and will be available to the general public for the Christmas 2008 season. The Lush describes Magic as “a 14-sided bomb that turns your bathwater a deep sapphire blue. Seen from the top, it’s a hexagon, or ‘hex’ bomb, with a blend of marjoram and rose in the shell to dissolve anxieties. Then, as the water changes color, basil and peppermint oils swirl into your tub to bring you growth, vitality and energy.”

My Review:

Being one who is naturally inclined to superstition, I’m always a bit daunted by products that unabashedly claim to be ‘magic.’ What if there’s some malevolent (or at least ironic) wizard somewhere, pumping out products that are actually magic and using the whole marketing scheme as a clever ploy to hide out in plain site while his product wreak havoc on our fragile little reality. Unlikely? Yes. None the less, I think my encounter with this product was much too serendipitous to be relegated to the realm of evil wizards. A little more like fate, but without all the nasty connotations and issues with free will.

Sally and I got back today from apple picking in New Hampshire and found that a few packages had arrived, one of which contained a number of products that she won in the UK Forum Party. We unrolled a strangely shaped object wrapped in the signature Lush paper and found, to our surprise, not the typical spheroid Bath Bomb, but a gigantic, pungent tetradecagon that looked like it belonged in some ogre’s Dungeons and Dragons game. Of course it didn’t have any numbers (and really, what would you ever use a D14 for?), but the shape made a big first impression. Sally was super excited because she was DYING to try this but hadn’t ordered it in time in the online forum/chat parties.
Now this is the first [Lush] Bath Bomb I’ve ever used, as I don’t often take baths, so I’m sure a number of my observations are going to be of the kind that would describe most things of this sort. I’m not talking about observations like “Holy crap! It Fizzes!” I mean, it does do that… but the point is, I’m going to try to give it my honest first impressions and stay specific to this particular product as much as possible. I imagine there are not enormous differences between bath bombs (maybe I’m wrong), which is why this caveat is necessary.

So, first of all, love the smell. It’s a little strange, actually (the smell that is). I don’t know if it would be for everyone. It’s sweet smelling, and floral, but a little… herbaceous. Not in a bad way. It just smells like what it is: a magic spell. It’s got basil, marjoram and peppermint, so it’s no big surprise. I think its aroma actually improves significantly when you put it in the bath. It’s like someone filled the Sorting Hat with magical, bubbling blue water and tossed you in. Okay, that was a bad analogy, but trust me, it’s good.

The colors are also really amazing. When you first drop it in it literally makes the water velvety blue where ever it does its little effervescent dance. Gradually the outer shell wears away and the inside is red (and apparently composed of different nice smelling things, which is probably why it smells better in the tub than it does in your hand). The combination turns the water into a really cool shade of deep, blueish purple. I don’t know what the practical advantages of this are, though purple products are supposed to be good for blondes (?), but it sure is lovely.

I think the best thing about this bath bomb is how smooth and silky it makes the water. There are lots of awesome moisturizing oils in this bath bomb and they make your skin feel really nice. Apparently a lot of people use them to shave their legs and whatnot. Just pop it in the bath, let it soak in and then go all wolverine with the razor; no cream or gel required. I don’t know if I’d attempt this (or if I’d even want to…), but I think it says a lot about how silky and soft it makes your skin. Best part is, I’m sitting in bed a few hours after taking the bath and I can still smell that delicious potion all over my body. It’ actually really invigorating. I was practically asleep when I took the bath and now I’m wide awake and ready to finally add some content to our blog (heh… heh… sorry. I’ve been busy!)

Actually, I think my favorite part about this bath bomb is that there is a sprig of parsley in the center of the mix. Not sure what it does exactly, but I appreciate little details like that a helluva lot more than sparkley blue glitter and sunshine extract. From the shape to the color to the contents, this thing is delicious and absurd. I don’t know if I would buy this again, but I think that’s mostly just because it’s a bit of a luxury item and I don’t take many baths. But for a guy like me it’s a nice treat and for all of you out there who take baths on the regular, I think you’ll quite enjoy this big blue hunk of heathen witchcraft.

Bang for your Buck: $$

Overall Rating: 3

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