Friday, October 28, 2011

Haul: Perfume

Just received my latest online order from Lush, focused mostly on the newly released (to NA at least; they've been available to UK for quite some time now!) perfumes:
  • Love
  • 1,000 Kisses
  • Cocktail
  • Superworld Unknown
  • Perfume Kit (Breath of God, Vanillary, Lust, Karma, Orange Blossom, Tuca Tuca, Imogen Rose, the Smell of Freedom)
  • Lemony Flutter
  • Samples: Mud Flats and Sandstone soaps
I really like that Lush sells 2ml vials of their perfumes.  It's a great way to sample them and not spend a fortune.  I'm looking forward to dabbing a little here and there, mixing my own cocktails, and making my own scented lotions. :D

I also got some sample sizes of lemony flutter because it's cheaper per ounce than purchasing the 1.5oz size and I love re-using the container for other things.  Loving the perfume kit, but does anyone want my vial of Karma? hahah

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: the Snowcake Craze

Smitten lotion and Snowcake soap
When I chat with other Lushies and mention Christmas time, the word that usually spews from their mouths is "Snowcake!"  What is with this Snowcake obsession.  Seriously?

Snowcake is a limited edition soap that comes around Christmas time.  It is made of almond oils and is supposed to smell like marzipan.  Smitten, the Retro line lotion, has a similar scent.  What the heck, I thought, I like eating marzipan, I'm sure I'll like smelling like it too.

The first time I used Smitten, I was not smitten.  It has a very strong sugary top note, like frosting.  The texture of the lotion was actually quite nice -- very thick but fluffy -- and the fragrance lingered a while.  (Here's where some Lushies will growl at me)  Since I didn't like the scent, I started using Smitten as a foot lotion.  And it worked great!  I always put a dab of Lemony Flutter on the balls and heels of my feet after I shower, then apply a thick lotion over that.  Normally I use Helping Hands but ran out, so I started using Smitten.  The Lemony Flutter and Smitten smelled like a lemon dessert on my feet!

A couple of weeks ago, a Lushie friend gave me some Snowcake soap.  So I tried it out.


Hey, this stuff ain't bad!  The soap when dry smells really sugary sweet, but once you use it in the shower, it's not as overwhelming.  It was very creamy and luscious -- reminded me a lot of Alkmaar -- and the fragrance that was left in the shower was exactly what I wanted Snowcake to smell like: a very deep, sweet, just-baked marzipan scent. I would definitely recommend this to others, especially since it's a limited edition Christmas item.

And I'll have to admit, after a few weeks of using Smitten, I've really grown to love it.  Sure, it's not as warmingly sweet as Sympathy for the Skin, but that's the beauty of Lush products -- every one is unique!

If you really want to go Snowcake crazy, you can use the Marzibain bubble bar and the Melting Snowman with Snowcake soap and Smitten lotion afterwards. (:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cocktail: Vanillary Lust

Yesterday, Lush NA released 13 new fragrances -- currently only available online:
  1. Love
  2. The Smell of Weather Turning
  3. Ladyboy
  4. 1000 Kisses
  5. Dear John
  6. B Scent
  7. Superworld Unknown
  8. Cocktail
  9. Smell of Freedom Part 1: Fire Tree
  10. Smell of Freedom Part 2: Old Delhi Station
  11. Smell of Freedom Part 3: Qudh Heart
  12. Inhale
  13. Exhale
 I ordered sample sizes of the ones in bold. :D
Yesterday, Lush NA also had a Twitter chat party to exclusively talk about Lush perfumes.  Although I did not win any prizes (I never do -- too slow!) I did learn something terrific.

I am head over heels in love with my Vanillary solid perfume.  I rub a little on my  neck and my wrists, and it will last about half the day.  I've discovered that the point of perfume (for me, at least) isn't for smelling good to other people -- it's about smelling good for yourself!  I love turning my head and catching a whiff of the warm, vanilla fragrance on my neck.  It really makes me feel beautiful.

I purchased a Lust solid perfume, hoping I would like it because I love jasmine.  Turns out, it's too potent for me.  So what I do is "mix it" with my Vanillary solid perfume, and it works!  The vanilla really tones down the jasmine and I love the scent, so I started wearing both and layering them on my skin.  I had wondered if I could just melt a little of the two -- maybe 1/3 Lust and 2/3 Vanillary -- and re-solidify it in a perfume tube.  It would work, right?  Well thanks, Lush, for validating my assumption!  Now I'm eager to make my own concoction. :D

Another thing I like to do with Lush perfumes is add them to lotion.  For example, you could take a small amount of Vanilla Dee-Lite and add 2-3 spritzes of Lust perfume in it to make a scented lotion.  Warning: the alcohol in the perfume will dry out the lotion a little.  I also wouldn't mix too much at a time -- you never know how the contents in the perfume will react to the natural ingredients in Lush lotions.  I like to mix a handful plus one spritz of perfume -- it's enough lotion to cover my arms and chest and leaves me with a fragrance that lingers all day.  If you really really want to mix a small batch, I wouldn't keep it around for more than a few weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Review: Face Cleansers

I'm blessed to have good skin.  I've never had any acne/oil problems.  When I was younger, I would use bar soap to wash my face -- and remember, this was the Ivory stuff! -- and still maintained a clear complexion.  I never used special cleansers or a moisturizer, and miraculously, I made it through my teens.

Now that I'm older and my skin isn't as forgiving as it used to be, I need to take care of it.  Lush has a variety of face cleansers -- each one to suit the needs of different skin types.  Of course, you can't just place your skin-type into one of four neat categories (normal, oily, dry, combination), so my suggestion is to go by trial and error.

Best seller: Angels on Bare Skin
How to use: The "logs"
 Several Lush face cleansers are made and formed into logs, with the approximate size of a Starbucks venti cup. (Sad that we all know the reference, huh?)  A huge benefit is that you can go into a Lush store and buy as much or as little as you need.  Sorry online orderers, you will need to purchase their pre-packaged 8.8oz or 3.5oz sizes.  To use, place a pea-sized amount in the palm of your hand.  Add water to make a paste.  Then rub on your face and rinse.

Aqua Marina - This pasty log is made with calamine powder and aloe vera to soothe sensitive skin. It's also wrapped in seaweed to give it a boost of nutrition.  I don't need to try Aqua Marina to know that this isn't right for my combination/oily skin.  The Irish moss infusion makes it very gel-like and sticky, but sure to leave your skin super moisturized. Good for sensitive and/or dry skin.

Angels on Bare Skin - This cleanser has ground almonds, which makes it nice and scrubby.  The kaolin clay base (or it could be the lavender oil) leaves a residue on my skin that I didn't like.  This would be better suited for someone with dry skin, or combo/normal skin who wants a bit of moisturizer in their cleanser.

Herbalism - Also containing ground almonds, this herb-filled scrubby cleanser is good for oily skin-types.  I liked the way this felt on my face, but I couldn't stand the smell!!  So sorry, Herbalism, you are not for me.

Fresh Farmacy and Coalface
Coalface - This is a solid bar, so you would use it like a bar of soap.  Lush makes them in large molds, so you can cut off a large or small chunk.  Coalface contains -- you guessed it -- coal!  The powdered charcoal sucks up the oils in your pores and leaves you squeaky clean.  I really liked how clean my face felt after using this, but the licorice root took a toll on my nose, so I thought I'd give Fresh Farmacy a try.

Fresh Farmacy - Similar to Coalface, in that you use it like a bar of soap.  Fresh Farmacy contains calamine powder -- which is why it is pink in color -- and is good for reducing redness and irritations.  I find it to be a bit drying, which is probably good because it is sucking oils out of your pores.  I love the smell and the squeaky clean results of my skin, but I only using it every once in a while because it does dry my skin quite a bit.

Ocean Salt - I can see why this is one of Lush's most popular face cleansers.  The sea salt and lime cleanses the skin while the avocado and coconut moisturizes.  I was surprised at how gentle this scrub is.  I was expecting the sea salt to be more coarse, but they are fairly fine granules.  In fact, too fine for me.  I didn't feel like it was scrubby enough.  But I'm hardcore and like a good, rough scrubbing.  Try it for yourself -- you'll probably really enjoy this one.


Dark Angels, cute sugar bowl
Dark Angels - This is my all-time favorite cleanser, hands down!!  It truly is a combination of Angels on Bare Skin and Coalface.  It has the consistency of Angels on Bare Skin (but uses black sugar instead of ground almonds) which makes it nice and scrubby.  It also contains powdered charcoal like Coalface, which sucks up oil and dirt.  Lush also adds avocado to the mix to moisturize skin.  I love this product.  It is my every day staple.

You have to keep  your "log" cleansers away from water when not using.  I keep mine in a glass sugar bowl, because all of my Lush products have cute homes. (: Right before I enter the shower, I take a small amount out (I like to use a chunk the size of two peas) and set it on the counter right next to my shower so I can grab it right before I wash my face.  For my gym bag, I purchased several 1/4oz flip-top pill containers and filled each one with enough Dark Angels for one use.  Keeping it very simple, I only need to enter the gym shower with: a bath sponge, shower gel (Lush shower gels are awesome for body and hair) and container of Dark Angels.  Easy.  Done.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Godiva

Every Lush soap / shampoo bar deserves a good soap dish!
Yes, it is a shampoo.  Yes, it is solid and shaped like a hockey puck.  Yes, it is amazing.  Let's start with its super-scientific qualities.

How to use: Get your hair wet.  Slide the puck down your hair (like you're combing it) 3 times -- left, center, right.  Then put down the puck, that's all you need!  When you start to lather your hair, it will be plenty of shampoo-y goodness to get you nice and clean.  If you have longer than shoulder-length hair, you may need an additional swipe or two, but not much more than that.

This tiny little solid shampoo has revolutionized the way I think about packaging.  Ok, so I spent $11 on shampoo the size of my palm.  But because you need so little, this puck will last the equivalent of three shampoo bottles!  Not only are you saving money, but you're also saving on packaging.  Less packaging means less trash in the world,  less raw materials being used, and a smaller carbon footprint!  Win win!

So the hippy part of my brain and the nerdy (financial) part of my brain are happy, but also the girly part of my brain is cheering for joy because this stuff works!

Lush advertises this as a shampoo & conditioner in one because there's cocoa butter and shea butter in the puck to moisturize your locks.  The jasmine absolute (and I think there are even jasmine petals in it) leaves your hair smelling heavenly!


I have a three-year old and I use this on her hair because it's gentle, and I don't have to fuss with conditioner to get her hair silky soft.  I still follow with conditioner when using Godiva because I have thin, fragile hair.  It never hurts to follow with a conditioner -- everyone's hair is different.  The scent is mild enough for the whole family to use, ie: the husband doesn't think it's "girly shampoo."

To get the most bang for your puck (ha! get it?), place it on a soap dish that drains well.  My shower caddy broke the other day, so I placed my soaps and shampoo bars temporarily on the shower shelf.  The next day, the shampoo bars formed a gelatinous goo on the bottom.  It still worked just fine, but I prefer to not have any goo in the shower.  So find a nice home for your precious shampoo bar, ok?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Shower Scrubs

Sugar Scrub and Sugar Babe both contain sugar and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).  The Sugar Scrub also contains fennel oil and fresh ginger.  Naturally, it will smell kind of herb-y -- something I'm not into.  The Sugar Babe is its sweeter companion, made with Mimosa absolute, Ylang Ylang oil, and coconut oil.

Brimstone Shower Scrub.  Picture courtesy of Lush NA.
Brimstone is not a Sugar Scrub.  It contains sulfur powder -- not sure why, but Lush claims it's good for the skin.  It smells pretty rancid, so they use loads of jasmine absolute to cover up the smell.

How to use: Get wet in the shower and use the Scrub to exfoliate your skin.  Because of the sodium bicarbonate, the Scrub will start to bubble up and soften when it is in contact with water.  With that being said, make sure the Scrub isn't in the direct stream of the shower and certainly don't leave it around in the shower if you're not using it, because it will dissolve.

The first time I used Sugar Babe, I thought it was too harsh and too messy.  The Scrub started to break off into chunks.  So for the second use, I put it in a bag and whacked it with a hammer, creating smaller pieces that I could just use in the palm of my hand.  That seemed to work, but I still felt unsatisfied with the exfoliating factor.  It just felt like I was rubbing sand on my skin.

Brimstone, however, is pretty hardcore.  I cut it into quarters, for a more manageable size.   Use just like a Sugar Scrub.  But I learned (the hard way) that sulfur powder does not dissolve like sugar.  The outer layer of Brimstone was fine, but once I got down to the core, it wasn't dissolving nicely.  Not nice at all, in fact.  It really started to hurt!  I had to be super gentle, then eventually faced the facts that this Scrub is not for the weak, ie: ME.  One good thing about Brimstone, though, is that my bathroom smelled like lovely jasmine for 3-4 days!

When I want to exfoliate, I'll use an exfoliating soap (Figs and Leaves, Sexy Peel, Porridge) and when I want something more hardcore, I'll use Buffy.  Goodbye, Shower Scrubs.  I won't really miss you.

2011 Discon List

Yesterday, Lush NA (North America) released their 2011 Discon List.  Not sure if any of these products will make it Retro, but they will definitely be taken off the shelves at the stores.

Helping Hands - 45g only
Pied de Pepper
Charlotte Island
Vit C
Vit E
Keep It Fluffy(Orange & Purple)
Ring of Roses
Joy of Jelly
Vanilla in the Mist
Summer Pudding
All Emotibombs
Sugar Babe
13 Unlucky for Dirt
King of the Mods
Tuca Tuca Massage Bar

When Lush UK released their Discon list, I remember everyone freaking out over it.  Lush NA reassured us that just because it's being discontinued in UK, doesn't mean it will be the same in NA.  Phew!  They were right!

Some of the ones on the UK Discon list that I'm so very happy about not making it on the NA Discon list: Ma Bar, Mange Too, Creamed Almond and Coconut Smoothie (I seriously would have died), Heavanilli, Demon in the Dark.  You can see the full UK Discon list here.

I really don't use any of these products, except for Aromarant, which I'm totally bummed about.  What am I going to do?!  Go back to using deodorants that contain aluminum?!  Thankfully there's Toms of Maine.  And I think the Body Shop just came out with a non-aluminum deodorant.

I was also just starting to like the emotibombs.  I caught a small cold a couple of weeks ago, and sticking my head over a bowl of hot water with a Too Drunk in it was exactly what I needed.

The soaps: Lemslip, Ring of Roses, Vanilla in the Mist, Noubar, Summer Pudding, and 13 Unlucky for Dirt.  Lemslip and Ring of Roses are nice, but kind of pricey because they contain cocoa butter.  For a citrus-y soap, I really like Sexy Peel.  And for a floral soap, my all-time fave is Alkmaar.  I was starting to really like Vanilla in the Mist and 13 Unlucky for Dirt, so I'm hoping those will go Retro.

Shower scrubs... prepare for a review....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Sympathy for the Skin

All Lush lotions are top notch.  They contain quality ingredients, and are each so different (their scent AND their effects on skin) that there's something for everyone.  Although I use many lotions for many different reasons, Sympathy for the Skin is my absolute favorite.

There are real bananas in this lotion.  Real bananas!  (Not sure if you can see the seeds/fiber in the picture)  It's such an ingenious way of using natural, raw ingredients to soften skin.  It's then mixed with fair trade cocoa butter and almond oil to keep you moisturized all day.  I used some this morning and 6 hours later, my arms are still soft and smooth!

At first I was turned off by the mild scent of banana.  But the warm vanilla overpowers it and now I don't even smell the banana anymore... only a yummy vanilla-y, custard-y fragrance.  Makes me want to take a bite of my arm every time I smell it!

You may think $26 is expensive for a 8.4oz container of lotion, but because there is very little (if any?) water added to Lush lotions, a little bit goes a long way.  My hands get very tight and dry after just getting them wet, let alone washing them.  And I have an infant, so I'm washing my hands a lot.  I use Sympathy every time after I wash my hands and this tub has lasted months!  But I don't mind splurging on lotion.  Just like taking care of your teeth, you gotta take care of your skin -- it's the only set you'll have for your entire life. (:

MY SCORE: 4 out of 5

Why am I giving my favorite lotion only a 4?
Because the scent doesn't really last.  It's mild and wears off after a few hours.  Some people may like that -- they don't want an overpowering scent.  But I love the smell of this sooo much that I wish it would last all day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Ruby Red Slippers

"Pretty" is the first word that comes to mind.  I put it in the palm of my hand and couldn't stop looking at the glitter.  I'm like a bird -- I'm attracted to sparkly things!  It's pretty obvious why they call it Ruby Red Slippers.

What's in it:  Rose oil extract, carnation extract, tangerine oil.
I did smell the rose extract, but also something spicy (not like a pepper; more like a cinnamon), which I suspect was the carnation extract.  The overall smell was pretty mild and not overpowering.  It didn't leave my bathroom fragrant, like many other Lush bubble bars and bath bombs tend to do.

This bubble bar is about the size of two solid shampoo bars.  I cut it into quarters, which is plenty of bubbles for a bath.  After cracking it open, I realize that the ultra-fine red glitter is only on the outside of the bar. 

How to use:  Crumble the bar under running water.  The agitation of the water creates more bubbles.  If you have access to a tub with spa jets, watch out!  Those bubbles will dominate and spill over!  Fortunately, I do not have such luxuries so I don't have to worry about that. (:

The water turned pink, not red -- maybe because I only used 1/4 of the bar.  If I had used the entire bar (I have no idea why anyone would!  That's a lot of bubbles!) the water would be more red.  Also, the glitter gets lost in the water below all the bubbles so the "fun" really didn't last too long.  The glitter doesn't stick to your skin, either, which is a good thing.  But I did find some of it left in the tub after the water drained out!  No worries, one quick rinse and they were all gone.

MY SCORE: 3 out of 5

Compared to other Lush bubble bars, this one's pretty mediocre.  The fragrance is mild, and there's no skin softening agents added.  It is festive and attractive looking, but I got more glitter out of half a Dragon's Egg than this bubble bar.  I'm glad it's only seasonal.  I wouldn't use it as a staple year-round product.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Haul: Forum Party

I just received my order from last week's Forum Party!  In the photo:
  • Back For Breakfast shower gel
  • Ghost shower gel
  • 2 Humango bath bombs
  • Grease Lightning
  • 2 All That Jas bath bombs
  • Turbo bubble bar
  • 2 Ruby Red Slipper bubble bars
  • Schnuggle body butter
  • samples: Aromarant deodorant, Lemslip soap, and Banana Moon soap
Most of these are limited edition or Retro items, so I'm excited to try them all.  My first review will probably be on the Red Ruby Slippers.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lush changed my life. Seriously.

It all started very innocently (as most addictions do) from a search for an exfoliating soap. August 7, 2011... I was in Valley Fair Mall and thought, I'll just stop by the "soap shop."  I wasn't interested in the bath items. I don't take baths -- baths are boring!  After a quick hand demo, I purchased Buffy and a Stepping Stone.

Before using my newly purchased items, I hopped on to Lush's website to view other products.  I spent a few hours reading the "About Us" page and consumer reviews.  Several things really caught my attention:
  • Using fresh fruits & vegetables and other natural ingredients in their products
  • Little or no packaging
  • No animal testing
  • Using ethically sourcing and sustainable ingredients
I'll admit, I'm no hippy.  But I do my best to reduce, reuse and recycle, and purchase locally grown produce.  I like the way this company thinks.  I think I'll go buy a bar of soap or two (because, remember, I hate baths!) so I went to my local Lush store and purchased a chunk of Honey I Washed the Kids.

After my first shower, I was confused. 

Let me back up.  Before, when I used a shower gel, it was always something smell-good from Bath & Body Works or somewhere similar.  I never liked using shower gels too often because when they claim to be "moisturizing," I never felt clean enough; like there was a film of stuff left on my skin that never washed off.  So most of the time I stuck to bar soaps like Ivory and Lever 2000.  It was what I grew up with -- it was what I knew.  It left me "squeaky clean."

So after my first shower with Honey I Washed the Kids, I was confused.  My skin didn't have the layer of residue.  And it was soft -- I didn't feel like I had to lather a ton of lotion on afterwards.  Is this what CLEAN is supposed to feel like?!  I scowled at my bar of Lever 2000.  "You're not squeaky clean-- you're drying out my skin!"  It was an eye opening experience.

In less than a month, we threw everything out and switched to become an all-Lush family.  Goodbye Head & Shoulders, Pantene, Lever 2000, Ivory, Dove deodorants, Clinique makeup, Aveeno lotions and all things Bath & Body Works.

I feel good about the switch.  Not just because Lush Cosmetics is against animal testing, uses ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients, and believes in minimal packaging.  But also because it's good for my family and good for our skin.

So I've started this blog to review the many Lush products out there, hoping to educate and interest anyone who's willing to read about my Lush experiences.  If there's a product you'd like me to review, just add a comment.  Otherwise, happy reading!

Oh, and I love baths now!  But that's for a later review....