17 January 2015

Icon Soap

Upon acquiring my first piece of Icon Soap, I was incredibly happy for many reasons. To begin with, I happen to really like the Icon smell, even though the perfume isn't vegan and this happens to be the only format I have been able to experience so far, in regards to its fragrance. Secondly, given how expensive it is, I was expecting to pay over the odds for the pleasure of owning a slice, back in the day. Luckily, I managed to secure a piece for less than half the original retail price. 

When it was first released just over six years ago, a 100g slab of this soap would have set you back a little under £11, making it the most expensive soap that Lush have ever offered to their consumers. In 2016, the Lush Kitchen offered a piece at the same price, which made it almost seem a bargain - forgetting the fact that it stood at the same price as a 250g bottle of shower gel. For a price tag so high, I was rather intrigued to find out exactly what made this soap so special, and whether or not the expense could be at all justified.  

To look at, it doesn't differ all that much in colour from the likes of Godmother, Mr Punch and North Pole Soap. Sporting a deep scarlet exterior, this soap is rather plain to behold, despite the inclusion of the golden lustre below the surface to give it an extra burst of sheen. Having said that, it does live up to its name - the scent and colour conjuring up dark, sultry images rather befitting to the word Icon.
Lush describe the smell of Icon as having 'lots of deep, heavy layers which build up to make the whole sound, with high light notes dancing up above it'. At face value, this isn't a particularly useful description of a fragrance, so let me try and translate what this might mean to those considering investing in a piece.

An initial sniff didn't reveal much more than a full-bodied smell to me. It was only when I began to study the soap further that I was able to detect individual components, and build up a web of smells that made this soap so incredibly powerful. 

Firstly, I was able to pick out a spicy, mandarin fragrance that reminded me a little of the limited edition Glogg Shower Gel that Lush released last Christmas, or indeed the Mr Punch Soap that I mentioned above. However, once I began using this in the shower, the heat of the water brought about a much deeper, sensual aroma.

With the inclusion of both sandalwood and myrrh resinoid in the ingredients, this soap has an element of smokiness about it - something you'll either love or hate. Although very subtle in the overall smell of the soap, this pungent, woody, smoky smell definitely dominates the scent as a whole - sitting comfortably as the base note and encouraging that rich, sultry Iconic aroma to captivate the user. In hindsight, it is only through the inclusion of the orange blossom and mandarin oil that stops Icon from being too heavy a scent. These citrus notes give the soap subtle uplifting qualities that help to elevate all of the other ingredients and give them all a chance to shine.   

And if this wasn't enough, this soap also boasts an array of different oils - rapeseed, sunflower, olive and bergamot - all of which add a bed of nutty, savoury notes to Icon's scent. Altogether, these key ingredients offer Lush fans a chance to try a rather ancient smelling soap - one that conjures up images of war-torn churches and Victorian graveyards, and smells so exquisite that you'll be needing your own red carpet after you've shared a shower with it.

In all honesty, I thoroughly enjoyed using Icon Soap, and can recognise that the expensive comes through the use so many different oils and absolutes. It's a smell that would be far too heavy as a bath bomb or bubble bar, but should definitely be celebrated in perfume form again, and the idea that there was once a dusting powder is enough to have me salivating until I can secure one myself.
The inclusion of the many oils did make this soap rather softening in the shower. In fact, I would say that this soap is one of only a handful that actually moisturised and softened my skin afterwards, to the same standard as a shower jelly or gel would do. Furthermore, my skin retained the scent of this far longer than any other soap that Lush have produced, and I could still smell it on my body hours after I had towelled myself down. 

Icon is rather stubborn at lathering up, and I would recommend that you massage it between your hands, with the help of a little water. However, once the thick, oily foam has been formed, it spreads across your skin with ease, and makes it feel instantly smooth. Probably due to the multiple oils that are present here, the soap's stubbornness means that a 100g piece will last you far longer than any other piece of soap from Lush. To put it simply - I've been using mine for the last 2-3 months and it has barely shrunk; I can imagine it still going strong in  four to six months time.

One advantage of this soap is that it possesses a rather unisex fragrance, so can be used by anyone. Having said that, with the price being what it is, this is not a product that you'd want to share with anyone! Although I enjoyed using this, and it did make a change from my usual citrus-scented soaps, it's not a product that I would ever buy more than one piece of at a time. Despite its many merits, there is still a part of me that finds it difficult to part with £11 for a single piece of soap. I only hope that Lush bring out other formats in this scent so that I can indulge myself in this classic and very beautiful aroma.

Quantitative Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed oil, Sunflower oil, Coconut oil (Brassica napus; Helianthus annuus; Cocos nucifera), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Stearate, Perfume, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Olea europaea), Bergamot Oil (Citrus Aurantium bergamia), Sandalwood Oil (Santalum album), Mandarin Oil (Citrus nobilis), Myrrh Resinoid (Commiphora myrrha), Orange Blossom Absolute (Citrus Aurantium dulcis), Sodium Chloride, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Golden Lustre Sparkle, Colour 18050, Colour 61585.

Vegan?: Yes.

2016 Price: £11 for 100g.

Year Of Original Release: 1999.

Scent Family:
Icon Bubble Bar
Icon Dusting Powder
Icon Liquid Perfume
Icon Soap

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