12 December 2018

The Black Stuff Vegan Protein Shampoo

As I've said time and time again, just when you think Lush cannot possibly come up with anything weirder or more interesting, they go ahead and prove you wrong. Such is the case with these brand new hair marshmallows, that have only currently made an appearance during the Lush Showcase event earlier this year. 

The Black Stuff is one of six hair marshmallows to appear in very limited amounts back in September, and it's taken me a good month to get into the swing of using these new concepts in the correct and most effective manner. What I will say in each of these reviews, is that while you get a lot of 'product' for your money, these early renditions are still slightly crumbly, and it may be a problem if you decide that you want to travel with them.

While at first I simply assumed that these were just an alternative to the regular shampoo bars - and another naked way to replace the liquid hair care range - there is far more here than meets the eye. As someone who has always maintained that you should never judge a book by its cover, this can safely be said for these rather messy looking bricks.

When I first picked up The Black Stuff, I couldn't believe just how light the product was: it's very much like holding a polystyrene block. And it's thanks to the inclusion of the aqua faba that allows it to be this way. For those unfamiliar with what this ingredient is, it's just the water that beans and chickpeas have been cooked in - which myself and many other vegan bakers use as a replacement for eggs in our cakes. After a little whisking, aqua faba creates a light, fluffy foam that Lush have managed to adapt and use to create these super airy blocks of shampoo.

Aside from how light the components is, aqua faba is also known for being high in protein, which alongside the inclusion of the hydrolysed wheat protein in The Black Stuff, makes this shampoo super effective at maintaining, strengthening, thickening and generally helping to make your hair even healthier.

The inclusion of the molasses in this limited edition then offers a wonderfully rich supplement to soften your locks, and give it a wonderful shiny to carry with you throughout the day. I was super impressed by just how quickly this product got to work at conditioning my hair, and I didn't even need to use an actual conditioner afterwards.

While this blocks work really well, with minimal amount of product, they are definitely very crumbly, so you'd need to consider how to store these in between uses. Furthermore, left out in the open, the marshmallows tend to turn a little sticky, and this means that you're left trying to scrape the product off the paper. Given that Lush haven't offered anything to hold them in between uses means that you'll have to use your imagination, or simply allow the block to leave sticky marks for you to clean away. 

However, after only using a small grape's worth of The Black Stuff, I was able to heed enough foam to washed my whole head with, and I could probably have gotten away with using a little less as well. To use, I simply crumbled the piece in my hand; added a little water to start the lather off; and then massaged it between my hands, and then across my whole head, to create a generous amount of silky foam.

Unlike a lot of shampoos, Lush and otherwise, I found that this one felt really softening when it was in my hair, so I knew straight away that I was going to be left with silky locks afterwards. As if to prove this, I chose my condition my hair at all for the few days I used this and found that my hair still looked and felt really smooth and shiny.

Unfortunately, my hair is rather stubborn when it comes to my attempts to add volume, so I didn't really notice much change in how thick my hair felt over time. However, my dry ends and the rest of my hair did feel more manageable, and certainly appeared more tame, without looking or feeling thin and lifeless.

In terms of the smell of this hair marshmallow, the myrrh and molasses make the biggest impression. The Black Stuff shares its scent with R&B Hair Moisturiser, and offers a prominent sweet smell with subtle balsamic qualities underneath. However, there are also little notes of both the yeast and the stout as well, which aren't exactly pleasant, but definitely isn't strong enough to put many people off using this.

As an estimate, I would probably say that a 100g block of this shampoo would probably last me about three months, which is a little less than that of a regular disc-shaped bar. Given the price tag, it does appear to work out a tad more expensive in the long run. However, I do like how this worked on my hair; how quickly it improved my hair's condition and shine; and I figure that if I can use this without a conditioner, I'm saving money in the long run.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Coco Sulfate, Glyceryl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Aquafaba, Molasses, Perfume, Activated Charcoal, Water (Aqua), Stout, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Yeast, Guar Gum, Orange Flower Absolute, Jasmine Absolute, Titanium Dioxide, Cetrimonium Chloride, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, *Benzyl Benzoate Butyl, Methoxydibenzoylmethane, *Eugenol, *Farnesol, *Geraniol, *Hydroxycitronellal, *Limonene, *Linalool, Colour 77491, Colour 77266, Colour 17200, Colour 42090.

Vegan?: Yes. 

2018 Price: £12 for 100g.

2019 Price: £15 for 100g.

Year Of Original Release: 2018 as a Hair Marshmallow; 2019 as a Protein Shampoo.

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