31 October 2014

Merry And Bright Gift Set

When I vowed to stop spending money on the Lush site, I genuinely thought that I had purchased enough Christmas goodies to last me well over a year. Yet most days I found myself browsing their website and pining after a handful of gift sets - trying to justify why I should fork out another £40 when I'd already spent an extortionate amount on their seasonal products.

Merry And Bright was actually the second gift set to catch my eye (after Twelve Days Of Christmas), but I just couldn't justify spending £47.50 on a set of products when one of the items (D'fluff Shaving Cream) wasn't vegan. So when my flatmate asked me to purchase a pot of the very item that was preventing me from purchasing this set to begin with, I saw no reason not to pick this up. After all, I wasn't directly funding a non-vegan purchase!

What I love about this collection is that it not only features a selection of seasonal and regular items, but the range showcases both classic and new products. This is a gift set for those who wish to dip their toes into the Christmas range, while trying out brand new products and stocking up on regular favourites.

This gift set features:

Green FUN bar
D'Fluff Shaving Cream

This is another collection, much like First Snow, that is great for those who don't have access to a bath as none of the products featured in this set need to be used in the tub. You have a range of fantastic products to wash, scrub and moisturise your skin here - I'd say that anyone in possession of this is rather spoilt for choice!

While this is one of the dearer collections on offer from Lush, the box design alone makes it one of the most stunning, and I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to buy this. The products in Merry And Bright will last me well over six months and if you enjoy your showers, this may be the one for you! 

Rock Star Soap

I've mentioned many a time before that it often becomes too much of a temptation to not nibble or lick certain Lush products before using them. This might seem like a strange concept for those of you who view soap as nothing more than a block of 'stuff' to wash your hands with. Then again, I cannot imagine that anyone browsing this blog would be that way inclined. However, when it came down to this particular product, I won't deny that I didn't try eating it before I took it with me into the shower.

Rock Star is a legendary product amongst Lush fans - a staple soap that has graced the stores of Lush for the good part of a decade. It's tantalising candy-pink design and beautiful scent, means it stands out from the hundreds of 'hum drum' soaps that line the walls of most supermarkets and pharmacists on the high street. 

Sharing it's scent with the wonderful Creamy Candy Bubble Bar, this soap looks and smells like a giant piece of raspberry bubblegum - a sugary sweet but slightly sophisticated scent that would appeal to anyone who loves feminine scents such as Think Pink or The Comforter. This is the perfect product to tide fans of Snow Fairy over until the Christmas period. As I said in my bubble bar review, the scent itself is rather girly, reminding me of candy floss and the musky vanilla scent of freshly baked cupcakes. 

However, despite references to the above scents, Rock Star stands out and possesses something unique about it's aroma. Firstly, the addition of coconut oil early on in the ingredients list, means that this soap has a very subtle coconut fragrance. This is complimented by the addition of the vanilla absolute, which not only gives this soap it's sultry scent, but no doubt helps to give it it's velvety-soft consistency in the shower. 

In the shower, this soap is one of the easiest to lather up - producing a beautiful array of soft, foamy bubbles that coat your skin like a faux fur coat. My skin felt instantly silky soft after massaging this across my body, and the scent lingered on me for a good while after use. 

As this product reacts so well and so quickly with the water, it's a good idea to rub this between your hands and then place the soap out of reach from the flow of the water. I only say this because I feel it would be really wasteful to keep it exposed for too long; you'll get a surplus amount of foam within seconds of massaging this between your hands, which was enough for me to lather across most of my body. Holding it under the running water will only shrink your soap faster and for no good reason at all. 

Once I had rinsed this from my skin, I found that Rock Star made me feel really sanitised and clean, whilst softening my arms and legs a little in the process. It definitely wasn't the most hydrating of soaps I have used from Lush, but neither did it dry out my skin. I think Lush could do with including a few more essential oils in this soap, which I think would turn this into an incredible product.

Rock Star is definitely a soap worth turning to when you're in need of a little extra comfort. Although I would say this works best in the colder months to warm up those fingers and toes, it would be equally as wonderful in the warmer months - giving your skin a full cleanse and leaving you smelling good enough to eat. 
Lush claim that if you cut into your chunk, 'you'll find some little white soap stars inside' - something which makes the soap sound and look even more beautiful. Unfortunately, my piece didn't possess any of these magical stars they talk about, but it only gives me an excuse to purchase another piece of Rock Star in the near future.  

Quantitative Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil and Coconut Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume, Titanium Dioxide, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Methyl Ionone, Colour 17200, Colour 14700, Colour 45410.

Vegan?: Yes.

2015 Price: £3.50 for 100g, £8.75 for 250g, £17.50 for 500g.

Scent Family:

30 October 2014

Montalbano Solid Shampoo Bar

I'm going to be honest - when Lush announced that they would be bringing out another six solid shampoo bars, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, I would much rather they bring out a selection of new vegan conditioners as I would love to find an alternate to Veganese. Secondly, it takes forever to test out and review shampoo bars; I knew that these new additions would be a two-three month project, which is a commitment I will have problems fitting into my very busy schedule. However, there was a part of me that was slightly excited to see these new products released into the shops and so I snapped them all up when they made an appearance in the Lush Kitchen.

Montalbano Solid Shampoo was the first of the lot to be released, and having read it's write-up, I was really excited to try it out. Crammed full of amazing ingredients, this product sounds almost good enough to eat. When it arrived, my initial reaction was intensified tenfold, and I had to fight away the urge to sink my teeth into this beautiful bar. 

The inclusion of lemon oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, lemon peel powder and lemon myrtle oil means that this shampoo bar is a highly citrusy and gorgeously zesty addition to the shampoo family. An initial sniff reveals that this bar smells a lot like Stepping Stone Scrub - a bright, almost sour natural lemon smell that's incredibly uplifting and rather potent to the senses. Be prepared to have this overpower pretty much any other cosmetic that you may have in the bathroom - it definitely makes a statement.

Lemon harvests a powerhouse of redeeming qualities for both the skin and hair - it cleanses and rejuvenates hair without stripping away the essential oils needed to keep your locks moist and in good condition. The high concentration of vitamin C also helps to give your hair it's natural shine and will leave your locks with a natural glow. 

The inclusion of green olives, which at first sounds a little strange, helps to strengthen hair and they also add a very subtle bitterness to the overall aroma of this product. The olives are included as little pieces which sit throughout the bar and they wash away easily without getting caught in your hair.

Montalbano is one of the most generous solid shampoo bars - lathering up the very instant it comes into contact with water. In fact, I would recommend that you're quite scrupulous when it comes to the application of this shampoo and only lather it across your hair for about 2-3 seconds. The bar is generous during use - creating a thick and very soft foam that immediately makes your hair feel smoother. The smell of this incredible product remains poignant throughout the whole experience, although I was a little disappointed to discover that I couldn't detect it once I applied my conditioner afterwards. 

This shampoo is amazing - leaving your hair feeling really silky soft and well-nourished from the word go. My hair is quite thin naturally but can often develop a frizzy wave that prevents me from being able to wear my hair down without straightening it first. Montalbano reduced this frizziness without flattening my natural wave, and I have been able to wear my hair down without using any other products to control the stray strands.

Furthermore, I usually find that I have to wash my hair most days as some shampoos leave it feeling slightly greasy by the end of the day. With this product, I have been able to reduce this down to every other day, which above everything else, saves me money and time. 

My hair has a natural shine to it which really brings out my highlights - this is without making it look greasy. Finally, in the two weeks that I have been using this shampoo bar, I have not noticed any fading of my hair dye and if anything, it's only heightened the different colours that are present. 

I was really not expecting to get these results with this shampoo bar, and if anything, it's only got me more excited about trying out the other ones when they arrive. This is the first permanent solid shampoo bar that I've awarded full marks for, and I'm really excited that Lush will now have a product I can buy regularly without having to stock up when it makes a fleeting visit. If you're not sure whether or not to invest in this product, I hope that this review will convince you to give it a whirl - it may just steal your heart.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Green Olives (Olea europaea), Sicilian Lemon Oil, Fresh Lemon Juice, Lemon Peel, Popping Candy, Lemon Peel Powder, Rosemary Absolute, Organic Lemon Myrtle Oil, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Perfume, Gardenia Extract.

Vegan?: Yes.

2014 Price: £5.75

29 October 2014

Green Bubbleroon

Green Bubbleroon is aptly named, given that it is presented in a beautiful, bright, summery green colour. Described by Lush as a 'fresh summer meadow', this is product that I wish I had tried during the summer months, but that's not to say I can't enjoy this in slightly colder weather. 

As Lush have stated themselves, their bubbleroons aren't as generous with their bubbles as bubble bars are, but what they lack in performance, they more than make up for in other ways. Both the Rose Jam and Yuzu & Cocoa bubbleroons, alongside Green, contain extra-softening ingredients that give silky-soft water to hydrate your skin. All three of these products are made using bergamot and lime oil; two ingredients that give off a subtle citrus scent, and juniperberry; a refreshing and very clean aroma that aids stimulation of the mind and body. 

I will admit that I'm fairly greedy when it comes to my Lush products so I tend to use a whole 'roon at a time. However, for those with a more conservative bank balance, this bubble bar is great value for money as you can break it in half and use it at two separate occasions. What makes bubbleroons so useful, is that their design makes it incredibly easy to break in half, without having to use a chainsaw like you do with some of the other bubble bars.

Old Design (pre April 2015)
As you can see in my video, I like to hold my bubble bars underneath the running water and let it work it's magic. I find that this is more effective than crumbling them in the water, although there are others that would say the opposite. What I do know is that you definitely don't have to use the whole bubble bar in one go - half is more than suffice to create a beautiful bubble-filled tub to indulge yourself in. 

Upon holding Green under the water, my bath was very quickly full of beautiful, velvety bubbles. I did notice that there weren't as many as when I used my other two bubbleroons, but this wasn't a major concern for me. The product turned the water a beautiful pastel green colour, which remained vivid throughout my entire bathing experience.

What I did appreciate was the beautiful uplifting scent that greeted my senses; a wonderful sweet but fresh aroma - the lime oil is definitely at the forefront of this fragrance. To me, it smelt of freshly cut grass with a slight sour citrus tone, and I can imagine it working beautifully well with Grass Shower Gel. The scent wasn't an overpowering one at all, so would suit consumers who want something light and fruity to enjoy, without it being too overwhelming. Furthermore, my skin felt really nourished afterwards, due to Lush enriching this bubbleroon with coconut oil and shea butter.

Overall, Green Bubbleroon is a lovely addition to Lush's range, and one that I want to experience again. Having used this in colder times, I would definitely recommend that you try this when the weather is a lot warmer,  as I can imagine it would compliment the summery smells well. This would work well alongside Avobath; a bath cocktail I'm excited to try out very soon. 
Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Lauryl Betaine, Fair Trade Shea Butter, Perfume, Bergamot Oil, Juniperberry Oil, Lime Oil, Sweet Orange Oil, Cocamide DEA, PEG-6 Caprylic / Capric Glycerides, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Gardenia Extract, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool, Titanium Dioxide, Colour 42090.

Vegan?: Yes.

2014 Price: £3.65 each.
2017 Price: £3.75 each.

First Snow Gift Set

First Snow is a gift set that takes you on a little journey. Whereas most of the seasonal collections focus on the Christmas products that are currently available, this gift set mixes the seasonal with the regular - the sweet with the citrus; a gift set that is perfect for those who want more than just a selection of bath bombs to see them through the colder months. 

This is a collection for those unlucky enough to not have access to a bath, or those who prefer to shower, as all of these products are either shower-orientated items or those meant to be used after washing. Featuring four Christmas products and three regular items, this a well balanced selection that will appeal to anyone who wants to pamper their winter-kissed skin.

This gift set features:

Shimmy Shimmy Massage Bar

What is great about this gift set is that besides two products, each of these items offer the user a different scent. There's Snow Fairy, Bubblegum and Rock Star for the candy-scented fans - with First Snow, Baked Alaska and Snowman included for those who favour citrus smells. 

While I think Lush could have included a body lotion, scrub or body butter to offer a complete experience for those wanting to improve the condition of their skin (instead of Bubblegum Lip Scrub which does stick out like a sore thumb), this is still a lovely collection to receive. 

All seven items featured in this gift set are vegan so this would be a great collection for anyone looking for products that are free of animal derivatives. Priced at £36.95, this is a little expensive for what you receive in the box but it's one that can be reused to store stuff in afterwards so is worth the price tag. Furthermore, all of these products last for a considerable amount of time - so while something like Santa Is Coming To Town or 12 Days Of Christmas might have a bigger selection of products, most of these are single-use items so will be finished a lot quicker. I'm really glad that I purchased this gift set before it sold out, and I can see this being one I buy for family members and work colleagues. 

2014 Price: £36.95.

28 October 2014

Avowash/Avoshower Shower Gel

Avobath Ballistic is a bath bomb that I had a bad experience with the first time I attempted to use it in the bath. Ignoring the fact that the product was over two years old, I went on to use it, only to slate off the fact that it's fragrance was almost non-existent and it's performance was way below par. It wasn't until I experienced one of my flatmates trying a fresh one out, that I realised I had judged an item that wasn't a good representative of the product as a whole. Once I had fallen in love with the bath bomb, I couldn't wait to hunt down and try out the extremely rare shower gel version. 

Avowash (also known as Avoshower Wash) is a product that always gets an extremely positive reaction whenever Lush choose to bring it out during one of their chat parties. Unfortunately, Lush UK no longer hold these events, so the British fans have a hard time getting hold of these products without utilising their American friends, if they're lucky enough to have any. Fortunately, I was able to acquire a brand new bottle of the shower gel and couldn't wait to try it out. 
As well as the popular Avobath Bath Bomb, this shower gel also shares it's scent with the lesser known, and long-time discontinued, Avojelly. Much like the shower jelly, Avowash also possesses a beautiful, if slightly lighter, green colour. Whereas the jelly is more emerald green, this gel plays homage to it's older brother and sports a shade somewhere in-between a lime green and teal. To make it more gorgeous, the product has a sprinkling of green lustre throughout, which means that the gel glitters when it comes out of the bottle. Don't worry about the glitter through, it doesn't stick to your skin so you don't have to wipe yourself down afterwards. 

An initial sniff revealed to me that Avowash does give off an almost identical scent to that of the bath bomb. However, there's a slight reluctance from the shower gel to showcase the full extent of it's smell right away. What I mean by this is that the first time I smelt it, there was a clinical note to it that somehow masked the beautiful fragrance of the lemongrass and lime. It's almost as if there is a thin layer of fragrance that prevents the shower gel from revealing it's full beauty, until it meets the heat of your shower.

Once you begin to lather it across your body, you realise how luxurious it is. Firstly, the shower gel is wonderfully soft and hydrating, which means your skin looks and feels rejuvenated instantly. I use this whenever I develop dry, sore or cracked skin and it revives my tired pores instantly. Aside from the multiple oils that have gone into creating this shower gel, it is the inclusion of avocado oil that we have to thank for the product's healing properties.

Secondly, the fragrance of the shower gel is stunning, once it's been given a chance to come out. It's zesty, citrusy, sweet and highly refreshing - very similar to Calacas, but perhaps a little more natural smelling. Avowash smells exactly like the bath bomb it's based on and is perhaps even better than this because it's smell lingers on your skin for a short time after you've used it. This is a great shower product to reenergise those senses first thing in the morning; I found that it often perked me up during my morning routines, and even improved my mood on some occasions.
Overall, I don't understand why this is not a staple product in Lush's range - it's unlike anything else that they currently offer and would prove very popular with regular Lush fans. If the bath bomb is one of their biggest sellers, why wouldn't a shower gel with the same scent and moisturising properties, not gage the same reaction? I hope that Lush choose to bring this out again soon, if only in limited batches, so I can get my hands on a few more of these for the imposing winter months. While it doesn't out-shine my Calacas, it's not far off... 

Quantitative Ingredients: Lemongrass Infusion (Cymbopogon schoenanthus), Water (Aqua) , Sodium Alkyl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Fine Sea Salt, Glyceryl Staerat – PEG 100, Cocamide MEA, Glycol Cetearate, Propylene Glycol, Lauryl Betaine, Organic Avocado Oil (Persea gratissima), Bergamot Oil (Citrus Aurantium bergamia), Lemongrass Oil (Cymbopogon schoenanthus), Rosewood Oil (Aniba rosaeodora), *Citral, *Geraniol, *Farnesol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume, Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides) , Green Glitter ((Polyethylene terephthalate), Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Vegan?: Yes.

2015 Price: £10.95 for 250g.
2016 Price: £11.25 for 250g.
2017 Price: £11.25 for 250g.

Scent Family:
Avobath Ballistic
Avojelly Shower Jelly
Avowash/Avoshower Shower Gel
Crackersnap Ballistic
Ghost In The Dark Soap
Luck Of The Irish Bath Bomb