29 December 2015

Dynamic Liquid Eyeliner

I realise that after many years of bad sleeping patterns, long and challenging working conditions - not to mention the process of ageing, I'm not looking as spritely as I once did. For this reason, I've been branching out from my usual black eyeliner and mascara look and experimenting with make-up that I hope will improve my complexion a little.

Dynamic Liquid Eyeliner is the first non-black product that I decided to invest in, just because it's a rather warming shade, and one that I thought would compliment my complexion better than the more vibrant colours. Described by Lush as a 'sheer warm peach', this eyeliner is subtle enough that it doesn't dominate your entire face, but that doesn't mean it gets diluted in the background either. 

Unlike Independent, this is a blend-able eyeliner, meaning that it takes longer to set on your face. While this gives you an opportunity to craft and blend it into the shapes you want, it also means that it's easy to smudge for the first 20-25 minutes after application. Be careful not to do what I did and smear it down both cheeks before I'd even finished contouring my face!

After this time it does sit well on your skin but I still found that a lot came away when I rested a finger on my eyelid, so it's not as reliable as Lush's no-smudge variations. Furthermore, the eyeliner seems to be a little on the thin side, which means you have to go over it a few times if you want a strong layer of colour on your eyelids.  

What sets Dynamic apart from other eyeliners, as with many of Lush's other make-up products, is that it can be used as a blusher, an eyeshadow and even a highlighter - not to mention it's main intended use. Priced at £14.50 for a 5g bottle, it does sound a little expensive at first, but it is its versatility that makes it worth it's price tag. 
Unfortunately, I found that this doesn't bode so well as a highlighter. When you apply it to your skin, you'll realise that there's a slight shimmer in the peach colour, which means that while it works as a gorgeous eyeliner and shadow, it's too sparkly as a highlighter. I discovered that it was just too 'glittery' to use on my skin - especially for someone who likes to look as natural as possible. 

Despite this, it works wonderfully well as both an eyeshadow and an eyeliner, and I can see why some people might enjoy adding a little to their cheeks to give them a rather unique looking blusher.    

As I said in my Independent review, at first I was a little worried by the design of the brush, as it's quite soft so does tend to move around a lot when you're applying it to your eyes. For someone like me who has only be using make-up for a few years, and is in no way an expert, I was initially worried that I'd end up painting my eyes, my face and probably my neck and arms as well. However, I was really happy to discover that the product was very easy to apply correctly. and even my flatmates were really impressed with how easy it was to use and apply. 

With rose petal infusion, jojoba oil and almond oil to soften and soothe the skin, this eyeliner is also extremely gentle on all skin types - making it perfect for those with sensitive skin and eyes. When Dynamic is being worn, it's very light and doesn't give you that heavy, cloying effect that a lot of shop-brought products offer. It's also really easy to remove - I use 9 to 5 to take off my make up at the end of the day and this eyeliner comes off with ease. 
The size of the bottle is compact enough that it's a perfect travel companion and happens to look rather gorgeous when lined up with Lush's other make-up products. I would even claim that it's size makes it a great product to slip in your bag so that you can top throughout the day, but there really is no need as it lasts the whole day by itself.

While it took a lot to get used to at first (as someone who has only worn black these past ten years), it is a wonderful eyeliner and one that I'll use often to change up my look. I'm looking forward to delving in trying other colours now and hope I can improve my blending skills while doing so. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Rose Petal Infusion, Water (Aqua), Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Almond Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Triethanolamine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, CI177019, CI15850, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Vegan?: Yes.

2015 Price: £14.50 for 5g.

28 December 2015

Trichomania Solid Shampoo

As I've stated in previous reviews, testing out Lush's haircare range is by far the most time-consuming and easily the most nerve-racking. I have spent many years trying to win back the love from my hair after treating it with an embarrassing amount of distain for the most part of my youth. Using a new product on my hair always makes me nervous, and rightly so; I have experienced some extremely drastic outcomes over the years and I'm intent on never having to go through any of them again. 

Trichomania was supposed to be the last shampoo that I was planning on using on my hair for a long while - that was until Lush decided to bring out five brand new vegan solid bars that I just had to try. Sold in rectangular chunks, this shampoo is the odd one out as it's the only one that isn't presented in the generic spherical bar. Why this bar is sold in this format, I'll never know - I can only assume that it has something to do with the fact that this shampoo tends to shrink at a quicker rate than the other bars. So in order to make it good value for money, Lush need to give you more of it to begin with. 

Whatever the reason, this bar smells incredible. Packed with both creamed coconut and vetivert oil, Trichomania has a wonderfully sweet scent - a combination of Silky Underwear and Curly Wurly Shampoo. It's definitely dominated by the coconut but there's an element of sweet floral, which comes from the vetivert. As far as smells goes, it's definitely one of the more appealing shampoos. 
While they both offer a wonderful aroma, both of the aforementioned ingredients are also key to making this shampoo work well with your hair. Coconut is rich in natural protein so the creamed variety helps to moisten, strengthen and hydrate dry and damaged hair. This shampoo is great for those who straighten their hair a lot or expose their locks to the high temperatures of hair dryers and curling irons - the creamed coconut will leave your hair super soft with a gentle fragrance to see you through the day. 

The shampoo is also really gentle on your scalp and is perfect for those with dry and flaky skin - Trichomania will help to nourish your head and wash away those pesky bits of dandruff.What I loved about this shampoo is that it lathers up really easily and produces a very thick, creamy foam that makes your hair feel instantly moisturised. The lather almost felt like a padding, which after I washed it off, helped to thicken my hair and give it some much needed volume. While it doesn't make it as frizzy as Big, it didn't feel as thin as I'm normally used to, which was a blessing.

As I mentioned above, the main problem I had with this shampoo was that it tends to shrink quicker than most of Lush's other solid shampoo bars. Whereas I would normally expect something like New or Seanik to last a good 3 months, I wouldn't say that this would last much longer than 2 months. Having said that, it doesn't shrink considerably much more than other bars so as long as it's kept dry between usage, this will last you a long time, and still works out cheaper than liquid alternatives. 

Overall, this is a great hair shampoo for those who want to work some moisture back into their hair and makes a good alternative to Gentil Lentil, while this latter shampoo still remains a limited edition luxury. While it's not favourite, this is one that I'll alternate alongside my regular choices and will definitely use this when I feel my hair is lacking that fullness.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearic Acid, Creamed Coconut, Glyceryl Stearate & PEG-100 Stearate, Lauryl Betaine, Soya Lecithin, Perfume, Vetivert Oil.

Vegan?: Yes.

2014 Price: £5.75 for 100g, £14.38 for 250g, £28.75 for 500g.
2015 Price: £5.95 for 100g, £14.85 for 250g, £29.75 for 500g.  

27 December 2015

Melting Snowman Bath Melt (Old)

This product caused me quite a bit of confusion in the beginning, and it was thanks to the wonderful world of Lush fans that helped set me on the right path again. While this product was originally released a good many years ago, Lush decided to reformulate it in 2012 - maintaining it's cute design but giving it a different scent. 

From 2012 onwards, Melting Snowman Bath Melt has shared it's fragrance with the wonderful Glogg Shower Gel and Hot Toddy Bubble Bar - a spicy, wintery cinnamon and clove fragrance that guarantees to warm you in even the most harshest of weather conditions. 

Prior to the change, this bath melt used to share it's scent with the likes of Snowcake Shower Gel, Perfume and Soap -  a creamy, sultry marzipan fragrance with nutty almonds, a splash of rose and a hint of sweetness from the inclusion of icing sugar. This older aroma offers you a far more indulgent experience - one that gave me all the joys of Christmas cake trimmings without the gluttonous full feeling I get after eating too much. 

For those of you unfamiliar with what a 'bath melt' is, Lush have coined this term as meaning a product which is used in the bath, that does not create bubbles or give you a show with different colours, glitter and so on. Renowned for their moisturising properties, bath melts create a layer on the top of your bath water which helps to soften and smooth the skin, as well as releasing oils and fragrances to make your bath more relaxing. 
This product was super easy to use; I simply dropped it into the bath, under the running tap, and the bath melt began to dissolve wonderfully by itself. Although it does take a little while to fully dissolve, you can get into the bath while it's working it's magic and enjoy the softness of the water straight away.

The only aspect of this bath melt that I didn't enjoy were the addition of the dairy-free chocolate chips for it's eyes and decoration. Once in the water, these little pieces melted very quickly. But rather than dissolve into the water, they instead left sticky marks on both my skin and the bath tub. I had to spend a good 5 minutes trying to scoop the 'gloops' of chocolate out before I could really relax.

Melting Snowman turned the water a cloudy white colour, which seemed boring when compared with the show that other Lush bath bombs put on. However, the bath melt was a hit for me. Containing both cocoa butter and shea butter, Melting Snowman made the bath water incredibly moisturising and left my skin looking radiant and feeling silky smooth and soft. 

Overall, I was really impressed with the results. For a product so cheap, I really felt that this was going to be one I tried and never went back to. As it happens, I would consider this to be amongst my favourite bath products ever. The scent stayed with my for a long time after I got out of the bath, and I didn't feel as if I needed to moisturise my skin afterwards, as the bath melt really goes to town on healing and softening your skin. 

Although I love the new formulated product, I think this older fragrance tips the scales just that little bit more. The fact that we have quite a number of bath products in the Glogg scent, gives me enough evidence to suggest that Lush need to bring back the old formula. A firm favourite of mine.  

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Icing Sugar, Citric Acid, Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Capric Glycerides & PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Titanium Dioxide, Perfume, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkil), Benzoin Resinoid (Styrax tonkinensis pierre), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Cassie Absolute (Acacia farnesiana), Dairy Free Chocolate Drops, Benzyl Benzoate.  

Vegan?: Yes.

Scent Family:

24 December 2015

Lush Cocktail: Glitzy FUN With Santa

Rachel's 'Glitzy FUN With Santa' Cocktail


1 Ball Of Gold FUN



No matter what time of the year it is, I always crave the fruity, citrusy scents. It can be the middle of a hot summers day, or indeed the end of a dark, bitterly cold winter's day, and I'll still find sanctuary in the bright, zesty fragrances that Lush have to offer.

After playing ignorant to the incoming cold weather, I finally relented to the fact that it was getting rather miserable inside my flat, and I turned my heating on for the first time. Of course, to dampen the sting and comfort my soul, I had to follow this up with a bath to soften the blow. 

As it's December, it seemed a good time if any to try out Glitzy FUN With Santa - a cocktail that has been on my periphery for a while now. Featuring a stunning array of products, this fruity collaboration was exactly what I needed to chase away those aching muscles and hide under a blanket of warmth. 

To begin with, I held and crumbled the Gold FUN under the running tap. While I wouldn't choose to use this product by itself in the bath, when coupled with other softening products, it can be a great way of inducing an extra layer of fragrance into your bath. 

In this case, the water immediately began to swell and form a sea of bubbles and the beautiful, sweet fragrance engulfed my senses. For those unfamiliar with this product, Gold FUN shares its scent with the Honey I Washed The Kids fragrance range, and offers users a sweet, fruity, honeyed fragrance that'll melt even the coldest of hearts.

While it didn't leave the water a very desirable colour, it did sow the seeds for what was to come, and I could still detect hints of this fragrance after I had exited the bath. 

Up next was the lashings of Snow Fairy Shower Gel. This product rarely comes out in my house, despite my appreciation of the smell, so it was a real treat for me in this cocktail. When coupled with the FUN, the raspberry element came out in full force and the smell that was emitted from the bath was beautiful.

Starlight Star Bright Bath Melt was next on the list. Although I chose to use a whole one because the recipe called for it, I would suggest that you halve this - firstly because its a rare product that you can't afford to waste, and secondly because its strong enough that it can hold itself when split into smaller pieces.

This product immediately softened the water and you could see streaks of butters and oils on the surface. The silver glitter that coats the melt pulsated under the water - giving the water a magical glimmer without leaving an impression on the skin. The strong, lemony aroma intertwined with the ingredients and really elevated the fruitiness of the whole tub. 

Finally, I added in a Dashing Santa Bath Ballistic. This bomb is quite small compared with regular-sized ones, but it packs a punch - offering a orange and tangerine aroma that needs to be used in other Lush products - it's delicious! The product turns the water into a shade of peach and works so well with the other ingredients, especially the Gold FUN

In all honesty, when I was submerged under the water, I couldn't get over how gorgeous this cocktail was. If you like fruity scents, such as myself, this will be an incredible experience that you just have to try. All four products merge together to form a strong, spritzy and very full-bodied scented cocktail - one that'll cheer you up, no matter what you're thinking at the time. 

Although the colour of the water was a little bit dull, given how uplifting and refreshing the aroma of this cocktail was, I was left feeling like I had a spring in my step. Glitzy FUN With Santa ticks all of the boxes when it comes to cocktails, and I will be stocking up on all four products to experience this again and again. 

Rating: 9.2 out of 10.

Vegan?: Yes.

23 December 2015

Christmas Cake Slice Soap

With the release of so many retro products, I am finding that many of my old, original reviews are having to be updated - not only to reflect the versatility of my preferences nowadays, but also to offer a better representation of the products at hand. Many of my early reviews were based on old products that I had been gifted to me, or ones I'd managed to acquire through eBay. Therefore, they were never in the best condition to begin with, and certainly didn't reflect the fresh ethos that the company stand for.

Christmas Cake Slice Soap was a product that I managed to get my hands on, back when I first began collecting Lush in the spring of 2012. While I thought myself lucky at the time, I realise now that the piece I acquired was most likely from the original batch released, which came out some five years before this in 2007. Thus my experience of the cement-like, brown brick was not ever going to receive any glowing reviews, which wasn't going to be helpful for my readers wanting to know about the soap a little more.

Described by Lush as being 'like a slice of Christmas cake on a plate next to an open fire of fragrant, smouldering wood logs', this soap promised to be a calorie-free indulgence for those with a sweet tooth. As someone who has never been a fan of the traditional Christmas Cake, I was skeptical that I would appreciate the soap for what it was worth. However, upon arrival, I was really impressed by how much it played the part, by both looking and smelling like a slice of the festive season.

Made from a combination of rapeseed, sunflower, coconut, almond, vetivert and cedarwood oil, this limited edition product promises to be a moisturising and rather sensual experience for those who need a little extra indulgence around the holiday season.

Surprisingly, it is the latter two oils that offer the most dominating smell here. Vetivert oil has a smokey, woody note, and has both a calming and soothing effect on the skin; sandalwood is also woody, possessing a spicy element that works to relax the mind and body. Together, they produce a fruity, aromatic smell that has similar traits to Snowcake but with a more boozy, masculine smell. 

Strangely, this soap does not feature any benzoin resinoid. I say this because it does have a strong note of marzipan, which is very similar to how Snowcake smells because of the aforementioned ingredient being present. This is one product that I can see dividing Lush fans - it's one that will really appeal to some consumers, whereas others will find it rather nasty and too much like food to want to use it on their skin. 

One of my disappointments with this soap is that it's a very ugly combination of brown, white and yellow - nothing like the beautiful multicoloured, multi-layered Christmas Cake that my mum makes every year. Having said that, the idea is that it's supposed to resemble a Christmas cake through its scent, more than its physical design. I can't really imagine Lush being able to pull off a direct replica without making it appear like a gimmick, or adding in unnecessary ingredients which would just add to the price and take away from its usability overall.   

In the shower, Christmas Cake Slice Soap works as most of Lush's other soaps do, in that it produces a good amount of lather when you stimulate the block between your hands. The aroma is definitely a very robust one and lingers on your skin and in the bathroom for a long while after you have exited the room. For this reason, unless you're a fan of scents similar to that of Snowcake, and enjoy using them all year around, this soap is very limited to the colder months of the year. I cannot imagine this being very pleasant when used during the summer months, which limits how often this soap can be used throughout the rest of the year. 

Despite all of these issues, my skin did feel rather smooth once I had exited the shower and there was a slight woody, almond smell left on my skin afterwards. In addition, the waxy and rather robust consistency of this soap means that my 100g block lasted throughout the whole of December and January, and is still going strong some three months later. It's a soap that, as long as you pat it down between uses, could last you upwards of five to six months, making it great value for money.

While the productivity of my original piece may have given me a soured impression of this product to begin with, I was slightly more engaged and more impressed with the fresher piece that the Lush Kitchen produced last year. Having said that, the smell of the soap limits when it can be used, and it's also not an aroma that I particularly want to use very often in the shower - especially not when there is any hint of warmer weather to come. For this reason, I will continue to appreciate my single piece for now. However, it is not something I would buy again.  

Quantitative Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil; Sunflower Oil; Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Organic Aloe Vera Extract, Almond Oil, Vetivert Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Sodium Chloride, Cinnamal, Linalool, Colour 42090, Gardenia Extract, Colour 14700, Colour 17200, Titanium Dioxide.

Vegan?: Yes.

2016 Price: £4.50 for 100g

22 December 2015

It's Santa Gift Set

It's always around this time of year that Lush bring out a few limited edition gift sets featuring some of their products from years gone by. On the one hand, I really appreciate being given a chance to sample a selection of products - presented in a lovely body or knot wrap. However, when there is a product that I really love, there is always a side to me that wishes the company would bring them out separately so that I could stock up on that one item.

This year, Lush have brought out two gift sets - both of which are well-constructed, carefully thought out and full of some of my favourite Christmassy bath products. Not only have they given us the opportunity to experience a shower gel that didn't make it into the seasonal range this year, but this particular set also features two products that haven't been seen in a good few years.  

This set features: 

Immediately upon opening the box, I couldn't escape how wonderfully sweet, warming and spicy the products are. While they are all possess very different aromas, they compliment each other perfectly - which makes it very difficult to know which one to pick when heading into the bath. 

While Hot Toddy offers a fruity collaboration of orange, bergamot and cinnamon, Satsumo Santa brings a sweet, zesty sherbet scent. Marzibain shares its scent with the popular Snowcake range - a fruity almond smell - while Gingerbread House is a warm, sugary-sweet blend that smells like freshly baked cookies and nutmeg. 

Although this looks like 3-4 baths worth on the surface, both of the bubble bars are big enough to split in half (or even third!) and the bath bomb can also be severed in half with ease. This means that depending on how many baths you have a month, this could see you through a month or two - offering you very different experiences with each and every product.

As you get a knot wrap alongside the products in the set, the price (£21.95) reflects this. You're paying for the packaging as well as the bath items inside, making this a little more expensive than you would initially think - given how many products are featured. However, with the wrap, you're paying mere pennies for the box and packaging underneath, making it good value for money.

If you see one of these being sold, or have the opportunity to trade for one, I would highly recommend that you do so. If this was available in the shops, I would easily buy myself a handful of these to see me through until next year. A great glimpse into Lush's past, while being able to experience a handful of amazing products. 

Vegan?: No - the Gingerbread Bubble Bar is not vegan-friendly.

2015 Price: £21.95 each.   

21 December 2015

Candy Cane Bubble Bar

During last year's Christmas Kitchen releases, Candy Cane Soap was one of the products that made the biggest impression on me. While I'm not really an advocate for soap, the combination of cherry and mint was an instant hit, and I was left rather disappointed that I hadn't bought a few more bars before it had sold out.

Although I would consider myself fairly knowledgable when it comes to Lush products, I try not read about too many older releases in case I discover something that I desperately want. So when I heard that Candy Cane Bubble Bar was making a reappearance, my immediate thought was that it would feature the same wonderful scent, and so I ended up buying a generous amount to use and savour.

Unfortunately, upon arrival, I realised very quickly that the smell I could recognise through the wrapper was not the same as the soap - instead giving off a sweet, sugary vanilla fragrance that mimics that of Rock Star Soap and Creamy Candy Bubble Bar. Despite being beautiful in itself, I was a little disappointed by my findings.

In the wrapper, I found that this seasonal bubble bar was slightly sweeter than its older sibling - I could smell a strong note that was very similar to Snow Fairy Shower Gel and this made it slightly more appealing to me. The product had the usual sweet, tonka-dominated fragrance, but I felt as if it was fruitier and more refreshing than other Creamy Candy products.

As I usually do with my bubbles bars, I crumbled this one under the running tap and was immediately engulfed with a strong aroma that stayed present throughout the whole experience. Some might say that the smell of this could be slightly cloying because it is so strong, but I happen to like how thick and creamy it is in the bathroom.

Much like both the original Creamy Candy Bar and Bunny Bubble Bar, Candy Cane turns the water a pale pink colour, and creates a mound of fluffy bubbles that act as a warm, fragrant blanket once you're under the water. These bubbles stay present throughout the whole experience, and can be used to wash with as well. 

Despite how vivid the pink is on the bubble bar, I was little disappointed to discover how little colour actually makes itself known in the water. While I'm not always fussed about this if the scent of the product is strong enough for my liking, I was expecting a much more vivid pink colour than what I got. 

On the positive side, the bath water felt lovely and silky without being greasy, and my skin stayed soft and smooth for many hours afterwards. Furthermore, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could smell the sweet, candy-inspired fragrance on my skin for good few hours, as well as on my pillow the next morning.

Overall, it is far from a terrible product, and I would probably use it again alongside other bath bombs/melts. However, when I compare it to other bubble bars, this one doesn't fair as well as them, which is why I would not use it again on it's own.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Perfume, Titanium Dioxide, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Colour 45410, Colour 17200, Colour 45380:3.

Vegas?: Yes.

2015 Price: £3.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2004.

Scent Family:
Bunny Bubble Bar
Candy Cane Bubble Bar
Candy Floss Showder
Candy Mountain Bubble Bar
Close To You Massage Bar
Creamy Candy Bubble Bar
Creamy Candy Liquid Perfume
Rock Star Soap