30 June 2016

Ching Ling Soo Bath Bomb

It's been quite a while since I received a brand new bath bomb from Lush, and when I mean new, I'm referring to one that hasn't been seen for a good many years. Whether a blast from the past or a new release, there is something rather magical about being able to share your tub with a product for the very first time.

When the Lush Kitchen announced that they would be bringing out both Ching Ling Soo and The Sicilian Bath Bomb - both in close vicinity of each other, I was ecstatic. Here were two bath bombs that I could cross off my wishlist; two new experiences that I would be able to enjoy in the bath; and one opportunity to own a bath bomb that I never expected the company to release again.

Ching Ling Soo Bath Bomb is a strange choice for a remake - not only because I cannot recall ever hearing anybody even utter its name in the whole five years that I have been a member of the online community. Furthermore, I really cannot imagine it ever making it into anybody's top ten list either. That's not to say I am complaining in any way.

Described at the time as being the best magician in the world, Ching Ling Soo was a renowned illusionist - one that was known for his routine of catching a fired bullet between his teeth. Saturday March 23rd, 1918 was to be the last time he performed such a trick, as unbeknown to him, a build up of unburned gunpowder residue would cause the gun to fire and release one of the actual bullets encased, hitting him in the chest, where he died of his injuries the very next day.

While the story certainly doesn't have a happy ending, and perhaps makes you wonder why such a story would even inspire the creation of a bath bomb to begin with, Lush have taken the tragedy and attempted to put a happier spin on things. Inside each ballistic is a strip of paper with six numbers, and the idea is that these numbers should bring you luck - far more luck than the aforementioned magician that this product plays homage to!

Made from a combination of cardamom and tangerine oil, I was expecting this bath bomb to be quite spicy - similar to the likes of Jacko Bath Bomb, just without the mint element present. However, I was really surprised to find that the cardamom was barely recognisable at all in this bomb, and the overall scent was far more playful and fruitier than the description suggested.

From my experience, Ching Ling Soo is very similar in smell to the likes of May Day Bath Bomb, and gives me a fragrance that I could probably replicate if I took May Day, Bon Bomb and Star Dust Ballistic, and threw them all together. My initial sniff gave me a bright, fruity tangerine smell - one that reminded me of sherbet in the way that it had all of the fruitiness you'd expect from the tangerine, just without the sourness that you would expect from the actual fruit. Alongside this is a dry, powdery and sweet but not overly sickly vanillary note - one that confused me at first, until I carried out a little research into some of the ingredients present.

Upon further inspection, I discovered that it was the litsea cubeba that was dominating the smell. Described as being a sweeter, lemonier alternative to lemongrass, this mystery ingredient is definitely what gives this bath bomb its unique and rather wonderful scent. It's definitely a light, fruity smell, but the sweet, powdery element prevents this bomb from being at all zesty. 

As well as the beautiful fragrance, this odd-sounding component does wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing - acting as an antifungal and anti-inflammatory in the bath, which helps to banish colds, heal wounds and even help rid the body of minor infections.

Unfortunately, I found that this bath bomb was very boring to watch, and it wasn't that much better, colour-wise, once the ballistic had fully dissolved in the water. The ballistic left the water a gentle peach colour and also tarnished the sides of the bath with colour as well. However, a simple wipe down removed these marks and I wouldn't be worried about using the product again in the future.

While it was noticeably moisturising, and you could see a faint glimmer on the surface, where the oils were resting to nourish your skin, the rest of the experience was far from colourful and wasn't very entertaining at all.

On the other hand, I was impressed to discover that the scent did remain present throughout my forty-five minute bath, and the fragrance lingered briefly on my skin afterwards as well. While I wouldn't say it was the strongest bomb, there is definitely enough fragrance here to play with, and it does work wonderfully when cocktailed with one of the brighter, more colourful bubble bars. 

Overall, I love this scent and feel as if it would flourish in other formats. The bath bomb itself wasn't necessarily the best example of this fragrance in action, and it definitely wasn't the most interesting to observe in the water. However, it does its job well enough that I will continue to use and enjoy the handful of Ching Ling Soos that I now in my vicinity.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Gardenia Extract, Cardamon Oil, Tangerine Oil, Litsea Cubeba Absolute, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Colour 14700.

Vegan?: Yes.

Year Of Original Release: ?

29 June 2016

Plum Rain Shower Gel

When Lush bring out a brand new product, you'd assume that it would build excitement and intrigue for the majority of Lushies across the globe. However, as of late I feel as if these emotions have been replaced with the likes of disappointment and frustration at times. Not to sound overly dramatic, because ultimately they are just cosmetics, but I can relate to the annoyance of knowing your favourite brand has brought out a new product and you're simply unable to access it. 

As someone who lives a tube ride away from the flagship store, I am what some consider, among the lucky ones. The mere thought of living too far away to make regular visits, is a horrible thought to endure, and one that I hope I never have to experience. With the sudden release of Plum Rain Shower Gel last week, it just brought home to me how very privileged I am right now.

While nothing has been stated officially from Lush, my guess is that this product is somewhat of a tribute to the late musician, Prince. Sporting a vivid, rich and very sultry shade of purple, this product is stunning through and through, and it just so happens that the fragrance is rather spectacular as well.

Interestingly, the ingredient that makes up the base of this shower gel is an umeboshi infusion - a component that hasn't featured in an awful lot of Lush products, and definitely hasn't acted as the key ingredient in any of the company's previous shower gels. This means that Plum Rain stands out as being very different from all of its predecessors, in both scent and texture.

Umeboshi, which translates as 'Japanese Salt Plums', is a popular pickled fruit - one unique in the fact that its taste is both sweet, sour and salty, all at the same time. What makes this ingredient extra special is that its texture, taste and smell sits somewhere in-between a plum and an apricot, and it is this very element that you pick up straight away from the bottle.

From the bottle, the fragrance is very sickly but naturally fruity, and definitely has a strong element of plum to it. When I first sniffed this, it reminded me somewhat of stewed red plums, without the addition of any sugar to mask the natural sour element of the fruit. The more I used the shower gel, the more I recognised the slight resemblance to Welch's Red Grape juice, and I could almost place specific elements of the smell to that of the Capri Sun juice drinks I used to enjoy as a child.

In regards to my comparisons above, I will state that Plum Rain is definitely on the plum side as opposed to smelling of grapes. However, for those who have smelled the aforementioned beverage, you should hopefully understand when I describe the drink as being 'dry, fruity and slightly sour on the senses'. This is not a smell that has made its presence known by Lush before - this is a brand new invention, and one that can't really be compared to any other of the company's gels and creams.

How this shower gel also stands out from the crowd is that the consistency is incredibly thick - easily on par with Butterball but more elasticated and far more generous when it comes to its lather. This product needs very little with each use - a factor that makes the Oxford Street exclusive great value for money and one that I reckon will see me through a year before I need to replace.

In the shower, this beauty lathers up a treat - producing a thick, fragrant foam that coats the skin with ease and leaves you feeling beautiful all over. As I stated above, you need very little with each use; I found that an amount the size of a large raisin will easily coat half of my body and leave me feeling clean and refreshed. My only qualm with Plum Rain is that I found the scent didn't cling to the skin like other Lush gels are known to do, and given how beautifully juicy the fragrance is, I would have hoped I could have worn it around for a while after showering.

Aside from its wonderful smell, its unique consistency and its utility in the shower, the ingredients featured are also highly beneficial to the skin, making this an all-round great product. Umeboshi is known for its ability to reduce the feelings of fatigue and supports the immune system to rid the body of coughs and colds; mandarin oil uses its citrus powers to brighten the skin and revive your senses, so it's an well-rounded crowd pleaser.

Overall, this shower gel is so different from anything that Lush have brought out before, and is so refreshingly unique that I have fallen head over heels in love with it. The colour, the smell, the productivity - this shower gel is a blanket of warming, fruity smells - perfect to brighten your summer days, yet equally comforting in the colder months. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Umeboshi Infusion, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerine, Water, Lauryl Betaine, Perfume, Limonene, Fresh Plum Juice, Osmanthus Absolute, Petitgrain Oil, Sicilian Mandarin Oil, Lactic Acid, Carrageenan Extract, Linalool, Colour 17200, Colour 42090.

Vegan?: Yes.

Year of Original Release: 2016.

2017 Price: £5.50 for 100g, £10.95 for 250g, £18.50 for 500g, £32.95 for 1kg.

Scent Family:
Hedgewitch Soap
Plum Pudding Bath Melt
Plum Rain Body Spray
Plum Rain Naked Shower Gel
Plum Rain Shower Gel
Plum Snow Bubble Bar
Ticket To Scrub Salt Scrub


24 June 2016

Sophisticated Cream Eyeshadow

After my amazing experiences with Lush's Eye's Right Mascara and Independent Liquid Eyeliner, I now have very high expectations when it comes to other Lush make-up. For this reason, any new product I try is done so under very scrupulous judgement and I play close attention to every detail - I won't accept less than perfect.

Unfortunately, Sophisticated Cream Eyeshadow hasn't been awarded full marks, but that's not say it's not a fantastic product and one I wouldn't recommend. In fact, the only main factor that prevented it from getting top score was its price. For me, £14.50 is rather high for an eyeshadow - especially when compared to other shop-brought alternatives. While the eyeliner and mascara can be justified as they're on par with the big brands and last an awfully long time, this eyeshadow is nearly twice the price of a 'good quality' alternative, and given how quickly the pot goes down, it's a little costly.  

Aside from this problem, the eyeshadow is a highly effective product and one that I have enjoyed using these past few months. Made from a base of rose petal infusion, water and various oils and butters, the consistency of Sophisticated is beautiful. It's wonderfully smooth and creamy and very easy to apply - much better than the powdered versions I have been using for years. Yet despite the thickness of the liquid, this doesn't feel at all heavy after it's on your skin - something I was rather impressed with. 

The design of the brush makes it easy to apply this product quickly, with consistency but also with precision. Whereas powdered eyeshadows tend to go everywhere and you often have to wipe away and re-apply to get the right shape or shade, this eye shadow is easy to use and I haven't once had to 'start over'. However, this does mean that you cannot really blend this to get a multi-tonal effect.  

As with all of Lush's eyeshadows, eyeliners and lipsticks, Sophisticated is presented in a very practical packaging solution. The short brush means that the eyeshadow doesn't get 'lost' or wasted in the bottle and it's a lot easier to monitor how much you have left, without running out beforehand. Additionally, it also means that you have much more control when applying it; this helps you to style your make-up much more effectively. 

The colour of this eyeshadow is definitely one of my favourites. Described as a 'shimmering taupe' colour, this bronze beauty leaves a wonderfully soft, subtle yet beautiful shade on your eyes. It's not as vivid as I was expecting, but this does mean that I can wear it to work without it looking too heavy or 'over the top'.  
The softening base means that the colour can be spread and layered as much or as little as you please - yet when it's dry, it holds its colour and it's shape for the entire day. While the product will come away if you swipe your finger across it, it will remain in place, without smudging, if left alone. 

Sophisticated Cream Eyeshadow is definitely a firm favourite in my limited make-up range, but one I will have to use a little scrupulously if I want to get my money's worth. I will definitely buy this again but I hope that I won't have to do that for quite some time, given it's price tag. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Rose Petal Infusion, Water (Aqua), Talc, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Almond Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Titanium Dioxide, Triethanolamine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Tin Oxide, CI77491, CI77492, CI77499, CI77019, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

Vegan?: Yes.

2015 price: £14.50 for 5g.

16 June 2016

Lush Cocktail: Keep Calm And Karma On

Sarl's 'Keep Calm And Karma On'Cocktail




I have been so busy as of late that I've barely had time to run a bath, let alone browse through my extensive list of amazing cocktails, choose and compile the ingredients, and then film the whole thing to share with other Lush fans. So when I finally did find a few hours to do so, I knew I had to pick one that stood out by a mile.

Keep Calm And Karma On was actually one of the first cocktails suggested to me, back when I opened up my blog to hear, read and try your ideas. It was a recipe that oozed sophistication and sounded unbelievably complex and delicious. So when I finally got around to trying it last night, I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to execute it in the tub. 

As with a lot of the cocktails that have been shared with me, this one asks for a large number of products - most of which are not available all year around. While I tend to follow the recipes strictly, there would be no harm in halving or even quartering this recipe - I can't imagine the bath being any less than enjoyable.

To begin this one off, I crumbled the freshly purchased Karma Bubble Bar under the running water. As I stated in the video, you can use either this version or the newer pyramid version - the only difference would come in the overall colour of your bath. Both bubble bars will create a soft haven of orange and patchouli, and both would produce a wave of fragrant bubbles to cocoon yourself beneath. 

While the water was still running, I also added three generous squirts of Blue Skies Liquid Bubble Bath. This has a different smell to the bubble bar, but shares the inclusion of patchouli - giving this experience a very exotic and rather calming element that matches the title of this really well.

Once the tub was full, I then added in a Golden Wonder Bath Bomb. This seasonal favourite is such a light and uplifting citrusy smell, and it entices the orange out of the Karma to give you a much stronger fruity note overall. This game-changer alters the colour of the water once again and you're left with a beautiful forest green colour, with swirls of lustre under the surface. 

During the experience, I used Big Calm Shower Jelly, which with its pineapple and coconut fragrance, is very different from the first three components. This adds an almost revitalising aspect to the cocktail, and I really enjoyed the diversity of smells while I was using it. 

Once I had towelled myself down, I topped up the Karma smell but adding lashings of Karma Kream Body Lotion - a light, refreshing moisturiser that'll leave you feeling relaxed, calm and ready for bed. This latter ingredient was a nice way to round off the whole experience, and if anything, it made me fall in love with the Karma fragrance that little bit more.

Overall, this was such a wonderful experience. The aroma given off was complex and very rounded; the water soft and nourishing. I did feel calm and composed after this, and once I tucked myself into bed, I was very quick to fall asleep. Definitely one I would treat myself to again.

Vegan?: Yes.

Rating: 9.1 out of 10.

14 June 2016

Christmas Bathtime Favourites Gift Set

While this may seem like an odd, and slightly late time to be reviewing this gift set, I know from experience that Lush fans old and new still like to read about past products. There is something rather intriguing about glimpsing into the company's past and studying the growth of Lush's product design. It's also the perfect opportunity to pine over something you wish you'd been around to purchase as well as salivating over the prospect of things to come.

Christmas Bathtime Favourites Gift Set was not one that caught my eye when I was deciding which of the many collections to invest my money in last year. In fact, I even hesitated during the Christmas sale after adding a couple of these to my basket, and I almost removed them before checking out. Luckily I didn't, because I now consider this to be one of the most beautiful gift sets to have come out last year.

Featuring an array of seasonal and regular bath bombs, this is the perfect gift for anyone looking to impress a friend or family member who isn't yet hooked on the wonderful world of Lush. This set allows for a minimal of ten baths, with the potential to be upwards of twenty, if each of the products was halved beforehand.

This set features:

As the above list suggests, this is a set to suit any and every taste; from the sweet to the citrusy, floral to the smokey, this is a set that aims to cater for any and every mood, while also presenting an array of products that would work equally well as part of a cocktail.

If the bath bombs themselves weren't enough to tempt you, the box itself is a delight. Made of thick cardboard, this isn't one of the flimsy designs, and can be reused after to house anything you so wish: tools, stationary, jewels, more Lush products...

Originally priced up at £39.95, which I think it a bargain. With the bombs adding up to nearly £35 by themselves, five pounds is a small price to pay to have them all neatly stored inside such a beautiful box, and if this hadn't been in the sale, I would have probably invested in a full price one had I known how beautiful it was.

Overall, the is definitely a set you want to invest in, and seeing as how Lush bring out a Bathtime Favourites set every year, I would suggest you think about buying the revamped version that is no doubt coming out this year. One of my favourite sets from last year's Christmas range for sure.

Vegan?: Yes.

2015 Price: £39.95 each.