6 December 2017

Yuge Hot Hair Treatment

Although the quality of my hair is improving near on every day, I am still very hesitant to put anything new into my hair. The slightest wrong choice and my mane looks and feels like a birds’ nest. It’s fascinating and equally terrifying that the smallest decision can have such a dramatic impact, which is why it has taken me so long to try this product out for size.

Yuge Hot Oil Hair Treatment is one of a select few solid treatments that are currently available to try out in stores. Originally making an appearance at the Lush Summit event in February, this turquoise-looking block proved to be so popular, that the company decided to release it as a global product. 

What struck a chord with me is the fact that this particular treatment plays homage to Donald Trump, or more particular - his downright political stupidity. Based on his idea of building a ‘huuuuuuuge wall’ to separate Mexico from the world, this product nourishes your sense of humour as well as your hair. What excited me about Yuge was that it proclaimed to not only nourish and rehydrate your hair, but to give it volume as well - the two aspects of my hair that I struggle with every day. 

Firstly, this hot hair treatment contains fine sea salt. Although in large doses this can actually dry out the hair and scalp, this helps to add volume. From experience, I know that this product can have some serious impact on my hair, as Sea Spray has already demonstrated to me in the past. 

Yuge also contains hair gum, which is a thickening agent that not only helps to add more volume, but also works at conditioning the hair as well. This works with the agave syrup, to help lick in moisture and give the hair a wonderful shine. Finally, Yuge contains jojoba oil to support the agave syrup in adding vibrancy to your locks, and it truly works. 

As the ingredients list suggests, the fragrance of this is created from a combination of spearmint and agave nectar. The mint not only helped to stimulate the hair follicles across my scalp, but offered up a gentle sweet minty smell that was pleasant enough for as long as it lasted. 

To use, simply add the stick to an empty mug and pour in some boiling water. In order for you to achieve the consistency of the treatment, you need to fill the mug until it’s about two-thirds of the way full. Stir it around with the wooden stick, until all of the product has melted away from the stick and then leave to cool for about 10 minutes.

I found that a single treatment lasted me for two separate uses, so I then massaged half of the gel across my head, making sure I started from the roots before moving onto the ends of my hair, and then the part in between. You can then carefully wrap some cling film or a plastic bag around your head to allow the moisture to stay warm and stimulate the process a little more, or just relax in a bath until the time comes to rinse it out.

After about 20 minutes you will need to massage your hair under the shower, in order to remove as much of the treatment as possible. Given its consistency, you will find that Yuge is not all that easy to wash out. For this reason, I would then shampoo my hair as per usual, and this usually does the trick at removing any excess product. I wouldn’t recommend that you condition as well as it’ll be too much for your hair, and you may find your ends become rather brittle afterwards. 

Once my hair was dry, I found that Yuge did impact my hair in many ways: some good and others not so good. For starters, it did give my hair a lovely shine to it, which came about more once I had brushed it and it was completely dry. As my hair is usually quite frizzy, I also noticed that my locks appeared far more tame. They seemed to have lost their waviness, which was a great aspect for me, but some may not appreciate this so much. Finally, my hair did appear to be volumised a little, although I wouldn’t say it was apparent enough to get too excited. 

On the other hand, I didn’t think my hair felt all that moisturised once it was dry. In fact, I had to apply some extra Argan oil on afterwards because the hair felt quite coarse. Secondly, I found that traces of the treatment were still present in my hair, once I had towelled myself down. It appears as if all of Lush’s hot oil treatments are a little stubborn to use, so you will need to double check that your hair is fully exempt before jumping out of the shower. 

Finally, I found that the positives of Yuge didn’t last for more than a few days, and within a week my hair felt and looked exactly as it had done before I had used the treatment. While I didn’t expect this treatment to perform miracles, I was expecting it to have a lasting impact, similar to the likes of The Strokes and Jasmine And Henna Fluff-Ease.

Overall, I did feel that my hair benefitted from me using this, although I don’t think it would be too pleased if I used it more regularly than I do. Once every couple of months is more than enough to help revamp my hair a little, and I would be more inclined to used Damaged anyway, as that’s much more suited to my hair type. Although it’s a great thing that Trump’s idea of building a wall lasted little more than the time it took me to apply this to my locks, I would have liked to have seen more longevity in terms of the impact this had on my hair. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Cetearyl Alcohol & Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Organic Agave Syrup, Fine Sea Salt, Organic Jojoba Oil, Guar Gum, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Coarse Sea Salt, Cream of Tartar, Spearmint Oil, Perfume, Citric Acid, Peppermint Powder, *Benzyl Alcohol, *Limonene, Colour 4209.

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £6.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

4 December 2017

Aromarant Solid Deodorant

As I’ve said before, Lush deodorants are probably the one area that I just cannot commit to fully. While the concept of solid blocks and powders - without any metallic or synthetic nasties sounds like a dream, the reality is that my armpits are just too stubborn to want to use anything else but, what I would call, a ‘normal’ deodorant.

Firstly, I should probably state that a deodorant is different from a antiperspirant, and you need to know how they differ so that you don’t (like me) confuse the two and slate a product based on something that it would never be able to do in the first place.

Lush don’t create antiperspirants because at the moment the technology to create a natural version isn’t there. These products are the ones that contain ingredients that are quite literally used to try and stop you from sweating altogether. Normally they contain components to block your pores, thus the lack of sweat. However, this can obviously lead to health problems, including skin sensitivity, irritation and possible poisoning. Deodorants work by masking and hopefully eradicating any smells that may form during the day, and they can also help you to feel a little drier as you go about your busy schedule.

Aromarant is a rather hard block that used to be sold by the gram in stores. Discontinued a few years back, this was a deodorant that you either loved or loathed - a solid product that divided Lush fans down the middle, and you only have to read reviews online to recognise this for yourself. 

Containing sandalwood, witch hazel and oak bark, the smell of this is definitely not something that you’d want to wear as a perfume. However, as far as deodorants go, I really appreciate the smell that this offers: it’s definitely very different from what you’d expect to find in a normal pharmacy or supermarket. 

The sandalwood is definitely the strongest note - working alongside the lemon to produce a deep, woody aroma, with warming notes of lemon to make it a little uplifting as well. The inclusion of the cleavers infusion, which I found out was a herb, adds a sweet, gentle honeyed element that definitely rounds the deodorant off and makes its fragrance more pleasing. 

While I love the concept of solid deodorants, if there’s one aspect that I dislike about them, it’s trying to apply them effectively. Much like Aromaco, this block was really stubborn if I tried to massage it directly onto the skin. In fact, doing it this way left my skin feeling a little sore and didn’t heed much of a result either.

To make the most out of Aromarant, I found that if I wet my underarm, or added a few drops of water to the bar first, the bar would leave a slight residue (what I can only describe as a paste) on the skin, which would then work well at deodorising my skin for a good many hours before I needed to reapply more. In fact, I was impressed to discover that if you apply it this way, you can get coverage that will last right the way through your working day.

As someone who can sweat a lot, I was impressed to find that I stayed feeling clean and smelling clean for most of my twelve hour day, although the product did struggle a little when it came to my increased sweating in the gym. In these conditions, I found that if I used a powdered deodorant on top of this at the same time, I usually remained dry for the most part of my hour workout. 

While a 100g block would easily last you a good twelve months and then some, its longevity is also to its detriment. After a couple of months of using this, I found that, ironically, the moisture was expelled from the block and it was much more difficult to create the paste to apply to the skin. For this reason, I would highly suggest that you wrap this in greaseproof paper and store somewhere dry and cool, in order to retain those oils for as long as possible.

In addition, I should also point out that there will be a very slight odour expressed from the product once it has merged with the heat of your body. This is by no means detrimental in helping you to rid your body of smells. However, you will occasionally get a waft if the sandalwood, and this will be something you’ll have to get used to, if you decide to use it long term.

Overall, I actually really liked this product more than I thought I was going to. While it has not fully converted me over to the land of self-preserving, natural solid deodorants, it’s a step in the right direction, and I shall be using this product as part of my regular routine. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Fresh Lemons (Citrus limonum), Sodium Stearate, Cleavers Infusion (Galium aparine), Witch Hazel Infusion (Hamamelis virginiana), Oakbark Infusion (Evernia prunastri), Sodium Bicarbonate, Perfume, Sandalwood Oil (Santalum album).

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £4.25 for 100g.

Year Of Original Release: 2006.

3 December 2017

Hollywood Bubble Bar

There are times when products epitomise the very essence of their name - when you can look at the bath bomb or bubble bar and understand how or why Lush have chosen to call it what they have. And then there are odd moments when you wonder what the company were thinking when they decided to gift such a title to something unworthy or just downright odd. 

Hollywood Bubble Bar is one such product that stumped me when they first arrived in the post. When I picture Hollywood, I imagine the glamour; the colours; the lights; the excitement - nothing that this plain white bubble bar seemed to epitomise physically. While I understand that the fragrance itself is very reminiscent of the 1950s, and definitely in-keeping with the glamorous theme, I’ve yet to figure out why Lush didn’t throw in some much-needed colour and lustre to give this bubble bar a little more vigour.

Sharing its scent with the Fever range, Hollywood contains a heady combination of rose, jasmine and sandalwood. Potion Body Lotion, Almond Kisses Facial Moisturiser and Ruby Red Slippers are just three of the many products that possess the same smell, although you’ll have to be patient as not one of these are available regularly to buy in stores nowadays.

This is definitely a floral scent with a heavy kick to it, and there is something very old-fashioned about the fragrance that will either entice or deter consumers from loving the combination. The rose absolute offers a strong, musky sweet layer that encompasses the rich, floral fragrance that you can smell immediately upon taking one of these bars out of the packet. The jasmine interlaces itself around the rose and adds to the sweet hit natural cloudy floral aroma; the inclusion of the sandalwood grounds all three note and offers a wholesome but very musty floral aroma. 

While the design didn’t exactly immediately bowl me over to look at, I was really impressed by just how soft the bubble bar is to use. I only had to press down gently and the bar crumbled between my fingers. This was a sure sign of what I could expect in the bath because Hollywood created an impressive mound of thick, fluffy bubbles and the water was incredibly soft.

Although the product wouldn’t win any awards for its lack of colour in the water, this is a great bubble bar to use in the winter months - as your skin will feel silky-smooth and velvety after bathing with one of these. Furthermore, the sweet, floral fragrance will linger on your skin for a while afterwards - offering you a winter hug that you’ll want to experience again and again. 

As there is an absence of colour with this bubble bar, you may wish to use a Bath Bomb alongside it. Not only will you get a much richer and far more fragrant experience, but the scent of Hollywood is strong enough that it won’t get lost behind another product. To conserve your products, you may also wish to break this Bubble Bar in half and use it across two baths. The aroma is just as strong if you decide to do this, and you don’t lose any of its moisturising properties in the process.

While the bubble bar may not look like it's come from Hollywood, you sure feel like royalty after using one of these. If you love this scent family, you’ll want to get your hands on some of these when the opportunity next arises, and although I wouldn’t rush out to buy any more, any time soon, I will definitely be enjoying the many I have stashed away for the future.

Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream Of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Titanium Dioxide, Cocamide DEA, Perfume, Rose absolute, Jasmine absolute, Sandalwood oil, Candy Star. 

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £3.95 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2004.

2 December 2017

Bubbly Naked Shower Gel

Celebrate or not celebrate? That is a question that divides the Lush community time and time again. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the introduction of Bubbly Shower Gel last year, and the likes of Bucks Fizz this season, is a blessing worth celebrating, no matter what our noses are telling us.

Sharing its scent with the liquid gel, Bucks Fizz Body Conditioner and Bucks Fizz Naked Conditioner, Bubbly Naked Shower Gel is a product that I simply cannot imagine removing from my bathroom any time soon. While my trusted and very much loved liquid gel is also up there as being a staple, this season’s new addition has won over my heart, despite the differences it shares with its older sibling.

Firstly, it must be noted that the solid edition is perhaps a little less attractive to look at. While similar, there is something rather beautiful about the glistening orange colour you find in the bottle, and the naked edition simply lacks that magic a little. However, I’m not about to write off a product because of the way it looks.

Much like Plum Rain and Snow Fairy, there are some aspects of this naked edition that don’t replicate the beauty of the original gels. Despite this, all three of these offer characteristics that make them worth investing in alongside the originals, yet set them apart enough to offer you an alternative experience as well.

As with all of the naked gels, you treat them as you would a block of soap. Simply expose them to water and then massage them across your skin in a circular motion. Just like a normal shower gel, they will create a fragrant larger to clean and fragrance your skin with; yet unlike a soap, they will not leave your body feeling at all dry or parched.

Just like all of the products with this scent, Bubbly Naked Shower Gel smells like a strong, fruity concoction of oranges and limes - a combination that smells so fresh and juicy, that you’re senses will tingle with pleasure and your tastebuds will be tantalised enough to make you salivate upon first sniff. 

The first difference I noticed between the naked and normal gels is that the former version was perhaps a little more zesty than the original bottled edition. The orange made a much stronger impression in the naked format and I really loved how extra sweet and citrusy it was. In a way, it reminded me of fruit sorbet ice creams, which just made it seem more refreshing and fruity in the shower. 

Secondly, I loved how much more generous this version was in terms of how much lather it created. While the consistency was far thinner and not as moisturising as the normal gel, the naked version needed very little stimulation to heed an impressive amount of product to clean yourself with. I could easily wash my whole body with the amount of ‘foam’ I was able to create from a few seconds of massaging the bottle between my hands.

What I did find frustrating when using the naked gel was that the bottle tended to ‘bleed’ quite profusely, without much encouragement at all. I only needed to wet the bottle for a split second to create an abundance of watery lather across my hands and body. The fact that this shower gel offers a bright and very messy orange lather doesn’t make the situation any better. If you’re not careful when using this, you may find that you get splatters of Bubbly across every wall and surface within the near vicinity of your shower. 

Moreover, even though I tried my best to keep this product out of the way of the running water, I found that it shrunk far quicker than any of the other naked shower gels that I have tried so far. For this reason, a 250g bottle of the original Bubbly would outlast this solid version easily, and I think that’s the only major aspect of the naked edition that lets itself down. 

While I couldn’t detect much of a scent on my skin a matter of minutes after towelling myself down, I did find that my skin looked and felt really radiant. Especially after using this to wash my face as well, I found that it worked just as well as using a face mask, and my skin felt smooth to the touch afterwards.

Ultimately, this naked gel only lets itself down by being rather messy during and in between uses. I would highly suggest that you store this in a Lush massage tin when not in use, as it will drip a little before drying. Annoyingly, I found that I had to wipe down the window ledge and sides of bath after using this - as no matter how hard I tried not to make a mess, it’s inevitable with a gel that ebbs so much colour and liquid when in or around whatever.

However, I still think the magical citrusy smell of this naked shower gel, and just how softening it is, makes the mess worth it. If you love Bubbly Shower Gel, you will definitely be able to notice a difference here. Yet, there is something wonderful about the the subtle variations that makes this naked edition equally as enticing.

Quantitative Ingredients: Vine Leaf Infusion (Vitis Vinifera), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Propylene Glyco,l Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Stearate, Lauryl Betaine, Fragrance, Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis), Lime Oil (Citrus aurantifolia), Fresh Grape Juice (Vitis vinifera) (Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice), *Citral, Citronellol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Orange 4.

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £9.75 each.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

1 December 2017

Christmas Rocker Soap

This soap brings me back to the M&S advert a few years ago, when the company tried to convince everyone that their products were exceptionally better than everyone elses. The ingredients list reads like a dessert, and I cannot help but think: If Lush made dessert, it would be the best dessert that the world has ever seen.

What I find really strange is that this soap has caused quite a lot of controversy regarding what customers are proclaiming it smells like. At the risk of sounding crass, Christmas Rocker supposedly smells like a certain male bodily function - although I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t really experience that at all myself.

Amusingly, a lot of Lush fans are also convinced that the odd fragrance was no mistake at all, and that it’s all an elaborate joke from the powers that be. This stems from the tag line that sits alongside the product on their website, which reads: m ‘Come one...come all’. Whether or not you suspect it’s a deliberate attempt at something far more satire than usual, there is no denying that the evidence points to this conclusion. 

As its name suggests, Christmas Rocker is carved out in the shape of an old-fashioned rocking horse, which fits in nicely with the Victorian theme that the seasonal range is leaning towards this year. Although small and seemingly more expensive than other, chunkier pieces of soap, you’ll be pleased to hear that the product is rather rigid in the shower, and will last you just as long as a piece of a bigger size.

Christmas Rocker Soap is not only the cutest one this year, but it also happens to be the best newcomer (in my humble opinion.) Containing dried apricots, mandarin, tangerine and bergamot oils, this limited edition sounds like a bowl of the most exquisite fruit sorbet, and I for one would be all over that idea. 

While the ingredients list reads like The Brightside, I was happy to discover that it did not share the same scent. Although I love that fragrance more than most, customers have already been treated to a soap in that scent with last year’s Sunrise Soap, so I’m glad we had something different to indulge in.

Firstly, my nose picked up quite a strong, tangy orange aroma - a little like a bitter orange that’s been peeled with the pith still intact. The bergamot is clearly at work here - throwing in a little green note to give it more of a fresh, natural aroma. Alongside this, there is a bitter element, which I think comes from the apricots and the bergamot combined. However, there is also a note of what I can only describe as musk. While I wouldn’t assume the cocoa butter would be potent enough to impact the smell, it does smell like an element of this has bled through into the fragrance.

What I found with Christmas Rocker is that it’s far more pleasant once it has come into contact with warm water. I couldn’t really detect much of the scent while it was sitting on the edge of my bath. However, the second I began massaging it across my skin, I could pick up a far better fruity smell to enjoy. While I wouldn’t say this was a scent that I appreciated that much, it’s definitely not as terrible as people have been saying it is. It’s just a little bit average and forgettable, if anything.

Despite its odd smell, Christmas Rocker worked up a treat - creating a creamy, fragrance lather to massage across my body. It produced a bright orange foam, which you need to be careful about not splashing anywhere while you’re washing yourself, and left my skin feeling rather soft and radiant.

While the scent didn’t stay on my skin afterwards, I was surprised to discover that the inclusion of the butter and oils did make this soap a little gentler on my body, and I wasn’t left with really parched skin - which I often experience after using a lot of soaps. Much like most of Lush’s new gourmet soaps, this one also dissolved rather quickly when I kept it under the running water during use. For this reason, I would suggest you get it damp and then clean yourself out of the way of the running tap. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this soap and don’t really understand why so many people have expressed their dislike of the fragrance. Although I can understand why consumers might reach the conclusion about what the soap might smell like, I think there are far too many other components that make it a nice soap. Having said that, a ‘nice’ soap is not one that will be remembered in a few months time, and I can’t imagine why this would make an appearance again.

Quantitative Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Dried Apricots, Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume, Mandarin Oil, Tangerine Oil, Bergamot Oil, Gardenia Extract, Glycerine, Titanium Dioxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, *Limonene, *Linalool, Colour 15510.

Vegan?: Yes.

2017 Price: £4.50 for 100g.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.