3 May 2018

The Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel

I have written many reviews about Lush’s extensive naked shower gel range over the last few months: about how most of them are far more ethical and practical than their liquid counterparts; about how innovative they are for a variety of reasons; and about how they’d be great travel companions for an adventure of any size. 

The difference between all of these reviews and this one is that The Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel has quite literally been tested to its limit. And in doing so, I may have found out a few product flaws that I hadn’t noticed with other variations.

When this first made an appearance in the Lush Kitchen, I didn’t realise that it would take the company so long to release it as a regular product in stores. Given that many of the gels and jellies had been discontinued over the last twelve months (and nothing had been used to replace these items) I was led to believe that Lush would at least offer Naked versions of the gels that were left, to pad the range out a little. Therefore, I was surprised when this one, Happy Hippy and Dirty Springwash arrived and promptly left without any fanfare.

While I have always adored the Olive Branch scent, I’ve found that I have to be in a specific mindset to want to use it, and given how watery the original gel used to be, this was a seldom occurrence. The pale orange-tinted red design that this naked shower gel arrived in didn’t exactly bowl me over either, but then I wasn’t expecting anything different. 

Made up of fresh mandarins and bergamot oil, this naked shower gel certainly doesn't have the depth that the fragrance of the liquid variation offers. While olive oil was there, it lacked the rich layer of nutty goodness that lingers on your skin afterwards. While there are notes reminiscent of the richness and gentle woodiness that you get from the oil, these are not anywhere near as prominent or as alluring as the original format. 

You get the warmth of the citrus infusions from both the lemon and mandarin oils, which gives this shower gel the 'Olive Branch' aroma, but I felt as if the Mediterranean element that you find in both the perfume and the shower gel was lost quite a lot in this format.   

Disappointingly, I found that the fragrance of the naked gel didn’t match up to the rich nuttiness of the regular gel, and I felt that there was something missing from the solid version that stopped the scent being as beautiful as it should have been. It was almost as if the warm, biscuit-like layer of the aroma has been removed and some of the floral components had been dampened. 

Although the scent was definitely the Olive Branch, it was far less vibrant and complex. The tangerine layer was a little less sweet and fruity and the floral element seemed dampened: like the two notes had been merged together and then lost any redeeming qualities that they had as individual notes. Furthermore, I found that after a month of keeping this solid gel in my cupboard, the smell had weakened a little and didn’t ever seem to recover from this loss.

One of the qualities that these naked shower gels supposedly boast is the ease in which they can travel, without posing the risk of leaking in your luggage and causing a mess. To test this out, I took The Olive Branch with me on my three week tour of Vietnam and found that it wasn’t as easy to use as I initially expected it would be. 

Firstly, I had to make a conscious effort to find somewhere for it to dry in between uses. As I was staying in hostels, I wasn’t able to simply leave it in a soap dish, and even on the rare occasion I had a room to myself, this still caused a little mess that I had to clean up afterwards. These naked shower gels don’t dry as quickly as you’d like them to and therefore some thought needs to go into what to do with one after it’s been used. Using a towel causes unwanted stains that then need to be changed more frequently (which isn’t a luxury you often get when travelling) and using tissues just leaves you with fluffy bits attached to the naked gel. 

A second issue I had was that even when the solid gel was completely dry, I still had to use a bag to wrap it in when it was in my toiletry bag. The first few days I went without and found smears across my other products, which meant that I had to use a plastic bag to keep it contained - which sort of defeats the point of ‘no packaging’ unless you plan on recycling that bag afterwards.

Averaging two showers a day, I found that this naked shower gel lasted me the full three weeks and I was left with a piece big enough to see me through another couple of weeks. For this reason I’d say that The Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel worked out slightly better value than buying a 250g bottle of the same gel.

On the positive side, this product foams up with ease and produces a light, fluffy lather to coat my skin with. As it was thicker than the liquid version, this also meant that I didn’t need to keep hold of it while I was cleaning myself, so I wouldn’t recommend that you suspend it under the running water for longer than you need to.

Although I didn’t find this naked shower gel particularly moisturising, it does leave your skin feeling clean and clear. For those who don’t want particularly heavy scents on their skin afterwards, this is also a good choice as I could barely smell The Olive Branch at all once I had towelled myself down. 

Strangely, I found that the consistency of this solid block felt a little scratchy after a couple of weeks of using it - almost like it had dried out a little, despite its exposure to water every day. It also paled in colour as well which supported this theory. While I didn’t find that it left my skin feeling at all dry, this is not a reaction I have noticed with any of the other naked gels.

Ultimately, while fans of The Olive Branch will no doubt appreciate the fragrance in a new format, this doesn’t live up to its liquid counterpart at all. Now that Lush have thickened the aforementioned gel, I would much rather invest in a 250g bottle of the new formula than this. It was good while it lasted but I would not choose to buy this again. 

Quantitative Ingredients: Fair Trade Olive Oil and Vine Leaf Infusion, Mandarin Juice, Mandarin Oil, Bergamot Oil, Lemon Oil, Orange Flower Absolute.

Vegan?: Yes.

2018 Price: £9.75 for 120g.

Year Of Original Release: 2017.

Scent Family:
The Christmas Penguin bubble Bar
Happy Pill Ballistic 
The Olive Branch Bath Bomb
The Olive Branch Body Lotion
The Olive Branch Body Spray
The Olive Branch Liquid Perfume
The Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel
The Olive Branch Shower Gel
Pop In The Bath Bubble Bar
Wash You Were Here Wash Card

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