A while ago my friend Julie from The Redolent Mermaid wrote about her wax order from Super Tarts in celebration of Leon Day, where she revealed to my utter surprise that the holiday’s namesake is actually “Noel” spelled backwards! She further wrote that the day represents the halfway point between last Christmas and the next one, all of which brought back fond memories of gingerbread lattes and twinkling lights to my summer-soaked brain. It also made me question how I’d been so dim as not to notice the play on words in the first place…
Then it suddenly hit me, a cold realization of epic fragrant proportions: I still had all of my LUSH Cosmetics bar soaps from the last holiday season, left untouched in plastic bags to keep them fresh! And not only that, but in my stash I also found two Christmastide bath ballistics! So, consider this a Christmas in August as we delve into this admittedly super-late but nonetheless festive review. I did get these products for free at the time and the few slivers were samples, but my opinions are (as always!) my own. How’s that for getting on the Nice List?
LUSH is famous for having many limited edition holiday collections throughout the year, and from what I gather the major ones are Valentine’s Day (I reviewed this year’s Cupid’s Love soap here), Easter (reviews coming up soon), Mother’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas. There are also several special charity campaign releases I will be discussing in the coming months, but since those are made in such limited batches and may not be regulars in the coming years I didn’t include them in the yearly LUSH cycle.
For 2014 LUSH came out with quite the Christmas inspired collection, featuring sparkly bath bombs, bright bubble bars, a fairy-shaped massage bar, three bath melts, a multitude of shower gels, lip products à la Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”, a cleanser, two new FUN varieties, a shower jelly in the shape of a snowman, a lotion, a glistening dusting powder, and of course the five brand new bar soaps1 (none of the ones from 2013 returned, or at least in their original form or name). I’m also including Fairy Ring bar soap in that list because although it was technically a Halloween release (along with Lord of Misrule, Northern Lights, Sparkler, and all the rest) it sold right through the holiday period, long after people stopped coming in for the “galaxy bath bomb.” (LUSH trivia time: which of the aforementioned Halloween products gives that effect?)
So let’s indeed begin with Fairy Ring, which was possibly one of the most visual highlights in the whole range. When you ordered online you got a 100 grams rectangular bar (pictured), but in stores this soap was a real showstopper. Standing at just a dozen or so inches tall, it is built as a tiny toadstool house made entirely of soap, cut to the customer’s specifications per request in LUSH retail shops across the world. It is fragranced with the exclusive Gorilla perfume Mycelium, found in the earlier Alkmaar soap and All That Jas bath bomb2. Many disliked its mushroom scent, saying it was too earthy to be in the cheerful lineup, but I enjoy it as a break from LUSH’s signature citrus explosions and candy-sweet fragrances. In the shower this soap has a subtle if pleasant earthy masculine fragrance and lathers up into orange foam, but I found its formula drying on the skin.
Next is Yog Nog, a soap inspired by (you guessed it!) the popular festive drink called eggnog. The traditional beverage is made with milk or cream, sugar, whipped eggs, and a spirit such as brandy, rum, or bourbon3. This soap takes the appearance of pudding or sponge cake sprinkled with cinnamon, and the formula is made with soya yogurt to help in softening the skin (same as Cupid’s Love), making for an altogether delicious soap. LUSH’s yogurt comes from Mapleton’s Organics4, a dairy farm located not too far from where I live in Ontario, Canada. The performance was just as drying as Fairy Ring to my dismay, with a spicy fragrance, beige foam, and bits of the decorative sprinkles coming off onto the skin.
The samples I got are Baked Alaska and Reindeer Rock, both exciting releases that sold like hotcakes. The only one I didn’t get a slice of is Snowcake, a marzipan scented, super thick soap whose leftover heaps sold for 50% off on Boxing Day. Baked Alaska (also named for a Yule treat) arrived in stores as a giant soap sphere, and staff had to saw it in half to get it on displays and cut into chunks. I only got a small piece from its blue core, but I encourage you to look up the rainbow colours of its soap inserts to get a feel for the spectacular presentation. When I gave it a sniff after letting it sit for over half a year I found it smelled mellow and muted, with a definite note of lemongrass and a certain wateriness. On the skin it left the aroma of warm hand towels served at restaurants.
Reindeer Rock was my final Xmas soap and I was delighted to learn it smells like the popular Comforter bubble bar. It was the first LUSH product I ever tried and the smell brought back fond memories. The soap itself is a very pretty cranberry color, sprinkled with silver luster on top. Perfect for a little girl’s stocking stuffer! It has a great blackcurrant scent and delicate pink foam. Both of the samples were the same irksome dry formula, as well, making me reach for hand cream and lotion right after use.
The bath bombs I had were Golden Wonder and Lord of Misrule, a fragrance so popular that the LUSH Kitchen later offered it in solid and traditional perfume form (we won’t discuss the whole scandal it brought with it right now). Lord of Misrule’s beautiful fragrance is second only to its bath time effect of turning the water a deep wine color inspired by the Middle Ages’ Feast of Fools. You’ll also be surprised to find popping candy inside that sounds like a crackling fire when submerged!
Golden Wonder is just as special with a secret surprise inside its gift-shaped body – three tiny bath bombs in an assortment of colours and the beloved fragrance of the Celebrate lotion, inspired by bubbly champagne. I haven’t used mine yet, but you can watch them fizz away in the videos in this post.
Verdict: This wasn’t a traditional review because I didn’t get a chance to experience all of these thoroughly yet, but I wanted to share them in hopes that when LUSH brings out this year’s Christmas collection you’ll have an idea of what to expect. I also vow to report on this year’s releases far sooner! Generally the soaps are pretty but lack in hydrating properties. The bath bombs are a luxurious gift giving idea but an expensive extra for personal use. But as usual everything is ethically produced, natural, and never tested on animals. This LUSH range gets a moderately-jolly thumbs up from me!
1Hello Miss Niki: LUSH Christmas 2014 Collection
2All Things LUSH UK: Fairy Ring Soap
4LUSH Cosmetics: Meet our yogurt supplier
5Facebook: LUSH Kitchen
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