Last week’s blog post about navigating life as a white-passing human being got an overwhelmingly positive reception. It’s been hailed by some as “one of the best posts [I’ve] ever written” (hi Mum!), something I could never have predicted. I realised from the get-go that I would be handling an enormous and very sensitive topic that is far bigger than myself or my experiences, and I was aware of the possibility that I would fail to address the issues I did in a way that I could be proud of. Contrary to my fears, it appears to have been a great success. Hitting the ‘publish’ button last Sunday was a risk that paid off. And I want to thank everyone who took the time to read that post, everyone who commented or messaged me about it. It means more than I think you know.
This week I won’t be tackling any weighty societal issues, revealing any evocative stories about my family history, or talking about my muddled-up sense of self. Sorry! They can’t all be heavy, intellectually stimulating commentaries on postcolonial identity work. But although some of you may consider this a pretty inconsequential topic, especially in comparison to last week’s, it’s still a topic I’m passionate about. In case you couldn’t guess from the title, I’m going to be talking about Lush.
(N.B.: if you have no interest in bathing, showering, and bath and body products, you’ll probably have no interest in this post. Weirdly I feel the need to apologise for that, but I’m going to restrain from doing so, because this is my blog and I get to talk about what I want on it. So I’ll simply say that you’ve been warned. It’s about to get gloriously feminine up in here.)
For those of you know don’t know what LUSH is, it’s a cosmetics company which started in England and now has stores in over 50 countries around the world. All Lush products are handmade, and the company is known for its values, which include fighting animal testing, recycled and recyclable packaging, and using fresh, ethically sourced ingredients. On their website, they state that,
We believe in making effective products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. We believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not conduct or commission tests on animals and in testing our products on humans. We invent our own products and fragrances, we make them fresh by hand using little or no preservative or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients and tell you when they were made. … We believe our products are good value, that we should make a profit and that the customer is always right. We also believe words like “fresh” and “organic” have an honest meaning beyond marketing.
I love Lush. I was introduced to this glorious world last year by my dear friend Tess, who was a Christmas casual when I met her and now works there permanently. Since I started shopping there, Lush products have formed an important part of my self-care regimen, helping to maintain my stress levels and overall mental health. And I know how ridiculous this sounds. I know you might be thinking, ‘there’s no way a chunk of soap can have anything to do with maintaining mental health’. Well, it does for me. And let me assure you, I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t 100% believe in what I’m saying.*
This is going to turn into a bit of a product review, cos I kinda really want to talk about some of my favourite Lush products. I’ll provide links to all the products on their website if you’re interested in checking them out.
My first favourite is also the first product I ever purchased from Lush, and that’s the Rose Jam shower gel aka my bae. And it’s freaking delicious. Normally I’ve found a lot of rose-scented cosmetics to be too artificial-smelling and overpowering, but this one is just perfect. It’s got argan oil in it to make your skin super soft, as well as vanilla and lemon oil to balance out the rose scent. This is no doubt one of the lamest things I’ve ever said, but my rose jam makes showertime one of the most anticipated times of my day. Embarrassing but true. Unfortunately it’s limited edition and you can usually only get it at Christmastime, but thanks to the LUSH midwinter Christmas, you can get it right now!!! The rose jam bubbleroon is also great and you can get it year-round, I’d recommend that too.
Continuing on with the shower theme, I also adore the Fairly Traded Honey shampoo. I don’t have one at the moment, because let’s be real, as shampoos go it’s pretty goddamn pricey. But I treated myself at the start of the year when I was in their Auckland store, and it’s so nice. It’s got a rich honey toffee smell, and as with a lot of Lush stuff, it’s a struggle to not just eat the whole thing cos it smells so yummy. But I liked it because it made my hair feel really soft and cared for. ❤
I don’t normally buy soap from Lush, even though they are beautiful, because I find that – like the shampoos – they’re a bit too moneys for what they are. But my lovely Mummy got me some of the Honey I Washed The Kids soap and it was glorious. It really complemented the honey shampoo too. I’d definitely get it again as a treat, I just wish it were like half the price.
A couple of months ago my skin went through a really rough period where I had a massive breakout and there were chinples** everywhere. My usual skincare routine of cleansing and YOLOing was not cutting the mustard, so I went into Lush and was like “PLEASE HELP ME MAKE IT STOP”. The woman who served me was incredibly helpful, and she recommended that I try the Mask of Magnaminty. My skin and I both loved it a lot. How it works is you just put it on all over your face (or wherever your spots are hanging out), leave for like five or ten minutes and then wash it off. It’s a clay mask, which means it’s super helpful for problem skin. It’s also super minty, which made it great for tired mornings when I had early classes. Woke me up better than any caffeine hit, and made my skin feel super fresh.
I’m slowly phasing out most of my supermarket skincare products in favour of Lush replacements, mainly because I like the Lush philosophy of fresh + ethical + organic + handmade products, and I feel a lot better about putting them on my face. The toner I’m using at the moment is Breath of Fresh Air, which I loved from the moment I tried it out in the shop. You just spray it onto your face and wipe it away; it’s super cooling and refreshing, smells like rosemary, and you can use it whenever you want. Like it says on the bottle, this is not just a toner, it’s also “aromatherapy in dilution, ready to be used at a moment’s notice“.
On my birthday I went out and treated myself, on Tess’s recommendation, to the Karma solid perfume and instantly loved it. As perfumes go, it’s incredible value for money at only $12.50, and I love that it comes in a little pot that I can carry around with me and put on whenever I want. The karma scent is spicy and citrusy, which I especially appreciate on cold winter days.
Lush also have a range of makeup products. I haven’t bought much from their makeup section, but everything I have bought, I’ve loved. The first thing I bought was the Santa Baby lip tint, which is part of the limited edition Christmas range and so I unfortunately can’t link you to it as it’s not sold anymore. Lip tint is a bit of an understatement: this baby is bright red and hella pigmented. It also smells like vanilla coke. If they bring it back this year, I’d definitely recommend it.
I also own the Fantasy liquid eyeliner, which I love not only for its amazing sparkly gold colour, but also the fact that it’s no more expensive than any eyeliner you’d get in a pharmacy. It’s a little tricky to apply, but once you get the hang of it, it looks freaking amazing.
The Confident lipstick was another birthday treat, and another recommendation from Tess that I’m glad I paid heed to. It feels lovely to wear and I think the dark purple shade is so pretty. I wore it when I went out to the opera with my family to celebrate turning 21, and I feel the need not to omit the detail that it made me feel like a total babe.
Lush also have an amazing range of bath products, which is what they’re most well-known for. I unfortunately (or probably fortunately, as far as my bank balance is concerned) don’t have a bath at the flat, so I tend to stock up every time I go home to my parents’ house, and enjoy mad incredible baths there.
My favourite bath bomb I’ve tried so far is definitely Dragon’s Egg. It smells amazing and when you put it in the water, it makes really pretty colourful patterns on the surface as it fizzes around.
Other favourites of mine have been Space Girl, which is shaped like a spaceship, smells super fruity, and turns your bath water all glittery and this gorgeous purple-red colour; as well as Avobath, an avocado-scented bath bomb that I had in Melbourne when I needed to wake up before the Monash Prize awards.
If you’ve never heard of a bubble bar before, pretty much what they are is heaven on earth. An alternative to bubble bath liquid, you use these scented bars by crumbling them under the tap as you’re running your bath, and they create masses of bubbles that smell incredible. And in terms of de-stressing and keeping a good balance of calm in my life, they’re the best. I’m not even kidding about it.
The Comforter is Lush’s infamous pink, blackcurrant-scented comforting bubble bar, and the first bubble bar I tried. It smells amazing (are you tired of hearing me say this? I’m tired of typing it, but it’s true), and at $11.90 it seems pricey, but you only need a little bit in your bath to get lots of bubbles, so one bar will give you at least six baths. That’s pretty good value for money.
I took a Brightside home with me over the mid-year break. After getting home from working at the winery all day, I loved getting into a bath filled with the refreshing citrus-smelling bubbles that this bar makes. It was the ultimate post-work pick-me-up (not that work got me down, I love my job, but you know what I mean).
Earlier in the year, I bought a Karma bubble bar thinking it was a Brightside, which turned out to be a happy accident. It smells the same as the karma perfume – like citrus and spices – and I remember sitting in the bath on a particularly grey and rainy afternoon and thinking, it does not get any better than this.
Finally, I mentioned the Rose Jam bubbleroon earlier on in this post, and it’s one I’d highly recommended. It’s a lil bubble bar shaped to look like a macaroon, which I just think is an adorable idea. It also has the rose jam scent, which is great if you’re like me and you need to get your rose jam fix year-round. (I can’t believe I just wrote that. This is so boring and embarrassing. Is anyone still reading this post? Oh well. If one of my readers goes out and buys something from Lush after this, I guess I will have done something good.)
However, despite the tone of this post so far, not everything Lush does is 100% incredible. Some products I’ve bought and would not recommend/was disappointed with were Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner (it smells like rose jam and is amazing to use after shaving, but for the price it was a disappointment), Rock Star soap (I got sent a sample with a mail order and I just didn’t enjoy the scent, it didn’t smell like ‘creamy vanilla’ at all), and No Drought dry shampoo (I got a sample of it from the store and found that the dust went everywhere except where I wanted it to – not a fun experience).
But apart from a disappointing product here and there, I still think Lush is a wonderland of beautiful smells and the loveliest bath products. And if you’re feeling stressed and want a way to relax, I’d strongly recommend treating yourself to a bubble bar or a shower gel. When it comes to chilling out, they’ve helped me more than most things have.
*This post is not sponsored by LUSH. I’m not cool enough, nor well-known enough, for them to give a shit about what I write about them on my blog. I’m just a crazy Lush junkie who really loves these products.
**Chin pimples. I tend to get them when I’m stressed or, in this case, switching from one contraceptive pill to another.