Sunday, December 20, 2015

(Review) So White: Seven Dwarves Optional

As I mentioned in my review of Stardust, I'm a big fan of occasional simplicity.  Most of the time I enjoy the bells and whistles that come with bath bombs and bubble bars, but sometimes I just want something plan.  No muss, no fuss, no thrills, no frills.  Maximum satisfaction with minimal effect and effort.  Sometimes I don't want to wash down my tub from a turbo glittery bath bomb, and sometimes I don't want to bathe in brightly colored water.  Sometimes I just want something nice and simple.  But there's always a fine line.

I feel like there's a fine line between simplicity and boredom.  For me, there always has to be a little something special to keep me interested.  Like if I'm curled up on the couch reading a book.  For one thing, that couch better be really damn comfortable, as there's nothing worse than a rock hard couch or a busted spring poking your buttcheek.  And that book had better being entertaining as well.  Full of plot twists and romance, with just the right amount of action to keep me teetering on the edge of that oh so comfy couch.  Believe it or not, a lot of work goes into something being considered "simple."

With its simplistic, white as snow appearance, So White from what I'd heard in years past was a simple treasure.  Blindingly white and hard as a rock, So White hides within a petal pink core that supposedly melts down into a rose colored bath.  When demoing this at my shop, myself and my coworkers would eagerly gather around and take in a deep breath of the crisp apple fragrance.  Ironic that it would smell so much like the fruit, when not a trace of apple is in So White at all!  Bergamot, rose absolute, neroli, and orange flower absolute are the oils that make up this refreshing fragrance.

I have to say, I'm not one for apple fragrances.  After smelling the same synthetic, sickeningly sweet apple fragrances in everything from lotions to candles to potpourri, I had had enough of anything apple scented (however, apples...granny smiths to be exact, are one of my favorite fruits!).  So White was a breath of fresh air for my nostrils, and smelled just like the joy I feel when I take that first crunchy bite (okay...sounds a little cheesy, but I really like apples, okay?).

The night I chose to use So White was a night smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, where my eyes were so tired they burned and I could hear my body screaming for pillows and blankets.  But I desperately wanted a bath and So White was the closest within reach.

I've heard of people smashing this lovely bomb on the bathtub bottom, much like a snowball, but I chose to just drop it in and watch it fizz.  It didn't take long to get to the baking soda packed, pastel pink center, but my goodness did it take forever to fully dissolve.  I actually timed it and this bath bomb clocked in at a full 20 minutes before the last of it fizzled away!

After peering into my tub after it dissolved, I was surprised and a little disappointed to find that the promised rose colored bath was nothing than a slight rosy tint to my water.  In the bowls at work it was a vibrant pink, and while I knew it was more concentrated in bowls than in tubs, I didn't realize the color difference would be so drastic.  Nonetheless, my bath was nice and cozy warm, and the intoxicating apple scent filled my bathroom for hours afterward.

Overall, my feelings on So White are mixed.  While So White smells absolutely beautiful, the final turnout was something I found to be a bit underwhelming.  To me, So White toed and fell over the line between simplicity and boredom, into boredom.  Even last year I wish they kicked up the color in the middle a bit, and this year I was still disappointed to find it was still such a dull color.  Still, So White is a Christmas favorite and has been coming out every Christmas for the past few years.  While the bath bomb wasn't one of my absolute favorites, it could be that minimal amount of simplicity you've been craving for your bath!

***So White is certified Vegan

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

(Review) American Cream: Get the Red Out of Your Hair

It occurred to me the other day that in the almost two years I've had this blog, I've yet to do a haircare review.  So let me break up the holiday monotony to write up a quickie on one of the first Lush haircare products I tried: the heaven-scented American Cream conditioner.

Before I get started, let me tell you a few quick facts about my hair.  It's thick, there's a ton of it (to the point where I get it thinned out regularly), it's more coarse than it looks (400°F straightening iron to so much as make a kink in it), yes it's naturally that dark, and I found my first traumatizing gray hair at the tender age of 16, plucking it out of my ponytail with horror and too much black eyeliner under my eyes.  In my morning meditation I always remember to thank my dear Papa Bear for bestowing his god-like hair genes unto me, and curse him for my premature grayness.  But mostly it's all about love (my dad's an awesome dude with a Swanson-esque 'stache).  And because of my (almost literal) horse mane, I need a conditioner that quenches my thirsty thirsty locks.

Enter American Cream.  One of the first products I bought after I was hired by Lush, I was initially attracted to the promise of some serious hydration as well as the scent.  In my personal opinion, the sage and vanilla scented conditioner is one of the best smelling products Lush has to offer.  Not only do these ingredients offer fantastic benefits like hydration, detangling, and shine, but they scent your locks all day!

I was so excited to use this that I nearly threw my silicone-laden conditioner bottles at my laid back roommate and pranced into the shower to luxuriate my hair in vanilla milkshake goodness.  I wasn't used to the feeling of non-silicone conditioners on my hair (side note: since working at Lush I've abandoned all silicone-laden products as they drive my hair crazy and are bad for the environment) so I was a bit shocked at how not silky my hair felt the first time around.  No biggie, I thought to myself.  I just need to adjust to it!

And so I waited.

...and waited

...and waited some more.

And after I few weeks of using American Cream, I found it did almost nothing for my hair besides make it smell pretty.  Honestly I was quite shocked.  While the consistency was a bit runnier than most conditioners I've used, I thought the ingredients would be enough to balance it out.  Unfortunately it barely hydrated my poor tresses, and my hair became a dry and frizzy poofball as a result.  However, that poofball was the nicest smelling poofball!  I will definitely admit that American Cream's scent really sticks to your hair, and every time I turned my head I would catch a whiff as a result.  I did also noticed that I shed a lot less hair when I used it as well, so I'm guessing American Cream also helped strengthen my hair.  Sadly, the moisture quality just wasn't there.

Overall I was disappointed with my trial of American Cream.  However I still have no problem recommending it to others.  I've seen products that don't work for me work wonders for others, and vise versa.  In my experience as a brand ambassador for Lush, I've found American Cream works well for people with thicker hair, but hair that isn't as coarse as mine.  But again, it all depends on your hair's wants and needs!  So if you think it might work for you, definitely pick up a sample or a bottle and try it out for yourself!  Didn't work for me, but it could very well be what you were looking for!

***American Cream is certified Vegetarian

Sunday, December 6, 2015

(Review) Yog Nog: Sugar & Spice

Whenever I wake up and see the sun shining through my blinds, I always smile and snug a little bit closer to my blankets and pillow.  There's something about a nice, cloudless sunny day that just puts me in a good mood.  My apartment is bright and cheery, I can hear kids outside playing...there's just something about sunshine that makes the days a little bit better.  And then I go outside and am met with the sharp wind at my cheek, the cold air numbing my nose, and the sudden chill creeping through my clothes down to my bones.  And then I remember it's December.  And I live in the midwest.  And winter sucks.

Cold weather is all well and good when you're inside with your blankets, a hot mug of cocoa, and a good book or Netflix marathon to keep you warm, but when you're running around outside and actually have to leave the house, the minutes become hours and the thought of a warm fire and your PJs will never leave your mind.  That, and the sharp, biting cold and wreak havoc on your skin.  I know for sure it's wreaking havoc on mine!

Where I live in the summer is always sticky with humidity and sweat, but a complete 180 happens when the weather turns cold.  From dry skin to chapped lips to nosebleeds on the regular, I dry out from head to toe.  So one lone night when my skin felt as dry and tight as a finely tuned violin string, I decided my nightly post-work bath needed to help remedy this problem.

I wasn't surprised in the slightest to see Yog Nog make a return in a different form.  I recall the buttery, cinnamon sprinkled blocks of soap practically vanishing before my eyes last Christmas.  This year I've noticed it's been selling a little more slowly, but I've been seeing the bath bomb of the same name being sold in droves.

Yog Nog bath bomb is essentially a triple threat.  The standard bath bomb formula also contains grated bubble bar mix, which makes for a slower, frothier fizz, and a bath melt tucked in the middle makes this creamy, spicy bath bomb a much needed moisturizing treat!

Watching Yog Nog fizz away in the tub was like watching a cadbury cream egg dissolve.  Even though the Golden Egg bath bomb from Easters past is more inspired by the treat than this one, it looked a lot more like the actual chocolate candy that makes my teeth sting.  The foam was yellow and white, and the bath melt in the middle looked like a pat of butter on toast.

I'm always wary of yellow bath bombs since they tend to look know, but I feel like Lush is getting their yellow pigments down so that won't be a problem!  The yellow was more neon rather than earthy toned, and looked bright and vibrant.  Sinking into the tub was a definite being wrapped in a spicy knit blanket!  And when I popped out, the water beading on my skin was a good indication that I was well moisturized and soft to the touch.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Yog Nog and its turnout.  I'm not one for food smells, and spicy cinnamon and clove scents remind me of any and every baked good at Christmas, but this one really took the cake (yes that was a pun and yes I'm very proud of it).  The scent was warming and comforting, and it really moisturized my all over dry, scaly winter-lizard skin.  If you're a fan of the bar soap, you definitely need to get the bath bomb!

***Yog Nog bath bomb is certified Vegan