“ Brand: Lush / Type: Soap „
Any of you who read my reviews regularly will know that I'm a massive fan of the shop Lush and I've been trying to sample almost every product they make. Quinquereme of Nineveh was a soap I bought from Lush's Retro section after I heard it was about to be discontinued.
***What is Lush?***
Lush is a store that makes toiletries and cosmetics, using natural and organic ingredients where possible and minimising packaging where they can. It started out as a mail order company called Cosmetics to Go, but this failed and the new store, Lush, opened in Poole, Dorset. Later branches of the shop opened in London and beyond, and there are now Lush stores all over the world. As well as in store, you can also buy products from the website, www.lush.co.uk. There are similar websites for many different countries including the USA, Japan and Germany.
Lush buy ingredients only from companies that do not test on animals. All of their products are suitable for vegetarians and many are suitable for vegans.
Lush say: "We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud.
"We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again."
***What is Retro?***
The Retro range is only available online or via mail order, as it is made up of products that have been discontinued from stores, but were deemed popular enough not to be discontinued completely. Retro products are often more expensive than the normal range of products, as they are made in smaller quantities, but there is some interesting stuff to be found among the products!
***Quinquereme of Nineveh***
To introduce this soap, I'll quote the description from the Lush website:
"Feel the heat of the Middle Eastern sun beating down on the rooftops of ancient Nineveh, see the haze rise off the river Tigris, watch the sweat glistening on the muscular oarsmen, who row the quinquireme, carrying its cargo of exotic fruits and spices to the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Bathe in cool waters that irrigate the calm, verdant palace gardens and wash with a soap made from the finest of those fruits, spices and exotic oils brought at great expense and danger from far off lands. The bad news is that Nineveh was invaded in 612 BC and was never the same again. The good news is that the soap is real."
This tells you more about the soap than the actual ingredients list: there are a few chemicals, one identifiable 'proper' ingredient which is creamed coconut, and the rather unhelpful 'perfume'. Looks like Lush is keeping this one a secret. The soap is suitable for vegans, and cost £4.05 for 100g, so it's not one of Lush's cheaper soaps, though Retro items are routinely more expensive than normal in-store items as they are made in smaller quantities. I do like the description: it's very vivid and makes me think the soap is really exotic! The soap is creamy in texture and off-white in colour. It feels smooth to the touch when dry. I do love the smell - it is vaguely coconutty, but I can detect an exotic, slightly musky, spicy scent which is really unusual. It is subtle and not at all in your face, but lovely nonetheless. A grown-up soap, this one.
Using the soap is easy, as it lathers up really easily when used with a shower puff and not at all badly when used alone. The creamy lather makes you feel really clean and the scent is still discernible. I've used the soap as both a hand and a body soap and it is effective in both cases. Unlike some Lush soaps, I feel like this one is actually moisturising.
After use, I can still smell the soap on my skin. In fact, it seems a shame to use my scented moisturiser as it masks the smell! The soap doesn't seem to be going down too quickly, despite the good lather. It's lasted a couple of weeks already and I believe it will last at least a couple of weeks more.
Overall this is a lovely, sophisticated, grown-up soap that I highly recommend. Sadly it is no longer available on the Lush website, but since they've revamped their Retro range to include a new set of limited edition products every couple of months or so, there's a chance that it could come back in the future. In the meantime, it's always worth trying eBay.
'Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine'
I have to begin this review by admitting that I have never been into a Lush shop in my life. Whenever I've come within sniffing distance of any of their shops, I'm absolutely repelled by the overwhelming sickliness of all those perfumes mingled together into a headache inducing miasma. I would add, that I feel exactly the same about Body Shops and give them a wide berth too.
That being said, my daughter loves their products and as there's a Lush store very close to where she works in Windsor, she spends a lot of time and money there. This soap was a present to me from her. She saw the name of the soap and immediately thought of me because I used to recite John Masefield's poem, Cargoes, to her and her brother when they were children. I wonder if Lush will be bringing out a soap called "Dirty British Coaster" anytime soon?
Although I don't venture into their shops, I am aware of the Lush philosophy of ethically sourced and manufactured products. In particular, they don't use palm oil in their manufacturing process, for which they should be heartily applauded.
Palm oil production is currently responsible for the loss of vast tracts of equatorial rain forest resulting in loss of habitat for the already beleaguered orang-utan population and may also be responsible for some aspects of climate change as, after all, the rain forest is reputed to be the lungs of the world. Lush's stand on not using this ingredient is an example to the many manufacturers who still do and demonstrates that palm oil is an ingredient which is unnecessary and easily replaced.
This was a present so I'm not sure exactly how much it cost but I know Lush soaps generally cost around the £3 to £4 mark.
The full ingredients list is given at the end of this review for anyone who cares to read it, but suffice to say that everything in this bar of soap is natural, environmentally friendly and not tested on animals.
For several months this creamy white coloured soap resided in my knicker drawer scenting my underwear with it's exotic perfume which definitely smells much nicer than Sainsburys washing powder and fabric conditioner! And that is the first thing that strikes you about this rather plain looking and unprepossessing bar of soap: the perfume is as exotic as the idea of a quinquereme sailing through the eastern Mediterranean. The scent is a glorious mix of coconut, overlaid with hints of spicy orange and vanilla, although I didn't detect any sandalwood or cedarwood and definitely no sweet white wine!
I eventually decided to use this soap one Friday, after a particularly trying week at work and treated myself to an indulgent bath time session, complete with candles, music and a glass of rather nice red wine.
The soap produces a wonderfully sweet smelling lather, although perhaps not quite as rich and creamy as I would have liked, and it leaves the bath water with a slightly milky look, bringing thoughts of Cleopatra in her bath of asses milk to mind. There are little bits of coconut (at least I think that's what it is) embedded into the soap which act as a gentle exfoliant and which left my skin feeling soft, smooth and silky with a faintly lingering scent of coconut. This is certainly not an overpoweringly fruity, flowery or even particularly girly scent and could easily be used by men too, if they can persuade a lady to let them share it!
I find that sometimes soap can leave the skin feeling rather dry and tight but this bar doesn't do so. In fact, after my bath, my skin felt well nourished almost as though I'd applied body lotion.
When I mentioned to my daughter how much I liked this soap, she told me that this is a "retro" product which I gather means it's being gradually phased out to make room for newer items so it's not available everywhere. I'm hoping she'll be able to pick up a couple more bars for me before it disappears from the shops though.
This is definitely a soap I want to last for as long as possible, so it's now been dried off and is back amongst my underwear until the next time I feel the need for a little bit of TLC.
Ingredient List: Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Creamed Coconut, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Hydroxide, Titanium Dioxide, Perfume, Orange Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Vanilla Absolute, Sodium Chloride, Limonene
Feel the heat of the Middle Eastern sun beating down on the rooftops of ancient Ninevah, see the haze rise off the river Tigris, watch the sweat pouring from the muscular oarsmen who row the quinquireme carrying its cargo of exotic fruits and spices to the capital of the Assyrian Empire / Bathe in cool waters which irrigate the calm, verdant palace gardens and wash with a soap made from the finest of those fruits, spices and exotic oils brought at great expense and danger from far off lands / Picture this, then imagine that we made that soap with the milk from fresh coconuts, sweet vanilla absolute from the seedpods of a rare orchid (it was very rare in the 7th century BC), refreshing orange oil from China (likewise) and calming benzoin from the spice islands of Java and Sumatra / The bad news is that Ninevah was invaded in 612 BC and was never the same again / The good news is that the soap is real /