“ 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. I'm still working my way through the special edition products I bought last Christmas! This is a review of the Mandarin's Tea Party soap.
***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."
Mandarin's Tea Party was inspired by the Christmas tradition of popping a satsuma at the bottom of a stocking. Bright orange in colour, it was made with mandarin and neroli oils as well as orange juice for a refreshing citrusy wash. The soap had a similar scent to the Orange Blossom fragrance, and contained real dried orange slices. Crystallised ginger added texture and a Christmassy touch to the soap, giving it a bit of spice. The soap was suitable for vegetarians. Solid, the soap had a delicious spicy citrus scent which was Christmassy, but not so much that you couldn't use it at any other time of year. I kept the soap out on my desk for some time and could smell it all over the room. It was a lovely burnt orange colour, really pretty to look at.
This soap was lovely to use as both a hand and body soap. As a hand soap, it made my hands feel clean but not dried out and the fragrance lasted for a while. Used on the body, the scent didn't seem to last - perhaps because I used a shower puff rather than applying the soap directly to my skin. The soap lathered really well on the shower puff and made my skin feel very clean though not at all dry. The scent did last all through the shower, however.
I should point out that, being bright orange, the soap leaves slight orange marks in the soap dish when it is damp. These wash off easily, but if you're the sort of person who has a pristine white bathroom, this might not be the soap for you!
Mandarin's Tea Party cost £3.50 for 100g so it isn't one of Lush's cheaper soaps. It didn't seem to go down too quickly, however. I've deducted a star for the high price, but otherwise I really like and recommend this deliciously-scented soap.
This is a metaphor for everything I like and dislike about Lush in one little soap: it's an original product, looks bright and contains lots of lovely things but it's also messy to use and a bit too overpowering.
This orange slice of soap was one of the contents in the Winter Garden Christmas Gift Box and so didn't come with any packaging of its own. If bought it store it's sliced from a huge, solid bar of the product and wrapped. Those huge bars of jewel coloured soaps do look absolutely wonderful is store, and this one looks good enough to eat.
The colour of the soap really is mandarin, it's a lovely fresh translucent orange with piece of more muted orange amongst the brightness - as if two different types of soap have been welded together. Unfortunately this brightness also extends to the soap dish, which needs cleaning every day due to the orange stains all over it, and the sink. My soap dish also has drainage holes in the bottom, which leads to the water that runs off the soap draining through the holes and down the inside of the sink in an orange trail. This product is not great if your sink is white and you want it to stay that way!
I have been using this soap at the bathroom sink for washing my hands and ocassionally my face too. The smell is gorgeous - not so much mandarin as fresh, sweet orange blossom and honey. However it can get a little too heady and overpoweringly sweet as the smell does linger on your skin long after you have used the product, and becomes a little sickly. The colour of the product is bright and fresh but the scent is heady and slightly cloying.This soap does stay true to the product promise of being an orange blossom scented soap to brighten up gloomy mornings, but the smell might be a bit much to use in the shower and therefore have all over you! It's certainly not subtle.
Turning over the soap in your hands a couple of times whips up a good, rich lather, and it is a good product for quickly washing your hands. However another reason I have not been using this product in the shower as a soap for the whole body (as well as the strong smell and mess) is because it breaks down too easily. As the product is made up of two separate types of soap, the translucent orange and the pearly orange, and therefore not quite as tightly packed together as other soaps, it doesn't stand up to good lathering with a sponge before it falls away in pieces. This leaves bits of soap in the sink and plughole as well as orange stains on the sink and although they are easy to clean off, you don't expect or need that sort of mess with a soap.
The product does leave your skin feeling quite fresh, but not necessarily as moisturised as you would expect from s soap so rich and fruity. As I have been using this as hand soap only I was not expecting outstanding results to be visible, but it does leave your skin feeling very clean. You can certainly tell you have been using a product - it's not shy with leaving its scent behind.
VALUE: Lush soaps are not amazingly cheap nor outrageously dear, on average they are £3-£4 for 100g. This particular soap doesn't turn up any results on the Lush webpage at present so may be a seasonal product but should be within those guidelines. Even at £3 I think this product may be a little too expensive. The results are not good enough to justify that price, especially with the fast disintegration of the product and the love/hate relationship with the smell! Although lovely and bright, the colour combined with the strong smell do make you think that this is a cheap and cheerful product and should be priced as such.
I bought some of this soap from my local Newcastle branch of the body Cosmetic store Lush just after Christmas as it was in their half price sale. I had not seen the soap before in store so I assumed it was a Christmas special. When I checked the UK online site I couldn't find the soap mentioned except in individual store blogs. According to sources the soap has been around since November. The soap is featured on International websites as an individual soap and as part of Christmas gift sets, but check your local UK store for availability.
Lush are a brand with a sense of fun and creativity and they have surpassed themselves with the idea behind this particular soap. In November, 2010 the cartoon figure Rupert the Bear celebrated his birthday. Believe it or not the cute scarf-wearing bear turned 90 and to celebrate this and also with the Christmas season in mind, Lush dreamt up this soap. The idea behind the orange and mandarin flavoured soap is taken from a particular 1969 Rupert the Bear annual in which our furry hero travels to a far off land for a Mandarin Tea Party. This is also twinned with the idea that in the olden days people used to give oranges as gifts at Christmas time as they were quite exotic fruits at the time.
The handmade soap is comprised of two seperate substances. There is a yellowy-orange waxy soap that is haphazardly put together with a more tansparent looking, darker soap. The two soapy materials are melded together but their edges remain sharp and square and this gives the soap a striking Picasso painting type of appearance. Lush soaps are always cut off a larger block and according to the official photo online showing the larger patty of soap there are also shards and slices of crystalised ginger and actual orange flesh in the soap but my particular slice didn't have any of these pieces in it.
Lush claim that this soap smells like their 'Orange Blossom' perfume. I was rather suprised by the soap's fragrance as I thought it would be much more fruity and sharp. Instead it is a bit too spicy, like mulled wine or liqueurs. I wouldn't say that there is much mandarin flavour in the mix but rather more a mix of musky neroli and this hot cloves and orange smell. It's an Arabian nights kind of perfume and it's okay but as I say I thought it would be more of a tropical fragrance. The notable ingredients are fresh organic orange juice, gardenia extracts, mandarin oil, ginger, dried orange slices and neroli oil.
The soap is the kind that melts away very quickly in hot water, particularly the darker parts of the soap which have a more oily base. This does cause the soap to break up into individual pieces sometimes but you can sort of stick them together again with a bit of foam! I used this soap much more quickly than I thought I would though, and could actually see the difference in the size of the soap between every bath.
The soap lathers up very well although it's better to use a sponge or shower flower to create bubbles more quickly. The bubbles are tight and frothy and have a soft smooth feeling that makes you want to rub it into your skin. If you don't lather up the soap enough it bleeds a bright orange oil onto you skin which makes you look like an Oompa Loompa. Unfortunately this orange colouring was one of my major problems with the soap - it's so messy! Wherever you leave the soap there is a horrible stain of orange oil or popped bubble marks left behind. The colour gets everywhere and your bathroom requires a lot of cleaning!
I wouldn't say the soap was particularly moisturising but the fragrance was left on my skin and I felt very clean and refreshed after use. The soap is suitable for all over body use and I felt that it was strong enough a formula to clean everywhere on my body - even the sweatiest places! The overall experience of using the soap is a good one as it is quite a spicy and colourful blend so it does liven the mind and bolster the spirit whilst getting you tip top clean! I enjoyed using the soap although for the price I think I would have liked it to have left my skin a bit softer and more moisturised. I also didn't enjoy scrubbing the bathroom tiles after using this!
Find out more about the Lush range at their website: