Growing up in the boondocks, I had never heard of Lush (the all-natural organic body shop) until about six months ago. The first time I went into a Lush store I had to be literally dragged out because I wanted to smell everything.
I never bought anything, though, until two days ago.
Shopping at Lush is an unusual experience. The sales staff all look like goth grrls, with the chains and the piercings and the black fingernail polish, and yet they are so perky when they start talking about the soaps. It's like their dye jobs are black, but their voices are BRIGHT PINK. With BUBBLES.
They also want to show you everything. Now, a clever salesperson might figure out, after handing me a few soaps to sniff and sample, that I reacted much more positively to the soaps that smell like baked goods than I did to the soaps that smelled like citrus-'n-lawn-clippings. (No offense to Jungle, seriously. Just... I do not need to wash with something that smells like yard.) So I kind of expected my happy helper to start pulling out the obvious choices: Porridge, Honey I Washed The Kids, Gingerman, etc. Instead she showed me everything in the store, and didn't ever stop, even when I lingered over something, to say anything useful like "would you like me to put some of that up at the counter for you?"
At the end I finally had to stop her and say "look, I think I've decided." I ended up with a sort of soap sampler platter: palm-sized chunks of Trichomania and Seanik for my hair, Porridge and Figs and Leaves for my skin, and a bottle of Sonic Death Monkey shower gel, which smelled so good I couldn't stop sniffing it and which a smart salesperson would have tried to upgrade to the larger bottle. (A smart salesperson would have had that shower gel sale closed the minute she saw my reaction to my first inhale. Instead she said "Why don't you come over here and look at this Lemon Fruity Thing?")
I've had the chance now to try everything out, and here are my reviews:
Porridge, despite it's delicious smell (warm oatmeal with brown sugar and molasses), isn't much of a soap. It melts away too quickly and leaves my skin feeling a little sticky.
Figs and Leaves reminds me a lot of the Mysore Sandal Soap I used to buy in Hyderabad -- same kind of scent and feel -- but although it is a fine soap in itself it just makes me miss my sandal soap and wish I could buy that instead.
Seanik seems to be a strong overall shampoo and I like the idea that a single bar will last me for over two months.
Trichomania almost made me cry. It promised to make my straight hair curl, and really I should stop believing things like that, even from all-natural organic soap shops, because all it did was tangle my hair into a gigantic knot which took me nearly fifteen minutes to comb out -- and it completely dried my hair out, too (I'll have to attack it with a deep conditioner tomorrow to make up the damage). Surprisingly, it did live up to its promise and added a bit of wave; but it was not worth the cost. I probably shouldn't have picked a shampoo that seems to share its name with a worm that lives in uncooked pork.
But to make up for everything else... Sonic Death Monkey is the best and most awesome kind of soap I've ever used anywhere. I want to buy bottles and send them to everyone I know, although if there's one thing I've gathered from the various Lush product reviews it's that different soaps seem to work well for different people. Some people like Lemon Fruity Things, some like nasty shampoos, and I guess in my case I like the combination of coffee, orange oil, lime juice, and hemp. ^__^