Makeup and Beauty

I may have tasted my skincare products.

Just FYI: This post is going to be extremely long, as I’ve taken a bunch of pictures and I wanted to include how to use the products as well as review them.

A long time ago, I was turned on to the whole natural skincare products by Burt’s Bees, starting with the Citrus Facial Scrub. I really loved it because it exfoliated my skin without drying it out, unlike every other product I’d used.

Unfortunately, while it did make my skin very smooth (and smelled like something you could eat), it didn’t really help much. Because, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was allergic to sugar, which is one of the main exfoliant ingredients in the scrub. I also tried their other exfoliating scrub, before I knew my allergies… loved the smell, loved the scrubby properties… and then realized that I was, in fact, allergic to sugar, and both scrubs-while very nice- have sugar in them.

In fact, all three exfoliants that Burt’s Bees sells- Citrus Facial Scrub, Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub, and the Natural Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub (which, by the way, isn’t really very scrub-like at all) all have sugar in them. Which means I’m unable to use any kind of exfoliator from Burt’s Bees, and that makes me very sad.


So a friend of mine, who is a vegetarian and very into natural skincare, randomly asked if I wanted something from Lush for Christmas.

At the time, I had no idea what Lush was, excepting what I ascertained from her text, which was that they sold bubbly bath thingies. (Yes. Actual term.) After quickly looking them up, I found that they were a skincare/cosmetic company that handmade 100% natural products, and they had several scrubs, none of which had sugar as an ingredient.

And after browsing for a very long time through all of the products, I told my friend that I have been needing an exfoliant that doesn’t have sugar in it, since I’d been using a washcloth to scrub my face… and I don’t really think that’s very good for the skin.

So she got me Ocean Salt, and thus my slight obsession with Lush began.

Now, before I get carried away and start to gush about the products I bought on Monday, I want to give you some advice about Lush.

Firstly, don’t ever buy a product based on what a friend has and loves. Don’t read through this and automatically buy the stuff that I have, because chances are my skin is very different from yours, and the products I have may  not work for you.

Secondly, if it’s at all possible, go to the store  first before you order online. There are two reasons I very strongly recommend going to the store to buy your first Lush products.

  • One, you’ll be able to tell the employees what your skin is like, and they’ll know best which products you should use. You can order online based on the description of the products, but… going and seeing it firsthand is better. Plus, if you’re not sure about a product, you can acquire a sample and use it for a while to see whether you really want it.
  • Two… since they’re all natural and don’t use artificial fragrances to overcome anything that smells strange, some of the products smell kind of funky. So you’ll want to scent-test the stuff before you buy it. Example: my vegan friend’s cleanser, Herbalism, smells like soy sauce.

Thirdly, if you go to the store, don’t get overwhelmed. There’s a lot of product around, a lot of smells going on, but there are testers for everything, and the employees are there to help you. They’re not paid commission, which means they’re not going to try to sell you the most expensive stuff to get their commission for that day. They are there to help you figure out what’s best for you, and they’ve got a wealth of information about their products. Ask for help.

And ask about the history behind the product. There are some cool stories about how they were made- like the $80 moisturizer that was custom-designed for Princess Diana (which is why it’s so spendy), or their most popular cleanser (which I have and will gush about in a minute) that is actually a medieval recipe they found in a book.

And lastly, don’t get too intimidated by the prices. Not all of the products are expensive, but some of the moisturizers can be up there. You can always ask for a sample to try and make up your mind from there. But even if you’re paying $30 for a moisturizer, it’s going to last you four to six months, and I think that it’s worth the money. A little bit goes a long way.

Besides that, the salesperson recommended several items to me, all of which were reasonably priced. So there should be an option for any price range.

On to my personal little product reviews.

My skin is: always flaky and never oily… probably on the dry side. But I do get breakouts on my cheeks and chin.

First up, Angels On Bare Skin.

  • What it is: a sort of solid facial cleanser with a gentle exfoliant (ground almonds), for everyday use.
  • It smells like: almonds and lavender
  • Price: online, $10.95 for 3.5 oz. In-store, depends on how much you want.
  • It is listed for: all skin types.
  • It makes my skin feel: clean, soft, not overprocessed or stripped, and I didn’t feel like I needed a ton (or any) moisturizer afterwards.
  • Product Overview: it’s very milky and very gentle, and at first I thought that it left behind a slight film, but I realized that I just hadn’t rinsed well enough. I really like the way it feels, and that a little bit goes a long way, and that instead of selling me a ton of it, the salesperson cut me off a smaller $6 piece so that I could test whether it was good for me or not, and the piece I have will actually probably take me about a month to use up.
  • Fun Fact: Angels on Bare Skin isn’t new. Lush found it in an old book, and the recipe dates back to medieval times.

How To Use:

(and either rinse, or do as I did and exfoliate with your main exfoliant and THEN rinse.)

Product Number Two: Ocean Salt

  • What it is: a thorough exfoliant for those days when your skin needs  a good scrub.
  • It smells like: grapefruit, lime, salt, and- just barely- vodka.
  • Price: $34.95 for 8.8 oz. But for me, free. Because it was a gift.
  • It is listed for: … a glowing complexion? ideal for exterminating blackheads and pimples, smoothing off the bumps, and removing dead skin cells.
  • It makes my skin feel: kinda tingly at first, well-scrubbed, smooth, clean.
  • Product overview: the first thing I really loved about Ocean Salt was the color. When you first open it, there’s a bunch of blue salt on top that you have to mix in, and then it’s that lovely blue-green hue that is really, really appealing to me. I wouldn’t recommend this for sensitive skin, because it is a rougher exfoliant and they do use vodka to extract all the good stuff from the limes. Also, if you’re too heavy handed with it, you might end up with really irritated skin. So be gentle, and don’t use it every day.
  • Fun fact: I tasted it. It’s very salty and limey, and it has the aftertaste of dish soap. (I know, I’m weird.)

How To Use:

(and rinse.)

Product Number Three: Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask

  • What it is: a mask. For your face. Don’t try to rob any stores with it, though, cuz it’ll eventually flake off.
  • It smells like: blueberries, roses, and something else that I can’t identify. We’ll just call it yummy.
  • Price: $5.95 for a 2.1oz tub. Only available in stores as it must be kept refrigerated.
  • It is for: blemished skin that needs evening out.
  • It makes my skin feel: smooth and clean.
  • Product overview: Catastrophe Cosmetic is really, really soothing. Since it’s a fresh mask without preservatives and has to be refrigerated, it’s going to be cold and nice if you’ve got irritated skin. The sad thing about it is that you have to use it up within three weeks of buying it, but it’s recommended that you use it 2-3 times a week. And I’m not lying when I say that the face mask makes the pores on my cheeks disappear completely.
  • Fun fact: I tasted this one, too. It’s sweet.

How to use:

1. Since it’s all fresh, it will have separated in the tub. Don’t freak out if you open it up and find that there’s a ton of liquid. Stir it up, and you’re good to go.

Product Number Four: Skin Drink

  • What it is: a very creamy, soft, smooth… brown… moisturizer.
  • It smells like: roses, for the most part, but the sesame oil gives it an undertone of bitterness. It’s all very subtly scented, though.
  • Price: $19.95 for 1.5 oz. That will last me four to six months.
  • It is listed for: dry skin.
  • It makes my skin feel: so very soft.
  • Product overview: before, I was using Burt’s Bee’s Radiance Day Creme, which was nice and moisturizing(and smells amazing!) but took forEVER to soak in… and I have really weird skin that loves to flake as soon as I start putting on foundation, and the Day Creme didn’t do anything to rectify that. Skin Drink, however, sinks in really nicely AND takes care of the whole flakiness problem. The first day of using and putting makeup on over the top, I had no flakiness and my foundation went on smoother than it ever has.
  • Fun fact: It’s got a ton of moisturizing stuff for dry skin- avocados, almond oil, sesame oil, aloe vera, and cocoa butter, as well as lots of rose goodness for a nice smelling product.

How To Use:

Products number five and six: Big Shampoo and American Cream Conditioner

I’m reviewing these together, as they were free samples given to me by Lush for shopping.

  • What they are: ehrm.. shampoo and conditioner. 😉
  • They smell like: Well… the shampoo (top) smells like fish and old lady perfume (to me). Not particularly horrible, but kind of weird. The conditioner, on the other hand, smells AMAZING! It’s very soft, feminine, vanilla-honey… beautiful. I love it.
  • Prices: Shampoo, $22.95 for 11.6oz; Conditioner,  $28.95 for 16.9oz.
  • Listed for: N/A. But the shampoo is probably better for straight hair or hair that needs volume. The conditioner… I’d say straight hair that is pretty healthy, as it’s a light conditioner and people with curly or unmaneageable locks might find it not moisturizing enough.
  • It made my hair feel: Really smooth and easy to work with. Also, it made it very shiny, and added some volume to the roots.
  • Product overview: I would definitely use both products, even though the shampoo has the faint odor of fish- that doesn’t stick around. Online reviews do warn against using the shampoo all the time, since it’s got sea-salt in it and that can damage the hair if you use it too much. The conditioner, I love. I may have to give in, save up, and buy some. Mostly for the scent, because it both smells amazing and sticks in my hair. I’m always disappointed with great-smelling shampoos or conditioners don’t actually leave any scents in my hair. And although it felt really thin and watery in the bath- I’m used to thick conditioners that leave my wet hair feeling very slick, and this one isn’t thick or slickery- it left my hair SO soft and smooth and detangled.
  • Fun fact: The shampoo is vegan. It doesn’t eat cows.

Product Number Seven: Ultra Bland

I forgot to take a picture.

  • What it is: creamy cleanser to take makeup off of sensitive or dry skin.
  • It smells like: honey and almonds. (I don’t particularly like this smell. Not sure why.)
  • Price: $29.95 for 3.5oz. I only have a sample, as I wasn’t sure whether it would be a little too thick for my skin, and I haven’t yet found out whether I’m allergic to honey or not. But the small sample I have will probably last me a long time.
  • It is listed for: sensitive skin
  • It makes my skin feel: kinda greasy.
  • Product overview: I would definitely only use this for eye makeup. It’s very thick and very moisture-filled. Good for sensitive or extra dry skin, but you do have to take care and get it all off or you’ll be left with a slightly oily film on your skin. It does take off eye makeup really, really well, and I would probably buy it for that alone. If I had the money.

How To Use:

  • Rub a small amount over your skin.
  • Spritz or splash some water onto it- it’ll act like a water repellent due to the almond oil… but don’t worry, the oils in it aren’t going to clog up your pores.
  • Wipe off with a cotton ball or a warm, damp rag.

Product Number Eight: Big Tease

  • What it is: styling gel for catching those flyaway strands, holding a curl, or… whatever else you use hair gel for.
  • It smells like: musky, awesome, and a little weird. I don’t really know what the smell is.
  • Price: $16.95 for 3.5oz
  • It is listed for: any hair type
  • It made my hair feel: not crunchy!
  • Product Overview: this was included in my little free sample kit along with the shampoo and conditioner. It’s quite nice- I just used it to smooth my bangs back into my ponytail, and it’s doing its job very well. No flyaways, and it’s not all crunchy like normal hair gel would be. Plus, you don’ thave to use a lot. Although I do wish that it would keep the wave my hair only has when it’s wet:

  • But nothing has ever been able to keep my hair wavy. Darn straight hair.

How To Use:

  • … like any other hair gel. Only use less of it.

Well, that’s it! I would be reviewing two other products- a bubble bar and a soap- but I forgot and left them with my friend in Seattle. Hopefully I’ve convinced you to give Lush a try, even if all you do is buy a bath bomb or something fun and not as scary as skincare. If the results of my skincare products continue to be this good, I’ll definitely be doing a before and after skin post.

And I’ll try not to eat it all in the meantime.



  • Bethly

    Oooo, you’re a great spokesperson for Lush. I now wish to try some skin care products. 🙂 My skin gets really oily and breaks out sporadically (although to be honest, I’m sure it’s not as sporadic as I make it seem–probably diet and lack of exercise has a lot to do with it) and although I was using Proactive for a while, it’s kind of… boring to use. 😛 I know, I’m weird like that, but I want special, earthy smelling things. I was even using a sugar and honey based homemade recipe for lip care that worked amazingly well for my chapped lips, but I couldn’t take it with me because a fresh batch had to be made every time. And really, how well can you carry a jar of honey in your purse? I mean… I guess you could… but whoa… I’m sooo rambling right now.

    Anyway, I found this post hugely fascinating and exciting. I love skin care products! I love, love the how to use pictures. 🙂 Is Lush its own store that I should look for in my area, or might they have a section in the mall or another skin care place? I’ll look it up!

    • Mara

      Why, thank you. 😀 Maybe I should go work there. It would probably actually be really fun, except for the hour long commute.

      There are a bunch of stores… you live in California, right? You’re lucky, so many stores there(there are only two in Washingon. 🙁 ) You can either browse the store locations for your state, or type in your city and it’ll show you the nearest Lush. I would definitely go into the store for the first-time buying skincare. Just to be sure of what you’re getting and how it smells.

      And yeah, your breakouts could also be results of bad diet or even sleep habits if they’re not good. I know that mine partially were bad diet, and partially because I used to fall asleep with my makeup on. All the time. But now that I have really fun, good-smelling, tasty (haha!) products to use, I actually WANT to wash my face daily.

      Hehe, your rambling made me laugh.

      • Bethly

        And if you did, you could put on your resume that you have personally been responsible for my interest in the products. 😉

        Ooo, there’s one about 15 minutes from me! Like… 2 minutes away from where my best friend lives. Excellent! My next free afternoon I shall take me there! Thank you for the links. I was looking all over the site and it got a touch confusing. I also love seeking advice from the people that know what they’re talking about. So yes, in-store first time buying. 🙂 Huzzah!

        I was doing so much better at not sleeping in my makeup… and then work started having me close. When I get home I’m so beat, I can barely take my jacket off sometimes. I just collapse on my bed and pass out. 😛 If I have pretty smelling things to distract me in the bathroom on the way, I’ll probably get better at face washing and such.

        • Mara

          Haha! I’m sure that would totally convince them to let me work there. 😀

          Yeah, it took a me a lot of looking the first time to figure out where to find a real-life store. Tell me how it goes!

          I know how you feel! But I’ve gotten so addicted to the way my natural skincare products make my skin feel so much better- and I feel guilty for not washing my face now- that even if I’m dead tired I still have to wash my face. I think it’s finally just a habit.

  • Sarah

    Oh, the more I learn about you the more I’m amazed at exactly how alike we are! My skin dries out too, and gets that flaky thing going after I put on foundation, and I tend to break out on my chin and cheeks mostly. As wonderful as Lush sounds, I doubt I’ll be investing in any soon because when it comes to skin care I’m not one to have or want to spend time on it. Although, the way you talk about it cleaning your pores, and making everything smooth and soft, sounds sooo wonderful. Maybe I’d get some samples and try it out to see if the result was convincing enough to get me to actually find the time to use it.

    • Mara

      That is so funny! We must be twins. 😀

      Seriously, until I found Burt’s Bees and Lush, I’d never really cared about skincare either- I hated the way the cleansers I was using really dried out my skin after washing and made it feel like I needed moisturizer or I’d crack, and I hated the moisturizers that either never seemed like enough, or stayed on my face like greasy yuck. It just wasn’t fun to use, didn’t improve anything, and wasn’t worth the time and effort to do.

      But natural products made a skincare lover out of me. The packaging is more appealing, the smells are more appealing, and the way they work with my skin is definitely a plus. It’s just somehow way more fun to use them. So y’know. Maybe when you move back we can figure out a day to go up to Lush in Seattle and wander, maybe just plan a day outing (in which we can also bring Oliver) to hang out and see if we can get samples for you to try and stuff.

    • Mara

      Everything in that store does smell overwhelmingly. I think because they don’t have a lot of packaging, so it’s all just… released. I kinda like it, though.

  • Cassie

    Oh wow! My fourth successful convert! I’m so proud *wipes tear away and starts applauding* Now I just need to work on Malena…

  • Margaret

    Wow, our skin sounds exactly the same! I sleep with really thick lotions every night and my skin looks so soft and then I look closer when I’m putting on foundation and it’s all flaky, especially on my forehead! I might just try some of these if they worked so well on your skin!

    • Mara

      I hate flaky skin. Sigh. And you know, I’ve noticed that a lot of products will work fabulously for a while, but then my skin gets tired of them and decides to spazz out again. So yes, they work really well, but my skin no longer likes them due to pickiness. And the Ocean Salt definitely increases the flakiness if you use it more than once a week.

  • Margaret

    Oh, yeah my skin does that. Or it just gets some crazy rash just because it feels like it. Sensitive skin is so much fun! 😉