Recently, it occurred to me that my dream job would be something like product developer at Lush. Happiness is properly exploring the contents of a busy Lush store, touching and sniffing and testing on the back of my hand whatever catches my eye. Coming away from my last visit, I was newly inspired by the sheer multitude of soaps, gels, jellies, bath bombs, lotions etc. they dream up of and create. What I like about Lush is that their products don't necessarily appeal to the lowest common denominator. They have interesting, different, creative and unexpected concoctions that are permitted to find their own audience. One of my favourite products from Lush are their intensely fragranced, richly foaming shower gels. I've tried many, though currently have five 250g bottles that I alternate to wash my body and hair (spoiler alert: they're all super sweet scents). They range in price from $16.50 to $19.95, presumably due to the differing costs of the raw materials.
Snow Fairy (limited edition)
If you want to capture the scent of a lolly assortment in a shower gel, look no further than Snow Fairy. It's unadulterated sugary goodness. Every time I use it, I feel like I'm bathing in lollies. And yet, despite it being a kid's carnival of pear drops, cotton candy and musk, it's never enters off-putting or offensively sweet territory. There's a playfulness and innocence to it that keeps it fun and irresistible.
Honey I Washed the Kids
This one is thicker in consistency than the other shower gels, almost like a caramel. True to its name, its prevailing scent (and number one ingredient) is honey, but it's malty and biscuity in a way, not a straight up honey that you'd get from the supermarket. It shares the same scent as the Honey I Washed the Kids soap and limited edition Gold Fun. It's made in a "lotus flower and tiger lily infusion" (whatever that is), plus has sweet wild orange and bergamot oils, adding flowers and citrus to the mix. But it's primarily honey and toffee. I find it too densely sweet at times, so best used occasionally, or when the mood strikes. I'm a bit over the scent after getting through two-thirds of the bottle, but I know once I revisit it after a long break, I'll be like, "Where has this been all my life?"
Rose Jam (limited edition)
I don't think I fully appreciated this when I first bought it, but I've been reaching for it regularly of late, and loving it. The scent, like its name suggests, is a super sweet jammy rose. There is a slight tartness to it as well, probably due to the inclusion of cypress leaf infusion and Sicilian lemon oil, but it's not discordant with the overall composition. It's the kind of sweetness that's so potent and enveloping it's almost too much, but there's a complexity and depth with its blend of fruity and floral notes. What I enjoy most about Rose Jam is that they've put in argan, rose and geranium oils to make it extra pampering and luxurious on the skin. It leaves the skin feeling nourished and moisturised, with a lingering scent even after you've left the shower.
Twilight (limited edition)
My favourite Lush shower gel, hands down. SO sad this is limited edition. I wish they'd make it permanent. It's not even one of those limited editions that they regularly bring out at a particular time of year, like Snow Fairy. I originally featured it in my March 2013 Favourites, then later deemed it to be one of few products actually worth having a backup for. I'm about halfway through my only remaining bottle and trying to ration it. What makes it so good? Simply put, the scent. It's an incensey, honeyed lavender with a herbaceous edge. It's warming, spicy, decadently sweet, but also highly aromatic in a way that calms the senses and prepares one for sleep.
I received this as a birthday gift earlier in the year, and after using it once, was put off by just how potent this stuff is. I'm pretty sure it gave me a massive headache. It shares the same fragrance as the Lust perfume by Lush, which unleashes an atomic cloud of jasmine. Flying Fox is no different. After using it as a shampoo, I could still smell it in my hair a day later. It is so strong (right at the edge of what's acceptable to the human nose, possibly over it) that it is borderline nauseating, but at the same time, that's what makes it special. It's one of those unapologetically dirty, "indolic" jasmines (cat pee is often used as a descriptor), big, brash and polarising. If you love it, there's nothing like it. If you don't, stay far away.