I’ve finishing up a long stretch of traveling and wanted to talk about a few products that have been tagging along through the whole trip. As much as I love Lush, I had been holding off from trying their solid shampoos and conditioners mostly just because the idea of using solid bars wasn’t particularly appealing. As we were getting ready to leave home, though, I realized they might be a wonderful solution to reducing liquids, spills, and extra weight while on the road and bought a pair of them to try out.
Lush sells metal tins to go with their solid hair products for a few dollars, available in round and square shapes to fit their products. Most of their solid shampoos and one of their two solid conditioners are sold in pre-shaped round cookies (I call them cookies at least, they’re kind of like small hockey pucks), and the others are cut off of big blocks to whatever size you desire. I picked up a round and rectangular tin to fit my two first purchases, Seanik shampoo and Big Solid conditioner.
I had actually previously been introduced to Lush’s solid shampoo through a free sample of Squeaky Green, (I wrote about it here) which helped me get accustomed to using the bar. I had known at the time that Squeaky Green wasn’t necessarily going to be the best fit for my hair, but it was what the sales associates had already started breaking into samples at the time.
When it came time to choose a shampoo to purchase, I relied on a sales associate’s advice. My hair doesn’t really have any special needs, it doesn’t normally get too oily or too dry, and I don’t have a sensitive scalp. My main interest is mostly keeping a little volume as my hair is sort of fine and gets weighed down sometimes. The sales associated identified Seanik for me, which is a bright blue bar intended to give body and shine.
Seanik ($11.95 for 1.9 oz.) is described as a “mineral-rich, sea salt volumizing shampoo bar”. It includes a couple different kinds of seaweed, sea salt, lemon oil, and mimosa and jasmine oils for fragrance. Both this bar and the Squeaky Green that I had previously tried lather really easily and a little really goes a long way. Despite looking like it’s made of ice cream sprinkles, the shampoo bar stays together really well and I find it easy to use. Seanik’s fragrance is pleasant but very gentle and I don’t ever notice it lingering in my hair. I think it pretty much does what it says it does and is a nice basic shampoo.
I think this shampoo really shines in terms of value. $12 is about what you’d pay for a decent shampoo at Whole Foods, but this bar has lasted me 4 1/2 months and there’s still a little (though not much) left. My boyfriend even used it occasionally, too. Like I had anticipated, it was really convenient to have this small tin with me while traveling. My only annoyance was while this bar was still full sized, it squeezed into the tin pretty tightly and if the bar hadn’t had a chance to completely dry out it might get stuck to the bottom and be tricky to remove. The more you use it, the less of a problem that is. A simple fix would be to just put it in one of the square tins just because it gives your fingers a little room to get down in there and pick it up. If you let it dry with the top off, though, it pops right out.
The conditioner I chose to accompany Seanik was the Big Solid conditioner, which is one that’s sold by volume and cut off from a big block in the store (listed online as $9.95 for 3.5 oz.). I had no idea how much I needed, so I bought a square tin and asked the associate to cut me a slice that fit inside of it, and however much seemed like a reasonable companion to the shampoo bar. I chose Big Solid over Jungle, their other solid conditioner, because the description emphasizes volumizing, beachy, and lightweight qualities. It has some coconut oil, seaweed, and lemon juice in it, and is very lightly scented with vanilla, jasmine, and tonka absolute. Rather than lathering this in my hands like I did with the shampoo, I liked to rub this conditioner bar directly into the lengths of my hair. It’s not quite as easy to use as the shampoo, but it’s fine.
For me, this ended up being kind of a fail. I think I’m a pretty good candidate for lightweight conditioners because my hair is fine and can look quite flat, but this is too lightweight for me. I had to use a ton of it to feel like I was using any conditioner at all, and it left my hair looking frizzy. The other thing is that I went through it MUCH faster than the shampoo (partially because I had to use so much of it during each shower) … I think it was gone within a month, so it felt like a pretty terrible value.
Once I finished Big Solid, I decided I’d dive in and try Lush’s one other solid conditioner called Jungle ($8.95 for 2 oz.). I had previously thought it might be too heavy for my hair, but after my experience with Big Solid I was a bit more optimistic. Jungle contains a bunch of fresh fruits as well as cocoa butter, and has a much stronger fragrance that actually sticks around in my hair. Lush says it smells fruity, but I really feel like this smells pretty much like the Lush store – sort of fruity and sweet, sort of musky and earthy. I really, really love the scent, but that’s a personal thing.
Jungle works much better for my hair, it really isn’t heavy at all despite cocoa butter appearing first on the ingredients list. I enjoyed this conditioner a ton, and I also thought the thicker puck shape was easier to grasp and run through the lengths of my hair in the shower than the thinner slice of Big Solid. I still have an issue with the value aspect, though. It lasted me longer than Big Solid, but not by a whole lot. I think it lasted me 2 months. I would totally buy it again, but probably not in a continuous manner. It’s still super convenient for travel and a really great product.
In general, I liked using the solid hair care products from Lush, especially while on the go. If you can find a good match for your hair, I think they’re a great solution for a lot of concerns: there’s no packaging waste, no liquids and spill potential, they’re lightweight in a travel bag, there are no silicones which can weigh down hair, the ingredients lists are simple and full of good things, there are no preservatives, and they’re cruelty-free. The shampoo bar in particular is an excellent value because it lasts so long, but the conditioners have much shorter lifespans. I do tend to prefer shampoos that are sulfate-free, but I recognize that the SLS that’s included in the shampoo really allows a little to go a very long way.
You can buy the shampoo and conditioner bars online or in Lush stores. Have you tried them? I’d love to hear what you’re experience was like!