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To Buy For

To Buy For: How I fell for a solid cleansing balm

November 1st 2018 / Esther Walker / 0 comment

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Is it time we all switched to solid cleansing balms (don’t call them soap), facial oils and even primers? In search of the plastic-free bathroom and to mark World Vegan Day, Esther Walker gives some love to Lush’s newest launches

I don’t actually like wearing makeup that much. It used to be fun, of course, when I was messing about with it in my teens.

But now, aged 38, with two small children and a white wine habit and the occasional bout of stubborn acne and “bad face” days, makeup is no longer 100 per cent fun 100 per cent of the time. It’s war.

In fact, sometimes I think that what I most enjoy these days is taking my makeup off at night. My cleansing routine used to consist of wiping old mascara away from under my eyes the next morning but now it’s practically a sacred pre-bed ritual.

And as I get older I care more about everything, including the tides of plastic in the ocean, and chemicals and waste. Enter left, Lush. Forgive me, but I have written Lush off recently as rather a clip-joint flogging elaborate bath bombs to teens that turn the entire bathroom blue. But in fact, Lush are doing – and have been doing – important work to advance the cause of the Plastic-Free Bathroom for years with their shampoo bars and soaps without me noticing.

Anyway, look, here I am. Apologies. Better late than never?

Lush’s new solid vegan cleansing balms are a delight. I love a cleansing balm anyway – it feels as close to nature as you can possibly get. Oil! Nature’s cleanser! Rubbed and warmed between the palms these balms slide on across the face, smelling deliciously and lightly of their natural goodness.

Gritty Politti looks like squished dragon fruit and smells like coconut – it’s made of coconut oil and kokum butter blended through with crushed coconut shells to act as a natural exfoliant. Sleepy Face is a pale pink little cake of balm that comes imprinted with the most gorgeous little sleeping face on it. Like a Virgin is a vegan cleansing bar based on the simplicity principles of a cold cream.

You can find any number of concoctions suited to the precise needs of your demanding little visage, such as Tea Totaller made with castor oil and natural antibacterials including tea tree for sensitive skin and the Jade Roller Cleanser which has an inbuilt toner or chamomile vinegar and rose water to tighten pores and soothe flushed skin.

I personally like to take Sleepy Face – and with it, the day’s dirt and slap – off with a face flannel dipped in tap water as hot as I can stand it. For extra punishment, I like to re-dip the flannel in the steaming water and press it to my skin to... I don’t know, do something to my pores.

More in hope than confidence, but isn’t that life generally?

More often than not after using one of these balms I find I can skip a moisturiser completely as while the oil leaves no residue there is no surface-stripping of the skin that needs replenishing. I mean obviously, I need my vitamin C serum, overnight spot treatment and two kinds of eye cream but, look, I’m only human.

The cleansers are part of a range of 10 new vegan zero-water solid skincare products that are completely unpackaged; as well as five cleansers (all £4.95), there are three solid facial oils (£9.95) an eye mask (£1.50) and a primer (£9.95).

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I tried the Amazon Primer (see what they did there?) a daily moisturiser and makeup primer. I was sceptical that such an oil-based product would work for this but in fact, if you use just a few rubs of the bar and pat lightly over the face, it absorbs quickly and does indeed do what it says, probably thanks to the arrowroot powder which helps to mattify.

If you’re after a plastic-free bathroom get straight to Lush. Around 40 per cent of their products are ‘naked’ i.e. packaging-free – famously their solid shampoo bars (38 million sales and counting) We may still yet go to hell in a handcart, (made of plastic), but if we do, we may at least have clean faces and smell nice.

On 1 November 2018, World Vegan Day, Lush launches makeup in its Oxford Street Store with Glow Sticks vegan colour cosmetics and Slap Sticks vegan solid foundations in 40 shades - look out for more new makeup launches to come.

Find Esther at her blog onthespike.com

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