Sunday, July 21, 2013

Birthday Haul! The Body Shop and LUSH Beach Box Review

Hello! Today's post is going to be all about the shopping I did on my birthday! My birthday came a little bit ago and luckily, it fell on a Sunday this year! My husband was able to get the day off, so we do what we always do when we want to celebrate: we went to our big Mall (yes, it is big enough to warrant being capitalized. I'm pretty sure you all know what Mall I'm talking about, but I like to pretend I am mysterious...)! We went shopping (well, I went shopping), had a really tasty dinner and dessert, then went and saw Pacific Rim in 3D and D-Box! If you don't know what D-Box is (I'm not actually sure if it's even offered at a lot of places, I only know they have it at the theater in the Mall), it's where you get special seats that move and vibrate along with the movie. It's kind of like a mini ride where you don't really go anywhere. You can choose how much movement and vibration you want and my husband and I always put it at max settings. For max awesomeness.

Without any spoilers, I'd say Pacific Rim was an okay to good movie. Honestly, the best parts where when the giant robots fought the monsters. It tried way, way too hard to have a deep plot when, really, it didn't need it. I just wanted to see giant robots fight monsters. That's all I am expecting and that's all it needs to deliver. It also felt like every single character was trying to "out quirk" the rest. EVERYONE had weird habits/ways of dressing/pasts/etc. except for the main character. He was so completely normal that he actually stood out. If you're into big robots and monsters, I would definitely say you should see it, at least in 3D if there are no D-Box theaters near you. It has really slick graphics and is a very visually complex and interesting film. Also the giant robots fighting the monsters was pretty rad. Did I mention that already?
Since my and my husband's birthdays are so close together (I am two whole days older than he is), we decided that he would buy me dinner at one of my favorite restaurants as my present and that I would buy the tickets to Pacific Rim as his present (actually, if you were to ask him if this was the case, he'd probably deny it and say we didn't get each other anything, but it all works out the same in the end). Before the movie we ate at a Japanese restaurant called Masu. It has another location as well that has an extended menu (which has kitsune udon on it...the one in the Mall doesn't sadly). For dessert, we went to Cupcake (which also has another location, but I'm pretty sure they have the same menu. One thing that bugs me about Cupcake is that they rotate out which cupcakes they offer so sometimes they don't have your favorite available) where my husband got a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and I got a strawberry and balsamic shortcake macaron (which was super tasty).

But before all the eating and movie watching, I bought things! I really wanted to go to the Mall for two specific reasons: to go to the Body Shop and get my mom a birthday present (her birthday is a few days before mine; also, I hope she doesn't read this because I still have to give her her present...) and pick up a face lotion and to go to LUSH and get a Beach Box. I accomplished both my missions and got a little extra on the side! I figured you guys wouldn't be interested in my random other stuff (really it's just a magazine and some basic clothes), so I'm just going to focus on my Body Shop stuff and my Beach Box. If you want to watch a video instead, just check out my video on Youtube: http://youtu.be/c4BzGKlsYUg

I'll start with the Body Shop!  This was actually only my second time going into the Body Shop's store; the first was when I got a little tub of Cocoa Butter Body Butter and coconut lip gloss. I was interested in trying some of Body Shops products because I thought they were a more "natural" brand, but I'm not sure if that's really true. At least, they're not "natural" in the way LUSH is, or even something like "Burt's Bees". They use some natural ingredients, but I think their focus is more on "ethics" instead of "natural", if that makes sense. From what I've tried, I do like their products, so I wanted to try another one. One of the things my mom asked for for her birthday was some cocoa butter lotion. She said she had some from the dollar store that she really like and that she wanted some more. My mom deserves better than lotion from the dollar store, and since I liked the quality of my little Body Shop cocoa butter body butter, I figured that would be a great birthday present! Initially, I went to Ulta to pick it up since Ulta is easier for me to get to than the Mall, and they were even having a sale on Body Shop products, but they were completely sold out of the cocoa butter! Figures. However, it was at Ulta that I discovered the other product I really want to try from Body Shop: their Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion.

I've been trying to re-vamp my skincare routine; it doesn't seem to be working for me anymore. I'm not sure if it's the weather, or if my skin is changing, or what, but my current regimen just isn't cutting it anymore. I broke out really badly recently and have been trying to do damage control, which only seemed to make it worse. I was initially intrigued by Body Shop's Tea Tree line, but since I had never seen it before, I wasn't sure what reviews on it were like. It was also $18.50 and while that isn't really all the expensive, especially for a skin care product (compared to what I normally use), I didn't want to invest in something that wasn't going to work. I know I can always take things back, but I hate the extra hassle and would rather make sure I'm going to like it (at least as much as possible) before I buy it. When I got home and checked the reviews for the Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion, I was even more interested in purchasing it; on Body Shop's website it has 4.7 out of 5 stars and 94% of people would recommend it. The biggest complaint about it was that some people didn't like the smell of the Tea Tree oil (I actually like how it smells; it reminds me of this farmers market my grandparents would take me to when I was little. You know...this is the second skincare product whose scent reminds me of my grandparents. Weird). I knew I had to at least try it.
Just so this isn't a gigantic wall of text, here's a picture of it! I've been using it since I got, and so far, I like it. It definitely help fade the blemishes I already had, but it doesn't seem to stop new blemishes since I feel another pimple coming on (gross, I know.). It hasn't made things any worse at least, and I feel that's a step in the right direction. I can see how people could be put off by the smell, but as I said, I like it, especially since it's associated with fond memories. It doesn't burn or overly dry out my skin and when I wake up my skin feels soft and smooth, so so far, I'm really liking this product!

Now, I feel like the Body Shop is one of those places where you shouldn't ever buy anything at full price since there is always a sale (and if there isn't, there will be one soon!). I did pay full price for my Tea Tree lotion, but that was because I am an incredibly impatient person and my acne was getting pretty bad so I was feeling desperate. I was only going to get one tub of body butter (the one for my mom), but they were having a buy one get one half off deal, so picked up one for myself.
...yeah, I got cocoa butter, too. I probably should have gotten a different one, especially since I don't need as much hydration in the summer and the cocoa butter is technically for very dry skin, but I just really, really love how this stuff smells. A lot of people describe it as "chocolatey", but I don't. When someone says something smells "chocolatey" or "like chocolate", I always think of like...how cheap chocolate smells. Sugary, kind of bitter and dull, more sugar...and I always imagine this sickly brown color. "Chocolate" does not have a pleasant association smell-wise for me. This does not smell like "chocolate" to me. There is a slight tinge of cocoa, yes, but it's so much more. It's buttery and milky; it smells like it would incredibly thick and creamy if you ate it (...it would probably make you sick if you ate it so I wouldn't recommend it...). There is a sweetness to it, but it's tempered by the clean, thick milkiness of it (honestly, I want to describe it as "fatty smelling", but that doesn't sound like it would smell good). If there is a food that smells like this, I want to eat it. Actually, it smells a lot like a SUPER weak cup of hot cocoa made with a ton of whole milk. I love this stuff and I really hope my mom does, too! (And I really, really hope she's not reading this. She loves surprises as much as I do!)

I picked up one more random item from the Body Shop.
A Body Polisher! This is really similar in design and usage as my Korean scrub towel and mitt from Julep. I've been trying to exfoliate more, and I find exfoliators like these to be easier to use consistently  than say, a salt or sugar scrub. The way my shower is set up, I think I get a better, more thorough exfoliation using something like this since it doesn't wash away before I can finish. I also want to pick up a pair of exfoliating gloves and give those a try as well. I have my eye on a pair of EcoTools gloves, but I'm not sure if they're going to be exfoliating enough.

So that's what I got from The Body Shop! I would have liked to have looked around a bit more, but we were kind of in a hurry since we only had a couple hours to shop and eat before the movie. I much prefer to buy body products like this in person than online, so I'm really happy that my Mall has a physical Body Shop store.

Next up is what I got from LUSH: their Beach Box!
Here's the front...
and the back!

I was exploring LUSH's website a day or so before our big birthday excursion because I was interested in picking up one if their solid shampoos. I've never used a solid shampoo before and thought it might be nice to try one and help the environment out a little. Solid shampoos are great because they don't need any packaging, like bar soap! I actually only use bar soap, but that's more because I find it easier to use than any real environmental reasons. But I can pretend! But seriously, plastic bottles for things like shampoo and body wash can really gunk up the environment since a lot of the time they aren't recyclable and there's nothing people can really do with them besides bury them in a landfill or make a garbage island out of them (which is pretty gross...I think it's about the size of Texas now if I'm not mistaken...). Also...I just like the novelty of a solid shampoo.

While I browsing, one of the promos caught my eye (it's right smack dab in the middle of the first page, so I didn't have to look for every long); it was for the Beach Box! And lo and behold, it had a solid shampoo bar in it along with four other LUSH products! Since I a complete sucker for little kits like these, I knew I had to have it; and five LUSH products for $30 sounded like a great deal. Granted, these aren't full sized products, but you definitely get enough to give them each a good try and the value of the box is just a little more than what you pay for, so you do get your money's worth.
 This the box freshly opened! The cute little packing peanuts are the environmentally good kind that disintegrate when they get wet (at least that's what they feel like to me; I don't actually know for sure). Everything is tucked in the box nice and safe. I like how they put the soap in a baggie since it can get a little sticky if it gets too warm, being natural soap and all. The only product that was not in any packaging was the solid shampoo, but that's kind of the point of solid shampoo - that it doesn't need any packaging. The only thing that was not included in the box but that was added in afterwards was the popsicle stick for my Ocean Salt scrub. Not sure why couldn't just throw it in there from the beginning, but it doesn't really matter.

In the box there are five products: a 3.3oz Sea Vegetable Soap, a 2.4oz tub of Ocean Salt, a 1.6 fl.oz Sea Spray Hair Mist, a 0.5oz Seanik solid shampoo (I know it doesn't sound like much, but you really don't need to use a lot of it so it seems like it will last a good lone while), and a teeny little 0.5oz container of Dream Cream. Everything in the box has sea salt/seaweed/sea water or a combination of the three in it except for the Dream Cream, which I think they threw in mostly because it's their best selling product ever. I've used all these products, except for the Ocean Salt, so I'll go over each one individually, starting with...

The Sea Vegetable Soap!
This was super close to being a "full size". I say "full sized" because if you go into a LUSH store, you can pretty much ask for however big of a bar you want since you're charged for it by the pound. Online however, you can't really ask for what size you want to they just sell them in 3.5oz bars. At a "full size" price of $7.95 for 3.5oz, this 3.3oz bar is worth $7.50. This soap has skin softening seaweed and a sea salt crust for scrubbing (my bar didn't have a lot of sea salt, but that's okay since I didn't really need this for scrubbing). It has a lime, lavender, and seaweed scent. I've smelt this in the store before, but I didn't like it. I think it may have been because all the other smells kind of warped it because now that I can smell it all by itself, I really like it. It's a pretty unique smell; the lime is really bright and almost sharp, but you also get the calming lavender. I think it works really well together. I really like this soap and I think it makes my skin feel clean and soft without leaving any weird residue. I would totally buy this again.

Next up is the one I haven't tried yet, the Ocean Salt.
It has some gunk on the top since the solid shampoo was resting on it. They also gave me a popsicle stick to help me stir it up before I used it. It says you can use this on your face and body, but I'm not sure if my face would really like that. I have pretty sensitive skin and this seems a little too coarse for that, but I am excited to try it on the rest of me! It has fine and coarse sea salt for exfoliation, avocado and coconut oils to hydrate, and lime and vodka for antibacterial properties. Out of all the products, this one has the sharpest lime smell; you can definitely tell that there's citrus in there. I think the vodka also contributes to the "bite" of the scent. It smells super fresh and clean; like it would be really invigorating to use. I look forward to trying it out! The full size of 4.2oz sells for $21.95, making this 2.4oz tub worth $12.50.

Next is the Sea Spray Hair Mist.
This is my...second? sea salt based hair mist (the other being my Aquaholic Sea Salt Hair Spritz from Fortune Cookie Soap) and my third texturizing hair mist this year. This mist is a little different, though, since the directions say to spray on finished hair to help hold it in place and to give it shine, instead of just giving it a beachy texture. I've used this on my wet hair the same way I've used my two other mists, and it gives similar results, so I'm sure it works fine if you want to use it that way as well. This mist has sea salt, sea water, and seaweed in it and is scented with orange flower, grapefruit, neroli, and rosewood; if you've smelled a LUSH product before, you'll have an idea of what this one smells like. I've noticed a lot of LUSH products have the same "notes" in their fragrances, which makes sense as it gives a cohesiveness to the brand, but can be kind of a bad thing if, you know, you don't actually like the smell. I'm really torn about this one; on the one hand, I like the smell. It smells like LUSH and it smells clean and luxurious, but on the other hand the smell sticks around for a really long time and, eventually, I get a little overwhelmed by it, especially if I'm wearing other products from LUSH at the same time. As for how well it works, I find it very comparable to my Alterna Ba,boo Style Boho Waves spray. A full sized bottle is 3.3 fl oz sales for $12.95, making this 1.6 fl oz bottle worth $6.30.

Next we have one of the main reasons why I wanted to get the Beach Box, the Seanik Solid Shampoo!
I didn't want to put it on my carpet, so I left it on top of the Ocean Salt tub. I really love the color of this little...bar? tab? It's such a beautiful blue, it really reminds me of the sea. You can also see the little bits of seaweed peppered throughout it. This is the first solid shampoo I've ever used and I am hooked! It's really easy to use (I was a little concerned it would be hard to get it to lather up since I've heard about people running into the problem with solid shampoos) and makes my hair feel super clean but not totally stripped. You basically just get your hair wet, get the bar wet, then rub it on your hair (going from the crown down and in the direction your hair grows) a few times and you're good to go! I keep it just around my hair part when I'm applying it, then I work it through a little more before rinsing it out. LUSH says this little guy is supposed to soften your hair and add volume and that it has Irish moss seaweed and nori seaweed to help soften, lemon oil to help add shine, and is scented with mimosa and jasmine oil. I absolutely love the smell of this solid shampoo! I love the scent of jasmine and the mimosa adds this light touch of fruity sweetness, cutting down the floral-ness of the jasmine in just the right way. I would buy this again just to smell it (it's currently sitting on my desk while I write this review and it just makes the room smell wonderful. LUSH, if you're reading this, please please please make a candle with this scent)! A full size bar (tab? seriously, what do you call this? Bars can't be circles, can they?) is 1.9oz and sells for $11.95. This is a 0.5oz tab (but it doesn't feel small at all; you only need a little bit at a time), making it worth $3.15. Based on my experiences with this solid shampoo, I would love to try LUSH's other varieties! The only real downside is that you can't keep these in the shower if you want them to last, which is tricky for me because I lack a good place to keep it safe in my bathroom.

Finally, the last item in the Beach Box, this little container of Dream Cream body lotion.
If you know anything about LUSH, you probably know all about their Dream Cream lotion. It's their most popular item. Ever. It's an incredibly soothing oat milk, lavender, and chamomile lotion that's perfect for irritated skin. Oat milk is one of the most soothing things you can put on your skin ever (seriously, remember when you had chickenpox really bad and you were all itchy and your mom made you an oatmeal bath and it was the greatest thing ever? No? Maybe that was just me...), and with the addition of lavender, chamomile, olive oil and cocoa butter, it's no wonder people love this stuff so much! It has that very identifiable "LUSH smell", though you mostly get the lavender with just a hint of milkiness. It's surprisingly thin for how hydrating it is, which is nice because it absorbs quickly and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy or filmy.  I think they just threw this guy in here (it doesn't really go with the theme, being devoid of any ingredients from the sea, though LUSH does make the point that it is nice to put on your skin if it gets irritated by the sun and sand), but it's such a nice little sample/trial size that I'm not complaining (well, I guess I did a little bit...). A full size tub of this lotion is 8.4oz and sells for $26.95, making this little 0.5oz sample worth only $1.60.

Overall, this is a really great kit! I love being able to try new things without having to invest in full sizes and I really hope LUSH releases more like this. The Beach Box costs $30 (both in store and online) and the items inside are worth about $31.05. You're not really getting any discount, but you do get your money's worth so it's definitely not a waste. If you're interested in trying out different LUSH products (or even if you've never tried LUSH at all!) I'd highly recommend you go and pick one of these up. I'm not sure how long they're going to be around, but they're limited edition so not too long. When I went to my LUSH they had a whole bunch of them, but they are super popular so make sure to get yours before they sell out!

Thanks for reading! <3!

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