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My first step into a Lush shop recalls the saying "Beggars can't be choosers.". I'd tried my share of facial cleansers, and suffered burning sensations, revolting smells, gloopy grits and pathetic results and was left with basically the same skin condition as before: nothing too gruesome, but a bit too spotty and splotchy in colour to call healthy. The joys of being a teenager.
So, I finally stepped in the store I'd termed "That smelly shop" for the last two years. Since this isn't a review of the store, I'll keep my praise to a minimum: this is really how all shops should be, no-fuss, helpful and knowledgeable staff teamed with an excellent, friendly atmosphere, head on in if you have never done so before.
I explained my circumstances when approached by one of the staff and was lead to a few different products, yelps leaving me when my frugal mind registered the prices.
Being too fond of Lush's ethos, I ended up purchasing Angels on Bare Skin regardless, along with a moisturiser (Imperialis).
Angels On Bare Skin is a solid cleanser, soft to the touch and easily malleable, made from the following:
Ground Almonds Glycerine Kaolin Water Lavender Oil Rose Absolute Lavender Flowers Perfume
All of these are used for a reason, not simply for smell, or looks, and so combined, help to soften, cleanse and heal, whilst also balancing the amount of oil your skin makes, aka, dry areas and oily areas even out. With that explanation alone, Angels' rather grand name becomes quite a lot more logical.
Looks and Smell
The product comes in lidded see-through tubs that look more likely to house foodstuffs, each with three labels on them. This always give Angels a very human look, the angles are always different and slap dash, and there's a reason, that being, for those who don't know, that Lush's products are all handmade, in the country of origin no less. This lack of outsourcing also explains the rather steep prices.
The large black label on the top talks about the product, and how to use it, the main one on the side lists ingredients (in English rather than just Latin) and the final, smallest sticker is a little computer graphic of whomever made the product, a nice touch, but also important to take a look at: it notes the date made, and the best before date which needs to be taken into account, as AOBS lacks preservatives.
Taking the lid off, a pleasant smell and an unpleasant view challenge your senses. I cannot pinpoint which ingredient lends itself most to the scent, but it certainly brings to mind nature and flora, a gently invigorating fragrance. Opening your eyes lowers the mood. For all the goodness of its name, Angels on Bare Skin resembles the devil's choice in ice cream. A strange muddy shade of pale grey, it resembles cement mixed with grit, a helping of birdseed (these is actually dried lavender flowers) thrown on top for good measure. Try not to let it deter you.
If you come from using liquid cleansers, or, no cleanser at all, this may come as a bit of a shock to use. The instructions seem simple enough, "take a pea-size blob and squish it in warm water to make a paste. Smooth this over your face, rinse away, tone and moisturise." to use their own apt wording. In theory, this is fine. Wash your hands before reaching into the pot and pulling away a little bit of the product, to avoid dirtying the rest. Duck the little blob under the water, and rub your index finder and thumb pads together until the Angels on Bareskin has softened into a gritty near-liquid. Carefully rub this over your face and neck, and, either wash right off, or leave for a few minutes to cleanse a little more deeply, like a facemask. It's worth noting that the Lush staff are always willing to give you a demonstration and explanation before you leave.
This product, no matter how careful you are with it, is messy, there's little way to avoid the fact. Without applying it blindly, you'll require a mirror of course, and to keep from dropping little clumps of the product on the floor (it's quite slippery when dampened), you'd need to balance that on the basin with you. Thankfully, my bathroom has a tiled floor, so little cleanser spills don't bother me so much, but those with carpets might soon grow annoyed.
A bit of bother in application is always worthwhile if the results are good though, and they are here. Savour the first time you use Angels, it's definitely the best. Unlike so many other cleansers, it does not burn, nor leave your skin feeling raw or sore, it simply feels as though it is truly making a different to your skin, cleaning it thoroughly and naturally, a very mild "tingle" in place whilst on your face. After washing it off, you may find yourself stroking your skin for a good few minutes at least, as the results are magnificent.
Your skin is left feeling wonderfully soft, whilst those with uneven skin tone on their cheeks such as myself, should notice a calming and levelling out of redness in the area right away. No real smell is left lingering on you after use, just a great clean feeling that seems to enlighten all the senses.
It's hard to say whether the effects of Angels On Bare Skin pale over time, or if simply one grows used to having improved skin condition, though, it's probably a bit of both.
Your skin is likely to become accustomed to the special treatment you give it, if, as I do, you choose to use the product everyday, and so the odd blemish is likely, but a special factor will always keep these to a minimum. This, namely, is that this cleanser doesn't just clean away dirt and grime, it also sets about healing ill-treated skin, so the occurrence of more spots is less likely.
Being on my second 100g pot, about two months on, there is little sensation when applying Angels, but my skin still seems to be benefiting from its use, and so changing to another cleanser is very unlikely for me.
A 100g pot of Angels on Bare Skin will set you back £3.95, and the 200g pot £7.90. There's no doubt that this seems very steep, but, once considered a little more, it isn't so daunting.
I used up a 100g pot in about 30 days, with two uses, one in the morning, one in the evening, each day, which works out at approximately 6.6p per use, and that can hardly be scoffed at, if you really want to take good care of your skin. After all, if it costs 6.6p per use for a product that actually works, it will always beat a cleanser of lesser cost that has no effect.
The 200g pot might be advised for those who use, and grow to love Angels on Bare Skin, as, if used twice daily, it will last until a good month before the best before date (AOBS has a 3 month "shelf" life) and simply keeps you from popping into Lush so often (and testing your strength against temptation)
There is no doubt in my mind that this is a wonderful product, gentle yet effective, though, it does have its downsides. The average carefully applied wash takes up to 5 minutes, and so wouldn't suit those in a hurry, nor, in its rather messy nature, will it suit those want an utterly no-fuss cleanser.
That said, for anyone with mildly agitated skin, and little, or little effective, skin care routines at the current time, will really suit using Angels On Bare Skin. Its beautiful aroma, relaxing sensation and great results are bound to please. However, for those with more problematic skin, I would suggest another product, though, perhaps something from Lush might still suit you, if you feel that you've exhausted all options or simply want to try a cleanser without chemicals, you really have nothing to lose, and, are likely to gain quite a lot from a visit.
It notes on Angels On Bare Skin's label that the recipe is taken from medieval times, when it was something of a luxury. Even in this day and age, it will certainly make you feel that little bit more princessly (or princely) each day.
Please be aware to take your time as you go into Lush: I am a fan of their stripped back packaging, but it can be easy to pick up the wrong item for their identical containers and labels.
http://www.lush.co.uk - Wonderful website, a great insight to Lush's friendly atmosphere, with plenty of information on all the products and allows for online ordering.
Surprisingly, I've never tried this product, but I have just been bought some as a gift and intend to use it later today, so I thought I would read all the reviews - even though yours is not recent, I wanted to find out what others think of this. I'll report my findings in due course. I enjoyed reading your review!
bluejules 30.07.2006 21:43
Great review, i could do with some of this :-)
Lucie_S1984 16.06.2005 22:36
Still not made it into a Lush store yet - check out your guestbook, Lucie xxx