There seems to be rather a lot of confusion regarding the use of Sweet Japanese Girl Solid Cleanser; a premise even I was stumped about to begin with. Although it's title should have been somewhat of a clue as to why it's been made, mixed reviews threw up many questions regarding it's official purpose. However, spurred on by the thought of a challenge, I relished in finding out the best way to utilise this product, and reached some quite intriguing conclusions.
Sweet Japanese Girl is a unique solid bar made from cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil and shea butter - a powerhouse of natural ingredients to help cleanse, moisturise and protect your skin. What makes it stand apart from Lush's massage bars and other solid products, is it's use of ground adzuki beans and almonds, which not only give it a wonderful nutty, savoury fragrance, but help to make this product work as a solid.
This product also contains a mixture of tea tree, juniper berry and lemon essential oils, which help to cleanse the skin and add a natural glow. The latter ingredient also adds to this product's scent, giving it a gentle and very beautiful lemon aroma, which reminds me somewhat of lemon cheesecake.
This is a surprisingly effective cleanser because the different oils bond with each other as they dissolve into the skin, which helps to flush out dirt and grease trapped in pores, whilst moisturising your skin at the same time. The added ground almonds and adzuki beans help to unblock the pores even further, which can prevent blackheads and spots from occurring.
So how exactly do you use it? Well that would depend on what works best for your skin. I found that I was able to use it effectively in two different ways, both of which left my face feeling velvety soft and deeply moisturised.
Firstly, I found that this solid cleanser can be applied to dry skin and used as more of a moisturiser than a cleanser. Take the bar between your hands, extract a small amount of oil onto your palms, and then lather it gently onto your face. When used like this, I did find that my face felt a little greasy for the first 20-30 minutes. However, it wasn't a heavy greasy feeling, and once this had subsided, my face felt smooth and clean, whilst gently glowing.
Secondly, Sweet Japanese Girl can be used in the shower. Just before you're about to get out, take the bar and very gently massage it into your wet face. Be careful not to get the bar too wet otherwise it'll become greasy and unbearable. Once you've applied as much as you want, wash the excess away under the water and then pat your face down once you get out. Again, my face felt slightly greasy, but this disappeared as soon as I'd dried myself off. Doing it this way means that you'll also get a gentle exfoliation from the Adzuki beans, which was wonderful.
In this instance, my complexion felt really moisturised and soft, and I didn't have to apply any facial moisturiser afterwards as it kept my face feeling smooth all day. Both methods left me with results I was very happy with, and it made it even better knowing that, as a solid product, this bar had no preservatives or 'nasties' clogging up my pores.
I find this cleanser particularly good for blackheads and congested skin (I suffer a lot from the latter due to the stressful nature of my job). The tea tree oil helps to prevent the spots without drying skin out too much and the butters moisturise so well that it's not necessary to use a moisturiser afterwards.
One of Sweet Japanese Girl's greatest attributes is that it's incredible value for money. This bar only weighed in at 40g, and cost a little over £5 when I first purchased it. However, it lasted me a good couple of months and this was with me using it twice a day.
Ultimately, this cleanser has opened the door to many more solid possibilities, and I hope it's popularity will encourage Lush to release more products in this format. I would definitely buy this regularly if it became a permanent cleanser.
Quantitative Ingredients: Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Ground Almonds, Ground Aduki Beans, Lemon Oil, Juniperberry Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Citral, Limonene, Perfume.
2015 Price: £6.95 each.
2016 Price: £6.50 each.
Year Of Original Release: 2005.