Friends With Benefits Massage Bar is described as a 'sexy massage bar for enjoying with your very best friends.'. I don't quite know how I feel about this. I love my best friend to pieces, and we've experienced a lot together over our decade of friendship. However, I don't have any interest in smearing massaging oils all over her, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is reciprocated. I can't really imagine any situation where we could both enjoy this massage bar together without it being strange. For this reason, I felt rather pathetic using this bar on my own, knowing that the experience was supposed to be shared.
To look at, this massage bar is not very special. It's a cream in colour and decorated with three flowers on top, which I believe are supposed to represent the marigold scent that features heavily in this product. However, when it comes to massage bars, I am more interested in how this bar performs on my body, not how pretty it looks on the shelf.
So why a massage bar? Firstly, by keeping the ingredients in their solid form, as opposed to a liquid state, it means that Lush don't have to include specific chemicals and preservatives to get the product to remain liquid at room temperature. Secondly, because there are only natural ingredient present in the bars, these products are great for people with sensitive skin and those that don't bode well with heavy moisturisers. Finally, keeping it in it's solid form means it is easier and more cost-effective for the company and consumer, as it requires less packaging to store.
To use the massage bar, you can do one of two things. I tend to warm my hands up a little before carefully rubbing the bar all over my body. Once I've smeared enough on my skin, I then use my hands to massage it all over evenly. You can also use the warmth of your hands to melt the massage bar somewhat, before using this to smother it all over your skin like you would a normal lotion.
With Friends With Benefits, Lush have combined the smell of tagetes, an essential oil from African marigolds, with cocoa absolute; both of which are not only highly moisturising for the skin, but supposedly possess a natural chocolate smell. Shea butter is added to further moisturise and soften the skin, with cocoa butter helping to round off the chocolately scent and smoothen out any blemishes.
Despite all of these delicious sounding qualities, and the many Lush fans that I've heard raving about this product, I was actually rather disappointed with how 'unchocolatey' I found this bar. I won't deny that there wasn't elements of cocoa butter in it's scent, more so on it's underbelly than anything else. However, the main smell I could detect was more of a bitter cocoa scent, which was then elevated by the inclusion of the tagetes oil. This gave the massage bar a really sour note that was off-putting and highly potent to my senses.
In it's favour, the astringent fragrance that first greeted me upon opening the wrapper was somewhat diluted once on the skin, and the cocoa butter fragrance came through once it had come into contact with the warmth of my skin. However, with Lush's impressive range of beautifully fragranced and highly effective massage bars, it's not one I'd be willing to invest in again.
The bar itself wasn't too difficult to melt between my palms and I found that the oils were absorbed pretty easily by my skin. Friends With Benefits didn't leave my skin greasy or oily, and instead left me feeling rather soft, although not as smooth as I've felt with other products. The bar also helped me to feel relaxed and stress-free so the smell and experience it offers does effect your mood and can help you declutter your thoughts after a long day. Furthermore, the tagetes oil is supposed to help heal red or damaged skin, and I did notice a slight improvement on my legs and feet after I'd used this a couple of times.
However, despite this bar having some valuable attributes, I felt that there were more negative aspects than positive. With this in mind, it's not a massage bar I would rate particularly highly, nor one I would be willing to invest in again.
Quantitative Ingredients: Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Tagetes Oil, Perfume, Cocoa Absolute, *Citral, *Eugenol, *Citronellol, *Geraniol, *Limonene.