There are occasions when I get a little ahead of myself and buy something without checking the ingredients list first. Despite the fact that label-scanning is pretty much embedded into my daily routine, there are times when the excitement of a product overshadows my common sense, and it is then that I often make mistakes.
When Lush announced that Happy Birthday Bubble Bar was making an appearance to mark the Kitchen's one year anniversary, my observational skills didn't notice the blip in the ingredients list; neither did my eyes rest on the word 'vegetarian'. In fact, it wasn't until I had dried myself off and was taking pictures for this blog, that I noticed the product wasn't entirely vegan. Shoot!
Needless to say, I was initially annoyed at myself for not noticing these factors before and considered scrapping this review altogether. However, I realised that the crime had already been committed, and while I wouldn't use the bubble bar again, some of you might at least benefit from this review.
Brought out as a one-off for Lush forum members some eleven years ago, this bubble bar is one of the rarest products to come from the Kitchen. Made to look like a miniature present - complete with ribbon and decorations, it also happens to be one of the most attractive.
Made from a combination of bergamot, marigold and almond oils, with vanilla absolute and cocoa butter to boot, this bubble bar sounds like the perfect calorie-free indulgence for anyone looking to celebrate. Described by Lush as smelling like 'orange cake with ice cream on top', Happy Birthday sounds like a dream on paper. But does it live up to its own hype?
When I first sniffed this, I was rather annoyed to discover that it didn't smell like anything I had been envisaging. Rather than the creamy, cake-y smell I was expecting, I found myself picking up an aroma that wasn't that far off the benzoin-dominated Lush Pud that made an appearance earlier in the year.
Happy Birthday definitely has a fruity smell but it's quite a subtle, powdery one - in the same sort veins as Hot Milk Bubble Bar; you can detect it's there, but it's nether strong nor particularly interesting. There is a gentle vanilla element as well but again it's not present enough to leave much of an impression.
Out of all of the ingredients, I could detect the marigold and almond oils the most - both of which give off a sickly sweet, almost marzipan-esque fragrance that dominates the other notes present. Fans of Snowcake will no doubt adore this, as although it doesn't smell identical to any of the products with this scent, it does share similar traits.
In the bath, this bubble bar is lovely and soft to work with - crumbling easily under the running water and creating a mass of thick, velvety-soft bubbles in a very short space of time. I found that half of a Happy Birthday is more than enough to give you a good bath so this bubble bar can be used to create two celebratory baths.
Unfortunately, the bath water didn't turn the pale pink I was expecting - instead there was next to no change in the colour of the water so the bath itself was rather plain and boring. Furthermore, I could barely detect the aroma of the product once I had settled under the surface and there was definitely nothing left on my skin afterwards.
While the bubble bar made the water feel lovely and I did leave the bathroom feeling much more relaxed afterwards, it wasn't as soft as I was expecting - especially as the product boasts cocoa butter in the ingredients list.
In its favour, the bubbles remained prominent throughout the whole experience which is a rare feat for Lush bubble bars. Additionally, this would work wonders in a Lush Cocktail to create a sea of beautiful bubbles to cocoon yourself within. However, there was nothing else alluring about it, and even if it was vegan, I would not be tempted to try it again.
Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Perfume, Cocamide DEA, Bergamot Oil, Vanilla Absolute, African Marigold Oil, Beeswax Absolute, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Gardenia Extract, Laureth 4, Colour 18050.
2015 Price: £3.95 each.
Year of Original Release: 2004.