I can promise you that when it comes to brand new Lush products, I try my very best to be as objective as possible. When your cosmetic diet is as heavily saturated with Lush products as mine is, it can sometimes be difficult not to get swept away with adoration for everything new that comes along. I'd certainly hate to think that I would overlook product flaws, simply because it's attached to my favourite brand.
However, when it comes to both the Valentine's Day and Mother's Day range this year, I really cannot fault any of the products that the company have brought out so far. With the consumer market being far more reserved about spending their hard-earned money, it's no wonder that companies are having to ensure that quality far outweighs quantity, and when it comes to Lush, they've certainly stepped up to the mark.
Sunflower is a brand new product to grace the shelves this year - although it's one of the many products that seem to be following a trend of being exclusive to the Oxford Street store. While this bubble bar is available in some of the gift sets online and in all other shops, you cannot buy it individually unless you visit the flagship store.
This is one of those products that makes an immediate impression. Firstly, it is huge - measuring in at about 15cm in diameter. Although Lush have released a few limited editions years ago that were bigger, this is easily the largest bath product that I have had the pleasure of purchasing and using in recent years.
It's not only its size that is impressive. Decorated with dried sunflower leaves in the centre, and sporting a vivid collaboration of yellows and oranges for the design, this seasonal bubble bar is an absolute pleasure to behold. It looks like a piece of artwork - so much so that I had to convince myself to actually use the thing, rather than framing it and hanging it on my wall. If Still Life payed homage to Van Gogh, this is reverence of the highest form.
What is unique about Sunflower, compared to other products of a similar nature, is that you could mistake it for a bath bomb to begin with. Not only is it far softer that many of the regular ones, but it is also slightly more crumbly than what you'd expect of a bubble bar. That's not to say it's particularly fragile, just that it's far easier to crumble under the water.
Containing lemon oil and little else in terms of fragrance, it offers a really bright, uplifting zesty aroma. A little like Lemslip Buttercream, it's a very clean, citrusy smell, and one that will certainly bring some sunshine into your bath. However, it's not as sharp as the aforementioned Kitchen exclusive, but is far 'spritzier' than Still Life. If you like lemon smells, this will be right up your alley.
As for usage - you can either crumble it under the water as it's running, or break it up into your tub before adding in the water. Either way, this bubble bar can be broken up into multiple pieces and used across more than one bath - I would probably get three luxurious experiences from a single bar, but if you're using one for cocktails, you can probably stretch this to four or five.
As to be expected with all of Lush's bubble bars, Sunflower created a mound of soft, fragrant bubbles, and turned the water into a deep, golden-yellow colour. In its favour, this bubble bar turned out to be one of the softness products I have ever used from Lush, and I was amazed at how velvety-smooth the water became. After dipping my feet into the tub mere minutes after running the bath, I was really impressed to discover that the water got to work immediately at moisturising my skin, and I could really feel the difference it made on my skin afterwards.
While the scent of this dampened just slightly during use, I could still detect a strong lemony aroma throughout, and I was able to make out a very light note of fruity goodness on my skin afterwards. Furthermore, I didn't need to moisturise after using Sunflower, and I was still able to appreciate the smooth feeling the very next day as well.
Overall, this is a fantastic addition to the Lush family, and I will definitely be buying a few more before they disappear at the end of the season. While some would argue that the simplicity of the scent is to the detriment of the product, I think it encompasses Mother's Day perfectly, and is a great reminder that spring is just around the corner. A must have for all Lush fans.
2016 Price: £4.95 each in Oxford Street (only available in gift sets otherwise).
Year Of Original Release: 2016.