Lush are great at catering for a large market, which is perhaps one of the reasons why they have such a diverse yet equally loyal customer base. Instead of creating products that mimic other big sellers within the cosmetics industry, they go above and beyond to create and release items that the public may not initially recognise as what they want, but items they fall in love with after they've given them a chance.
At risk of repeating myself, I wont digress into the strange and unique concepts that Lush have brought us over the years, but I will say that often their releases could easily see them falling backwards off of a cliff - flailing their arms in a pointless gesture before they become well-acquainted with the ground below. Yet they seem to land on their feet each and every time, leading me to believe that they really DO know what they're doing.
Ugai is perhaps the strangest of the three brand new, innovative solid mouthwashes that Lush have designed and unleashed upon the world this summer. Being the first of its kind to ever grace the cosmetics world, these tabs have a lot to live up to, and Lush have made sure that there's more behind these tongue-twisting names than just a novelty concept.
While Creme De Menthe is for the classic mint lovers and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are for those who enjoy having their mouths scorched with aniseed, Ugai is the tame one of the trio. Influenced by the ancient customs of Shinto, Japanese culture believe in ridding the body, the mind and the living environment of impurities and uncleanliness. One way that they do this is by gargling a few times a day - before and after meals and sometimes after being outside, all with the intent of ridding the mouth of harmful bacteria that could cause cavities and/or illness.
Usually, a lot of this gargling is done with water, however it is also common for salt water to be used - the salt acting as a natural antiseptic as well as working to prolong fresh breath. These solid mouthwash tabs have been created with that in mind - offering a flavour that is definitely not a Westerner's idea of 'normal' but one that plays homage to a country that has enough evidence to demonstrate that they must be doing something right when it comes to their oral health.
Made from a combination of sea salt, tea tree oil and green tea powder, Ugai is a strange experience from the start. Whereas you'd expect a mouthwash to feel almost like it's wrestling each and every strand of bacteria in your mouth, this one doesn't do this at all - instead leaving an almost non-existent aftertaste while still leaving you feeling clean.
While I was initially worried at first about the use of sea salt as the key ingredient (most people who have had to gargle salt water before will probably not speak highly of the practice), I didn't find the experience unpleasant at all. The salt doesn't have its strong, salty taste at all, and although you can taste it during the gargle, it is not at all horrible.
Strangely, it is the tea tree that embraces your sense of smell upon opening the bottle. Yet despite its prominency in the initial smell, you can barely taste it at all during use. In fact, neither the salt, the tea tree or the green tea was particularly strong in my mouth and I found the experience pretty uneventful. My mouth did feel clean after use and I could no longer detect the taste of the food I had just eaten.
As with each of the other two mouthwashes, Ugai contains xylitol - a natural substance that is found in certain fruits and vegetables and is used in foods and cosmetics as a refined sweetener. This ingredient has been proven to cause none of the harmful effects that sugar can have on the teeth, is perfect for diabetics as it doesn't effect blood sugar levels at all, yet offers the sweetness to help give these tabs their interesting but enjoyable flavours.
To use, I found it easiest to take a sip of water and then pop a single tab into my mouth - nibbling it with my back teeth before swishing, gargling and spitting out. Adding the water first meant that I didn't get any bits of tab left in my mouth during or after the experience, and this saved me from having to carry out a second swish to clear these bits between my teeth.
It's recommended that you keep the mouthwash in your mouth for a good minute. This allows the ingredients to get to work at cleaning the mouth and deodorising the tongue so you get the maximum results possible. I should warn you that these tabs do have a bit of a bite to them so you may find that you'll feel the menthol getting to work while you're using one. However, I should point out that this mouthwash was not as harsh on my senses as some of the big-branded ones I have tried from the supermarket.
Overall, I found these solid mouthwash tabs to be pleasant but not something I would really want to be using very often. While the taste of them was very mild and they were far less potent than either of the other two varieties, I think I am one of those who needs a little more 'kick' to feel like a mouthwash has worked. I found with both Creme De Menthe and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters left my teeth, my tongue and my entire mouth feeling very sleek, shiny and throughly clean. However, I didn't get the same confident feeling when using Ugai.
I can see why these will appeal to a lot of people, and if you're someone who wants something gentle to clear your palette after a meal, Ugai would be the one to go for. If you're someone such as myself that like a strong mouthwash to blow away those cobwebs, I suggest you try one of the other variations.
Quantitative Ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate Anhydrous Sodium Bicarbonate, Silica, Fine Sea Salt, Citric Acid, *Glycerine, Sorbitol, Malic Acid, Tea Tree Oil, Green Tea Powder, Xylitol.
2016 Price: £5.95 for 45g (roughly 80 tabs)
Year Of Original Release: 2016