When Lush revealed this bath bomb for the first time, back during their Halloween release of 2014, it wasn't one that initially stood out for me as being all that exciting. The description of the scent, the shape, the colour - I wasn't particularly impressed, and the end of the season came and went without me stocking up on more than a couple of extras.
It was only a few months later, when I had a really great experience with a Christmas Eve Bubble Bar (which shares the same scent), that I realised I liked the fragrance a little more than I had let on to begin with. Don't get me wrong -this is not a smell that I would ever rave about, but when used at the right moment, can be pretty spectacular.
Fast forward to 2016, and Lush have revamped this seasonal favourite - opting to change its shape so that it's far more robust than the original design, and altering the colours inside to give you a slightly different experience than you may have been expecting. Still laced with the same fragrance, you'd assume that my opinion of the bath bomb would be on par with that of the original. Wrong.
As its name suggests, Northern Lights Bath Ballistic has been modelled on the Icelandic phenomena, and while it'll never be able to mimic the feeling of actually experiencing the event in person, it's as close as you're going to get with a handful of sodium bicarbonate.
Containing jasmine and ylang ylang, this is perhaps one of the most interesting choices for a Christmas release I have seen from Lush, smell-wise. This is definitely not one that is necessarily suited for the winter weather; nor is it one that is going to give you that thick, sultry aroma that a large percentage of bathers will probably be looking for at this time of the year.
Instead what you get is a light, sweet, floral aroma, with a little natural muskiness thrown in for good measure. The jasmine offers a rich but very delicate floral fragrance, one that is not in any way heady or imposing. It's simple but pretty, and is easily one of Lush's most inoffensive floral smells. While I mentioned above that it wasn't very Christmassy-smelling, the inclusion of the jasmine, which is supposed to help reduce stress levels and elevate your mood, does work to counteract those winter blues.
Alongside this is ylang ylang oil, which normally works as an afterthought, but in this bath bomb helps to elevate the floral components of the jasmine and add some of its own. Together, these two ingredients create a delicate but very pronounced floral aroma, and would be a favourite for those who dislike heavy or overly complex aromas.
What is most impressive about this version of Northern Lights is how it functions in the water. Still a slow dissolver like its older sibling, it doesn't take the bath bomb more than a few seconds to foam up and create thick, vivid trails of purple, blue and yellows across the surface of the tub. Because of the way its been designed, the yellow and blue erupt out of the sides like a firework, while the purple branches out around the edges.
This year, Lush have reworked some of their colours, specifically the yellow, and the vividity of this bath bomb is evidence of their hard work. All three colours featured here are impressively bright - sprawling across the water and creating beautiful patterns that just have to be experienced firsthand. Once fully dissolved, you're left with a crisp shade of green, and an impressively fragrant bath that stays with you long past your bathing time.
Afterwards, I could still smell the deliciously sweet aroma on my skin, and it made me realise that this fragrance would work so well in other formats. A body lotion would be a credit to this floral fragrance, as would a dusting powder and a massage bar.
Whereas I wasn't overly enamoured with the original bath bomb, this new version seems to have been elevated to another level. While it appears that only the shape and design have been tweaked a little, I feel as if the fragrance is more pronounced and the colours more vibrant, making this a bath bomb I will definitely be stocking up on before the year is out.
Quantitative Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang Oil, Cream of Tartar, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Betaine, Amyl Cinnamal, Lilial, Hydroxycitronellal, *Linalool, *Limonene, Perfume, Colour 42090, Colour 59040, Colour 45350, Colour 45410.
2016 Price: £3.95 each.
Year Of Original Release: 2014 for the original, 2016 for this version.
Northern Nights Ballistic
Updated Northern Lights Ballistic