There can’t be a better smelling cosmetics store than Lush. Wandering past one of their shops, especially in the UK, is like getting a sniff of what nirvana must smell like. As a result, I’ve discovered that they’re terrible for impulse buys – catch you at a weak moment and the aromas practically suck you in and force you to cough up the pennies!
And so it was one evening on an innocent wander round Admiralty MTR, I found myself purchasing a Lush Fresh Ice-Cream Face Mask. These were laid out at the front of the store, in tubs with spoons just like ice-cream, and in hot humid HK, the idea of ice-cream just proved too irresistible – even in the shape of skincare!
I opted for Cupcake, the cocoa-rich option i.e. what I’d pick if it actually was ice-cream! The amazing chocolate scent wasn’t the only draw; Cupcake is the variety best-suited to oily and combination skin, and promises to deep-cleanse your face, preventing acne, purifying pores and removing blackheads (an on-going battle for me, as regular readers will know). Chief ingredients include Rhasoul mud which cleanses and soothes, cocoa and shea butters and linseed which soften and peppermint, spearmint and sandalwood oils to round off the relaxing experience.
Lush are famous for being an eco-friendly company; all their products are vegetarian (the Cupcake Mask is, in fact, totally vegan) and are never tested on animals. All their items are handmade and in a cute touch, most products even bear the name of their maker!
Although sold by weight, the smallest available quantity was 115g, which comes in Lush’s trademark 100% recycled black tub, and on current going looks set to be good for between five to eight uses. It’s kept chilled in the shop and due to the fresh ingredients (and lack of preservatives) found in the mask, you should do the same and keep it refrigerated at home too!
The consistency of Cupcake was extremely thick. I’d assumed it would be like other gooey but smooth mud or clay masks I have tried before, but the texture was sandy and grainy to the touch. This made it a little difficult to apply; I felt like I was trowelling cement on to my face!
But oh, the smell!!! I know from experience that Lush’s chocolate products smell divine – I once bought my friend one of their chocolate shower bars and he was so taken by the scent that even though he knew it was soap, he still tried to eat it! I could have marinated in that heady chocolate aroma forever (I guess this is how Willy Wonka must feel); the Cupcake mask is definitely one for all the chocoholics out there, and even non-chocaholics might find themselves converted by the deliciously rich yet far from sickly sweet scent (it’s undercut by a refreshingly cool tingle of mint).
As you can gather, leaving the mask on until it dries is consequently not much of a chore! Lush recommends five to ten minutes, though I probably went closer to twenty, putting off the rinsing part for as long as possible! Unfortunately, that part really is a chore… the mask is too thick to dilute and wash off easily; instead, you may find yourself actually pushing and scrubbing clumps off during rinsing. Your best bet is to get your head deep in that sink and really work it off, with a flannel on stand-by to get rid of the (inevitable) residue at the end – and be prepared to clean off any Cupcake clumps that are left in the sink afterwards, unless you want people to think you went on a chocolate binge in the bathroom! Nevertheless, although a bit arduous, it’s nowhere near the messy chocolate explosion other reviews make it out to be!
I was reasonably impressed with the immediate results. My pores looked cleaner and my blackheads were thinner on the ground, whilst the rest of my face was noticeably softer and smoother and my complexion looked clearer. However, unlike the make-up miracle that is Bliss’ Triple Oxygen Mask, the effects were relatively short-lived – the next day, my skin was no longer as bright and rested looking, whilst my pores seemed to have reverted back to their usual freakishly large and clogged state.
Whilst a professional facial or Bliss’ Triple Oxygen Energising Mask might have this beaten in the long-run, I’d recommend Lush’s Cupcake Mask for the overall experience, which is gorgeous, relaxing and delivers good immediate results – and I’m looking forward to deeply inhaling more of that intense chocolate hit for a while yet!
Check out my review of another great face mask (plus bonus hideous picture of me wearing it!) here
Lush Fresh Ice-Cream Mask in Cupcake, $183 for 115g, Lush Cosmetics