Lush Herbalism Review - The Acne Experiment

Lush Herbalism Review - The Acne Experiment

This is my first Lush product review. Lush is a Vancouver-based cosmetics company that specializes in handmade, cruelty-free, holistic products -- it's as close as you'll get to a 100% holistic mainstream beauty brand in the US, and probably in the UK and the motherland Canada as well. Ingredients consist of primarily organic plants, essential oils, and "safe synthetics" (these be Lush's words).

This is also my first solid cleanser review, and I chose a real chill one too. Lush's Herbalism cleanser looks a hell of a lot like a nug of weed. I'm almost certain this is why Lush named it Herbalism. I'm also almost certain that this resemblance was responsible from my most-liked product Instagram post ever. Sorry guys, it's not a nug of weed. It's a nug of cleanser.

  • Lush Herbalism (Ground Almonds [Prunus dulcis], Kaolin, Glycerine, Nettle/Rosemary/Rice Vinegar Extract [Urtica dioica, Rosmarinus officinalis], Rice Bran [Oryza sativa], Water [Aqua], Gardenia Extract [Gardenia jasminoides], Rose Absolute [Rosa damascena], Chamomile Blue Oil [Matricaria chamomilla], Sage Oil [Salvia officinalis], Fragrance Chlorophyllin [Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex])
  • Tretinoin 0.1% cream 
  • MetroGel
  • Jojoba Oil / Tea Tree Oil (10:1 ratio)

  1. Rinse face with water.
  2. Do not dry your hands.
  3. Get a nug of Herbalism, put it in your wet hand, and rub it around a bit.
    Lush Herbalism Application - The Acne Experiment
  4. Apply your nug paste to your face and rub that around a bit.
    Lush Herbalism Application - The Acne Experiment
  5. Rinse off the nugs with water.
  6. If you're concerned about nug residue, use a washcloth.
  7. You know what, rinse again. 
  8. Maybe rinse one more time.
  9. Dry your face and apply moisturizer and/or continue with your regular routine. (In my case, it was jojoba/tea tree oil as a moisturizer plus maybe Tretinoin and/or Metrogel, depending on the day.)

Herbalism is for sure a unique product. It has a spongy texture that's basically a dense scrub. Some folks have complained that it smells bad (one reviewer compared it to mustard?), and I suppose it would be stinky if you're not partial to florals or almonds. I found it delightful. It smelled almost identical to the Iranian pastries and cookies that I ate growing up.

The cleanser is also unique because of its ingredients. I decided to do a bit a of research as it wasn't immediately clear exactly how Herbalism cleanses. Most standard cleansing gels, micellar waters, and soaps contain detergents or surfactants (emulsifiers). Surfactants attract dirt, oil, and makeup, break it down, and then get rinsed away with water. Non-foaming cleansers like cleansing balms, oils, and milks contain surfactants as well - they just don't lather. Even most clay-based cleansers contain surfactants. Herbalism is different.

According to Lush, the two ingredients responsible for cleansing are kaolin clay and rice bran. If you look at the chemical structure of clay, you'll see it looks nothing like a surfactant. Instead clay is really good at sucking up water, oil, and other contaminants. Rice bran, along with the ground almonds, act more like physical exfoliators. Ground almonds are a bit gentler than some other plant-based exfoliators such as ground fruit pits or nut shells that can have super sharp edges. The other ingredients, including nettle, rosemary and rice vinegar extract and some of the essential oils, are billed as "cleansing boosters." They're probably are best described as toning ingredients with skin soothing and antimicrobial properties.

Herbalism was ALSO my first proper spot testing trial. I have "spot tested" on my whole forehead in the past, but this time I only put about 1-inch of product on the side of my forehead and only tested it there every-other night. (I've had bad luck with cleansers before; I tread lightly.) I should probably be spot testing every time I do a trial, but I'm so friggin' jazzed about new skincare that I just can't friggin' help myself.

Lush Herbalism Spot Test - The Acne Experiment

I spot tested for about 10 days, and things looked most excellent -- I even saw some improvements.

Lush Herbalism Spot Test Before and After - The Acne Experiment

I then switched to a full-forehead testing, also every-other-night. 

Lush Herbalism Solid Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment

After about 1 month, I broke out in fine bumps. It was the worst breakout I had since starting the tretinoin, so I took a 1-week break from Herbalism.

Lush Herbalism Breakout - The Acne Experiment

Unfazed, I got back up on that herbahorse and finished off the rest of the sample I had in a full-face trial. I can't help it. I complete things. That's my job, that's what I do

Lush Herbalism Before and After - The Acne Experiment

Solid Cleanser Before and After - The Acne Experiment

I'm not certain why this cleanser didn't work for me. It doesn't contain comedogenic ingredients, and none of the essential oils are irritants from what I can tell. Perhaps it was a reaction to the physical exfoliation of the almond bits.

Everyone reacts to products differently -- it's not our fault, it's not our skin's fault, it's not the horse's fault. That's just how the horse horses.

I guess you could say Herbalism just isn't my drug of choice.

UP NEXT:  Paula's Choice Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator


PS: Some reviewers say Herbalism leaves a residue. To test this, applied micellar water after rinsing off the Herbalism:

Lush Herbalism Residue - The Acne Experiment

I didn't see a hint of green. This could be due to my ample rinsing, but may also be because of the small quantity of product I used each time.

Lush Herbalism Natural Solid Cleanser / 2 Month Review :: The Acne Experiment
Lush Herbalism Review - The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment


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