Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot. But on most trips we’ve been forced to check our luggage due to highly restrictive carry-on requirements imposed by our long-time air carrier of choice: Uzbekistan Airways. I mean choice with a bit of wink and nudge, mostly because Uz Air was just about the only carrier we could fly internationally while we were posted in Tashkent, and they had a very serious 8kg carry-on restriction. As a result, even our smallest carry-on suitcase had to be checked, despite the fact that most flights were less than 50 percent full and there was a ton of available space in the overhead bins. While it wasn’t always convenient to wait for luggage after a flight (Tashkent International Airport, I’m looking at you), it was nice to be able to pack a sufficient amount of toiletries for a two-to-three week trip.
Adapting to carry-on only travel has been a bit challenging. On our first domestic US flight we were held up at the TSA checkpoint in Houston because Paul packed his Leatherman tool in his carry-on. Um, no, that’s not allowed through security, my friends. His excuse for the oversight? That he’d been packing it in his small suitcase on every trip for the last two years, so he just did what came naturally. He also forgot to pack his dopp kit on that trip, but that’s a story for another day. Figuring out how to get all the lotions and potions into containers less than 100ml that all fit in a quart-sized bag should be second nature after more than a decade of such restrictions, but somehow the magic still eludes.
So of course I was thrilled to read about Lush’s solid shampoos, conditioners, and soaps as I was looking for product alternatives for our nearly three-week jaunt across Mexico. I’ve enjoyed a variety of Lush products over the years, especially their bath bombs (most of them, anyway. One day ask me about the one that left seaweed sludge all over the tub. Ick.). A few days before our trip Paul, my sister Cheryl, and I headed to the only Lush outlet in Houston, located at the Macy’s in the Galleria. Like most Lush shops, the space was small, but packed with the usual wonderful variety of products and scents.
We honed in on the solid products and spent a good ten minutes with one of the associates who explained the various options for shampoo, soap, lotion, conditioner, and toothpaste. We sniffed and rubbed and washed and lotioned and finally settled on the quintet of products you see in the photo collage. I’ll leave you to check out Lush’s site for specific ingredient details, but here’s a quick and dirty (ha!) review of the stuff we’re traveling with.
From top left:
Peace Massage Bar ($13.95 for 2.3 oz.): This lotion bar smells divine, and it was tough for us to choose which of the massage and lotion bars to take. I loved the fragrance mix, but Paul found it a bit overpowering. It melts beautifully into the skin, leaving a soft sheen once it’s rubbed in. However, it isn’t long-lasting at all, and in less than a week we’d used more than half of it. I’ve been conserving it and bought a small pot of Nivea at the local supermarket. For the price, I wouldn’t buy this product again to use as a lotion since it runs down so quickly.
Dirty Toothy Tabs ($4.95 for 20): These have been a fantastic surprise. Two boxes of these tablets take up about as much space as a travel-sized tube of toothpaste and don’t count against your quart-sized baggie of liquids and gels. While I don’t think that this variety tastes like mint, as advertised, the tabs do foam up nicely and clean the teeth well with a mixture of baking soda and neroli oil. They lack fluoride, which is okay for relatively short-term travel. The taste takes some getting used to, but I would absolutely buy these again for travel.
Trichomania Shampoo Bar ($9.95 for 3.5 oz.): This shampoo bar is for coconut lovers! Paul and I both tend to have slightly dry hair, so we asked for the most moisturizing shampoo in their shop. The coconut scent is sweet but not overwhelming, and the lather is rich and creamy. I’ve actually used the lather as body soap on the days I wash my hair because there’s a lot of it and it doesn’t seem to make my skin dry. This is the longest-lasting bath product we purchased, and our chunk of the bar is still going strong after two weeks. It’s also worked well for quick clothes-washing, just a quick swipe over the garment to be washed. With all that we’ve used about 1/4 to 1/3 of it. I won’t need to buy more before our next travel, but if I did, I would definitely buy this again.
Honey I Washed the Kids Soap Bar ($7.95 for 3.5 oz): This soap has a sweet, subtle honey scent, and comes complete with a little edge of beeswax straight from the hive. As much as I love the scent of this soap, we used it up very quickly (hence I’m washing with the Trichomania). It’s not a very dense product, and despite carefully conserving the bar in a soapdish that closes, it just doesn’t have much staying power. I would not buy this again (despite the heavenly scent) and I’d opt for a bar of Dove or Caress in the future.
Jungle Conditioner ($8.95, 2 oz.): Despite how short our hair is, Paul and I both like to use a bit of conditioner. This conditioner bar has a nice scent, though it’s a bit heavy on the sandalwood. Unfortunately, like the Honey I Washed the Kids soap, this bar disappeared pretty quickly. After reviewing the Lush site, it seems we may have been overusing it. It doesn’t make your hair slick the way liquid conditioner does. In fact, it’s quite hard to even sense that it’s on your hair while it’s wet, but it does work as advertised. I might buy this one again to see if more judicious use still gives a good result.
To protect all your goodies, Lush also sells aluminum containers sized for the products. They are lightweight and the product fits perfectly into them. It’s nice that they are made from a recyclable material, and even if you choose not to refill it with a Lush product, it makes a good travel accessory or mini container.
Overall I like the Lush solid products, but I’m not convinced that they are the perfect solution for travelers. However, just freeing up the space that shampoo and toothpaste take up makes a huge difference for me. Even though all of the products weren’t wins for travel, I did enjoy using all of them!