Question: When Is a Liquid Also a Solid? Answer: When It’s the LUSH Godiva Shampoo Bar

Published in: Hair, Lush, Product Reviews

lush godiva shampoo bar

For me, in the realm of suspicious things, a solid shampoo ranked right up there with men who wear thumb rings, and gray-hued, overcooked veggies (have you ever seen grey broccoli?).



So yeah…I eyed Lush’s Godiva Shampoo Bar ($10.95) with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Designed to clean and condition dry, processed hair, it suds up into a lather like a regular soap bar but also contains a whole slew of moisturizing oils, as well as shea butter and other botanicals like hibiscus, jasmine and gardenia.

As you can probably imagine, the directions make it sound pretty easy to use. Just wet your mane, run the bar across it a few times to get a good lather going, shampoo as usual, and rinse.

Sounds easy enough, right? But so do many 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner products, even the ones that leave my already dry, wavy, highlighted hair a tangled mess of crispy fried noodles…

That’s where the testing comes in. :)

lush godiva shampoo bar

The first time I brought the bar into the shower with me I said, “WOW!” Talk about serious bubbles. And the scent? Trademark Lush. A big, bold tour de force of jasmine flowers, one of my favorite floral scents.

It might be too heady for super sensitive noses, but even my picky schnoz thinks it’s tops.

Ingredients

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerl Stearate; Peg – 100 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Perfume, Hibiscus Extract (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Stearic Acid, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimide, Camella Oil (Camella japonita), Organic Cold Pressed Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Organic Macadamia Nut Oil (Macadamia ternifolia), Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum officinale), Ylang Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata), Cypress Oil (Cupressus sempervirens), Palmarossa Oil (Cymbopogan martini), Jasmine Flowers (Jasminum officinale), Cupuacu Butter (Theobroma Grandiflorum), Cocamide DEA, Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides), Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Limonene , Linalool

I dunno why, but I was really surprised that a solid shampoo would whip into such a frothy foam. Looking at this one, I just get a different vibe from it, almost like a loofah or a bath salt.

Then I checked the ingredient list, and wouldn’t ya know it? Right there at the top of the list, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (or SLS).

A few interesting (at least to me) things about SLS, should you ever find yourself on Final Jeopardy! First, what is it?

Good question. :) SLS is an FDA-approved ingredient commonly found in personal care products like shampoos and even toothpaste.

It’s usually used as a surfactant — in a nutshell, it loosens bonds.

If you’ve ever used a bath/shower product that builds up into a sudsy lather, there’s a good chance it contained SLS.

Added to shampoo, SLS makes hair easier to clean by loosening the bonds that hold dirt and oil to your hair.

The ingredient came under some scrutiny in the late ’90s when an anonymous email circulated online claimed a link between a related compound, SLES, and cancer. SLES, or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, is like SLS’s more expensive, slightly unscrupulous cousin. Both compounds essentially do the same thing, but SLES is now much less commonly used (source: SNOPES).

Shortly after the email incident, several hair brands started rolling out SLS-free products, leading some to suggest that the whole thing was a marketing ploy designed to sell more shampoo (source: LEDA).

I guess the most important question is, “Should you avoid hair products containing SLS?” Well, that depends on whom you believe. Over the years, several reputable sources (including the American Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer) have said that SLS is noncarcinogenic, meaning that it doesn’t cause cancer. At most, they say, it could cause some skin irritation, but only under certain circumstances for a small number of users (source: How Stuff Works).

As a product junkie, I like to try a little bit of everything, which in this case includes the LUSH Godiva Shampoo Bar.

For the record, here’s what LUSH has to say about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

I have mixed feelings about this bar…

On one hand, I love the jasmine scent and the sort of novelty of the bar, which is pretty small and fits in the palm of my hand. And I like the idea of being able to take it on plane trips without having to use up precious space reserved for liquids in my carry-on Ziploc bags.

Plus, it works! — which I guess is the whole reason for its existence. After using it, my hair feels squeaky clean, tangle-free, and looks bouncy, shiny and bright.

But it’s also a little thirsty, so that’s a drawback. As a conditioner, I don’t think it’s robust enough for my dry hair, and I feel like following it up with a dedicated conditioner.

The addition of SLS — actually, with it listed as the first ingredient — does strike me as a little unusual for LUSH, but it is followed by a long list of bodacious, more easily recognizable botanicals.

PRICE: $10.95
AVAILABILITY: Available now at LUSH stores and lush-usa.com
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

57 Comments

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  1. Maggie says:

    Thanks for posting the info about SLS – I work for LUSH and so many customers come in and recoil like they’ve been bitten by a rabid spider (whatever, spiders are totally rabid) when they see that a lot of the hair products contain SLS. We try to patiently explain that it isn’t the devil, but it’s hard to persuade people who have bought into the anti-SLS marketing. Most of LUSH’s hair products actually do contain SLS, and all of the shampoo bars do. For me the main downside is that sulfates tend to strip unnatural colored hair dyes, and since my hair is green/blue/purple I avoid most of our shampoos (though I do use Rehab and Trichomania occasionally).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for the info on SLS’s stripping hair dyes. I do crazy colors on occasion, too.

      How long have you been working for Lush, and what are your favorite items?

  2. Andrea says:

    I work for Lush as well! I think the shampoo bars are a great product, but I wouldn’t say that Godiva would be moisturizing enough to skip conditioner unless you have an oilier hair type. If you want to try a solid conditioner from Lush they have Jungle, which is smells great and is a nice consistency :)

  3. Amiee says:

    I’m on the fence about SLS as well, I have oily hair, but I color it which tends to dry it out a bit. I generally use sulfate free products to preserve my hair color, but I haven’t gone full SLS free. L’Oreal’s new cleansing conditioner has been a good SLS product for me.

    • Amiee says:

      SLS free* I seem to have caught the typo bug from the above poster :-P

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amiee,

      What sulfate-free products do you like? I’m making a list of items to check out. :)

      • Amiee says:

        I like the L’Oreal cleansing conditioner since its a one step product. The Organix brand also makes good SLS free shampoos and you can usually find one for your hair type. I have yet to try some higher end brands but if you do let us know! I’m still looking for my HG SLS free product! :)

  4. Cassy says:

    This is one of my favorite LUSH shampoos, solely for the scent. Actually the only reason I use any LUSH shampoos is the scent (none of them seem to do anything for my hair) I don’t avoid SLS or -cones honestly. After months worth of trials taking one or the other (or both) out of my routine, my hair was actually feeling worse off.

  5. mn says:

    I use a bar soap shampoo (super high in shea butter) to was my kinky curly hair and I swear it’s the best. Of course, I use conditioner afterward. I think anything marketed as a shampoo implies that you need a conditioner afterward.
    I would be interested in knowing how long this bar lasts (cause 10 bucks is a bit steep for shampoo).
    PS- I consider you gals that work at Lush to be so lucky, it always smells so nice there!

    • Karen says:

      Hi MN,

      I barely have to use any of it to get really good foam on my shoulder-length hair. I don’t wash my hair every day, so I’m guessing for me it would be two to three months.

    • Melody says:

      I used to use it and it lasted me about three months per bar…and my hair is about three feet long. I only washed it every other day though.

  6. Rads says:

    I love the smell of this one, but it doesn’t do anything for my already dry hair…:( I like Trichomania and Jungle and Retread conditioners…and on days when I do an oil treatment before a wash, I Love Juicy..
    Rads recently posted … Snapshot Love! A Simple Lunch

  7. Reena says:

    Informative post about SLS. Regarding this I don’t have anything against it, but what matters to me most is how the shampoo works on my hair. Even if it has contents like this, I just made sure to have a follow up of organic treatment to keep my my hair rejuvenated. Take it for instance, after a shampoo, during weekends I apply natural coconut milk and it really has great effects. I highly recommend this technique.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Reena,

      Question for you. Do you leave the coconut milk in for a while and then rinse it out? Or do you apply it to your hair after drying, like with a spray bottle?

  8. Katrina says:

    I use to work for Lush and love these little guys. I think they are great but wouldnt say not to use conditioner after it. I love the NEW and Jumping Juniper bar as I have oily hair.
    I am glad you posted about SLS great info!

  9. Alyssa Grace says:

    one of my favorite products at all time. i fell in love with this when i was working at LUSH.

  10. Melody says:

    I’ve never believed that SLS causes cancer because I haven’t seen convincing scientific evidence that leads to that conclusion, but I tend to avoid it because it can be harsh and it makes your dye job last for less time. I’ve found out that the question of whether SLS is harsher than other surfactants is actually rather complicated. It depends on the rest of the formula apparently and there are a lot of factors. This bar has a lot of lovely butters in it so I’d think that might compensate. I actually used godiva for about a year. I stopped because my hair was dryer but of course that could have been because of my conditioner or any number of reasons. It does smell dee-vine!

  11. Alli says:

    I love the lush bar shampoos but that cute little tin is just IMPOSSIBLE. I see a lot of lush employees, and lush fans in the comment section – do any of you have a better suggestion for containers than the tin? it’s too snug around the bar and after a wash or two that sucker is in there to stay.

    • Gina says:

      I put a ribbon inside mine, so when the bar is gummy and sticking to the bottom I just pull on the ribbon and it pops right out! I also like to leave the lid off to let it dry between showers (make sure to remove it from the shower though!) :)

  12. Andrea P. says:

    I was puzzled when I first saw that ingredient as one of the first on my container of Big shampoo, wondering how such a “big, bad” thing (as it’s made to be a lot of places online anyway) like that could sneak into a product made by such a company like Lush. I haven’t hopped on the no-parabens bandwagon, nor the anti-SLS one though and continue to use it. Anyway, I am definitely interested in picking one of these types of bars up for travel!

  13. BeccaTheCyborg says:

    As far as SLS goes, all I know for certain is that it’s a short trip to the Itch District of Eczema Town for me. Had skin issues (like, scarring, no sleep for nights on end) all my life until I ditched SLS and its relatives. Which sucks, because every foamy-type Lush thing is now off the table for me. I loved Godiva! Well, the smell. My dyed hair was not fond. So now I’m sort of an involuntary hippie when it comes to products.

    • Chelsea says:

      same here! I usually stick to SLS free things to avoid the awful scalp itchiness. Face washes with SLS or SLES are even worse!

    • Katie says:

      Same here – I always wondered why my scalp was BRIGHT red (like lobster sunburn red!) and painful after shampooing, and the allergist confirmed that SLS and I do not get along. :/

    • Hannah says:

      I’m in the same boat. SLS shampoos make my scalp itch and my dry hair as frizzy as hell, and SLS body washes give me eczema all over!

      I never had even heard the cancer rumor. I think most consumers in this day in age avoid SLS because it is so drying and irritating. Although there seems to have been some mass anti-SLS marketing in the past, I think consumers now have better information and are demanding better products, which is why so many brands offer SLS-free shampoos, body washes, and face cleansers.

  14. Gina says:

    As far as I know, there is nothing linking SLS to cancer. In my years studying biochemistry and nutrition, most of my education has centred around the understanding that the media distorts research and how to effectively reverse all that brain-washing! Oy!

    As for shampoo, my FAVOURITE is Karma Komba! The scent, the detangling action, the adorableness of it all. Sigh. :) It’s one of my must-haves!!

    Gina

  15. musical says:

    The major problem with SLS/SDS type stuff is that these are very harsh detergents! But how harsh they can be-well, that depends on how much amount/concentration is present in the said product. Personally, I don’t care much-unless I color my here, in which case i gravitate towards kinder, gentler products ;).

    The solid shampoo bars smell really good, but I never felt comfortable enough with them to use these on a regular basis. Not to mention that they turn really gooey :(. But yes, the fragrance is yummy!

    • musical says:

      PS: Karen, what are you favorites from Lush?

      I love their toners (Eau Roma Water and Tea Tree Toner), Ro’s Argan (works as a regular body butter just as well, and you use much, much less-a Lush representative told me), their fresh masks (Oatifix, Ayesha, The Sacred Truth and BB seaweed-Oatifix is a must in winter), aaaaaaand their shower gels!

      Oh yes, the shower gels are a permanent fixture in my shower, so luxurious! I have tried (and loved) most of their shower gel scents-i even grew to like Snow Fairy ;).

  16. G says:

    Hi Karen,

    I have been using shampoo bars for 2 years. I never ever use Lush due to the concentration of yucky ingredients. My hair has never looked better due to my all natural regime.

    Here is a video I made on “the no shampoo” routine which includes the shampoo bars I use. I have gotten maybe thousands of people started on the regime:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KP72wc_-QM

  17. Ale says:

    Hah, timely post. I love the Lush shampoo bars, they are super handy to carry to the gym or during travel (yes, save that precious ziploc bag space!). I do find I need to use conditioner afterwards. I like the jasmine scent, but whoa, it is strong. Washed my hair with it on Saturday, and I have washed my hair afterwards with a different shampoo every day, and while going to the gym today, I could smell the intense jasmine scent while working up a sweat. Not a bad thing to smell, but wow, talk about a strong staying power.

    A few things that could be improved
    - The Lush tin can is pretty much useless – the bar just gets stuck there and is impossible to get out. I use a regular bar soap plastic case, and works much better (although yes, it is bigger)
    - While the pieces of dried flowers smell nice and are pretty to look at, they are a pain to wash off fine curly hair. My boyfriend has spotted pieces of flowers in my hair after shower, ugh. The lavender scent one is a particularly bad offender.

  18. Humph. See, this is why I’m just not very enthusiastic about Lush. I avoided it for years and years because I always sneeze nonstop after being in the shop for about 10 minutes. A while ago I walked in because I had heard so many great things about Lemony Flutter, and my hands could always use a bit of extra help. I dislike the scent (when you do lemon wrong it smells like a cleaning product), but since people swear it works and it wasn’t expensive, I got it. Went through the ingredient list later and found parabens…

    I’m not dead set against parabens. I just prefer not to use products that contain them. Especially when it comes to a brand that tries to look all “natural,” frankly speaking I’m just a bit disappointed.
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Chanel Summertime de Chanel is All about Subtle Beauty: Part 2 Luminous Bronzing Powder in Sable Rose

  19. Advah says:

    I’m with Sunny on the parabens issue. As for the SLS, I’m personally very much against it – check your dishwashing liquid ingredients and you’ll see it features at the top of the list. So between that kind of detergent and the amount of alcohol in that shampoo, it’s very much not one for me!!

    Now I know Lush doesn’t claim to be all 100% natural, but the impression they’re trying to give is that of natural and good for you/gentle products – so that’s rather disappointing.

  20. Kim says:

    This is timely because I was just thinking about 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 formulas this morning (and thinking I was a bit of a hair snob because I’d never use one on my hair). I was also thinking how addicted I am to surfactants. It might be changing with the younger generation but, even though I know it’s not true, I still equate lots of suds and foam with clean.

    Nice job with the SLS and SLES info, btw. We get consumer calls from people who don’t know the difference and even someone who said our company was intentionally trying to give them cancer with our bath products. I think a lot of companies have options and most customers who are concerned about ingredients will read labels. That said, it’s more difficult and more expensive to formulate with all natural ingredients so people should expect to pay more, which isn’t very popular. :)

  21. Nina says:

    My hesitation with shampoo and conditioner in one products is that my hair is really prone to tangling and I hate untangling it …. I feel like ill go bald before im done. I really need separate s & c products, and also need the conditioner to be a bit richer than the shampoo. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nina,

      Me too, le sigh.

      I’m always having to deal with tangles! Have you ever tried brushing your hair quickly before getting in the shower? I find it helps reduce the knots a little.

      • Nina says:

        I think it doesnt help that I have to (its in my brain, I know) was my hair everyday. Also, what’s weird is there is only one tangle prone area and its right by my part.

        I usually have to wait for the cats to finish eating their breakfast (so that no one steals anyone else’s food… ) so I use that time to brush my hair. I use a Denman brush w/ a combo of natural and synthetic bristles (my el cheapo version of a Mason Pearson brush!) …

        In the shower, I also have a Tangle Teezer and I run that through my hair while im conditioning it. It really helps.

  22. ricky blue says:

    The thing about SLS is it can be really irritating and drying to the skin, as many people, including myself, are sensitive to it. In fact, in toothpaste it gives me canker sores so I just avoid it whenever I see it. Ironically, the only mainstream toothpaste that doesn’t give me canker sores also contains SLS and that’s the one product I use that contains it. I guess it really does depend on the rest of the formula.

    On the subject of sodium laureth sulfate, I’ve always read that it was gentler than SLS and it’s in a couple of the sensitive skin facial cleanser I use. I’ve never had any trouble with them, but I guess that might go back to the overall formula of the products.

    I thought I’d mention as well that the cetearyl alcohol in this product is not the kind of alcohol you usually think of. It’s actually an emollient so it’s kind of the opposite of what you think of when you hear alcohol. The things that bother me about this product are all the SLS and the proportion of perfume. I’d tend to think that a product with that many oils shouldn’t need any additional fragrance, especially that high in the ingredients list.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ricky Blue,

      Thanks for the info about cetearyl alcohol. That’s very interesting.

      You seem to know a lot about ingredients! I take it you’re a skin care person.

      • ricky blue says:

        I have dry, sensitive skin and I’m kind of OCD so you can see how that makes for exciting cocktail party chatter about cetearyl alcohol ;)

  23. corallista says:

    I’ve been meaning to try out a Lush Hair product since a long time now, its time I did! I don’t think I’ll go for this though since my hair’s dry and frizzy, will probably try Retread!

  24. LPunkt says:

    I have already tried 5 Lush shampoos: Trichomania, Blonde, Godiva, Seanik and Karma Kombo. I especially like Seanik and Karma Kombi. Both smell amazing and leave my hear super shiny, nice and curly when dried in the sun :)

  25. breyerchic04 says:

    I use the Lush New Shampoo bar, not because I lose hair but because it smells SOOO good with their American Cream conditioner. I just love having fewer bottles around the shower.

  26. Courtney says:

    My all-time favorite LUSH shampoo bar (the Blonde) was discontinued but I wish they would bring it back. It was awesome! I like Godiva too but I can’t use it too often. The sulfates fade my color pretty fast. I tend to alternate between shampoos that have sulfates and those that don’t. If I only use non sulfate shampoos my hair tends to get too oily but if I use sulfates my hair gets too dry and my color fades. I tend to wash my hair with whatever it calls for on that particular day.

    As for Lush products, I’ve tried Jungle but didn’t really like it. I love their bath bombs and the shower jellies are great in the summer. I’m also in love with the Tuca Tuca massage bar (I use it like a solid perfume).

  27. kiwikiwidragon says:

    Sulfates and non-saponified surfactants give me dermatitis. I fall into the “small” percentage that has reactions to them. I use real soap and sulfate free shampoo and have for years and years. I also use sulfate/fluoride free toothpaste. I personally would love to see LUSH make more real soap and less detergent bars or soap bars boosted up with sulfates.

  28. Jane says:

    I thought that there were reasonable concerns about what sulfates do to the environment; somehow I missed the cancer-causing urban legend.

  29. Erika says:

    Interesting info about the SLS, thank you Karen. I didn’tknow about the cancer and environmental effects but the beauty effects of SLS free products are working for me.

    My hairdresser got me onto SLS free when I had my hair dyed and got the INOAR german brush treatment because she said that SLS free products preserve both the the colour and the volume reduction effect of the treatment.

    She also said that SLS free products are great for people who swim in salt water as it lifts the salt from the hair and protects it from drying out and going brassy.

    I use Paul Mitchell’s wild ginger range and my sister (who lives by the beach) uses Pureology and her hair looks fantastic now. I’ve also found that my eczema prone skin has benefitted hugely from changing to SLS free products for face and body.

  30. Elle says:

    I tried this years ago, and it made my hair itch like crazy. Too bad, since I loved the scent :( I hadn’t heard that about SLS either.

  31. Quinctia says:

    Have to say that I’ve NEVER heard the cancer rumor thing–the reason why most folks that avoid sulfates avoid them is that it’s a recipe for a harsher cleanser than most people need on their skin and hair. Whether it causes dermatitis, or it makes your curly hair go nuts, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid it as an ingredient.

    When switching over to products that my sensitive nose would like, I basically eliminated SLS and silicone from my hair care incidentally. I will say that my scalp hardly ever itches anymore and (as an every-other-day hair washer) I never seem to be too oily on day two after a shampoo, either. It did take some trial and error to find a conditioner with a good formula, as my hair is very prone to tangling, but I recently reviewed a shampoo and conditioner that were an SLS/silicone-fest, and the conditioner was the worst I’d ever used in my life…so I think that’s a danger with any category of conditioner, finding one that works.

  32. Stephanie C says:

    I adore Lush. Love the concept of the solid shampoos but found that it stripped my color in no time. We are talking 3 weeks – color stripped! Eeek! Not good.

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