I’ll be honest and say whilst I love the look and principles of the Lush brand, I can’t walk into the shop without getting a migraine from the pungent fragrances.
Anyway, word of mouth recommendation is strong, so I decided to get one of these bars to try for myself. I soon found out that the bar is being discontinued (so if you can find it at your store, it will be the last of the stock). What do we do if we find something we like is discontinued? Why, we make it ourselves!
I only want the one, thanks
However I felt it was only fair, if I were to make a homage bar, to track down the original for comparison purchases, so after much searching I got hold of one for about £5:
Is this cleansing bar racially stereotyping South East Asians? Or does it spit in the face of political correctness? Did complaints from real life sweet Japanese girls cause it to be pulled off the shelves? Answers on a postcard, please.
My Bar, or should I say, our bar:
So, let’s start cookin’!
First: Let’s examine Lush’s Sweet Japanese Girl Ingredients list:
Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Palm Kernel Oil (Hydrogenated palm), Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis), Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus), Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum), Juniperberry Oil (Juniperus communis), Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), Perfume. Weight: 35g
I had most of the main ingredients in the house from my soaping supplies apart from Aduki Beans and Ground Almonds, so I bought these easily at Holland and Barretts (but you can get them from any Supermarket.)
Substitutions and Adaptations
I will change a few things on the way – Palm Kernel Oil and Juniperberry Oil because:
1. People are moving away from using Palm oil, including Lush themselves because of the effect it has on the rainforests. You can read about this , but I will be using Jojoba Oil instead.
2. I don’t have Juniperberry Oil in, and also the oil is an abortifacient (as in, it isn’t safe for pregnant women to use – not that I’m pregnant. Mother, put that phone DOWN).
It can also affect people who have kidney problems due to its nephrotoxic effects…I’ll just leave it out and replace it with good old Lavender Essential Oil, which has antibacterial properties.
3. I won’t use any perfume, Lavender should scent it just enough.
We are actually going up a notch because when I started making it I realized I didn’t have my normal Cocoa butter in so I am using Cacao butter which is even better quality, and I am using Virgin Coconut Oil which smells like heaven, if heaven was Barbados.
1. A pan and a pan or bowl to do on top (a bain marie)
2. A mould (can be ANYTHING, like a yoghurt pot, an empty tub, anything)
3. Grinder (coffee type)
5. Bowls and things
Ingredients (to make 4 x 35g bars = total weight 140g)
70g Cocoa Butter
40g Shea Butter
20g Coconut Oil
15g Jojoba Oil
1bsp Ground Almonds
1bsp Aduki Beans Ground (OR you can use salt/sugar)
2 drops of Lemon Oil
2 drops of Tea Tree Oil
2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
We need to grind out Aduki Beans. These are the dark particles we can see in Sweet Japanese Girl:
I’m not going to lie to you. Aduki Beans are very hard so are very difficult to grind down. To do it properly you need a coffee grinder, which can cost as little as £10 to buy. A normal blender and a pestle and mortar will work but will take a lot longer.
If you don’t want to do this you can use salt instead or some sugar as your scrub element BUT you need to add this towards the end of the procedure so it doesn’t dissolve.
Get your Aduki beans and grind them down in a grinder. If you use a blender it will take a lot longer to get into a powder texture:
It will start to break up…
It has a long way to go. (I kept grinding and then used a pestle and mortar too as I couldn’t find my stupid coffee grinder but I promise you, its effortless with a grinder).
When this is done you only need 1 tablespoon of the Aduki and Ground Almonds. You also crush your own Almonds but I am lazy hence the ready ground ones:
2. Get out the bain marie
Put in the butters and oils. The first thing to go in should be the Cocoa / Cacao butter, although I was a bit random in the video….
It takes quite a while to melt Cacao but stay with it. It will also completely smell chocolately good!
When everything is melted, take it off the heat. Add the almonds and aduki, add the drops of essential oils (this is all in the video!). In the end it smells (to me) like After Eight mints.
3. Pour into a Jug
Let it cool down a bit, especially if you are using your own mould. I am using a soap mould which is made of very robust plastic so I could pour it in right away but I’ll leave it for a little bit first.
Then we pour in, making sure we get the liquid in, then a spoonful of the scrub (since it settles on the bottom:
You can clean up any messy edges but its perfectly easy to cut off when it has settled.
4. Let it cool
This may take a little longer than expected – if it seems to be taking longer than 30 mins, put it in the fridge – it WILL solidify.
This was easy to press out of the mould but if you are worried about it, just spray a bit of oil in the mould before hand.
The result is quite a melty bar but its a harder texture than Sweet Japanese Girl, which I find a little bit too squidgy (I am guessing I used more Cocoa butter in mine – which is a hard butter, and they used more Coconut Oil or Shea Butter – both soft).
With both of these bars, because they have a lot of sticky butters, you will need to wash your face again after using them, or use a hot flannel to get rid of the residue.
The bar is obviously preservative free and quite natural, so it will spoil quicker than your average cleanser. In other words, if you make it – USE IT! I reckon it will be good for 6 months, which due to the very melty nature of the bar, is more than enough time to finish it.
Either way, I wouldn’t make a large 1kg batch unless I was giving them away to friends and family too to decrease the chance of it going off.
A reader requested a list of places to buy supplies. I seriously use eBay A LOT for supplies especially if I just need 100g of this and that.
Nevertheless, there are some other places I bought from for supplies in the UK:
Naming my bar
Its the Erocolle CaCao Meow Meow Cleansing Bar! aka. CCCMMCB, natch.
Note: Video is coming up, with lots of comedy paws…