By Morwenna Kearns
Before trying Lush's 'solid sunscreen wash' I'd been in Tokyo for three months, a period that locals call spring but heat-shy Brits like me would normally deem a glorious summer. Mid-20s and sunny since the middle of April, I'd even spent a week in May lying on a beach (largely deserted – it was apparently still spring, after all).
So, plenty of opportunities to road-test The Sunblock from Lush (£8.95/100g). It's a clever-ish play on words because it comes in an actual solid block, like a bar of soap, that Lush instructs you to apply directly to skin in the bath or shower before rinsing off. I've found this is unnecessary: if it's warm enough for sunscreen, your body heat and the ambient temperature will probably be enough to melt it onto skin without dampening it first, which makes it much more convenient. It also seems like a bit of a waste to let it run down the plughole.
The bumph also says one-third of a bar is enough to cover your whole body, which at £9 a pop doesn't sound like great value. I obviously wouldn't advocate skimping on sun protection, but I think Lush is underselling itself again here. For everyday, city-living use – on the face, arms and chest, for instance – one bar actually lasted me several weeks. Even on a short beach holiday, with two average-sized people in swimwear re-applying fairly regularly, one bar was enough.
The Sunblock rates a whacking SPF30, is Vegan Society-approved and is made with lovely moisturising Fairtrade organic cocoa butter and organic sesame oil as well as calming calamine powder, soothing chamomile blue oil and balancing rose absolute.
There are downsides, namely that it probably looks a bit weird to rub a beige block all over your face in the park (TBH it looks a lot like cheese), and the minimal plastic-wrapper packaging could lead to messiness; it literally liquidised on the beach. A reviewer on the Lush website suggests cutting a bit off and keeping it in an empty lip balm tin for emergency applications, but I took to just carrying the whole thing around in a ziplock bag. I expect there are more glamorous solutions.
Most importantly, I pretty successfully avoided sunburn (there were some patches, especially after paddling in the sea – re-apply regularly, kids!) and remained as pasty as I'd been in February.