We live in a golden age of video games. And it’s not just because of the plethora of phenomenal games being made, the ever-growing number of players getting into the hobby, the several television and movie adaptations that are actually good, and the growing financial power of video games as a business. No. It’s partially because I can now go into Ulta and buy Xbox-themed nail polish, an Animal Crossing eyeshadow palette, and a Sonic the Hedgehog mud mask, all while smelling like Princess Peach.
Video game collaborations with beauty brands are all around us, bridging the gap between the stereotypical gamer and demographics who were previously overlooked. As someone who enjoys the challenge of perfecting my skincare routine almost as much as I enjoy taking down a From Soft boss, I love trying them out and seeing for myself which ones are actually worth the money. As such, I leapt at the opportunity to try out Lush’s new Super Mario Bros. line and leave some feedback. After a month of using six different products, I’ve finally reached a conclusion on which ones left me saying, “mama mia!” and which ones were a bit more, “mama mia…” So, letsago!
Princess Peach Shower Jelly
Though Lush’s official website clearly states this product is made with sweet orange oil, fresh peach infusion, grapefruit, seaweed, and several other natural ingredients, two words are all you truly need to understand this shower jelly’s scent and overall vibe: pink Starburst. As a pink Starburst girl myself, I was over the moon about this soap and its quality. The presentation is fun, the look and feel of it is so playful, and just a little bit of the Jell-O-like substance goes a long way. Its scent is sweet, citrusy, and flirty but doesn’t run into the problem of smelling strong, sugary, or artificial. In summation, I felt like Margot Robbie’s Barbie using it, and who doesn’t want that?
While Lush could have simply repurposed their Peachy bath bomb or gone with a basic peach-scented soap, I am so glad they went beyond that for gaming’s most iconic princess. You can tell they wanted to embody her rather than take the easy route, and I’m very happy to be able to channel that energy for myself.
Overall rating: 5/5 freshly baked cakes
Princess Peach’s note to Mario in Super Mario 64.
Bowser Shower Jelly
I am delighted to report that the Bowser shower jelly is also fantastic. It’s actually so fantastic that I’ve yet to decide if I prefer this soap or Peach’s more, so I’ve taken to rotating between the two depending on my mood. Whereas the Peach jelly, quite appropriately, makes me feel like a princess, the Bowser jelly makes me feel powerful–and perhaps a bit sexy, too?? While I originally thought it a bit strange to make this soap as sensual smelling as it is, I suppose “powerful and weirdly sexy” is an appropriate ode to Bowser and his most recent voice actor, Jack Black. But enough about my numerous, odd crushes.
The Bowser shower jelly has a bit of spice and bite to it that stems from its hypnotic combination of cinnamon, anise, cloves, orange oil, and patchouli oil. While I wish it lingered on the skin a bit longer (personally I recommend following it up with one of my favorite Lush lotions, Pansy or Karma Cream, to help with longevity), the initial scent is alluring and cozy, a perfect just-before-bed product. The formula is also fairly hydrating, and I give it props for being a decidedly gender neutral scent–everyone deserves to feel like the King of Koopas after a glass of mulled wine.
Overall rating: 5/5 hearty Bowser laughs
Question Block 2 In 1 Bath Bomb
So to address the most burning question, pun absolutely not intended: No, I don’t think this bath bomb looks like pee. Now, maybe if I had a bigger tub and the bomb were more diluted, that’d be a different story. As it stands now, however, the idea that anyone would find it pee-colored just makes me concerned for their overall hydration. That said, I still didn’t find the bomb all that aesthetically pleasing. Gold is an iffy color to shoot for with beauty products, and while there was no shortage of glitter, shimmer, and shine to the product, it didn’t feel “luxe” so much as it felt like strange, mustard-colored dishwater. On top of that, both the yellow pigment and glitter will stick to your body, so I wouldn’t recommend using this if you have any events coming up in which you can’t show up looking like a sallow Edward Cullen.
A picture of Edward Cullen aka you after this bath bomb.
Unfortunately, this is not where my criticism stops. This bath bomb is huge, and while that sounds like a plus, it simply makes for more material to crumble off and break. Though Lush did a genuinely fantastic job packaging everything, the bath bomb didn’t stand a chance against less-than-delicate delivery people and came to me in several pieces. This also ruined the biggest selling point of the nearly $20 bath bomb, which is the surprise soap in the middle. Rather than waiting for the block to slowly dissolve and reveal one of its six mystery colors and the power-up inside, I ended up awkwardly shoveling fragments of the bomb into the tub and placing my Fire Flower soap to the side. I will give the Question Block bath bomb some credit for being hydrating and a cool gimmick, but as a major Lush bath bomb enthusiast, it just didn’t cut it for me.
Overall rating: One sad mama mia
Gold Coin Soap
Out of everything included in the Lush x Super Mario Bros. collaboration, the Gold Coin soap feels, by far, like the safest choice–like the one product I could easily recommend to anyone because the chances of them enjoying it are pretty high. While it didn’t blow me away as much as the jellies, this bar is still an incredibly solid product with a lovely butterscotch scent and a good bit of lather and longevity to it. It could be a bit more moisturizing, sure, but it still met my established expectations for how your everyday bar soap feels.
However, this kind of “averageness” is also its downfall–there’s not much that sets this bar apart from many other bar soaps or anything that makes it feel uniquely Mario, other than its shape. But even that critique isn’t too much of a knock at it–every good collaboration needs that one easy-to-love product that offers a fun twist on an established favorite.
Overall rating: 4/5 weird Toad noises
Mario Shower Gel
Out of all the products I received, this one was easily the one I was most hesitant to use. I actually ended up texting my friend who used to work at Lush about the soap’s unique scent, and was shocked when they assured me that their Coca-Cola scented products were actually wildly popular and beloved by many–that they smelled a bit better on and were actually not as over-the-top as they might seem. With that knowledge in mind, I committed to the bit and decided to smother myself in the candy apple red gel and embrace the sweet-yet-warm fragrance of Coke–or Pepsi, if you’re more into that.
I’ll give the gel a few things: It smells like Coca-Cola, the scent lasts, the gel has a nice color and consistency, and I think picking a sort of blue-jeans, American classic scent was a really inspired choice for our blue-collar hero Mario. That said, smelling like soda just wasn’t it for me. I went to bed feeling like I had just come home from a bar where someone spilled their rum and Coke on me, and that’s not typically the before-bed vibe I go for. If you are the type of person who would eagerly purchase a Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker, or enjoys more one-of-a-kind scents, I suspect you might like this gel and be pleased with just how long that dark soda smell lasts.
Overall rating: 3/5 “Letsago”s
Luigi Shower Gel
Once again we have another case of “this scent was not made for me.” While the Luigi shower gel advertises itself as green apple-scented, all I could smell upon using it was freshly mowed grass. I suppose there was something a bit refreshing to the soap–a slight, springtime fruitiness that redeemed it a little, buried beneath the bits of torn up lawn. But for the most part, I just felt like my allergies were about to go haywire.
Luigi’s infamous stare down.
This one gets a few points for its Gooigi-inspired color and actually remembering Luigi exists, but I would have been a lot more impressed if the apple scent had come through a bit more.
Overall rating: 2/5 drive-by death stares