Thursday, November 06, 2008

Product Review: Bliss Travel 6-Pack

I promise this is my last post remotely related to my weekend in San Diego. One of the highlights of that trip were (was?) the W Hotel's toiletries. The W provides Bliss products in its baths. More specifically, the Bliss Travel 6-Pack consists of bliss fabulous foaming face wash, bliss lemon + sage soapy sap, bliss lemon + sage body butter, bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo, bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse, and bliss lemon + sage soap slab. Following I share my reviews of each of these six products.

FYI: All of these products are available in larger (like around 8 oz.) sizes on W Hotels' online shopping extravaganza or directly from Bliss.

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database handily contains all of these Bliss products, which isn't terribly surprising given that Bliss's website includes product ingredients. How refreshingly forthright! To put Bliss's products' scores from The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database, which in the case of these six products range from 4 to 7, in perspective, please recall from the post in which I first explored Skin Deep that Fresh Repair and Restore Face Balm, scored a 7, while Seikisho Mask White and Method Hand Wash Refill Sweet Water both scored 5s. Clinique's repairwear intensive night cream received the best score of all the products I've reviewed, a 2, which is an even better score than my favorite night cream of all the night creams: Kiehl's Abyssine Cream +, which scored a 3. Conversely, the worst score of a reviewed product, an 8, which falls into the high hazard category, went to La Prairie's Cellular Night Repair Cream.

bliss fabulous foaming face wash
This is the only product in this review that is not scented with "lemon + sage," which I will discuss in more detail below. Its scent reminds me of bubblegum.

Skin Deep gives bliss fabulous foaming face wash a 5, which falls into the moderate hazard category. 60% of facial cleansers have lower concerns.

While in San Diego, I felt the bliss fabulous foaming face wash might have dried out my skin a little more than my usual Clinique Step 1 Facial Bar Soap for Oily skin. But the climate in San Diego was so different from home that I wasn't sure whether weather might be to blame. What better way to answer that question than take my Bliss Travel 6-Pack on a four-city east coast tour? Just for you, Gentle Reader. Just to provide you with a thorough review of the beauty products I squirreled away at a fancy hotel, I travel for ten days by plane, train, and perhaps even automobile. My sacrifice in the name of your product knowledge knows no bounds.

After nine days using the bliss fabulous foaming face wash in lieu of my usual Clinique Step 1 Facial Bar Soap for Oily Skin, my skin was not dried out at all. So I blame my first impression entirely on the climate of San Diego. I did have one minor blemish during the nine days, but I think it was in process prior to starting the bliss fabulous foaming face wash regime. Notably, the blemish had ebbed by the end of the nine days without any extraordinary measures, like blemish cream. Additionally, usually by the end of a long trip my face cries for exfoliation. But I felt fresh faced all the way to the end. Finally, of all the bliss travel products I used on the trip, the fabulous foaming face wash was the most efficient. I hardly used half of one travel-size bottle. So on all points, a big thumbs up for bliss fabulous foaming face wash.

bliss lemon + sage soapy sap
I LOVE the "lemon + sage" scent of the following five products. But my super-sensitive sniffer, a.k.a. the husband, HATES it. Thankfully, I didn't take him on my east coast tour, so I didn't have to hear him complain. But he did raise some concerns while we were in San Diego. Of course, the scent of the bath products was not nearly as disturbing as the scent clearly intentionally pumped into the lobby of the W Hotel, which closely resembles Nair. I get it, there's a beach theme, women use depilatory before they go to the beach, but the stench of the bathroom after de-hairing triggers memories of chemical burns, not summer lovin'.

But back to the bath products. Bliss lemon + sage soapy sap is shower gel. Whichever marketing wahoo thought "soapy sap" was a hip alternative to "shower gel" should suffer a lifetime ban from product naming.

Skin Deep gives bliss lemon + sage soapy sap a whopping 7, which falls into the high hazard category. This is the only product of the Bliss six to pose a high hazard. 94% of body wash/cleansers have lower concerns.

Over my nine-day test drive I found bliss lemon + sage soapy sap lathered nicely in three different water conditions (i.e. in the showers at the three different places I mooched a place to sleep). It did not dry out my skin and left me feeling clean without being so fragranced that anyone noticed. Also, at home I use one of those net ball scrubby things every day, so usually by the end of a long trip I feel like I need to exfoliate my entire body. But bliss lemon + sage soapy sap kept me feeling just as well exfoliated on day nine as day one. Quite impressive, though I wonder if I was basically giving myself a full-body chemical peel considering the Skin Deep high hazard rating. Finally, the soapy sap was second only to the fabulous foaming face wash in terms of efficiency. I didn't quite finish a whole sample sized bottle in nine days. So if you don't care about the things Skin Deep cares about and you don't mind encouraging bad product naming, bliss lemon + sage soapy sap might be right for you.

bliss lemon + sage body butter
Skin Deep gives bliss lemon + sage body butter a 6, which falls into the moderate hazard category. 75% of moisturizers have lower concerns.

Unlike other products labeled butters (you know who you are, Body Shop Mango Body Butter), bliss lemon + sage body butter applied smoothly and soaked into my skin, leaving it smooth and soft rather than oily. I was slightly concerned that the smell would overpower my hosts, but the scent doesn't actually have much staying power. I mean that as a compliment. It was certainly more effective than most moisturizers in maintaining my silky smoothness, but I don't think I'll be switching from my usual Lubriderm in my daily routine. That stuff works magic on my elbows. bliss lemon + sage body butter didn't undo any of that magic, but its comparative lack of spreadability caused me to go through a number of sample sized tubes on my nine-day trip. I think I get more bang for my buck from Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin. Both of them rate 6 over at Skin Deep. So I wouldn't kick bliss lemon + sage body butter out of my travel kit, but I wouldn't go out of my way to integrate it into my daily beauty regimen.

bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo
Skin Deep gives bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo a 5, which falls into the moderate hazard category. While a 5 doesn't usually have me singing from the hilltops, compared to other shampoos, it's actually a fairly low score. 31% of shampoos have lower concerns.

My hair is really picky about shampoo, but it loved bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo. Like the bliss lemon + sage soapy sap, the bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo lathered nicely in three different water conditions. My hair is about 18 inches long at the moment (my desperate need for a haircut could be the subject of a whole different post . . . or perhaps an epic poem at this point) and crazy thick, but the bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo was undaunted. Usually when I travel I go through multiple sample sized bottles of shampoo. I just finished one bottle on this nine day trip. That says something about the awesome lather bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo generates. Also, usually after I shampoo, my hair is on the verge of dreadlocks, but not so after bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo. And this trip I forgot my brush AND my comb. Without combing or brushing my hair would normally dread up underneath at the nape. But not this time. And here's a little SAT analogy for you:

bliss lemon + sage soapy sap:my skin::bliss fabulous foaming face wash:my face::bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo:my scalp.

What does that mean? My scalp felt as clean and without buildup on day nine as it did on day one. I'm pretty content with my Kiehl's All-Sport Everyday Shampoo, but after nine days with bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo, I'm considering a switch.

bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse
Skin Deep gives bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse a 5, which falls into the moderate hazard category. 52% of conditioners have lower concerns.

My hair is fickle when it comes to conditioner, too. But it loved bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse. After shampooing, I applied a relatively small amount, combed it through, and let it sit for about five minutes. It rinsed out well in three different water conditions. My hair felt soft and smooth without feeling coated. It didn't tangle or dread at the nape. As I mentioned above in reviewing bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo, I experienced no scalp buildup over nine days. Also like the bliss lemon + sage supershine shampoo, I usually use a ton of conditioner when I travel, but I used only one bottle of bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse on this nine day adventure. I am pretty happy with Kiehl's Hair Conditioner and Grooming Aid Formula 133, but after nine days with bliss lemon + sage conditioning rinse, I'm considering a switch.

bliss lemon + sage soap slab
Skin Deep gives bliss lemon + sage soap slab a 4, which falls into the moderate hazard category. While this rating is the lowest of these six products, relative to other bar soaps, it's actually a fairly high score. 70% of bar soaps have lower concerns.

This is the only product I didn't take on my east coast tour. Partly, it's redundant to the bliss lemon + sage soapy sap. Partly, I don't have a soap box. But, most review-relevantly, in our room at the W Hotel in San Diego, a moss green trail of slime developed from the soap dish, across the counter, and into the sink. Not to mention the white soap dish came to look like a swamp. OK, once you recognize the bar of soap itself is moss green the slime trail and soap dish swamp were explained, but still off-putting. Of course both trail and swamp were easily removed with a washcloth. That turned the white hotel washcloth moss green, which was certainly convenient in terms of determining which wash cloths had been used and which were fresh. But as far as home use, much less as a guest in someone else's home, this lovely smelling, moss green bar of soap does not pass muster.

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