I've been meaning to write about this all-important subject in some sort of coherent way, and my brain isn't up to talking about anything more substantial today, so here goes. A few thoughts on the Lush-replacements I have sampled so far:
My order: 12 bath bombs, 5 bubble bars, one packet Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey bubbling milk bath
Total: $85.58 plus $12.95 shipping
Freebies received: one bath bomb (one free with every 12 you buy), one free bubble bar (leftover holiday bar thrown in free with order)
Recommended products: Home Sweet Home bath bomb, Queen Bee bubble bar
Not recommended: Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey bubbling milk bath
What I'll try next time: Charlotte's Web bath bomb, Sex on the Beach bath bomb, Mint Julep bath bomb...I'll probably just order bath bombs next time, there are SO many to try
Overall: The products were uniformly high quality, with the bath bombs being more satisfactory in general than the bubble bars (they're also cheaper, at $3.99 v. $4.95). Some of the scents were a bit off to me (the Wild Honey in particular), but some were very very nice (particularly the spicy and lovely Home Sweet Home). And the selection at Bubbles is HUGE, so I could easily try all new scents next time I order. The only real disappointment was the milk bath, which was way overpriced at $12.95 when it was really only enough for two baths (the small black bathtub it came in was really excellent, though).
Bonus: Bubbles offers a "Bath Bomb of the Month" club! For $22.95 per month, you/the lucky person to whom you gift a membership to this club get 4 six-ounce bombs delivered. While this is a fantastic idea, it doesn't work out when you do the math--at a cost of $3.99 each, four bath bombs are only worth $15.96, which means you are paying $6.99 for shipping on each order, which is pretty steep. Makes more sense to buy the bombs in bulk (buy 12 get 1 free!) and send them every month yourself.
My order: 11 bath bombs
Total: $44.40, free shipping with all orders over $40
Freebies received: None
Recommended products: Cherry Blossom bath bomb, Enchantment bath bomb
Not recommended: Little Things bath bomb
What I'll try next time: Cider Besider bath bomb, It's My Birthday Bath bomb, Boom Boom bath bomb
Overall: Fantasy Bath offers a truly different product than anyone else, at least as far as I know. Their bath bombs are a fizzy-bubbly-bath oil hybrid, and they are HUGE, good for at least two baths, which makes them very reasonably priced at $3.95-$4.25. Though I found their scents a little bit hit-or-miss (I really didn't like Little Things, or Currently Unavailable), the good ones were very good, and with reasonable prices and free shipping, I don't have to love everything.
Bonus: Fantasy Bath's immediate bonus is the free shipping, but they also sell their bath bombs by the 3 lb. bag of powder, rather than just the individual bomb, at a discount, which is great if there is a particular scent you can't get enough of.
Blue Wool Organics
My order: 1 jumbo bath bomb, 2 regular sized bath bombs, 12 pack "bath fizzies"
Total cost: $14.48 plus $11.25 shipping
Freebies: I got two giant sized bath bombs instead of the two regular sized ones I ordered, with a note from the proprietress saying she was out of the smaller ones so she'd included the large ones instead
Recommended products: cherry lemonade bath bombs
Not recommended: bath fizzies
What I'll try next time: I probably won't order again, but if I did, I'd try the body butter
Overall: The products from Blue Wool Organics are different than the other companies--they are organic and all-natural, so they aren't dyed and the scents aren't as strong. This is nice, but the wrapping is also minimal (wax paper), so several of the bombs arrived smashed, which was a bummer. Also, the shipping was extraordinarily expensive for what I got. Blue Wool Organics definitely strikes me as more of a hobby business than a real business, and the stock is always changing, so you can't guarantee you can get something you like again (for example, there are no Big Calm bath bombs available now). For those reasons, I probably won't order again.
Rainforest Soap Shack
I discussed this establishment in my last post. It's fantastic, my favorite so far, and I've already placed a second order.
Downtown Bath and Soap
My order: 2 bath ballistics, 2 bubble tarts
Total cost: $11.70 plus $6 shipping
Freebies received: several extra bubble tarts--there was a big shipping problem with this order (a postal service problem, not a problem with the company), and it was kindly
"made up to me" by including a bunch of free products
Recommended products: The "Detoxify" ballstic was nice, but left a lot of salt in the water
Not recommended: Nothing so far
What I'll try next time: If I make another order, I'll probably sample the bath melts and cupcake fizzy melts
Overall: Though it took forever for the shipping to work out and these products to actually arrive, they were quite nice when they did, and I was pleased to get so many freebies included. The bath tarts aren't quite as bubble producing as I'd like--it definitely take a whole one and not a half to have a good bath--but they're otherwise nice, and the bombs are as well (but again, use a whole one). Shipping was a little bit steep but not terrible. I think the biggest issue with my order from this shop was actually the things I picked to try, so I may order some different stuff (again, the stock is not constant) and try again.
Bonus: Downtown Bath and Soap sells something called a "Soap Kebab Sampler" for $5.50. It includes small pieces of six varieties of their soap (you don't get to specify which ones) so you can try them. I think that's very cute and a good idea.
Ranking of places tried so far:
1. Rainforest Soap Shack
2. Fantasy Bath
4. Downtown Bath and Soap
5. Blue Wool Organics