Perfumer: According to Fragrantica, Emma Dick is the perfumer on both.
Size: 0.2 oz.
Base: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Candelilla Wax.
Natural or Mixed Media: Mixed Media. The ingredients for both perfumes list the generic catch-all “fragrance” and multiple essential oils and natural isolates.
Fragrance Description by the Brand: from the product listings on the official US website:
Shade: “Made with jojoba oil, this solid perfume is perfect for on-the-go adventures. Gorgeous essential oils include sandalwood oil, which is extracted from protected and sustainable trees and blended in to give this fragrance its warm and woody note, while olibanum and guaiacwood oils round it out with a little grounding and a little floral, so its scent on skin is just a little different, but oh-so-perfect on everyone.”
Junk: “You know the old saying: one person’s junk is another’s treasure. If that’s the case, then this solid, sweet and herbal perfume might be just the thing you’ve been searching for. Invigorating citrus notes of Sicilian lemon and green mandarin oils put pep in your step and sunshine in your soul, while grounding and cozy elements of rosemary and sage make you feel right at home. A final intriguing blackcurrant fragrance rounds things out, giving a sweet twist to an otherwise earthy-clean scent.”
Notes: Shade has notes of sandalwood, olibanum (aka frankincense) and guaiacwood. Junk has notes of Sicilian lemon, green mandarin, rosemary, sage and blackcurrant.
Longevity: Shade lingered for four to five hours. Junk lasts about four hours. Average-to-decent longevitiy for a solid.
Sillage: The sillage on both solid perfumes is intimate, fading to a skin scent after a couple hours.
Fragrance category: Shade is a woody amber. Junk is an aromatic fruity.
The experience: I believe I’ve said this before (maybe only on Instagram), but it bears repeating: if you are new to solid fragrances, the availability and price of Lush solids make them a great starting point. If you already have a favorite Lush scent, try it in a solid. I have found some Lush scents perform best in one format or the other. Breath of God and Karma seem to lose some of their top notes and complexity in the solid formats, whereas I find American Cream more beautiful in the solid format. If powerhouses Lust or Goddess were a bit too much in the liquid format, they may be more wearable for you as a solid.
Shade and Junk both work well in the solid format. I feel the solid brings out the creamier tones in Shade, as it does with American Cream, and ratings on the Lush USA site are higher for the Shade solid than the liquid. Junk has some harsh medicinal tones in the liquid, and while those soften over time, we don’t have to wait for that with the solid format–that’s our starting point. The Junk solid also has a higher rating on the Lush website than the liquid.
Shade is a pleasant, easy-to-wear fragrance, but I don’t find myself reaching for it too often. It’s cozy to the point of being a bit boring, like a pile of sweet sawdust–soft, light, nothing you can really grab on to. The brand’s description of the scent suggests they may have found it a bit boring, too. “Perfect for on-the-go adventures” and “just a little different, but oh-so-perfect on everyone” don’t really tell us much about the fragrance. They’ve clearly tried to enliven a lazy comfort scent with busy adspeak. Also, there’s a pronounced lavender floral note in the opening and a dash of something sweet–vanilla? tonka bean?–both of which are important parts of the fragrance experience, but the brand chose not to mention these and instead emphasized the sustainably-harvested sandalwood, which is not really a dominant note in the fragrance composition. All that being said, I like Shade, even if it’s “oh-so-perfect on everyone” because it’s oh-so-ordinary. There’s nothing wrong with a crowd-pleaser. It’s a safe choice for office wear or for sharing close quarters, and would make a nice gift for people who dislike strong fragrances.
Junk is the opposite of Shade. This one will not be everyone’s taste, but it’s a love for me. It’s the more interesting of the two fragrances I’m reviewing today, but it’s not a safe blind buy and may not be office-safe if you work with people who are sensitive to fragrances. Whether you like the scent or not, Junk will awaken your senses and put some pep in your step. As with Shade, the brand emphasizes all the notes that are least important in the fragrance’s performance. To my nose, Junk is 85% a blackcurrant perfume, with 12% herbal/medicinal tones that help neutralize the “cat pee” aspects of blackcurrant and maybe 3% citrus aromas. The medicinal notes almost replicate the tingle I feel when I hold a pot of Vick’s VapoRub under my nose. If you enjoyed the realistic blackcurrant aromas in Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince or Byredo’s Mixed Emotions, but found the cat pee tones unpleasant, Junk may hit the sweet spot for you. (Its price point in comparison to those two doesn’t hurt, either.)
Occasion(s): Both seem like daytime/casual scents to me.
Season(s): Junk works well in any season, but its juicy greens are especially pleasant for Spring and Summer. Shade’s sweet sawdust works best in the warmer temps of Summer and early Autumn.
Gender considerations (Note: I include this information for people who may find it valuable, though I believe all fragrances are unisex and you should wear what you love): Both scents are unisex.
Price: As of the date of publication, $15.50 for Shade and $14.50 for Junk. Both offer good bang for the buck.
Availability: Lush fragrances cycle in and out of stock. I purchased Shade last October and the scent is still available on the website. I received both Goddess and Junk solids in my stocking at Christmas. Junk is still available in liquid and solid perfume, but Goddess has disappeared. If you miss either fragrance this time around, check the Lush site periodically–they may cycle in again in another season. Lush solids are also widely available on the usual secondary market sites like eBay and Mercari.
All images by me.