Lush Tender is the Night Massage Bar ~ scented body product review

Lush Tender is the Night Massage Bar

In early February of last year, I stopped at a Lush boutique to try out the limited edition products for Valentine's Day 2013. I was intrigued by an item called Tender is the Night, but I decided not to purchase or review it because it would be gone in a week or so; what was the point? Just two weeks ago, I noticed that Lush had re-released this product. When a sales associate cheerfully informed me that it was now part of the year-round collection, I pounced. I needed a little late-winter pick-me-up, anyway!

The new-and-improved Tender is the Night massage bar is oval-shaped with a pink floral ornament, rather than heart-shaped as it was last year, and supposedly it has an improved formula with a new "aerated" texture. My memory might be playing tricks on me, but I think its fragrance has also been adjusted. I remember last year's version smelling strongly of jasmine, like Lush's hot-pink Lust bar soap. According to the current description on the Lush website, the original name for Tender is the Night's scent blend was "Vanilla Orchid." That would make sense, because this fragrance is a balance of gourmand and floral notes. The vanilla is reminiscent of real vanilla beans, the ylang ylang is rubbery-sweet, and the jasmine is creamy (and not particularly indolic).

If you like your jasmine perfumes and body products to smell somewhat heady and animalic, you might not care much for Tender is the Night. If, on the other hand, you think you'd like something that smells like vanilla custard with a few white flower petals sprinkled on top, you should give this item a sniff. As usual, Lush combines natural and synthetic fragrance ingredients, so the scent is vivid and long-lasting. I use this massage bar like a solid lotion, just applying it directly to arms and legs with a few firm strokes, then rubbing the residue into the skin. The base for this product is primarily murumuru butter and shea butter, and it actually sinks in pretty easily. The fragrance lingers for an hour or two, or longer if I apply generously.

One last point: you can probably guess that this product's name is part of its appeal for me. Lush says the name is "inspired by Blur’s song 'Tender' and 1920’s author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name." That may well be, but I'd also like to point out that Fitzgerald borrowed the phrase from the English Romantic poet John Keats. Have you read Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale" lately? If not, you should! I'm going to re-read it right now, after scenting myself again with this dreamy jasmine-vanilla-ylang treat.

Lush Tender is the Night Massage Bar sells for $11.95. For purchasing information, see the listing for Lush under perfume houses.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. HemlockSillage says:

    Thank you, Jessica, for this review, and for the link to the Keats poem. If this product could smell like that poem makes me feel, I’d buy it in a heartbeat! This is what I love about perfume–art, literature, beauty and fun people, all tumbled together. Bless you!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, HS! This product doesn’t *quite* live up to the poem — what could, really? that bar is HIGH! — but on its own, it’s very enjoyable!

  2. kate says:

    I live in the UK so we have LUSH shops in lots of our big towns and cities and they are great places to go….you are welcomed to try any of the products – they have lots of testers and I love lots of their products. One of my favourites is a thick and creamy moisturiser called British Nanny. It smells fabulous for starters just like one my mum used to use in the 60’s by Yardley called Vitamin Skin Cream….thick with lanolin and in the winter it just made your skin glow….its the same with British Nanny….I have no problem with lanolin, its a great natural emollient for winter skin! Back to Lush – their perfumes are lovely too altho I’m not so keen on their new ones with the brightly colured labels with whacky names ….a bit on the raw side for me! But thankyou for reviewing this Jessica. I’ll be visiting a Lush shop this weekend in Chester which is fairly near me.

    • Jessica says:

      Ooh, I don’t think we have British Nanny! I’d buy it just for the name. I recently had a sample of the Skin’s Shangri-La facial cream, and I did like it. In the perfume section, I love a few of the older ones and a few of the newer ones — but you’re right, the new range is definitely more hippie-earthy.

  3. poodle says:

    Jackson Browne has a song called Tender is the Night. That’s the first thing I thought of.
    I have only ever tried one product by Lush. It was some kind of conditioner. I don’t have a store close by so I haven’t really been bitten by the bug to try all their stuff.

    • Jessica says:

      You know, most of their haircare doesn’t work for me, even though many of the hair products smell wonderful! I do better with the hand and body lotions, the massage bars, certain soaps, the lip balms, certain perfumes… I guess I have enough favorites to keep me busy!

  4. 50_Roses says:

    This was probably my favorite (as far as scent) of this year’s Valentine’s Day products. The lip gloss and the other massage bar were just too sweet, the shower gel was rather meh, and the soap just didn’t appeal to me. I haven’t yet gotten into their massage bars, so I haven’t tried it, but I probably will eventually.

    • Jessica says:

      I like the Kiss lip gloss, but it *is* quite sweet. I think I’m more a fan of the Christmas products, in general… but Tender is the Night obviously did win me over!

  5. scentfromabove says:

    I am trying really hard to get into Lush products, but the stores are so overwhelming for me. Maybe this would be the perfect product to help me break the ice. I love the smell of vanilla, so I will probably give this product a try.

    • Jessica says:

      I know what you mean — it’s a real barrage of scents when you walk in! The Vanillary perfume is also nice, and you could try out the Vanilla Dee-Lite lotion while you’re there, too!

    • 50_Roses says:

      Am I the only one not bothered by the sillage from the Lush shops? It is certainly is quite potent, and it does make me sneeze a bit for the first minute or so after I go into one of their stores, but I rather like it. I think it may be because there is a significant percentage of natural ingredients in their fragrances.

      • melissa says:

        I love the Lush smell! Orange and vanilla and eccentric aunts. I have a box of bath bombs making my bathroom smell like a Lush shop right now and it is divine.

Leave a reply