When I attended the Hotter VIP Event a couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Lush, the most fragrant shop on the high street. Of course, I had heard of Lush before, it’s the shop that I have chosen to bypass whenever I have been in Queensgate Shopping Centre. Why did I bypass it? Because the aroma which floated out onto the concourse was so overpowering it put me off. As far as I was aware they were all about ‘natural bath bombs’ and since I’m not a fan of lingering in the bath, I decided Lush wasn’t for me but that was about to change.
Shortly after I began my role as a #QBlogger I began reading some of my fellow #QBlogger posts and was so inspired by fellow blogger Kat Rayment’s post on her visit to Lush that I decided I needed to pay them a visit, so I did.
But first, a little bit of history . . .
When Mark Constantine, a trichologist and Liz Weir, a beauty therapist met in a hair and beauty salon in Poole, Dorset over 20 years ago they could never have imagined where they would be today. Working together they decided to design their own range of natural hair and beauty products which they offered for sale to Anita Roddick to sell in her chain of shops, The Body Shop. Mark and Liz were the company’s largest supplier for over a decade.
After selling their formulas to The Body Shop they were forbidden from opening their own shop for five years so Mark and Liz set up an online retail business, Cosmetics-To-Go. It was a successful business venture but due to complications it eventually went into administration and the company, together with the name ‘Cosmetics-To-Go’ was sold.
Mark and Liz then joined forces with other Cosmetics-To-Go team members Mo Constantine, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves and spent the money they had on fruits and vegetables, creating new products and selling them, so Lush was born.
Lush today – get naked . . .
Today Lush is a booming business with over 90 shops in the UK and Ireland as well as 8 Spa Shops. Other than the aroma, one of the first things you’ll notice when you walk into a Lush shop is the lack of packaging. Obviously some items need packaging but there are soaps, bath bombs, bubble bars, massage bars, scrubs, shower smoothies, body butter and deodorants which are all completely naked so they produce #zerowaste.
It pays to recycle with Lush
The little black pots which provide packaging for those products that still need to be contained are all recyclable. For every 5 black pots that you take back to your local Lush store, you’ll receive a free, fresh face mask to say thank you. The little black pots will then be thoroughly cleaned and shredded at the Lush Green Hub in Dorset, made into pellets, heated and remoulded into new black pots.
My Lush experience
When I arrived at Lush I received a bubbly welcome from Jade. She asked if I had plenty of time to spend with them and when I told her I could spare a couple of hours she commented “great we can give you some little pamper treatments then”. Music to my ears!
I had asked Jade to show me their range of chemical free shampoo and hair care products. I explained that my hair is often dry at the ends and yet needs washing at the top at least every third day. Jade showed me the products which she would recommend for my hair type. She brought out an array of products you can see in the picture above and explained what was great about each one.
I must admit I was a little sceptical about the solid shampoo bars and my first question was “do they lather up the same?”. Jade grabbed a bowl of water and demonstrated how easily they lather up and so I tried for myself and was impressed. Shampoo bars are designed to last longer than your average shampoo bottle, offering around 80 washes per bar and they are great for travelling!!
I wanted to try something which would invigorate my scalp in the hopes of stimulating hair growth as I felt like my hair had stopped growing so I chose the new Cinnamon, Clove and Peppermint which smells like Christmas and leaves your scalp feeling fresh and tingly. It also creates an excellent lather which is great for massaging into the scalp. As for hair growth, only time will tell . . .
I also liked the Fairly Traded Honey for seriously soft, luscious locks. It looks and smells like you’re pouring an actual bottle of honey into your hands which is probably because Fairly Traded Honey makes up more than half of the bottle! It also includes beeswax and floral essential oils so you smell like Summer.
Finally, I chose the Av-a-Go co-wash which at first I mistook for a slightly off slab of Edam. It’s actually avocado, extra virgin olive oil and cider vinegar (it’s also suitable for Vegans). Co-washing is also known as Conditioner-Washing so it cleanses your hair without stripping away the natural oils. I am LOVING this one and truly think I could be a convert to solid shampoo and co-wash bars.
If I’m not cleaning dirty bottoms for the kids, handling the bunny rabbits and doing the household chores or getting covered in glitter and glue with the Beans doing crafts then I’m generally to be found typing at the laptop. Not only do my hands get dry but they ache too, possible RSI from years of typing. Jade asked me if I would like a hand massage and I swear I heard a celebratory cheer in my head.
We looked at the selection of massage bars and I checked out which aroma I liked the best, to be honest, they all smelt scrummy but my favourite was the Shades of Earl Grey which has a sophisticated earl grey scent with a delicate hint of citrus (don’t you just love the tongue in cheek names too). The bar quickly softens against the heat of your skin so it didn’t take long for Jade to gather enough lotion to really work her magic on my aching hands and wrists. Afterwards, they felt and smelt amazing.
Walking around Lush you can’t help but stare at all the beautiful colours around you, it’s a very uplifting sort of shop. The staff are all very attentive and knowledgeable about their products. I love that each product has its own little story about who created it, where the ingredients were sourced and how they came to fruition. It’s very clear that Lush really cares, not just about their staff and their customers but about where they source their ingredients from and the greater world around them.
Nothing is a secret, they will tell you absolutely everything there is to know. Even on the packaging, you will see every last little bit of what went into it listed (and if they don’t have packaging you can look in the catalogue or online.
I was quite taken with the ‘Charity Pots’. Each pot has a sticker which tells you the name of the Charity which will benefit from your purchase. 100% of the purchase price goes directly to the Charity (minus the VAT that goes to the government). If you have a small grassroots charity then you may be eligible to apply for Charity Pot funding, check out the guidelines on their website.
Bathtime fun for kids
As I was nearing the end of my visit, a product at the very back of the store caught my eye. I asked “is that like playdough?” and so Jade grabbed a couple of jugs of water, threw a small blob of it into the jug and began pouring the water (and blob) back and forth between the jugs. The water began to change colour and bubbled up as a big smile spread across my face. The Beans would LOVE this stuff in the bath. It can be used as a soap, like a shampoo or simply just to make bath-time more fun.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the products which grabbed my attention and of the samples which Jade kindly sent home with me to try but then I fear you would fall asleep or click away (you are still there aren’t you?) as I ramble on, so I shall save those for another day. In the meantime, I would urge you to check out the fab new Lush app which is jam-packed with information about Lush, great stories from around the world, spa treatments and the latest must-have products as well as what they have in store for Christmas.
DISCLAIMER: I attended the Lush store in Queensgate Shopping Centre Peterborough as part of my role as a #QBlogger. I was given a number of samples to try at home. All words, images and opinions are my own and may not be copied without my permission. I have not been instructed what to write.