Jenessa Williams gets treated to a facial by the bath-bomb connoisseurs
Popular amongst YouTubers and last-minute gift givers across the nation, chances are you'll be pretty familiar with the intoxicating scents of Lush.
Founded in 1995 and offering a lighthearted, ethical alternative to your standard bottle of herbal essences, they've made a name for themselves as the go-to for fresh, handmade cosmetics, albeit at the upper end of mid-range high-street beauty. It's rare to find a bathroom that hasn't experienced a bath bomb bubble explosion...
On Commercial Street in the city centre, Lush have a dedicated spa facility. This may be news to some. Lush Spas are few and far between across the country, kept reasonably hush-hush hidden in the depths of traditional Lush stores.
With treatments starting at £50, it’s not exactly pocket money, but surely it’s worth it right? We decided to take one for the team (we know, it’s a hard life) to see how Lush
Entering the store, I’m greeted by Store Manager Tom, a happy chap who offers a hand massage while assuring me that I’m in for quite the afternoon. My therapist Maeve joins us swiftly to greet me by name, continuing the chipper vibes as she leads me down into the lower floor of the building. It’s amazing how quickly the hectic shop floor environment melts away. The downstairs room feels like a cosy countryside cottage, decked out in plump armchairs, fresh flowers and a big trestle table where I sit to drink fruit-infused water and discuss my upcoming treatment, The Validation Facial.
Maeve is incredibly knowledgeable and calming, asking me questions about how I’d like to feel and the scents and ingredients I tend to prefer. She commends my choice of the Validation Facial, explaining that it is one of the first Lush treatments to have been invented. The facial focuses on boosting circulation, freshening skin and improving self-confidence - so far, so encouraging.
Leading me back upstairs, she explains each product option and its benefits with an impressive recall, offering each to me to smell or swatch before putting together a palate of goodies completely tailored to my requests. This process takes a full half-hour and sets Lush apart early from other facial treatments – this may not be Burger King, but you certainly can have it your way.
We return downstairs for more water before the main event.
Maeve leaves me to undress as shingle beach seashore sounds fill the darkened treatment room, instantly setting a soothing atmosphere. I settle into my modest Velcro-dress and climb under a layer of towels. I feel something of a little lady as I ring a tiny gold bell to indicate that I’m ready and waiting to have my face well and truly adorned.
For those new to spas, the wordlessness of it all can feel a little awkward at first, but Maeve's movements were slow and deliberate, allowing me to trust her touch instantly and focus on, well, absolutely nothing. An array of fresh smells linger and dance together on my face as she moves from product to product, working my skin right down to neck, décolletage and upper arms.
A delicate balance of textures offer intrigue, and a delightful swap from warm to cold to very warm is so refreshing you can practically feel your pores exhaling. Bursts of orange blossom spray erupt across my nose and the temptation to open my eyes to see what is going on is nearly overwhelming. This may well be what heaven smells like.
My chosen facemask, the Ayesha, let’s off it’s powerful scent of fresh Asparagus and Kiwi as it settles, allowing time for Maeve to work my hands and feet before gently bringing me back to my senses with the almost edible ‘Whoosh’ temple balm, delicately dotting seaweed, citrus juices and rosemary across my newly sheeny skin. I like it here. I think I’m going to see if they’ll let me move in.
As somebody who dropped the same amount that this facial cost on a V Festival day ticket (only for headliners Oasis to go and split up that very morning), I can tell you that there are much worse ways to blow £85 than a Lush Facial. Lasting a generous 60 minutes, using no less than thirteen products and featuring that tailor-made shopping process, it is the perfect treat for anyone suffering from a specific skin ailment or else just somebody who fancies treating themselves to some #luxurybitch time.
There's no hard sell on products afterwards, everything is done at a leisurely pace and the whole team host as if you are their sole client of the day, going above and beyond to ensure you get exactly what you want out of the day. Heck, I even leave with the rest of my Ayesha mask and a cheeky ‘Full Of Grace’ serum bar to use at home for no extra charge. Several days later, my shoulders have dipped and my skin is still visibly glowing, as is my sense of satisfaction knowing that every product used was completely fresh and ethical. Consider any scepticism revoked – I’m already saving up for my next visit.
Lush Spa , 12-13 Commercial St, Leeds, LS1 6AL