My First Visit To Lush

Me holding a large brown bag, which has a silhouette of 2 rabbits on their hind legs as they face each other, grasping each other's arms, above the words Fighting Animal Testing.

A topic I’ve never touched on before in this blog is beauty and fashion. Lots of other bloggers do it, and very well too, but it’s been very much absent from this blog. So this post marks another step into unchartered territory for me – a Lush haul, from their huge store in Oxford Street.

Going into a Lush store last weekend was a completely new experience for me, and I came out with quite a lot. So I thought I’d share the details of my visit in this post, and how I was introduced to Lush, along with a video showing the products I bought in detail. So I hope you enjoy.

Please note that I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Lush, and I have not been asked to do this by anybody connected with the company. All products were purchased with my own money, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Background

Let me put things into context first. The reason I’ve not done a beauty or fashion post before, as you’ve probably guessed, is because it’s not been a major interest of mine. And thus I don’t feel I have the knowledge or experience to write about it with any authority. I’d like to be more clued up on it all, but it’s always seemed a bit overwhelming with so much out there.

Given that my parents and I are all visually impaired, with me having the best sight out of us all, we’ve had a tendency to keep things simple, sticking to what we know and feel most comfortable with. And that’s been fine. None of us were particularly into looking around clothes shops or beauty aisles, because we didn’t really know what we were looking at or what was best for us. And where we lived down in Devon, we had a very limited choice of shops anyway.

So we didn’t tend to be very adventurous. From what I remember of my childhood, a lot of our clothes shopping was done through the Grattan and Kays catalogues. Without the internet, that was the easiest way for us to find things like that, as we could look through those huge books, using the photos and descriptions to pick out what we wanted, and then order it over the phone.

The only times we really went into department stores was with relatives when we visited London, so we would treat ourselves then as our relatives could help us a little bit, or I would help my parents as best I could. Or occasionally we might get a train up to Exeter to look around one of the stores there, but not very often. And then, when we did get the internet, we kept to places that we knew like M&S, and even Grattan for a while, because we knew their stuff was comfortable and fitted us.

So, as I’ve said elsewhere before, we led a pretty routine life down in the Westcountry. And that isn’t a bad thing, I’m not saying that. We were happy with the stuff that we got. We just bought new clothes when we really needed them, rather than trying to create a fashionable wardrobe selection or anything like that. So my wardrobe’s never been particularly varied.

Moving to London, however, has opened up the opportunities to explore more and be a bit more adventurous, and it has been increasingly tempting to do so. I would like to freshen up my closet and have more variety in there, certainly. But it is still hard to know where to start sometimes. Having not grown up with a deep understanding or appreciation of fashion and beauty products, I couldn’t tell you what styles or colours would really suit me best, or what cosmetics I should be using or are best suited to my skin type, or anything like that. I’m not up on the trends that are out there each season or year, or if I should even be paying them any attention in the first place.

So even now going into a clothes or beauty shop can be a bit daunting, and so I don’t go to them very often or spend very long there. If I need something new then I can pick out something that seems to look nice and feels comfortable enough, but I don’t know if it’s the best  choice for me or if there are better things out there that I’m missing out on. It still feels like one of my weak areas. They’re the sort of places where it would be easier to go around with someone rather than on my own to figure out what really works for me.

So going into a huge Lush store felt like quite a big deal really. It’s like stepping into a whole new world, not really knowing for sure what I would discover or how much I would like it. It was certainly going to be interesting. But why go to Lush in the first place?

Discovering Lush

I only became aware of Lush when I started getting into blogging a couple of years ago, as people like Emily at Fashioneyesta (who now works for Lush) and Luke Sam Sowden rave about them regularly, as do countless others. In the beauty blogosphere, Lush were apparently a big deal. But I’d never heard of them before. And so I pretty much ignored it to begin with, focusing more on the disability and London related content I was finding than anything beauty related.

I got quite hooked on Emily’s videos though, and found myself watching her beauty and haul clips as well as her disability content. And I’m rewatching them at the moment in fact, while I’m subtitling everything for her. She has a long queue of captioned videos to review as a result, so bear with us, we’re getting there bit by bit! And those beauty videos are all enjoyable to watch, even though most of them aren’t relevant to me of course. You won’t see me wearing things like Charlotte Tilbury makeup any time soon, you’ll be relieved to hear! Google probably thinks otherwise, mind you – as I’ve been using it to verify the spelling of brand and product names while doing the captions, I’ve probably got quite a beauty-heavy search history now! A lot of brand names are getting stuck in my head, it’s fair to say!

So while going through those videos, Emily’s Lush clips did start to grab my attention, which led to me checking out other people’s Lush posts as well. I think Lush stood out because their products could be used by anybody, not just women. And the descriptions of the products sounded rather good, particularly the fragrances of course, and the effects they have on your skin and hair. Even the pun-based product names and the colourful designs made them seem tempting too. The fact that they’re against animal testing is also a good thing, of course.

I also showed Mum one of Emily’s Lush videos, because I thought she might be interested in the variety of products and fragrances on offer. She can’t see the items, but she can appreciate and enjoy how they smell, and Emily always describes the appearance and fragrances really well.

So we were both very tempted, and decided to treat ourselves for our birthdays in August by ordering a few bits and pieces from their online store to try out, namely:

9 Lush products - 3 tubs, 2 round soaps, a pumice stone shaped soap, and 3 rectangular soap bars.

So technically that was my first ever Lush haul. But, other than a photo on Instagram, and a brief mention in my post about meeting Fashioneyesta for the first time, I didn’t post much about it. We enjoyed all of the items we bought though. I really liked the Montalbano Shampoo Bar for instance. And the mix of smells from all of the products is lovely. So I knew I had go to go to one of their stores for a proper look around, hopefully with some help from the staff there. And recently I finally got around to it.

Lush Oxford Street

Before I went out to the store, Mum and I spent a couple of evenings looking through the Lush website to get a feel for their latest products, and I made a list of the items that interested us (a long list!). I didn’t take this list with me when I went out though. Rather, this was just to give us a sense of the sort of products and fragrances that sounded interesting, and so we could remember them if we wanted to order them online later. I also wanted to make a list of individual products to help us narrow down the list of multi-pack gift sets that Lush do, in case we want to buy one or two of those to try out multiple items at once. So the list was for personal reference really. I didn’t take it with me to the shop, because I wanted to see what the Lush staff recommended as well, as I might discover different things when at the store in person.

And so, last Sunday, I headed into London for a look around a few shops, as shopping is naturally more of a priority with Christmas on the horizon. The Christmas lights and displays in the shopping areas are looking lovely as well, it feels really festive now. And talking of winter, my first port of call was actually Blacks in Tottenham Court Road, where I got myself a coat, gloves and hat to keep me warm when the colder weather comes in,

Then I walked up to the Lush store in Oxford Street, which apparently hasn’t been there very long, only a couple of years or so. But it’s absolutely huge, with 3 floors crammed with stuff! You can actually get a sense of how big it is by walking around the store on Google Street View, where you can hop between all the floors, although obviously the actual products on the Street View photos will be out of date now.

I did wonder if it was going to be overwhelming with so much stuff available, or if they try and pressure me into buying lots of things I didn’t really need or want. After all, retailers do have targets to meet, and in some shops this can lead to staff being over-keen to sell you as much as they can, putting you under pressure and making you feel uncomfortable. But thankfully this wasn’t the case with Lush in my experience.

There were a couple of members of staff at the door to greet people as they entered. So I approached Rob, who had just said hello to a couple of other people ahead of me. I didn’t know his name straight away, as I can’t read the name tags, but I found it out as we started talking. I introduced myself and explained that I was new to Lush, so I wanted to try some things out, and I told him in general terms the sorts of products and fragrances we were after. I also explained that, because I’m visually impaired, it would also be useful if someone could show me some of the stuff

Rob had no problems with that at all. He was very friendly and chatty from the outset, and was only too happy to spend some time taking me around the store. So he took me around all 3 floors, showing me 2 or 3 items in each section that he felt were most relevant to me, and carrying a basket for me so we could put all the items I wanted into it.

The whole store smells lovely with all the different items in there, of course. And you do get a waft of it when you’re walking by on the pavement outside. But it’s not overpowering or stifling. And it was easy to smell each of the individual things in the store when making my choices, which was naturally the most enjoyable part of the whole experience. There really is such a variety of aromas in there, with something for everybody.

It was also interesting to learn about the different products along the way. For instance, bath bombs are used once, while bubble bars can be broken into segments and crumbled into the water. That’s obvious to any major Lush fan, but to me I hadn’t been too sure about the whole bath bombs thing, having never used them before. The bath bombs are actually bigger than we thought they’d be, and the bubble bars are large and chunky as well.

Rob demonstrated one of the bubble bars in one of the sinks, allowing me to have a go too. They’re quite thick, so you have tug at it quite firmly to break a bit off. But once you start breaking up in your hands under the running water, it crumbles up very easily. Somehow doing that brings out the child in you a bit! And you only need to use a quarter of the bar, if that, to create a nice lather. We were only using cold water, but even then it was generating a nice froth, so in hot water it should be even better. So you can get a few baths out of it quite easily.

And some of their other products last for ages. Mum and I already knew that their soaps and shampoo bars lasted for ages from our previous order, for instance. The shampoo bars have been quite a revelation to us, as you only need to rub a little bit of them on your hair to get it frothing up and give your hair a nice wash. Similarly, I discovered bars and powders of deodorant at Lush as well, which I’d not heard of before either, just like the shampoo bars and bath bombs and been a revelation. So those deodorants should last quite a while too. So Lush’s products do seem to be really good value for money considering their longevity.

Rob was very good all the way through my visit, and we spent at least half an hour walking around together. He didn’t rush me or put any pressure on me, and didn’t try to sell me anything I hadn’t asked for, which was great. And it was easy to chat to him on friendly terms, so I was telling him about my move to London and a few of the things that I’d been doing, and I learned that he’s a dancer as well as working for Lush. He also looked out for me because of my visual impairment, making sure I didn’t lose him among the people. We used the lift to get to each floor as we were exploring too. We did use the stairs at the end when we went back downstairs to pay, but he made sure I was happy doing that first. And I was, as they were easy to see. So I liked going around the shop with him, it was very easy.

The lady at the checkout, Laura, was also very amiable and chatty, so we had a very friendly chat while she put all my items through and bagged them up. She double bagged them, in fact, so that nothing was at risk of falling out. And I was also very impressed at how she could just look at an item and instantly pick out the right label for it. I know it’s in their training, but to a novice Lush customer like me, it feels a bit like The Knowledge that black cab drivers have to do. There are so many products in Lush that it must take ages to memorise them all! So I think it’s impressive even if nobody else does. It’s great that they offer to put labels on the items as well, so that we know what each item is once we get it home. The names on those labels are easy enough for me to read.

The small tubs and bottles already have labels on them of course, and the main name and description of the product is white text on a black background, which is great for me. I still have to look at it quite close or with a magnifier to read the description clearly, because the description below the product name is fairly small. But as they’re small containers, you’re a bit limited for choice when it comes to font size, and at least the font is clear and sharp when viewed under a magnifier. And don’t be fooled by the fact that they’re small – as I noted earlier, a little goes a long way with many Lush products, so they’ll still last a long time.

The instructions for usage are the standard black on white, but again easy enough to read with a magnifier because of the clear not used. The list of ingredients is smaller, but also mostly black on white – except for at least one case where it has some green text, which is much harder to pick out against the white background. But as I’m not worried about reading ingredients lists anyway, I wasn’t concerned about that.

You also get a label telling you who put the product together and when, reminding you that it’s hand-made. You can recycle the pots and bottle tops as well – bringing back 5 empty pots will earn you a free mask, it says. Though as we’ve never used face masks, I have no idea how good they are. Perhaps that’s something else we should try one day, I don’t know.

I’ve never had a massage or spa treatment either, but Lush offers that too. The Oxford Street experience has been reviewed by Emily recently in fact. I would like to try that, they do sound intriguing from what I’ve heard about them.

So all in all, I really enjoyed my experience shopping there, and will be happy to go back. I felt very relaxed and comfortable, more so than I’d initially expected, not having known what to expect. This unfamiliar world of Lush cosmetics and toiletries was made very accessible and interesting thanks to the staff that helped me out. Sure, they have to be cheery and friendly even if they’re having a bad day. But if Rob or Laura were really feeling bored or miserable, it certainly didn’t show. I felt like I was genuinely cared about.

I posted a review on Lush Oxford Street’s Facebook page to show my gratitude to the staff as well, and got a lovely reply, so thank you Samuel!

“Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review Glen. I’ll make sure Rob & Laura are aware of what a fantastic job they did at making you feel so welcome and we all look forward to your next visit. – Samuel :)”

My Purchases

Large brown bag, with a silhouette of 2 rabbits on their hind legs as they face each other, grasping each other's arms, above the words Fighting Animal Testing.

So I came away with quite a bit of stuff. Some of it was actually on the list that my mother and I put together at home, so that was good. You can see my haul in detail in my video, but in summary the items I got were:

  • Braziliant Shampoo Bar – This is a round orange bar that has a really nice tropical orange smell to it. It’s got andiroba oil for moisturising, along with ylang ylang oil and sweet orange oil to enhance the fragrance.
  • Jason And The Argan Oil Shampoo Bar – Lush like having pun names for their products, and this one is very clever. This is a very deep pink coloured shampoo bar with a nice rose jam  scent to it. It contains argan oil, obviously, as well as glycerine. So your hair should be softer, stronger and brighter after using this, so they claim.
  • Lullaby Shampoo Bar – This is a very light pink colour, and it smells very nice. Not as strongly as the other two bars, as this is designed to be more soothing and relaxing, with chamomile, ground almonds, oat milk and lavender. So it should be very pleasant to use.
  • Veganese Conditioner – We thought we’d try this to go with the shampoos, as it also looked interesting. It has lemon, seaweed and herbal infusions, to help give your hair shine and softness, and it’s very light on your hair apparently.
  • Avobath Bath Bomb – This is a light green coloured bath bomb, with the Lush logo embossed on the top. It’s got avocado in it, as the name suggests, as well as extra virgin olive oil and lemongrass oil. It claims to revive the mind and soothe your aches and pains, so you can relax.
  • Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bomb – I love the name, the colours and the smell of this one. It’s got 2 halves to it – the top part is pink and has cocoa butter in it for moisturising the skin, so you can feel it’s quite sticky, while the bottom half contains the regular bath bomb ingredients and feels more rough. The product contains lime, orange and bananas as well, so you get a lovely fruity smell from it, and it’s meant to make your skin very soft. It should create an interesting explosion of colours in the bath as well.
  • Brightside Bubble Bar – This is a bubble bar that smells as orangey as it looks, in a similar way to the Braziliant Shampoo Bar I mentioned earlier, as it contains mandarin, bergamot and tangerine. It’s a very big and chunky bubble bar too, so we should be able to get a few uses out of it, and it should be very bright and colourful in the water.
  • Plum Snow Bubble Bar – This is the first Christmas item we’ve got from Lush, and we’ll have to try and get some more over the coming month. This is a plum-coloured and plum-scented bubble bar with a big white snowflake on top of it. It’s also got mandarin and osmanthus in it too, which combines with the plum to create a lovely smell. And again it’s a big size as well.
  • T’eo Deodorant – This is a oval shaped white bar with a flat blue underside. It claims to be very absorbent to deal with bacteria and perspiration. And it contains grapes, juniper and citrus oils, which gives it a very nice smell. So it sounds like it’ll be very useful.
  • Aromaco Deodorant – This is a white cube of deodorant, and has more of a waxy feel to it compared to T’eo. So you can feel the Aromaco deodorant coming off on your hands when you rub it. And it smells really nice too. It contains sodium bicarbonate, witch hazel, chamomile and patchouli, so it helps you to stay dry and smelling nice while killing off bacteria. So you just rub it under your armpits, simple as that.
  • The Greeench Deodorant – This is one that I’m more likely to use than Mum, as she’ll worry about getting powder everywhere when she can’t see well. It’s a herbal, absorbent deodorant that you dust under your arms to keep you dry and odour free, while having a nice fragrance of its own.
  • Pumice Power Foot Soap – This is a product that we purchased in our online order back in August, and I knew Mum had enjoyed it. So when Rob suggested it to me in the shop, I recognised it and picked it up. It’s a pumice stone shaped soap with an orange appearance, and it has a lovely orange and citrus smell to it.
  • Softy Foot Lotion – I got this for me, as a lotion like this could be useful given all the walking about I do. It contains cocoa butter, marshmallow root and lavender, so it should be very freshening and moisturising for the feet.
  • Karma Kream Hand & Body Lotion – This contains almond oil, cocoa butter, orange, patchouli and pine. So it should be wonderful for the skin, and it smells lovely too. It’ll be interesting to see how long this lasts, depending on how much we find we need to use.
  • Sleepy Body Lotion – This is apparently one of their most popular products, and I think it has my favourite smell out of all the ones I’ve tried so far too. Because this silvery coloured lotion smells like gingerbread. Literally, it really does, it’s amazing. The mix of oatmeal infusion and lavender is a wonderful combination. I can imagine this being lovely to put on before going to bed, so it’s going to be very interesting to try it.

So that’s it. I think that’s a really nice selection for us to be getting on with. Mum’s looking forward to trying them out as much as me, as she liked the descriptions and the smells when I brought it all home. I’ll try and give some feedback in this blog at a later date as to what we thought of the items, after we’ve spent some time using them all.

We’ll probably get a bit more for Christmas, perhaps trying out a gift set or two. They do have a lot of tempting stuff. And it’s certainly an interesting and exciting experiment, trying out products from a store that’s still pretty new to us. So I’ll let you know we get on. Thanks for reading!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger & Youtuber with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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