For many years, my bathroom was often mistaken for a small branch of Lush. So it's fair to say that, yes, I'm a bit of a fan. I'd read about the effect the Synaesthesia massage had on Sensitive Spy, when I was writing about unusual spa treatments, so I was excited when Lush asked us to try out their Validation facial.
-- a palette of Lush products
The Validation facial is probably the most tailor-made facial it's possible to get. After filling out a consultation form in Lush's cosy, country-style kitchen, I went back upstairs to the store with Morag, my therapist, to pick out the products that we'd use in my facial.
Choosing your products is a great idea; it's fun to browse and try so many new products and really makes you feel special. The products are collected on a slate -- another cute touch. When we were finished, the slate looked like an artist's palette.
The treatment room is lined with quirky bottles and bathed in dreamy lighting. The first thing Morag did, before I got changed, was to "cleanse" the bed by pouring liquid from an old-fashioned kettle into a flask -- dry ice poured over the bed. The first flash of magic!
Tucked up, I rang a bell to let Morag know I was ready, then closed my eyes to soak up all the Lush stuff. The Validation facial is an gloriously sensory experience. Wafts of fruit and flower scents, cool stones, hot towels, and Morag's seemingly endless smooth facial massage.
Lush have commissioned a special soundtrack for the Validation facial; the sounds begin with waves as you are "rowed out" to sea and there are snatches of voices fading in and out, talking about skin care and positivity (surprisingly nice, not as disruptive as I had imagined) as well as some sea shanties and traditional folksy songs.We ended with Oh, I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside -- the first time I've had to stifle a giggle in a facial! It all added up to a very dream-like experience.
Lush have also included a few leg-stretching techniques designed to help posture and elongate your spine. I really enjoyed this touch; again, a first for me in a facial.
Finally, as the sound of the waves lapped around me, Morag gently raised the couch so I was in a sitting position. I blinked and realised I was looking at myself in a mirror on the wall. In the soft lighting I looked great. Relaxed, calm, happy and glowing.
The Validation facial is very much an "experience" treatment - my skin felt well-moisturised and yes, I still was glowing in the daylight - but it's not a results facial. Interestingly, this treatment had a profound effect on my state of mind rather than my skin. I left feeling absolutely delighted. I'd spent an hour or so in Lush-land and was positively skipping down the street afterwards. I've felt more relaxed and calm for a few days since, too. Do I feel Validated? I'm not sure, but I feel happy just remembering this facial, and that's good enough for me. At £75, this treatment is certainly not cheap, but as a treat for you or a friend, it might be perfect.
You can find Lush Spas in:
* Leeds, 31 Commercial Street LS1 6EX. T: 0113 2433626