I’m a fan of a good spa day but switching my brain off is tricky at the best of the times. Add in small talk and fancy-bordering-on-medical surroundings, and a knot of unease forms in my stomach. As the proud owner of unpredictable and slightly spiteful skin (I only need to look at a new product and my face revolts), I’m wary of being slathered with various unknown lotions and potions.
Over the past 12 months I’ve also made a conscious effort to switch the contents of my bathroom cabinet to responsibly sourced, plant-based products and avoid plastic. As Reactive Skin Girl, I was already a fan of Lush products and its dedication to sustainable and cruelty-free beauty while still offering a wide-range of natural products to suit all skin types. So when I heard about the new Renaissance treatment at the Lush Spa in Liverpool, designed to help clients ‘completely escape, transporting them to a different place’, it sounded like something that might float my boat – or at least help quieten my chattering mind.
Other than knowing that the treatment had something to do with guided mediation and perfume, I wasn’t sure what to expect but was instantly put at ease by the lovely staff on the shop floor who squealed with excitement and informed me that I was one of the first people to experience the treatment. “Oh my god! You have to come back and tell me how it is,” declared a girl on the make-up counter. The spa, situated on the third floor behind a hefty glass door, is modest with four single treatment rooms and a larger area for group bookings. Think wooden flooring, comfy sofas, greenery and a big table where clients take part in a pre-treatment consultation.
I’m greeted by my therapist and taken to what first looks like a Ouija board but turns out to be a map of the Four Humours (an ancient Greek system of medicine) which takes me right back to GCSE History and images of blood-letting and bile. Luckily there are no leeches in sight and I’m asked to choose a word that resonates. I pick ‘sluggish’ (my train was at 8am and I’m yet to polish off enough coffee to resemble a human) under the heading ‘belonging’ and it’s explained that we’ll be focusing on the opposite word, ‘purpose’, when choosing the scent and treatment method. Before I know it, a gorgeous fragrance is selected, I’m directed to the room and left to strip down to my delicates. Now, don’t fret. If you’re not big on disrobing, Lush lists a nudity rating in each treatment description.
I lay back on a soft bed in a candlelit, wonderfully scented room and will my brain to play ball. Affirmations are read out, there’s some much-needed massaging and I start to feel extremely pampered. My treatment turns out to include a hot stone massage which isn’t something I’d usually opt for (I’m a kicker) but something about the perfume snaking from the incense burner and the serene atmosphere made me feel at ease (and I didn’t kick anyone). The soundtrack ranges from birdsong and classical to a more contemporary instrumental tune that I make a note to ask the name of when we’re done. I won’t lie, it takes me about a third of the appointment time to relax and “sink into the bed” as instructed and some of the movements make me giggle, but eventually my brain begins to quiet which is nothing short of a miracle. While some of the spa treatments are billed as a ‘lunchtime treat’, Renaissance is £70 for 40 minutes so I’d consider it more of a splurge for a special occasion. After all, my idea of a midday treat is a bag of Hula Hoops and a cheese sandwich.
A bonus of visiting the Liverpool store is the range of plastic-free cosmetics. Since seeing the Lush Showcase in Manchester last year, I’ve been dying to get my mitts on some of the make-up we were lucky enough to sample. Manchester does have its own ‘naked’ shop on Market Street but Liverpool is the flagship store (the biggest in the world) and has the full range on sale.
So, if you’re a regular spa-goer, in need of a good pamper or simply looking for a unique gift experience, then I would highly recommend the Renaissance treatment. Your body, mind and the environment will thank you for it.
Images courtesy of Lush