As a curly haired gal, I have a complicated relationship with my hair and hairdressers.
Add in a mother who made out my hair was as legendary as Samson’s, so should never be cut, divide it by a lifetime of working in food service with hats as part of the uniform, then multiply by kids and the ever present threat of headlice, and you get a woman who has eventually grown WAY past any flying fucks about the latest styles and ways to wear your hair.
These days I’m more likely to shave my head out of spite for someone telling me ‘your curls are amazing’ than anything else. And the older I get, the more comfortable I am with getting my husband to shave most of my hair, and cutting the end of my plaits off when they stick too far out the back of my nerdy baseball caps.
I tell you all this so you can be as boggled about me taking a trip to the #lushhairlab in @lushliverpoolspa as I was. And I confess there’s an element of “go on then, impress me” as an ex lush staff member. Mark Constantine, co-founder of Lush, is “The Hair Doctor” after all, but there’s always been something lacking for the curly haired folk. But enough of this pre amble… how was it?
I arrived early, Lush Liverpool is the largest Lush store in the world, I want to at least look about beforehand, but I REALLY need a wee. There’s a lovely staff member standing on a big X on the floor near the door greeting folk and I ask her if there somewhere I can go before my hair appointment? There is, it’s in M&S across the street.
To her credit, the lady gave great directions to the bathrooms in the store across the street, and the confident way she explained means it’s probably one of the questions she get asked more often. I wonder if she gets asked that more or less often than ‘where is Snow Fairy?” or “how do you stand the smell?”
Anyway, I go, I come back, I wonder about a bit, dazed by how big the shop is, get accosted by a staff member who kindly repeats herself when I take my headphones out, and eventually report to the Hair Lab in the middle of the ground floor.
I’m a terrible person when it comes to names, there were two staff members who I met in the Hair Lab, I’ve already forgotten their names. I’m slightly sorry about that. They seemed to be 100% more genuine than the average hairdresser, so I feel like I should have remembered, or put more effort in to trying.
The first person was Georgi, I think? She’s called Georgi in my head now. Georgi talked with me about hair. What do I want? What do I do with it? What do I expect from the treatment? What am I doing later? But not in the shitty interrogation & disdained way I typically get in hairdressers, and non of that pained expression I receive when I tell them I mostly cut it myself. She took it all in a very genuine cheerful manner. 10/10 would tell this person all my hair BS and trauma again. She talks a little about protective styling, which sounds like a way for me to be even lazier with my hair, and how washing my hair only once or twice a week is good, and about a few styling products she’s going to use later that will make it even easier to have a pretty lazy hair routine. Then we went on a little tour of the hair products, apparently it’s not just Mark who creates all the hair stuff these days, there’s a bloke called Dan too, who knew? Georgi she knew. ALL. THE. THINGS. We picked a bunch of hair things, solid shampoo, liquid shampoo, conditioner, 2 hair treatments (one for the short hair, one for the long) and then a jug of molasses and a liquid with a name I forgot faster than Georgi’s real name.
All these things selected, piled up on a platter, I was taken over to have my treatment and hair washed. There was another staff member there, I think their name was Fran, but I’ve forgotten, I’m slightly sorry. The chair they wash your hair in, is like the pampered child of a dentist’s chair. A soft, recliner meaning your laid flat whilst all the lotions and potions are applied. They have a speaker that rests on your chest, to drown out the sounds of enthusiastic customers in the store around you. There’s a head massage, and well, it’s fucking brilliant. Give that staff member a raise and all the free handcare products that their water soaked hands can carry. There’s also something about choosing water, hard or soft, it’s important, another staff member asked me about it later, I wasn’t prepared for the test, I hope I got the answer right.
Then I had my hair cut and styled. Here’s the part where typical I go slightly cross eyed and try to make polite conversation with the hairdresser, but really neither of us care. But I’m sat back down and Georgi is here again. And we talk. Like real humans, and she’s not talking about making my hair up for a night out, nor is she shocked when I’m not going out on a Saturday night, or my complete ambivalent attitude to having my hair straightened. She cuts my hair, I unload my hair woes, she explains how to use the styling products, we talk about the ways to braid hair, and then we settled on plaiting my hair slightly fancier than I normally do. We’re done, and shockingly it’s 90 minutes later.
Was it worth it?
It’s the first hair appointments where I didn’t feel like a bad person for putting my cap on after I left. It’s the first hair appointment when I feel like they paid attention to what I wanted, rather than the theater of a hair salon. The only downside was it’s on the ground floor of the largest Lush store in the world, and on a busy Saturday there’s no getting away from the many people wandering around and the enthusiastic staff extolling the virtues of all the hair care products dotted around the outside of the hair lab. Even with the plants and furniture creating a bubble around the area, there was still a feeling of being on display, which feels very different to the style of consultation and atmosphere of the Lush Spa.
Coconut Rice Cake Shampoo Bar
Wasabi Shan Kui shampoo
Kinky hair treatment
Roots hair treatment
Curl Power curl pudding
Spotlight butter hair serum
Do this if you like:
Perhaps don’t if:
Shop floor consultations aren’t your thing