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Lush life on the French Riviera. It’s Nice

You’ll know the Lush smell.

Even if you’ve never stepped foot inside a branch of this UK-founded cosmetic store you’re probably familiar with it, as the highly perfumed plume stretches halfway up the street. The Lush smell is raw, bold, bright, loud, and unmistakable: a squeaky-clean flower bomb that explodes the olfactory nerve in your nose and commands your attention.

You either love it or you hate it, and fortunately I love it.

Lush prides itself on being an ethical, organic animal cruelty-free company. They keep their soaps and bath bombs “naked” to use as little plastic and packaging as possible, hence the smell is essentially a combination of everything that’s unpackaged.

An Alice in Wonderland experience in every sense of the phrase.

Happily, I visited the Lush store at Cagnes-sur-Mer, west of Nice (Renoir-ville to anyone in the know), which is eminently appropriate as Provence is also home to the soap capital of France (Marseille) and the perfume capital of France in Grasse. It may be small but perfectly formed, but the shop stocks everything from bath bombs to shower gels, shampoos, lip balms, toothpaste tablets and scents.

 A big shout out to the delightful staffers, because I casually mentioned how I’d failed to grab a bottle of their highly regarded Smuggler’s Soul gorilla perfume before it was recently made unavailable (it’s not discontinued as such but they pause the sales of some lines on a seasonal basis).

Imagine my delight when they found a bottle of it in the back, but because the expiry date was this coming June they thought it unethical to make me pay so they gave it to me as a gift!

Quid pro quo then. As Lush have moved away from social media, I’m going to plug two of their exquisite face masks for them. Because they’re loaded full of ultra-fresh ingredients, these Lush pots must be treated as perishables and stored in the fridge, or as they do in-store, sat on a mountain of ice.

With its almond butter and kaolin base, Glen Cocoa is so rich and chocolatey you almost want to eat it (obviously you shouldn’t) and is perfect for oily skin. The BB Seaweed is packed full of olive oil, ground almonds, aloe vera and real seaweed chunks. With a soft radiant finish, it’s deliciously comforting and soothing and absolutely perfect for sun-worshipping fiends like me.

Protection, prevention. I should cocoa, and I think I just did.

Steve Pafford

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