We Headed To Tokyo For The #LushLabs Bath Bomb Concept Store

We Headed To Tokyo For The #LushLabs Bath Bomb Concept Store

“Bathing culture” may just sound like another millennial activity – next to avocado toast and ghosting your latest date but outside of our echo chambers and social bubble, having a soak at the end of a day has been entwined in many Eastern Asian traditions for centuries.

In the age of loving your authentic self i.e advice on ‘self-care’ practises flooding our social media feeds, the ‘wellness’ market has risen from £3.3 trillion to a £3.7 trillion in 2015-2017 alone.  “Lifestyle leaders” such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has been valued at nearly £200 million and countless “clean” independent skincare and beauty brands have popped up, making a mark with vegan beauty. This all may look modern movement, a kind step even in an overcrowded industry but much of these ideas have been inspired by Eastern Asian beauty and bathing routines. So it’s no wonder Lush looked to Japanese culture as a brainchild for the launch of the #LushLabs bath bomb concept store.

When heading to the opening in Harajuku, the lines had already been queuing for what must have been hours of patience and great will-power. All to walk into what seemed to be more like a gallery than a regular Lush store. There were no blackboard explanations of ingredients, no plants pushed between Lush pots full of what is usually half the sea and half a botanical garden. In fact, it was all about the bath bombs.

That description may sound basic but with 89 different coloured bath bombs with their own design, including 58 exclusive designs made specifically for #LushHarajuku, positioned so the colours swept tonally across the walls, it was anything but.

What was innovative about the concept store – other than it all being put together in 3 months – was the bridge between old school values and new age thinking Tokyo itself holds. The experimental pop-up had no information next to any of the bath bombs, no prices, nothing about what each colour meant for your splash later that evening. That’s where Jack Constantine and his team exceeded expectations and bridged the love Japanese culture has for technology and frankly, getting into the tub at the end of a long day.

After experimenting with augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the Lush team put together the Lush Labs app (just type “Lush Labs” into the App store). First, there’s a game. If you’re in the UK, Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, France or Australia, you can use the app for clues Pokemon Go style in order to lead you to a secret location with definite goodies in the end. However, the Lush Lens itself is something you could play with for hours. The new way to scan your own bath bomb which will then give you all the information you’d usually receive from a regular human makes you want to go around the entire pop-up swiping as if there’s no tomorrow or any bath bombs left.

While literally getting down and dirty in my ‘deep soaking tubs’ (a Japanese bath is deeper than that it is longer), all I could I think about was how ethical this entire pop-up had been executed. We had spent time in important shrines such as Meiji-Jingu to understand the importance of luck and giving good fortune to the world;  spent a morning in an Aikawa farm, just outside of Tokyo, learning about where every ingredient comes from and how waste-free habits can start as small as rerooting ginger and respecting the Earth. To then learning about how each bath bomb was made in the image of Japanese traditions and really it was all a homage to the country. What could have been a great example of appropriating culture ended up being a way of appreciating Tokyo’s gift; and what’s better than taking a moment with yourself in indigo coloured water?

Tahmina Begum 


Lush asked XXY Magazine to join the launch of #LushHarajuku but this was not an advert nor has this diverted any of our journalistic ethe.