Complex fragrance narratives were envisioned in unfurling hues and fragrance. “They were more like pieces that live in an experiential gallery,” says Jack. “Metropolis, for example, had a light in the centre that changed colour as it touched the water - it was very much an art piece - while Over And Over is half coated in bath melt so it rolls over in an explosion of pink and neroli. Chuck that in the water and move on with your life. It was all about combining benefits on the skin and mood with visual displays to tell stories.
“Bath bombs have always been made with ingredients which have great benefits but we keep trying to up the element of spectacle which means every single experience is unique,” explains Jack. “We’ve experimented with a multi-layered technique - putting two colours together and seeing what we would get out of it - and also developed a new, secret formula, which allows us to create lasting coloured foam.”
The development of the latter, in particular, was a big breakthrough. “The layer of foam creates a canvas on the bathwater,” Jack explains, “and that means that you can visually display a set of colours. My background is in graphic design and so I work in a very visual way, looking at introducing colour combinations, lustres and glitter. The surface of the water became a new canvas: a layer of foam you could visually display a set of colours on. It felt like creating a firework display.”
Stepping up the game once more with Jelly Bombs in 2017, the inventors combined beautifully vivid colours with ingredients like sodium alginate to satisfy all skin needs and bring further texture to your soak. These quirky Jelly Bombs also added an extra tactile layer to your #BathArt canvas, meaning customers were able to explore the syrupy quality of sodium alginate in obsidian Secret Arts and dreamy The Big Sleep, and enjoy added benefits to the skin. Jack explains: “Sodium alginate is from algae - it’s softening because it’s a seaweed. You put it in the water and it creates a layer of jelly; it actually softens the water so you end up with super soft skin.”
Come 2018, and they handed control fully over to customers with a #BathArt themed Lush Labs launch. The invention of Bubble Brushes, reusable bubble bars that can actually be used to colour and draw on the bubbles in your bath, has taken three years of development, and the result has been worth every minute. Three different fragrances in three different colours ("Roughly the primary colours," says product inventor Gary Shears, "But I say roughly because one of them is neon pink") mean collectors of the full set can create the most dazzling displays yet and sign their name on their bath too. “If you want the ultimate bath art experience," says Gary, "I’d recommend you use another one of our bubble bars for the bubbles and use this one for drawing with.” Flick, dot, draw and colour your foam canvas like never before.
With the opening of Lush's first exclusive bath bomb shop in Harajuku, bathing also met technology in a brand new way. Without signage or sinks, customers were able to shop using LushLens (available on the #LushLabs app) to see bath bomb demos and ingredients information at the touch of a button.
With today's Instagram-worthy bathtubs, filled with dazzling patterns and peaks of coloured foam, it's clear that customers increasingly want a shareable experience - one which is both satisfying and visual - and smartphones give bath lovers the chance to capture their favourite moments. Everyone has the opportunity to be a photographer, and every space has the potential to be a gallery. It’s fitting then that while years of scientific experimentation have led to the development of today’s immersive bathing experiences, Jack maintains that art is at the forefront of what Lush does. “Any creative act is an act of self-expression", he explains. “You have to put your heart and soul into it and always challenge yourself to do better.”
See bathing in a new light. Find your new favourite here.