Made by us, named by you: Beauty Sleep

Lush co-founders and cosmetics aficionados Mark Constantine and Helen Ambrosen are in the middle of a spirited debate: whose idea the face and body mask Beauty Sleep was.

鈥淚t was definitely you,鈥 insists Helen.

鈥淲as it though?鈥 questions Mark. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 remember鈥︹

鈥淥h yes,鈥 declares Helen, 鈥測ou had a dream.鈥

鈥淎h,鈥 comes the reply and he protests no more. During this conversation, I have learned that a surprising number of Lush products began life as one of Mark鈥檚 dreams. This one, however, is particularly splendid: a decadent mask composed of sleep-inducing lemon verbena and valerian root (extracted in honey sourced from the聽Barro Vermelho community in Brazil, no less), hydrating mullein leaf and linseed decoction and gently polishing ground organic aduki beans. Inspired by Mark鈥檚 near-constant quest for a good night鈥檚 sleep, this sumptuous mask combines royally rich ingredients for the skin with herbs renowned for their sedative qualities聽and聽a dollop of Lush鈥檚 most exquisite facial moisturiser,聽Gorgeous.

鈥淵es, it was me, wasn鈥檛 it?鈥 recalls Mark. 鈥淚 had a dream about a face mask that would be a sleep product. Helen and I have a very unusual relationship when it comes to invention. I like to compare us to Lennon and McCartney. Did I call you or text you, Helen?鈥澛

鈥淵ou told me when we were in the lab,鈥 says Helen (the lab being the same first-floor room above the very first Lush shop at 29 High Street, Poole, that they have shared for decades).

鈥淥ne of the first things you asked for was a botanic gel. So I made this softening gel with linseed and mullein; then it was, 鈥楥an we have some coconut?鈥欌

鈥淚 think I just wanted a coconut mask?鈥 ponders Mark. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a nice base, very softening鈥︹

鈥淭hen it was sleep herbs; that鈥檚 the lovely valerian and lemon verbena in a soothing botanical gel...鈥

鈥淚 remember why,鈥 intercuts Mark, 鈥淟iz [Weir - fellow Lush co-founder and Mark鈥檚 first business partner]聽and I used to make Herb聽Pillows, decades ago for聽Constantine & Weir聽[Mark and Liz鈥檚 very first herbal cosmetics venture]. We had them screen-printed and would stuff them with sleep herbs, so I wanted those same herbs made into an infusion as the base of the face mask.鈥澛

He thinks for a moment. 鈥淲hat we鈥檙e doing is starting with a basic premise and adding a bit of this, a bit of that, until it鈥檚 almost overflowing with goodness. It鈥檚 pure self-indulgence, because, having had a bath at 4pm for a long time now, it鈥檚 just what I want. I want a bit of lustre. So I鈥檒l call up Helen and say, 鈥淐an we put a lustre in?鈥 And she鈥檒l come back with something like, 鈥渋t鈥檚聽self-preserving, you know..." And I鈥檒l be like, 鈥渋s it?鈥 That would be one of the responses if I鈥檓 being an idiot.鈥

Mark鈥檚 4pm baths have become common knowledge amongst Lush staff. Try to schedule a meeting at 3.30pm and you鈥檙e cutting it fine. It鈥檚 the time when he slathers himself in the new Lush inventions that arrive freshly on his doorstep, but there鈥檚 more to this ritual than work.

鈥淚 read some years ago that you聽make more mistakes at 4pm because you鈥檙e tired than at any other time of the day,鈥 explains Mark. 鈥淎nd so if you have a bath at 4pm, you won鈥檛 make some stupid mistake that you鈥檒l regret or have to correct. Also, I stuff my face at 4pm. Crisps, peanuts; what time鈥檚 dinner again? I never make it through. So if I鈥檓 having a bath at 4pm, I鈥檓 not eating, I鈥檓 not making a mistake, and I鈥檓 relaxing. And, of course, there鈥檚 this whole piece of work that says聽if you have a bath at 4pm that you鈥檒l sleep better at night. Because that鈥檚 the other thing - I鈥檓 tired, especially if I鈥檝e been up since 5am. And I definitely sleeping better at night.鈥

Like聽Daddy-O聽shampoo, Beauty Sleep was a product Mark invented for himself that was just too good not to share. After a year鈥檚 worth of tinkering from Helen, (and 25 different versions tried and tested by Mark in his 4pm bath), they released it as an online lockdown exclusive in March 2020, asking customers to send in their name suggestions. The winning title, 鈥楤eauty Sleep鈥, was suggested by a handful of聽customers.

鈥淏eauty Sleep is so much better than my name,鈥 says Mark, who toyed with both Sleepy Go Bye Byes and Facey McFacemask, 鈥渁nd it鈥檚 from our customers. I love that. It reminds me of when we first started Lush and we asked people for name suggestions, and they came back with loads of great ones, a lot of which made it into products.聽Fresh Farmacy聽was a suggestion for a name we could call the company and we used it for an existing facial soap.

Beauty Sleep sounds like a product we鈥檒l still be selling in 20 years' time. That鈥檚 what a good name can do for a good product.鈥

Mark plans to alternate between Beauty Sleep and tingle-inducing, long-term bestseller,聽Mask Of Magnaminty. Fans of the latter, famed for its invigorating minty freshness on the skin, will find Beauty Sleep has a richer consistency, as well as a settling effect on the mind encouraged by that generous spoonful of Gorgeous. Lush鈥檚 most luxurious moisturiser contains a wealth of wellbeing and beautifying oils: cold-pressed evening primrose, neroli, avocado, and orange blossom to mention but a few.

鈥淚 really wanted that dollop of Gorgeous,鈥 says Mark. 鈥淚 liked the combination of sleep oils and neroli because it鈥檚 so good for wellbeing. Take the lid off and fill me up! It鈥檚 got to be a dollop, though knowing Helen she will have precisely measured that dollop of Gorgeous鈥︹

鈥淚t really gives that lovely, softened texture that you wanted,鈥 Helen agrees. 鈥淵ou can feel the Gorgeous in there.鈥

Despite collaborating for over 30 years, Mark and Helen鈥檚 passion for perfectionism in product development shows no signs of abating as they quickly debate new upcoming inventions (and no, I鈥檓 not allowed to reveal spoilers). Mark is also full of praise for Helen鈥檚 work in breathing life into the concept. 鈥淵ou鈥檝e got to have a lightness of touch,鈥 he says. 鈥淎nd you鈥檝e got to love the customers and love what they say. It鈥檚 just a pleasure, fiddling about, getting it right. That鈥檚 how we work; it鈥檚 a long process. You鈥檝e got to know it well. You鈥檙e much more likely to make something someone else will like if you really like it yourself. And then you come to the conclusion: would I buy this? I think it鈥檚 pretty obvious that I would. And then I鈥檓 happy because I think we have something really beautiful.鈥

Is this the most indulgent mask Lush has ever made?

鈥淥h, I think so, yes,鈥 concedes Helen.

鈥淚t鈥檚 definitely the most self-indulgent,鈥 says Mark. 鈥淎t 4 o鈥 clock in the afternoon, have a bath, and use this face mask to sleep like a dream when you go to bed. It may even stop you making bad decisions at 4pm too,鈥 he twinkles.聽

Strona g艂贸wna - Made by us, named by you: Beauty Sleep