I’ve been pondering whether or not to write this article for a very long time. I worked for Lush when I was at University so have some first hand experience of the brand as well as many years of being a customer on and off. This is not an article to tell you to stop buying this brand, it’s about being informed so that you can make up your own mind.
I cannot argue with the fact that Lush make some amazing products, I’m particularly a fan of their Ultrabland cleanser, Ocean Salt scrub, Buffy scrub and anything that smells like Snow Fairy. However, there’s some issues with their brand that just won’t stop bothering me.
Those issues mainly stem from their image and how it makes many people assume certain things about the brand that are just not true. I asked around on social media today to see what things people said about why they love the brand and I’m now going to go through them and tell you what’s going wrong (and right!) in each situation.
“I love that the products are natural.”
Lush is not a natural brand. Yes, they do use a lot of natural ingredients which is ace, but they also use things like SLS (sulphates) and parabens which have a bit of a sketchy background. Personally, I’m not worried about parabens, although there are some studies going around about how they could be linked with cancer. For me, sulphates are mostly unnecessary, I agree that it’s the best way to make their bubble bars make EPIC bubbles, but for their solid shampoo bars I don’t agree that they are needed. I can also tell you that you can’t get bright colours and glitter in the form of some of their products from 100% natural origins. The brand has never claimed to be natural, so this is just based on assumptions from customers, no problem for most people but good to know.
“The brand is transparent you know what is where and who made it”
Yes, I can agree that they appear to be very transparent with ingredients. They clearly mark natural ingredients in green and synthetic/chemical ones in black, so you can see easily. They are also very good at being clear what is vegan, the rest of the range is vegetarian. They also label (almost) everything with a sticker that has a made date and name of the person who made it, that’s very cute and does add to the transparent image.
“It’s good for my very sensitive skin”
Yes, some of their products are brilliant for sensitive skin. I know that their Dream Cream is a saviour for many eczema sufferers and their Ultrabland is a lovely gentle cleanser for many skin types, although it does contain nuts so not allergy proof. But realistically, as a entire range you’re just as likely to be sensitive to their products as any other brands, also worth noting that natural doesn’t always equal good for sensitive skin. Lush use alcohol and SLS/sulphates in many of their products which are two ingredients in particular that are known irritants for sensitive skin, many essential oils can also be irritating to sensitive skin. So yea, just do your research.
“Because they’re cruelty free and clearly label which products are suitable for vegans”
Yes, you can’t deny that Lush are very anti-animal testing and don’t test their own products and as mentioned before are great at ear marking which products are vegan friendly. However, I feel like the animal cruelty focus is too much sometimes, particularly within the EU where animal testing on end products is now banned. I wrote an article about this before which you can read here. I also find it interesting that they haven’t invested in the BUAV Leaping Bunny certification (brands do have to pay for this) for a brand that is so strongly anti-animal testing you’d think this would be on their agenda. Just a thought, I don’t know enough about the politics behind BUAV to know all the details.
“Their staff are always lovely”
Yea, their staff ARE amazing and lovely, that is very much the truth, this is because (like many retail environments) they are extremely sales driven as a company, which is why they’ve been so successful!
“There isn’t anywhere else on the high street that makes bath bombs and soaps like that”
Yup, that’s true. I’m pretty sure Lush invented Bath Bombs and definitely Bubble Bars (just like The Body Shop invented Body Butter, did you know that Lush founder Mark Constantine used to work for The Body Shop?). One of the reasons Lush is so big on the high street is because they are now at a size where they can maintain this presence and continue to grow. It doesn’t mean they are the only thing out there like them, they are just the biggest. Brands like Bomb Cosmetics, Marshmallow Blends (run by a lovely ex-beauty blogger) and Villainess in the US seem to be very similar to Lush in ways and have their own little quirks.
“They do awesome community support programmes and help fundraise for things”
Yes, this is also true. In fact, they have one product in particular that is focused on driving money for specific charities, their Charity Pot moisturiser. My problem with this is that although they are supporting charities (which is great!) they aren’t always the ones I would choose to personally support myself on principle. Great if you love the charities they support, but worth doing some research before you buy, to ensure it’s a cause you’re happy to promote.
So, yea. I still like their products and would buy them and recommend them to certain people. I just personally think that some of their marketing is a bit confusing. So, if you’re keen on your natural, sensitive skin friendly or ethical issues, just do a little bit of extra research before jumping on board. If you’re just looking for a sparkly bath bomb, no worries, this is the brand for you.
Any questions? What do you think?
What are your experiences with Lush?
@wearefoodscouts & @KitschInc. Digital Marketing & Creative Direction. Illustration, writing, creativity & style. Fan of films, TV, cartoons, colourful hair & clean beauty. Blogger since 2009.