Common Misconceptions (and Truths) about Lush…

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.

Lush store in Bristol


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?


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9 thoughts on “Common Misconceptions (and Truths) about Lush…

  1. I always think Lush has such a lot going for it, their recycling policy in particular is something I always think is such a good idea but they aren’t a brand for me for the most part. I will say though their website is one of the best I have ever seen so anyone who wants to research will soon see any synthetics in black and white, assuming natural ingredients being used means all natural as a consumer is an error a lot of people make when they don’t read the ingredients lists and rely on marketing and Lush formulate like a conventional cosmetics brand but without mineral oil and with a few extra natural ingredients. This was a very well written balanced post, you are 100% right their are pro’s and con’s to Lush and people can with this info make up their own minds.

    1. Thanks for the comment Ana, that’s what I was going for. I hope more consumers will start doing their own research instead of relying always on the brands communication.

  2. I love this post! I’m an avid Lush fan, but I agree with everything you say about misconceptions of how ‘natural’ their products are. One particular bugbear of mine is the use of SLS, especially in their shampoo bars. As a fellow bright-haired person, this means they’re just not worth using due to the colour fading SLS causes, and there are so many gentler alternative available it seems silly that they haven’t made the switch.

    I actually asked one of Lush’s staff members about the use of SLS and she said it’s because SLS has been used for so many years that they know it’s ‘safe’, whereas the newer surfectants haven’t been used for as long so they don’t know the long term effects. I don’t buy that because SLS is one of the harshest products out there in terms of skin reactions.

    Long story short, great post! x x x

  3. I’m anti-Lush mainly because of the ingredients but I do recognise that they do have a better ethos than most high street stores and they campaign strongly for animal rights. In the past when I tried a few products I had terrible reactions, funny how everyone like Dream Cream that left me with a nasty rash. At the end of the day we are all different and I appreciate Lush have lots of fans but I feel there are better alternatives 🙂

  4. Hi!
    I’ve never actually bought anything from Lush before as I have eczema, therefore I have to be really careful with what I buy. But I appreciate you mentioning about the Dream Cream, I’ve never looked into what skin types they cater for but I definitely will now. So thanks! 🙂

    1. There’s loads of good things out there for eczema, do some research into some of the natural remedies. The Lush Dream Cream is popular but doesn’t work for everyone. You may find that pure coconut oil may help, it’s cheap and great for so many things, I use it as a make up remover, moisturiser, hair mask and for cooking!

  5. I’ve never tried lush products but this is definetly an interesting read to say the least, thanks for sharing! X

  6. Great post Jayne, really interesting perspective to have. I have to say that personally I find Lush to be a bit…overhyped. Perhaps this is because I am from the sensitive skin camp, and that their products supposedly designed for my skin type (including Dream Cream) did nothing for me. x

    1. Yea, it’s a funny one with the sensitive skin thing. You’re just as likely to be allergic to Lush than any other brand, just as you are just as likely to be sensitive to a natural product compared to a chemical product. Lush creates super fans really quickly and I think it’s these customers that create the cult status that makes the brand so desirable.

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