Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Being a Smart Lush Consumer: A Confession

Four years ago I "Broke up with Lush" and wrote a blog post about it. 

I still stand by most of what I had written four years ago.

But lets face it, like most break ups I was initially angry: I hate being mislead. After four years to calm down and cycle through more, ineffective, eco-beauty and bath products, I have mellowed in my perspective.

*Leans in*... Secret sharing time: I use some Lush products.

Honestly? I have come to the conclusion that compared to other beauty companies (*cough* Arbonne *cough*) I LOVE Lush's transparency. You can easily go on their website and see every single ingredient AND (albeit their) definition. What is more: the staff at Lush stores don't make me feel like a huge freak for: a) wanting to know what the ingredients are b) saying "no thank you" if there are ingredients I don't like or c) sharing that I make my own beauty products. They get it. 

I have come to the conclusion, that Lush is a company you have to shop intelligently. Kinda like Frenchy's: if you take the time to search and sift through the bins you'll find a brand name outfit. 

I have found a few items that are pretty "clean" (ie no scary synthetic ingredients) or low on the chemical scale... AND they work beautifully. 

Ok, so this shampoo still has some not so awesome ingredients (a quick check on skin deep places a few in the moderate to high risk, admittedly on limited data). However, since all pure eco shampoos have destroyed my hair, for a middle of the road crunch, Fair Trade Honey does very well. I love that 50% of the ingredient is honey which means they don't use preservatives (like parabens). 
What I love most though? That it actually makes my hair super soft and beautiful. I can't use solely the Honey Shampoo though, within about five days my hair becomes limp locks-r-us, but it is helping to cut my chemical shampoo burden without sacrificing pretty hair. Score!

(ps- if you are one of the lucky people who can do nopoo shampoo, or love a truly "eco" shampoo, I am jealous. Please believe me that my hair never recovers from the "detox" phase of green shampooing. Shampoo is one of my eco nemeses, and one I am happy to have found a successful lessening of toxicity).

I am in love with this product. Did you see the ingredient list??? ALL GREEN BABY! WOOT! This means that there are NO synthetic chemical ingredients. YEAH!

This cleanser is dry, so you add water in the shower, meaning no preservatives. It smells delicious (lavender) and has a *very* gentle exfoliation component. On my uber sensitive, rosacea prone skin, this moisturizes and cleanses without any left over redness. Like magical goodness.

It would have to admit that it is just as good at exfoliating as my oatmeal lavender DIY face scrub and more moisturizing. It has been handy since I am lazy and ran out of oatmeal scrub.

The face mask experience was years in the making. If you bring in five clean black containers you get a fresh face mask... This happened to me a month ago and I chose Cupcake (mostly because it smelled like yummy chocolate). It was amazing. I loved the smell, my face felt fabulous afterwards and... the ingredients are ALL in the green.

The downside to the face masks is they all have pretty limited usage timelines. Like a week. Honestly, my face can't handle a face mask every night for an entire week. So I only got one use out of it. But it was a lovely moment in time...

Dreamtime and Mango Bath Melts
Dirty secret revealed: even though I made my own bath melts... I still love love love Lush's... Thankfully my two favs: Dreamtime and Mango, have almost no synthetic ingredients. In fact, Dreamtime has Laureth 4 which rates a low on Skin Deep (it also has Geraniol which rates a "moderate to high" risk... but I'm not exactly sure from the description I understand why).

I cut mine in half so they last longer.

So there you have it. I don't consider Lush as THE best environmental option. Many of their products have some not so green ingredients and if you have ANY sensitivities to scents, steer clear of their stores. (I tried a few body lotions, beyond the fact that they have chemical ingredients, they left me smelling like a walking perfume ad all day- ick!).

That said: I do think it's possible to find either a compromise on a product from an informed decision that you can live with, AND even some squeaky clean products that will meet all your "eco" criteria. You just need to be diligent, read the ingredients and ask questions.

And don't be afraid to DIY it up! (check out my DIY section for some ideas, or Crunchy Betty and Nerdy Farmwife for others!)


  1. Oh, please tell me about Arbonne! I got some free samples that I have been using and was wondering whether to order some.

  2. Thanks for the informative post!! Like you, I also "broke up" with Lush many years ago (I was so angry when I found out what was really in their products, that I called their consumer service and demanded a refund). In Lush's defense, as you state, they are completely transparent about their ingredients and their "organic" or "all-natural" status is usually implied by the consumers (they have NEVER claimed these things).

    I didn't know they have fair trade now!! Like a lot of things in life, you have to make concessions and see the larger picture. Even though some of their products have things like SLS, I still don't mind buying from them if they offer some vegan and/or fairly traded products.

    I haven't been in a store in years, but I think I will check them out again and see if I can get me a sample of the Angels on Bare Skin that you so eloquently described.

    Lovin' your blog <3

  3. I wanted to let you know the other day I was given a blog award. I decided to have a little fun with it and pass along my own awards, I gave you one http://modernmanofthecloth.com/2013/07/26/i-feel-so-honoured/


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