Overview:

Husband and wife team, Mark and Mo Constantine, both founded LUSH in Poole, Dorset, and are the inventors of LUSH products. Mo Constantine first patented the solid shampoo bar in 1986. All LUSH products are handmade, vegetarian, and 70% are vegan.

The Good:

In 2008 the company launched a Naked Campaign against product packaging. Employees at nearly 30 LUSH stores wore only aprons reading, “Ask Me Why I’m Naked” in order to draw attention to the fact that the U.S. consumes 80 million tons of packaging each year, leading to environmental damage.

In 2009, LUSH launched a campaign against palm oil in an attempt to address environmental concerns over its production. The global demand for palm oil (used in many soaps) is causing deforestation and threatening ecosystems in Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries.

The Bad:

LUSH products haven’t been very well received here at TIA. Kate reviewed and rejected both the company’s Skin Nanny Deep Moisturizer for being “too thick and oily” and its Snake Oil Dandruff Scalp Treatment Bar for being greasy, terrible smelling, and ineffective. However, Kate is usually a fan of LUSH products, so it seems as though this company is fairly hit or miss.

The Truth:

Lush provides an impressive A – Z glossary of ingredients, along with substantial definitions for each of them that is helpful when it comes to trickier substances that you may be unfamiliar with. Despite providing a great deal of information, though, the company fails to be completely honest about certain ingredients. For example, it defines Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate as:

This is a shampoo base derived from coconuts. It has been used for many years to make shampoo lather up. It cleanses the hair and separates the strands to give volume.

This may be true, but the definition is obviously skewed to benefit LUSH; it would be fair of the company to mention that ALS can be quite irritating if it’s not used briefly and then washed off the skin.

Still, LUSH earns points for clearly labeling its products with symbols and letters including “V” for vegan and “M” for this product may melt. Each product that uses any animal fats or byproducts overtly states the fact that it does so on the label.

To see ingredients, you can click on any product on LUSH’s website and get a full list in quantitative order. While LUSH does use mostly natural ingredients, it does use two (and only two, according to their website) preservatives: methylparaben and propylparaben. Though parabens have been linked to cancer and many cosmetic companies have created paraben-free lines, parabens are generally considered safe to use in very low concentrations.