On Notice: Lush

Given that I long ago drank the Paula Begoun Kool-Aid, you’d expect me to have a healthy suspicion of Lush and their sanctimonious claims of all-natural organic superiority.  Sadly, no.  I was beguiled by their cute names, their scented stores, handwritten type, and remember the height of the bath bomb craze they created.  Despite my suspicion of any bath and/or body product that uses a lot of volatile plant oils, I still bought Lush gift packs for my nearest and dearest, and frequently browsed lazily through their stores without really buying anything. However, over the past few months I actually tried a few their products for myself and, you know what? Lush products are just. No. Good. They are poorly packaged, impractical, and are a textbook example of why ‘natural’ certainly doesn’t equal ‘good for your skin.’  Let’s do this dot point style, shall we?

  •  Lush products are poorly packaged. Lush sure does love products in bar form, don’t they?  From their bar shampoos to massage bars to shower jellies and body butters, everything is in a cute, pretty little bar and wrapped in butchers paper, just like a deli meat.  Which is all well and good when you take it home from the store, but you need to be able to store the little bastards, and the butcher’s paper packaging makes that all a bit hard.  After you’ve used one of their bars once it immediately begins to dry out, crumble, or split, making it really hard to use again.  What’s more, it’s really hard to figure out what exactly their products are meant to do.  What, exactly, is a buttercream?  A shower jelly? A bar of body butter that you’re somehow meant to use in the shower? Are they soaps? Moisturisers? Exfoliators?  It’s hard to tell, really, and the staff really don’t have many answers.  And on that note…
  • Lush products are impractical. The bar packaging is bad enough, but then they go ahead and put flowers and glitter and all manner of nonsense all over their stuff, which is pretty but doesn’t make for a clean bathroom.  And don’t get me started on their refrigerated skincare.  I know that’s meant to avoid the use of preservatives, but preservatives in skin care don’t have the power to strip paint, unlike the essential oils they so liberally use. Which brings me to…
  • Lush products are really quite bad for your skin. I used their Pied de Pepper foot cream for a week or so.  It had an odd custard-like texture but smelled lovely, so I used it generously every evening until I came down with the worst contact dermatitis I have ever had in my life.  Both my feet and ankles broke into red, angry, itchy hives, so much so that I had to see my GP for prescription strength antihistamines.  On top of that, they provide a wide range of facial moisturisers with the same irritating essential oils, but absolutely no sunscreen, which makes no sense to me.  
  • Lush employees give totally suspect advice. After the Pied de Pepper incident I gave Lush another shot, for some reason, and bought their Buffy body butter.  Now, Buffy is a largely unscented block of cocoa butter embedded with ground almonds and sand and so on.  You’re meant to use it in the shower to exfoliate. I asked the SA to explain how to use it, and she began with: ‘You know how Brazilian women have the most beautiful skin?’  Er, no. Way to Orientalise, hippy. Suffice it to say, Buffy sucks. It’s just not gritty enough to be a good body scrub, and the solid cocoa and shea butter just leave a waxy coating on the skin.  

I know Lush has quite the loyal following, and I doubt any of these observations will change that, but still.  Lush, you are on notice, and you shall get no more of my money.

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