Love, Hate, LUSH


I have mixed feelings about LUSH Cosmetics.  I used to be really excited about them, but now I am trying to find replacements for most of the LUSH products I use.

What I love about LUSH:

  • They really try to minimize packaging.  I wish other cosmetics companies would follow suit.
  • Their products smell really good.
  • When I was having sensitive skin and redness I went to LUSH, they recommended some products and those products have worked very well for me.
  • They claim that they purchase from sustainable sources.
  • They know about palm oil and they don’t use it!  Probably.
  • Products are handmade.  They even put a sticker on most products that tells you when it was packaged and has a drawing of the person who packaged it.
  • You can test the products in the store and they’ll send you home with samples if you ask.  I know this is pretty common, but I really like it, because I don’t end up buying something unusably bad.
  • Aquamarina soap

LUSH claims “We believe in making effective products from fresh, organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. We invent our own products and fragrances. We make them fresh by hand using little or no preservative or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients, and tell you when they were made.”

What I don’t love about LUSH:

  • LUSH uses the same sketchy chemicals that other cosmetics companies use.
  • They use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  SLS is a source of controversy in the cosmetics world.  Everyone claims that everyone else’s research is illegitimate.  Maybe some organizations are overstating the potential hazards, but it just seems obvious to me that we would be better off without SLS in our personal hygiene products.  SLS is a detergent used to degrease engines.  It is used in labs to lyse cells.  Lyse means rupture, in case you don’t remember all of your biology vocab words.  SLS definitely irritates skin. Yuck.  Cosmetics companies use it because it is cheap and it creates a nice lather.  Wait, wait.  Did I forget to mention what it’s made from?  Coconut oil or palm oil.
  • They use parabens.  Parabens are controversial too.  They have been found in tumors. They are a hypothetical cause of early puberty.  Some studies suggest that they may react with UVB to increase skin damage.  However, they have been found to be non-toxic in tests on rodents.  It seems to me that we don’t really know whether or not they are safe.  If we’re not sure, I’d rather abstain.
  • The LUSH website has information on every ingredient they use.  From the methylparaben page: “They are used globally and are permitted by every world health authority (500 independent safety studies have been carried out over the decades). Scare-mongering ‘studies’ into their potentially negative effects have now been widely debunked.” I think that’s a rude way of downplaying legitimate concerns about the safety of the ingredient.  I will not be browbeaten into accepting that a chemical is safe.

So, that’s why I will not be repurchasing their lotions, moisturizers, toners or shampoos.  If you’re looking for natural products at LUSH stores, you have to look pretty hard.   You can find some, like this soap:


Yep, that’s face soap.  Aqua Marina by LUSH.  It looks pretty like a roll of sushi when you first get it, but it slowly turns into sea sludge when exposed to water.  I don’t mind that.  As a horror fan, I’m used to pretty things turning into monsters.  It has no SLS, so it doesn’t lather like a normal soap.  You pinch a bit off, mix it with a little water and wash your face.   This soap and I are in love.  LOVE.  It does exactly what LUSH says it will do; reduces redness and irritation.  It’s actually very effective.  Also, it smells like the ocean and feels like clay, probably because it is wrapped in seaweed and made from clay.  This must be what nereids use to clean their faces.   It makes me feel like sea nymph.  What more can you ask for in a soap?


14 thoughts on “Love, Hate, LUSH

  1. SLS is the devil! All kinds of health problems went away when I stopped using it.

    I am getting that sushi monster face soap! P.S. Love your yellow nails.

      • Waaaait wait wait. You are bitching about all of these chemicals AND YOU STILL PAINT YOUR NAILS???

        Wow, sweetie, look up the word “hypocrisy”.
        And look up DBP in your Nars nail
        Polish while you’re at it.

      • Thanks for your concern. I’d like to recommend that you also look up “hypocrisy,” as my statements would only be hypocritical if I claimed that I only used organic products, which you’ll note, I have not done. So, I’m not perfect. One need not be perfect to express an opinion.

        I wonder if using a pet name to indicate condescension and judgment rather than affection and familiarity qualifies as hypocrisy? Maybe that’s just passive aggression or verbal irony.

  2. There is a LOT of Lush stuff that is SLS and paraben free, but you have to read the ingredient list or tell your sales girl/ boy that you prefer to avoid those ingredients. They should be able to point you in the right direction. I will never go back to liquid lotion now that I’m used to the solid massage/ butter bars. PS- they’ve got a solid serum bar for the face too! I just found it and I’m in love.

  3. Have to agree on the SLS. I have sensitive skin, and when I stopped using it less redness in my skin, less breakouts. I made the mistake of having a bubble bath after going SLS free and immediately started itching again, broke out with a nasty case of eczema a few days later.

  4. I have a love, hate relationship with Lush as well. Everything smells so good and it feels like the smell lasts forever compared to other brands I use but it’s not as natural, which sucks 😦

  5. When I went into Lush to ask the sales rep about the oarabens in the liquid shampoos she told me that they were “plant derived”. So not the chemically derived preservative but a plant like one. Was I duped? Or is that a tale that Lush tells sales reps to help them sleep at night?

  6. Just as a matter of principle I don’t shop at Lush anymore. Too much greenwashing. I use all the Healthy Skin for a Happy Life products instead, and love them 🙂

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