Due to some fairly traumatic experiences at a cult-like Socialist/Zionist summer camp, I have a deep distrust of anything even vaguely hippy-dippy. The following phrases immediately arouse my suspicion: “all-natural”, “green”, “organic”, “holistic”, “the man”, “jam session”, and “goats”. (We raised our own goats at that summer camp. They smelled terrible and were unbelievably bad-tempered. God, I hate those goats.)
So no one was more surprised than I by my recent interest in UK brand Lush. All of Lush’s products are vegetarian (many are even vegan) and over 70% are all-natural*. Their hideous packaging is designed to be environmentally friendly and reduce waste. They are about as green as it gets. Nothing about Lush should appeal to me conceptually, and yet I squeal like a preteen at a Bieber concert every time I enter one of their stores.
Here’s why Lush succeeds where so many others have failed: the Lush experience is really, really fun. Being socially responsible and environmentally friendly are not usually particularly fun, unless “An Inconvenient Truth” was your idea of a good time. (No judgment if it was. Love me some Al.) Too often, beauty companies genuinely attempting to support good causes come off as overly earnest or even judgmental. Nobody wants to feel like they have to buy your organic shampoo out of guilt, or because you’ve put them on the verge of a nervous breakdown about global warming and the potentially tragic future of the polar bears. (This happens to me all the time, by the way. A good 15% of my time is spent silently freaking out about what’s going to happen to the polar bears. I’m pretty fun to be around, you guys.)
Lush manages to keep everything positive. The stores, which are set up like a fruit stand at a bazaar, are colorful and interactive. You can cut off your own chunk of soap, try on a cupcake-scented face mask, or set off a bath bomb. Lush wisely allows its products to speak for themselves rather than resorting to scare tactics. Who needs to threaten impending polar bear doom when you sell bath bombs that are shaped like robots and turn your bath water exciting colors? I have decided to honor Lush’s quality products and commendable marketing by dedicating this week to reviewing some of their Gorilla Perfume fragrances. Thank you, Lush, for putting the “fun” back in “the last polar ice cap will melt in 2042.”
What do you think about Lush, and about natural/green brands in general? Are you a fan of any of the Lush fragrances?
33 thoughts on “Lush Week 2012”
I used to work with a guy who also worked at Lush as his “fun” job and he was crazy about their products. He gave me a couple shower gels to try which I didn’t care for. The product I do remember was a soap called Coalface which was supposed to be good for oily skin. It smelled horrible and turned my sink black and made it look like mascara flakes were in it. Worse than that it made me breakout! I have never sought out any Lush products since then, but if you like the fragrances I would sample them!
Barbara, I’m so sorry to hear about those bad experiences! I have to admit that I don’t have much experience with Lush skincare. But I really liked the fragrances in the sample set I bought on their website.
OMG! Ari, I love your writing! Thank you for so often putting a smile on my face when I least expect it. 😄
My childhood was perhaps a bit different, I grew up in Northern California, a bit hippyish: we had chickens and made our own cheese, a compost pile, spiritual gatherings, my dad had a beard practically to his belly button, I did yoga with my Mom (OK, as I’m wringing this I realize it sounds ALOT hippyish). We also had goats which were the sweetest creatures alive! Maybe yours had a bad gene or something? My Mom used to say she liked the goats more than the dogs.
I haven’t ever tried any Lush products, imagine that, and I don’t live under a rock. But somehow they’ve passed me by. I will now, however, go in there (since there happens to be a store like 4 blocks from me) to explore and have some fun. Thank you for clueing me in…and making me smile.
Thank you so much, Sujaan! Your lovely childhood memories brought a smile to my face, too. I bet your cheese was absolutely delicious! Maybe our goats had some ideological differences with the camp, and the only way they could express them was by kicking us.
I hope that you have a great time at Lush! Please report back and tell us what you think!
I’m familiarized with several items, not with the Gorilla Perfume fragrances, though.
But I entered to one of their shops last saturday, just to try the Vanill-Ari 😉
It is delicious and beautiful! And guess what?… I have new theory: vanilla+jasmin = coconutty gardenia!!, and it slightly reminded me of the Lauder’s Private Collection Tuberose Gardénia drydown that I love and own…!!!
ps: from the frags I also know and appreciate the Karma and the Lust ones. I can’t wait to read your reviews!
oh… and the TucaTuca peaked my curiosity from the very first time, because of the strong smell of violets. It smells excatly like their Daddyo shampoo!
I tried it today because of you! It was wonderful, and I bought a little Tuca Tuca solid perfume! Next I’ll have to check out Daddy-O!
Hooray!!! I knew you would like it! And you’re right, there’s definitely some coconut in there! Isn’t it awesome finding a great perfume at an equally great price???
It is!!!! … Vanillary solid it’s at the top of my Lush wishlist! 😀 It’s so handly!
Ha!…so you loved TucaTuca!! 🙂 I had strong crossed feelings when I first smelled it!… I really didn’t know how to feel and what to think: It’s a love/hate item! But I have to admit … despite its ‘edgy’ weird facet I must say that I tend to love it.
Daddy-O is the only and closest thing to TucaTuca in the whole store. And be aware that your hair will smell violets AAAALL DAY LOOOONG… Then, next slightly ‘similar’ thing, although it is way different, is their bestseller American Cream conditioner (strong vanilla and something strangely reminding me of violets, too!!!, instead of the ‘in theory’ featured strawberries).
Nothing else than this 3 items smells of violets in Lush stores right now.
I LOVE your writing too and also this post – it is Dah Bath Bomb!!
Now I appreciate the fun, upbeat, cheery, no frills, no airs and graces ethos of Lush, but sadly not the smell of most of their perfumes or bath products – or indeed stores – even though friends keep giving them to me (Happy Hippy soap anyone?). Another issue I have with Lush and other indie / high end soap makers is their obsession with “particulates” (a word I know from my days as a product manager for, amongst other things, some prototype soups). Yes, particulates aka “bits” are my soap nemesis. Bits of lavender, petals, poppy seeds, actual dried rosebuds in some cases – keep them all far hence, please. Or bits of dog, if they ever get that adventurous.
Poor doggies! I pray that they never get that adventurous! All of those bits are definitely bad for the bathtub, and probably for the cat swimming around the bathtub. Is Happy Hippy scented with Karma? I don’t much like Karma.
I respect Karma because it’s a very ’rounded’ one and well done, but I don’t like much, too… It’s too ‘dirty hippy’ patchouli and to me smells nasty.
And rIght, there’s a bar soap (orange colored one) scented like the Karma fragrance that on the other hand I like!! (I like Karma in the bathing products), but I would say that -despite its name- Happy Hippy shower gel is not exactly the same. This smells lemony or bergamot-y, and it reminds me more of earl grey tea. However, I find it would be good idea layering with Karma. 🙂
The dog reference was a very bad rehash Of The Wasteland. ; – )
As far as “natural” or “green” beauty companies go, I tend to operate with a bit of skepticism as to how green they really are (I’m looking at you, Pure DKNY). Also, I am generally not willing to accept a big compromise in quality just to be “green.” Packaging is one thing, cruddy products in the name of “greeness” is another.
I’m pretty sure Lush started out as a Canadian brand- I could be mistaken , but like all Canadians we like to keep tabs on whats ‘ours’ since they’re all usually mistaken as American!
Wikipedia says the UK! But I’m very sorry about us Americans always appropriating Canadian things- it’s a bad habit of ours…
Pure DKNY was about as green as a stop sign. And you are right, there are far too many subpar “green” beauty brands. You need the quality to back it up, too.
Sorry- I got it soooo wrong- but at least we have MAC, who were then bought out by Lauder.
Ari- I love your writing and especially the post about visiting the Mother Ship in Paris…. When I sent my parents overseas from Canada to join my husband and I on a visit to Spain to see my husbands family ( we live in London and he is Spanish) and then Edinburgh and Paris, My mom returned with a bag from Guerlain and I squealed thinking it was perfume from the Mother Ship, it was from the Maison, – alas she bought me an eyeshadow quad (WTF?????) for fear of my not liking the fragrance she purchased. Oh well…
Thank you so much, Allison! I cringed along with your story, how heartbreaking!!! But if it is any consolation, I doubt that they would have had much that you do not have at home in London. I found their selection almost identical to Bergdorf Goodman in NYC.
Also- I moved to London in 1997 from a little place called Collingwood north of Toronto and I beelined for SpaceNk and Lush when I got here, used to use loads of their soaps and hair products. But its probably been at least 10 since I set foot in one. I must cross Regent St.today at work and try The Weather Turning- I was so intrigued when I read your entry! I have never tried (or even heard about for that matter) any fragrance by Lush. Stay tuned…..
Oh dear, Ari what have you done! I tried TSOWT and it was love at first sniff! So unique! I didn’t try any others and bought the £17 spritz… Am eager to try the rest- I do like the philosophy of spend on the juice and not the packaging- good quality that I am affordable treat. Many others sound intriguing. Thx for the intro!
I’m very sorry for your wallet, but I must admit that it makes me so happy to hear that you fell for TSOWT! It is a wonderful perfume, and I suspect that you will like the other Lush fragrances too!
I’d love to read more about Lush, since I’ve had some mixed experiences with the fragrances. Haven’t tried body and bath products but I feel like I should — they ARE fun!
It will be my pleasure to provide you with more information about Lush! 🙂
I’ve spent a very large part of my day feeling very deeply for the polar bear… :-\
But I am very excitedly looking forward to what you have to say this week!
I’m so sorry to have inflicted my polar bear-related anxiety on you! I tried to make it funny, but that is actually something I get sad about all the time. In the past few years I’ve had some pretty bad anxiety (it has become much better this year with treatment, thank the lawd), and one of the way it manifests itself is a deep and persistent fear about global warming. Poor polar bears!!!!
Agree that Lush are huge fun and strong on ethics and I have been an on and off customer for, gulp, decades, since they started out as a small homespun company. Not a quality issue but I am fickle.
I love many of the soap bars, but they are pricy. My big love is The Olive Branch shower gel which to me smells like Azuree. My son loves bath bombs (except the glitter ones natch). Of the Gorilla perfume roster, the Orange Blossom and Smell of Freedom are my faves, and I have the solid perfumes. I used to love Karma, but they have messed with it IMHO. The downside is Lush’s love of skanky jasmine which features heavily in a lot of their products, and wafts out of their stores. I don’t love it.
I do feel lots of love for that polar bear. So sad.
You have hit the nail on the head about Lush’s overuse of that terribly strong jasmine. I’m not a huge jasmine lover in general, and it’s in so many of their products!
I tried Karma today, really didn’t like it and it gave me a huge headache. I was very surprised to hear it’s their best-selling fragrance, so it makes sense to learn that it used to be different (and better, I am sure!)
I laughed about the tale of summer camp and goats. Did they milk them and use the milk? It’s been awhile since I bought anything from Lush, but I do love and strange and odd scents they make. The only thing I could not buy was the seaweed face cleanser for dry skin. I just hate seaweed.
No, they did not milk the goats. That would have been too practical! 🙂