PHOTOGRAPHERImages courtesy of Lush

You probably know Lush Cosmetics for two things: their glitter-filled bath bombs, and their love for the Earth and everything within it. The brand has been at the helm of ethical beauty for over 20 years, and they’re pushing a major wave of eco and social consciousness into the mainstream beauty industry.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, more and more brands are slapping “cruelty-free” and “no paraben” labels on their products by the second. With beauty junkies becoming increasingly aware of all of the harsh additives and the impact their favorite face creams and scrubs can have on our planet, the realm of beauty is slowly but surely transforming into a more conscious environment. But, while some brands are lagging in their social ethics, Lush Cosmetics has been marching at the forefront for decades in the name of cleaning our oceans and saving the bunnies, one bath bomb and foot mask at a time.

“At Lush, we love making skincare,” says Amanda Sipenock, Lush Cosmetics’ Brand and Product Trainer. “We love making pink, sparkly bubble baths, but we wouldn’t do any of it if someone was getting hurt in the process or along the way.”

The brand makes this an apparent moral that breathes heavily within their business model, from the factory straight to their global storefronts, hoping other brands will follow the path of consciousness along the way.

“It shouldn’t be so special that we’re committed to buying from ethical sources and using ethical ingredients, or that we are so committed to the fight against animal testing,” Sipenock says. “We are still going to lead by example by not testing any of our ingredients or products on animals, or work with anyone who tests on any animals for any reason. And we have the Lush Prize, which is amicably trying to fight animal testing around the world. So when we think about these things that Lush is known for, often times we’re seen as an ethical business. And yes, we are, but we think that that should just be the way of life. That’s how we are, and that’s how we think all businesses should be.”

You may be familiar with some of Lush’s viral demonstrations against animal testing, like their live demonstration in London that was extremely shocking, to say the least. But the brand is putting their strength to tackle other social areas that are in need of some ethical readjustments. One of Lush’s most recent initiatives has been the “naked” movement—an encouragement to strip away as much Earth-polluting plastic and materials as possible with their variety of packaging-free, aka naked, products.

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“Packing and how everything looks and marketability is a huge element of selling products, especially in the beauty industry,” says Sipenock. “But here at Lush, we make sure that a wide majority of our products are either ‘naked,’ so no packaging whatsoever, or have an alternative.”

We know some of you may be clutching to your aesthetically pleasing packages of face creams and hand soaps in fear, but trust us, you’re going to want to make this switch. “To create a pump dispenser, you’re using several pieces of plastic packaging and making them work together: the bottle, the lid, the pump, even the spring, it’s mostly plastic,” Sipenock explains.

Where is all that packaging going when you’re done? Landfills, the ocean, just about everywhere, really. Our society’s need for plastic is not only impacting our future, but is putting other animals at risk of death. Over 100 million sea creatures die annually from plastic pollution found in our waterways, which is definitely a cause for concern. So, as much as we do love a good millennial pink bottle of moisturizer, we’re ready to cut down our carbon footprint and keep the turtles happy.

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It seems like thousands of beauty-buyers are on board with the switch, too. The brand’s packaging-free shampoo bars (which I am an admitted addict to, FYI) are one of the most viral products in the beauty industry, and 1.1 million were sold last year just in North America. The success of this product alone was able to prevent almost 3 million plastic bottles from potentially ending up in our water systems and oceans. These packaging-free, self-preserving products never have any harsh synthetics in them, making them all the more eco-conscious. Soft, luxurious hair that helps us save the planet? We’ll sign up for that.

From humble beginnings to a multi-million dollar brand, Lush Cosmetics has been able to live up to their strict core values since day one. And while they’re the veterans of the ethical beauty community, they’re more than ready to accept other beauty companies, old and new, with open arms into the conscious side of cosmetics.

“We’re hoping that ethical beauty is not a trend, but a whole new way of being and that it continues onward,” Sipenock says. “I see other brands toting that they’re against animal testing and cruelty-free, or that they’re trying to use more ethical ingredients and materials for their products. And it’s easy to say that they’re doing what we’ve been doing for years, but we don’t see it like that. We see it as such a huge improvement and we’re ready to welcome everyone to the party. We’re happy to see brands evolving and keeping up with great work.”

We’re ready to strip down with Lush, are you?

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