Lately, I have been exploring more natural beauty product options as they are made with less chemicals, additives and preservatives, some of which have been proven to be carcinogenic and/or bad for the environment. I have been toying with making my own soaps, lip balms and bathbombs (I promise to post my “How to Make Bath Bombs” tutorial soon – promise!), and I’m constantly looking for new inspiration for my own little line of home beauty products.
While walking through the Rideau Centre yesterday, I thought I would pop into Lush Cosmetics to take a closer look at their bath bombs for some inspiration. Now, I should preface this story by mentioning that I never really liked Lush. The first Lush store opened in Ottawa over a decade ago in a really small space in the By Ward Market downtown. You could smell Lush from a mile away and I always found that off-putting. The first time I went into the store, I got a headache and had to leave due to the overpowering, competing fragrances within the store. I never went back until yesterday. That original store has since closed down and reopened within the Rideau Centre. The new space is bright and airy (with good ventilation), and feels a lot less cramped and well, stinky. Anyway, I sucked it up and walked in holding my breath. After turning blue, I conceded defeat and breathed in. I noticed that while strong, the store’s scent was not nearly as overpowering as that of the original store…thank God.
I poked around in the colourful bath bomb section and was amazed at how far they have come since my original visit ten years ago! LOL! There were bath bombs in the shape of Saturn, glittery egg-shaped bath bombs, ones that looked like unicorn horns, etc. I was dazzled. A super friendly SA came by and smiled at my amazement as I examined the rainbow-coloured “unicorn horn” bath melt. Now, just let me say that this SA was FANTASTIC. He defined the word “hipster”. Tuque on, plaid shirt, giant work boots, and he sounded like he just walked off a California beach, surf board in hand. “Pretty cool, huh? Like, if you need help, I’ll be over there. Check ya in a bit…”
Before leaving though, he told me all about the bathbombs and soaps and proved to be really knowledgeable. He also mentioned the fact that Lush is a British company which made my ears really perk up. Being British myself and a total anglophile, I asked him to tell me a little bit more… In the 70s in England, Marc Constantine and Liz Weir decided to start a home business developing natural hair and beauty products. In the 80s, Marc heard about Anita Roddick who had started “The Body Shop”. Anita had like-minded ideas regarding natural beauty products, so he called her up and offered some of the products that he and Liz had created. Anita placed an order and the products were a hit. Marc and Liz eventually became The Body Shop’s biggest supplier and in turn, The Body Shop bought Marc and Liz’s product formulas. Eventually, The Body Shop bought out Liz and Marc and but they soon began thinking of starting a new company and with the help of a few others, pooled all of their money together, bought supplies and started creating. They paid an external company to create fragrances for their products, but Marc found that they didn’t always smell natural and “pure”, so he started creating the scents himself. They launched a contest for the public to name their new company and “Lush” was the winner as the word defined fresh, green, verdant and drunken women. Obviously, a winner. LOL!
In 1996, Canadians Mark and Karen Wolverton discovered Lush on a trip to England and brought it to Canada. The first international store opened that same year in Vancouver. LUSH now has over 210 shops in North America, all supplied by the two cosmetic kitchens located in Canada! LUSH, being very environmentally conscious and animal-friendly, makes their products in solid form to reduce the amount of packaging and preservatives. Packaging that is used is 100% recycled and none of their products are tested on animals. LUSH also is a huge advocate of the ethical sourcing of their ingredients and refuses to source anything from companies that commission testing on animals.
After my little background lesson, I was awestruck. I decided to give this company another chance and grabbed a basket! The kind SA helped me pick out a few soaps (I decided against buying the bathbombs for now since I have a billion homemade ones at home), and he was good enough to give me a bunch of soap samples after I told him of my allergies and sensitive skin woes. I tried out the Sandstone soap last night and was thrilled! It smelled heavenly and the sand mixed into the soap exfoliated gently. Apparently, Sandstone was inspired by Brazilian beach babes who mix sand into their tanning oil to exfoliate their skin! It’s seriously citrusy with hints of gardenia and coriander and made my entire bathroom smell heavenly. Awesome. I also got the Porridge soap (oatmeal, orange juice and caramel) and the SA was kind enough to give me a sample of Sultana, which smells absolutely wonderful.
Here is my little haul:
I give LUSH a big, solid A++++ and I reiterate how excellent the service was. Well done!!! Do you guys like Lush? If so, what are some of your favourite LUSH products? Please share! I want to try more of their offerings and welcome suggestions. And remember, if you are trying to be more health, socially and environmentally conscious, the first step really is buying and consuming less.