Halcyone likes to learn about popular health and beauty products to see if they are all they're cracked up to be.
Does It Matter If Lush Is All-Natural?
I am a devout user of all-natural products and, where possible, organic products as I believe they are healthier for your body and skin. Many of the ingredients in popular beauty products are chemicals that increase the shelf life of the product or other gross chemical agents you would not want on your body.
For example, did you know that many soaps include chemicals designed to increase their lather, which they don't really need? These chemicals have been banned in other countries but are still widely used in the U.S. Some shampoos also contain numbing agents, which prevent your eyes from stinging if the chemicals get in your eyes.
- Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in many products to extend shelf-life by years. These chemicals mimic your body's hormones, disrupt the endocrine system, and have been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, and low sperm counts.
- Foaming and lathering agents (SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate) have been found to be a major skin irritant. In addition, some studies show a link to cancer, but an actual causation has not been proven.
Differences Between Natural and Organic
Note that most companies cannot use the term "organic" without approval from the FDA—and even then, there are various types of "organic" certification. What organic will generally mean in regards to beauty care is that the plants and materials used to make the product were grown in a pesticide-free environment and were not exposed to chemicals that may remain on the plant after harvesting.
There is no board controlling the term "natural," but in general, when people refer to natural products, they are referring to products created by nature and not synthesized in a laboratory.
So Is Lush All-Natural and Organic?
Lush doesn't claim to be organic anywhere on their site, so no, they are not. They wouldn't even be allowed to make that statement unless they were certified.
Lush also doesn't claim to be all-natural but has nevertheless earned a reputation as an all-natural beauty product company.
It's important to note that all of Lush's products are made with natural ingredients—but many also contain possibly harmful synthetics. The issue this long-time Lush consumer has with some of their products is that some of these synthetics include SLS and parabens, which, as mentioned earlier, may contribute to a host of health issues.
Which Products Are Natural and Safe?
Some synthetic ingredients, such as baking soda, have been found to be safe. Items that I feel comfortable purchasing and using on a regular basis include:
All of Their Bath Bombs (Safe)
All of Lush's bath bombs are made with all-natural ingredients or safe synthetics, such as baking soda. The majority of ingredients in these items are baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), citric acid (edible powder found in many sour candies), fragrance oils, and coloring, depending on the bath bomb purchased.
In case you are unfamiliar with their bath bombs, they are scented, colored balls that you throw in your bath. While you are bathing, the bath bombs fizz in the water, releasing their beautiful fragrance and (depending on the bomb) a wonderful color, such as light pink.
All of Lush's Bath Melts (Safe)
I am also comfortable using all of Lush's bath melts. I am not as comfortable using the "bubble bars," as those contain SLS. The bath melts, however, do not foam, but simply melt into your bathwater and deliver natural effective moisturizing solutions to your skin. While these are all-natural, I do shy away from one (Melting Marshmallow) scented with synthetic musk, which is rumored to be an endocrine disruptor.
My favorite is Dreamtime. While the sandalwood oil used in this is synthetic, I find that preferable as the synthetic version is not known to cause any reactions and helps the environment (sandalwood trees are experiencing massive deforestation for their oil).
Overall, the majority of Lush's products contain natural ingredients as well as safe synthetics, but I personally prefer to avoid their shampoo and body wash line, which contains SLS, as well as some of their dusting powders, which contain talc. Talc's tiny particles can become very dangerous to your lungs if inhaled.
It is very important to do your own research and buy only what you feel comfortable with based on that research. Do not rely on the Lush sales guys and gals—while these people are extremely friendly, I am a little saddened by how often they've given out poor advice. They've even told me they have occasionally eaten some of the products (which do smell good enough to eat, but absolutely should not be consumed). So above all, be smart about your purchases!
Learn More About What's in Your Products!
It's important to stay informed about potentially toxic ingredients in your skincare products. Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary not only lists cosmetic ingredients you need to know about, but also educates you on skin types, how different products interact with your skin, and much more.
This book has been a "best seller" for years for a reason. It's perfect for those interested in improving the health and appearance of their skin as well as a great resource for estheticians, dermatologists, and more.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Halcyone
ashley on February 13, 2019:
i wish i could use their bath bombs, but their “safe synthetic fragrances” are not safe enough for me to use
! on June 13, 2018:
Good article, thank you for writing it! I would love to hear what shampoo and conditioner you would recommend!
Perry on December 10, 2017:
Re: earlier comment, if a company says “we believe..” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what they do! Clever wording!
Also, readers should inform themselves about the difference between SLS and SLSA. The first is synthetic, the other isn’t.
Many DIY-ers are using SLSA for this reason.
Cindy on October 26, 2017:
Most of teir bath bombs DO contain SLS! Not sure why you mention that those are safe while SLS is not..
Brianna on September 08, 2016:
Sodium bicarbonate is NOT synthetic!!!!
Michelle on May 25, 2015:
I saw propane in bath bomb ingredients.
Callie on November 17, 2014:
Great post!!! LUSH just came out with awesome paraben-free formulas of a lot of stuff!!!
Also Monica, LUSH DOES use a lot of organic fruits and veggie ingredients in their products, but the finished product isn't regulated by the FDA and therefore not organic.
Monica on July 29, 2014:
I'm just reading up on Lush for other reasons. Their website does say: "We Believe... in making effective products from fresh*, organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics." just copied and pasted that from their site. When I read that, I assume the their products are organic! You had stated that it doesn't mention on their site that they're organic. Just wonder if you could elaborate further on that? I'm a confused consumer!