Lush Illusions Inc.

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I was horribly fooled by cuteness and delicious smells. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, I was tricked by fizzy bath bombs, organic and natural labels, and misleading promises. Chances are if you’ve ever purchased Lush products, you have been too. I have no excuse though. I am someone who is constantly reading labels, the queen of peering between the lies, and educated as to what is actually considered natural, organic, and healthy for you. So if I can be fooled, anyone can.

I was pumped up with excitement when I found Lush. I recently started making my own products such as deodorant, face/body moisturizer, and dishwashing/laundry detergent in an attempt to cut down on the amount of chemicals I put in and on my body. But frankly, I’m lazy, I like things that smell good, and am a sucker for cute packaging. So when I saw that there was a company that seemed to be making what natural products for me, I freaked out. In case you haven’t heard of them, here is their website: http://www.lushusa.com/

When I visited the store, a few things overwhelmed me:

  1. The overpowering cacophony of fragrances that burned my nose hairs.
  2. The annoyingly nice and overly aggressive salespeople. They’re like smiling peppy barnacles that you can’t scrape off your hull.
  3. The bright white words plastered everywhere, shouting, “Natural!” “Homemade!” “Organic!” “Fresh!” “No Animal Testing!”.

I quickly skipped around the store like a child on her first Easter Egg hunt, snatching up bath gels, deodorant, shampoo bars, bath bombs, and salt scrubs. Yet in the midst of my $200 purchase, my gut was quietly tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Are you sure about this? There’s something fishy going on here…” To which I responded by punching my gut in the face and saying, “BATH BOMB CUTE SMELL GOOD. SHUT UP.”

After about two days of using the products, my gut spoke up again, this time in the shower while I was giddily lathering myself up with the Rose Jam Bath gel. This time I couldn’t ignore it as it said, “Um…this stuff and the shampoo lathers up CRAZY good. Too good in fact. I think there are sulfates in this crap. Read the label you moron or I’ll give you horrible gas later in the middle of your date!”

Fearful of my gut’s gas threat, I read the label, and sure enough I found the following ingredients nestled cleverly betwixt the “natural” ingredients:

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  2. Sodium cocoamphoacetate
  3. Fragrance
  4. Propylene Glycol
  5. Methylparaben
  6. FD&C Red No. 4
  7. Perfume
  8. Lauryl Betaine
  9. Methyl Ionone

My gut glanced up at me and said, “I FREAKING TOLD YOU SO.”

So then I started investigating the Lush Company, and found numerous articles from people who had already figured out what was just brought to light. Here is a great one for your reading pleasure: http://thosegraces.com/lush-not-natural/. Lush is a scam to trick you into believing that you’re doing something good for your body, all the while using known toxins and not actually lying about anything at all. Nothing they’re doing is technically wrong or illegal, just like it’s not illegal to slap the “natural” label on chicken after it’s been pumped with hormones, antibiotics, and arsenic.

Because here’s the thing. All of the ingredients I just listed are technically “natural”. Chemicals are considered “natural” because technically, everything is made up of chemicals. People, animals, water, and trees are all made up of chemicals. E.Coli is “natural”, arsenic is “natural, and the venom that comes out of a snake’s fang that will kill you is also “natural”. But certain chemicals have been proven through studies and also people dying, to be harmful and toxic.

My issue here isn’t that Lush uses those chemicals, it’s not illegal and people still openly debate whether the chemicals in question are actually harmful and to what degree. My issue is that Lush purposefully misleads their consumers by marketing their products in a subtly deceptive way. If you work in marketing, you’d probably be very impressed by what they do. However, if you’re a consumer such as I, it can really piss you off.

To sum up, the founders of Lush aren’t liars per say, they’re just excellent at bending the truth and tricking you into believing their marketing sham. They are magicians who trick you into believing they’re performing magic when they’ve simply perfected the talent of distracting you from the real truth that magic doesn’t exist. If you take the time to navigate their website, they are completely honest with the types of ingredients they use. But they dance expertly around their toxic ingredients by calling them “safe synthetics”, defending their usage, and explaining the natural origin of the synthetic, along with pictures of fruits and healthy oils. Some examples from their website:

  •  Sodium cocoamphoacetate is an organic compound derived from coconut oil.
  •  They (parabens) 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.
  •  Coumarin is a chemical compound, occurring naturally in some essential oils and absolutes, such as tonka bean and lavender.”

Again, Mycotoxin, a naturally occurring chemical that comes from fungus (also natural), KILLS PEOPLE. Amygdalin is a naturally occurring substance inside apricot kernels that can cause gut discomfort, illness, and if too much is consumed in a short amount of time, cause death. That doesn’t mean it’s freaking good for you!

So what’s the lesson in all of this? Do not believe everything you read and understand that the word “natural” doesn’t always mean safe and/or good for you. Do your homework and decide if you’re willing to believe Lush and take the risk of using known toxins in your skincare. But if you’re willing to take that risk, also know that you could buy the same types of products for way cheaper at Wallmart or CVS that don’t make the same B.S. claims that Lush does.

You have been learned. Now go forth and wash yourself toxin free!