Since switching to cruelty-free and vegan beauty, I’ve become much more conscious of the brands I buy from. Popping into the local Superdrug to pick out a new lipstick or mascara is not as simple as it once was, as there are several things I now need to consider: does this brand sell in mainland China? Does this lipstick contain carmine? Is this company parent-owned by a notorious tester? Thankfully, there are resources available which make things easier, and after a few years of practice, I’m getting there in terms of knowing who to buy from and who to avoid.
One brand I’ve long felt comfortable buying from is LUSH. They wear their strong anti-animal testing message on their sleeve; I would say it’s pretty much impossible to be familiar with LUSH yet oblivious to their cruelty-free ethics. This is great as it means that more and more people have the opportunity to learn about animal suffering within the cosmetics industry, and how they can play a part in eradicating that.
Can you feel a “but…” coming on? You’d be right to trust your intuition! First, though, let’s look at the other reasons why LUSH is such a worthwhile brand to support:
| They’re transparent and diverse
Like I mentioned, LUSH wear their ethics on their sleeve for all to see and engage with. They make cruelty-free cosmetics marketed towards cruelty-free consumers. If you’re wanting to dig a bit deeper, their website has lots of information regarding where they source their ingredients from and what their approach is in terms of ending animal testing in the cosmetics industry. I also appreciate how diverse their staff is; every store I’ve visited has a range of staff from different racial backgrounds and identities. It’s refreshing to see, given that a lot of companies with similar cult status are fronted by staff fitting a very specific, very white and very skinny aesthetic.
| Their products are well labelled
Nothing is more dull than scanning a list of ingredients (which often don’t make any sense) to spot no-nos like beeswax, lanolin and carmine. Thankfully, I don’t often have to do this at LUSH, as their displays feature helpful signs denoting whether or not a product is vegan-friendly. Their incredibly eager members of staff are also always on hand to ask, and to my experience have always been very knowledgeable. Ordering from LUSH online is also a breeze, as all suitable products are clearly labelled with the vegan stamp of approval.
| They are eco-friendly
I love that LUSH offer incentives to get us recycling the pots that their products are sold in. Not only that, but those little pots can also be pretty good to reuse yourself, if you don’t manage to stack up enough to take back for a free face mask. As you probably know, LUSH also offer several packaging-free products, such as soaps, glitter bars and even shampoos. Their gift sets, which are wrapped in reusable cloth wrapping, would make wonderful eco-friendly presents, too.
So, with all that said, what could I possibly take issue with? LUSH are an ethically sound, diverse and informed company, embodying their message through and through. But, as a vegan consumer, it strikes me that they seem disinterested in transitioning to a completely vegan range. This wouldn’t normally surprise me in companies less vocal about their cruelty-free status. But for a brand so passionate about ending animal suffering, why are LUSH not considering omitting animal derived ingredients from all of their products?
There are lots of differing opinions on whether or not a company can truly be cruelty-free if they are using animal derived ingredients in some of their products. My personal opinion is that yes, LUSH are still genuinely cruelty-free despite using products such as lanolin and beeswax. It is frustrating, knowing that there are alternatives to these ingredients which could be used instead. LUSH can assert that lanolin (a grease which occurs on wool-bearing animals) is naturally occurring and causes no harm to the sheep until they’re blue in the face, it still won’t convince me that there’s no alternative they could be exploring instead. I avoid wool as a material in clothing because I don’t believe we have a right to use any part of an animal for our own benefit, so why would I want to put wax from it on my skin?
Although I’m not hoping for LUSH to all of a sudden champion the vegan cause, it would be great to see them phase out the animal derived ingredients present in some of their most popular products. What better way to be at the forefront of cruelty-free cosmetics than to pioneer totally animal-free ingredients and products?