Published on March 19th, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin0
What Price, Beauty?
What Price, Beauty?
It’s no secret that we live in a culture that is more than a little obsessed by physical appearance and the pressure seems to be felt more keenly by females. As a woman, I can’t even begin to describe the array of products and treatments that I’ve heard of, all with the mission to make you look and feel more beautiful, confident, sexy or whatever the particular company pitch is.
But eventually I had to ask myself… what price, beauty? There is nothing wrong with women trying to be the best version of themselves and the ways to do it are unlimited and undoubtedly a personal choice. However, as I began to look more into the beauty and cosmetics industry, the waste and harm of it all was shocking. The information about carbon footprint, questionable ingredients and, worst of all, animal testing, is almost unbelievable – and it was there for the world to see. Yet it didn’t seem as if anyone was even batting a false eyelash over it.
That’s where I was completely wrong. While I was looking into all of these brands and becoming more and more disgusted with the practices, I came across one that I had been using (and loving) for years and was immediately disappointed to see their name in conjunction with the research I was doing. However, as I began to read more about them, I realized that LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics was the answer to my green and animal-friendly prayers.
When I began using LUSH, it was just because I had happened to wander into one of their store locations about five years ago. I knew from experience that the products were amazing, that they claimed to try to use natural ingredients and that they had this cute little practice of putting the name and a “picture” of the person who had made that particular batch onto their packaging (if there was any packaging at all). Once I started learning more about the LUSH brand, I realized that this company was so much more than beauty products.
Not content with diminishing their own impact on the environment, they seem to hold any and all companies they work with responsible for their impact on the environment as well. As an extremely successful brand, they are able to be selective as far as who they choose to work with. By opting to join with only other companies who share their mission to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible, they are able to exercise a certain amount of influence over the cosmetics industry by sending the message that only those who are intent on minimizing their environmental impact will be receiving their business – or money.
Some of the statistics that they proudly share on their site are commendable in the extreme. Their wide range of products are 70% unpreserved, meaning they only use the most natural and organic ingredients and in 2011 they instituted an internal Carbon Tax program to track and report all of their carbon emissions, not only for outbound shipments, but also for corporate travel. Just to give their clients a better idea of how much of an impact their practices can make, they break it down into numbers, showing that the “responsible buying of recycled supplies… helped us save over 300 trees, 511,363 liters of water (135,000 gallons of water), 675 gallons of oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 28,000 CO2 equivalents” – and this was only in one year.
In 2012, LUSH went even further to bring attention to the pain and cruelty of animal testing when they teamed up with performance artist Jacqueline Traide. Led on a rope and wearing nothing but a flesh-colored body stocking, Traide endured a 10 hour re-enactment of widely used animal testing in the window of LUSH’s Regent Street flagship store in London. During that time, Traide had her head shaved, was hooked up to electrodes, was force-fed, had irritants sprayed in to her eyes and received injections to demonstrate what commonly happens to animals tested in laboratories – all for something as trivial as mascara or lipstick. The only difference was that at the end of the performance, Traide was able to walk away, whereas the animals used in testing will typically suffer a cruel death. It was a shocking and sickening demonstration, yet it was able to spread awareness of these cruel practices to a much larger audience, hopefully causing some change in how these popular products are made and tested.
While all of these actions incredibly commendable, I’m sure many are wondering about the brand’s actual products. Just like some expect eating healthy foods to somehow not be as tasty or satisfying as eating junk, there is probably hesitation as to the quality of something that has so many self-imposed restrictions. Fortunately LUSH products have all the gratification of a molten chocolate-lava cake with the repercussions of raw vegetables – in fact, some of their stuff looks good enough to eat. The soaps are displayed like pieces of pastry, piled high on what appear to be cake plates, the bath bombs smell like something you would order for dessert and everything has a playful name and description showcasing some of the ingredients and usage. Some of the products are also extremely unique and the variety is pretty impressive. Of course it’s expected that a beauty and cosmetic brand would carry lotions, body washes and all of the usual things associated with them. But what about a line of shampoo bars (no packaging necessary) that smell great and last about as long as two bottles of regular shampoo? Or the after-workout bar that almost immediately relieves muscle soreness? Another one that seems to be a best-seller is a breast cream called “Lovely Jubblies”, a lotion that over time firms the “décolletage and neck area” (yes ladies, I’m serious and it is awesome). Not to leave the guys out, there is also a line of products for men that include shaving cream and shampoos that are a little more man-friendly in the scent area that seems to be expanding every time I visit a shop.
If you want to try an incredible line of beauty and body care products with a social and environmental conscience, LUSH Fresh Handmade is definitely the way to go. Store locations can be found internationally where they are happy to let you sample most things for free or you can always visit their website and discover for yourself just how truly amazing this company really is.
Written by: Daniella Erin