Abigail Fenton 18th January 2019
Lush has been a staple in the lives of all of us who love a nice, relaxing bath for years now. Since opening in 1995, the brand has become renowned for its ethical approach to creative, colourful and nourishing bath products and cosmetics. It’s safe to say Lush is best known for its beloved bathbombs and best-selling face masks, but here are some things you probably didn’t know about the company.
The Goddess bathbomb was inspired by Ariana Grande’s God is a woman
The lush (hah!), holographic, shimmering lilac Goddess bathbomb is based on Ariana Grande’s iconic God is a woman music video, which dropped in July 2018. Her impact!
Goddess was created by Lush chief digital officer and product inventor Jack Constantine after a fan reached out to the brand on Twitter, asking it to pretty please make a bathbomb based on a scene in the video — you know, the one where Grande is lying in a pool of pinks and purples that looks suspiciously like a giant vulva?
The deal was pretty much sealed when Grande replied, begging, “omg @lushcosmetics i’ll [sic] do anything” — proving God is a woman, and she’s here to provide us with sparkly bathbombs as well as songs about the divinity of female sexuality, and pitch-perfect whistle notes. Above and beyond, Ariana.
The Goddess bathbomb contains Fair Trade Colombian cocoa and shea butters, provided by the Ojoba Women’s Cooperative, and liquid gold argan oil — “precious ingredients for a true goddess”, with tales of empowered women’s groups behind them. Jasmine, oudh and rich sandalwood will seduce you into lilac and silver waters, according to Lush.
Hair marshmallows exist because a product inventor poured some shampoo into a meringue
“It can start with a joke, it can start with a mould, it can start with a idea of, like, ‘I saw this thing on TV last night, can we do something about that?'” product inventor Daniel Campbell says on the process of, well, inventing products. So where did the idea for Lush’s upcoming hair marshmallows — squishy, spongy shampoos that go foamy in your hand once you add water, previewed at the Lush showcase back in September 2018 — come from?
“Have you ever made a vegan meringue? You know the chickpea one, and you whisk it up? I took that, then I poured a warm shampoo base into it and set it solid, so it’s like a big block of marshmallow that you wash your hair with.”
After enjoying some meringue at home, Campbell says he initially pondered over adding a shower gel base to set the recipe solid. “I’d learned this interesting technique of cooking at home, out of a cookbook, and I thought, how can I make a product out of this?”
It worked, but the team of inventors quickly found that washing their hair with the marshmallow had more “interesting effects”. Campbell replaced the shower gel base with a shampoo one, and after a few tweaks and additions to the formula, voila! It was airy and light, and because chickpea proteins are so small, he explains, it could get into the cortex of the hair, making for an effective proteinous repairing treatment.
Seven Lush marshmallows have been created so far, including Mr Citrus, for oily hair types, and Monroe, best for blondes with its purple undertones.
Digital bathbombs are going to be a thing
Lush has been experimenting with building its own hardware, “in an ethical way”, for the past year and a half, says Adam Goswell from Lush Digital. As part of this, his team has come up with a prototype of something that could be quite exciting for customers — a digital bathbomb (working title, Goswell notes).
“Essentially, it’s something you could put in the bath or shower, or anywhere in your house, really, and it can display a light show,” he explains.
LED bath lights that reflect a kaleidoscope of colour onto the sides and bottom of your tub for an underwater disco experience, are not exactly hard to come by these days. But the Lush digital bathbomb is — or will be — more than that. Goswell explains the team is working on a number of features to ensure the digital bathbomb has a “mood-transforming” effect, just like a real bathbomb would. All Lush products are created with the intention of helping you transform, he says, so this is what the digital bathbomb should achieve. You might say, “I wanna feel happy,” or “I wanna feel relaxed,” and, hopefully, the digital department can make it happen.
“It could be entertaining, it could be quite fun, but ultimately we’re all about doing mood-changing things and that’s what we want this product to do.”
We need to make sure the plastics we use or the metals are all ethically sourced and can be recylced
The digital bathbomb will also play music. What’s more, light and sound shows will be match-able to Lush products and spa treatments, expanding on them and enhancing their moods for a full sensory experience. You can even design your own light show, as the team is working on a mobile app that will allow customers to control the digital bathbomb while they soak. “You’ve got the smell of the product, the feel of the product, the sound, the light, everything together,” enthuses Goswell.
The digital bathbomb is currently in development while Lush figures out how to manufacture it ethically.
“We’re not using a factory that kinda has the workers in poor conditions or not paid correctly. We’re looking at the materials. We need to make sure the plastics we use or the metals are all ethically sourced and can be recylced. It’s a hell of a lot of work looking into these things at the moment.”
Lush’s 40 shades of slapsticks were based on an artist’s colour palate
Lush enthusiasts will be well aware that aside from bathbombs and citrus-y soaps named after delightful desserts — Baked Alaska is the best soap and there will be no discussion about it — Lush expanded into makeup a few years ago. Last year, it launched its first ever range of foundations, hitting it out of the park with 40 shades right off the bat. With three undertones to choose from (cool, warm and neutral) there really is a slapstick for everyone — and there’s a reason.
The slapsticks were created by product inventor Gemma Neary, who happens to be a portrait artist, and a “really, really good one” at that, according to Lush co-founder Rowena Bird. Neary used the “artist’s palate” to choose the 40 different shades for the foundations, which, Bird explains, is why you’ll be able to find one that matches every single skintone.
“It’s a new way of looking at at it, and it’s so clever but so bloody obvious, and now we’ve done it,” says Bird.
As if that isn’t good enough, the little egg-looking foundations are also 100% vegan and completely solid, meaning there’s no need for plastic packaging, which is a big deal as far as Bird is concerned.
“I do wonder about how much packaging is in the makeup industry,” says Bird. “We’re re-using almond meal, or we’re taking a nut from Ecuador and we’re gonna turn that into a packaging format, or we’re just not gonna have any packaging at all. It just shows it can be done. The important thing is if you can just think outside the box a little bit.”
Lush slapsticks boast a ton of natural ingredients, such as Indonesian coconut oil (which makes up 45% of the formula), candelilla, sunflower and Turkish rose wax, plus 14% pigment. This combination makes for brilliant coverage and easy blending on-par with any high-end foundation range, but more eco-and-animal-friendly.
Lush is opening its first Naked shop in the UK!
The Lush shop on 10 Market Street, Manchester is opening its doors today after a renovation into the first ever (ever!) plastic-packaging-free cosmetics shop in the country (in the whole country!).
As part of a long-term plastic-reduction plan — Lush packaging is already, by weight, 90% recyclable and it’s working on the other 10%, according to the company — the shop offers an abundance of plastic-packaging-free alternatives to your favourite products, from classic shampoo bars to new naked skincare innovations. And rather than scanning labels for information, you can scan products directly through your smartphone via the recently-launched Lush Labs app (rated ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ on the App Store), replacing packaging with a digital solution.
Developed by Lush Digital and powered by Google, the app’s Lush Lens feature uses product recognition to eliminate the need for packaging. Just scan your favourite bathbomb or deodorant bar with your smartphone to get product and ingredients information, and a “how to use” demonstration, in an eco-friendly way.
God, these guys are so smart.
Abigail Fenton 18th January 2019