3.5 fl. oz. for $13.95
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:03.25.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Coalface assaults skin with sandalwood and rosewood oils plus sodium lauryl sulfate and genuine coal powder. Washing your face in the fireplace would be preferred to this product.


Gives your skin a tighter feeling when you wash with it. It's mostly made of soothing, detoxifying licorice root decoction with fragrant rosewood and sandalwood oils to soften and calm the skin. Charcoal, incidentally, absorbs excess oil from the skin's surface and serves as an exfoliator.


Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice Root Decoction), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Stearate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Powdered Charcoal, Santalum Album (Sandalwood Oil), Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, Perfume, Silver Edible Lustre (Potassium Aluminum Silicate, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides And Hydroxides)

Brand Overview

Lush At-A-Glance

Strengths: None… OK, they do offer complete ingredient lists on their website.

Weaknesses: Almost every product contains at least one potent skin irritant; no sunscreens to be found, nor are they recommended by the company; no products to address common skin conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, or eczema; jar packaging; this isn't skin care, it's fragrance dressed up with food ingredient posing as skin care!

With its beginning in England in the late 1970s (the company that later  became Lush sold their first products to none other than The Body Shop!) this line captured consumers' attention with the promise of hand-made cosmetics, and since then has had its share of ups and downs. After closing down for a few years (when they were known as Cosmetics to Go), they reemerged in England as Lush, and now have a global presence and booming mail-order business. Not bad for a shop whose layout and displays look more like a grocery store's than a slick cosmetics boutique.

"Natural" is a major theme here, and we mean major. Essential oils and perfumes are infused into everything; walking into one of these stores will knock you over if you have allergies or a sensitive nose. The unique angle you'll find here is that Lush sells skin-care products the way grocery or health food stores let you shop for bulk food items. You can scoop the stuff up yourself from bins and tubs, or buy prepackaged items, some of which are refrigerated to supposedly ensure freshness (though cold is no more helpful for skin-care formulas than heat is).

Even more eye-catching are the shapes, sizes, and decorations for the numerous Lush bar cleansers. These are nothing short of artwork and are either beautiful or fetchingly cute. As clever as all that is (and some of the product names are adorably witty), none of it is at all helpful for skin. Lush's lineup for facial care is one of the most disappointing, lacking, and problematic. Most of their products are prime examples of "natural" not being inherently better for skin. Lots of natural ingredients (including many antioxidants, such as green tea or pomegranate) are good for skin. Why Lush overlooked almost all of the beneficial options in favor of harmful ones is a question worth asking, but don't expect a straight answer. The staff at Lush stores eagerly supports the company's claims that lemon and lime can decongest oily skin, or that tiger lily can "tighten skin tissues," among other far-fetched, unproven assertions. It seems that at Lush all you need for healthy, radiant skin are fragrant oils wrapped up in beguiling stories of how the product came to be or what else it's good for (it is suggested that one of their moisturizers can also be used as fragrance). The lure of the natural is strong for many consumers, but the siren song Lush sings isn't a tune your skin wants to hear.

For more information about Lush, call (888) 733-5874 or visit www.lush.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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I tried this for a coupple of weeks and it really didn't improove my acne prone skin, in fact i think this dehydrated my skin wich worsened my acne.

Reviewed by
ana r.
Skin Saver

This product completely saved my skin. I see you have all the Lush products as poor, and I'm trying hard to understand why. If it wasn't for Lush, not only would I still have severe acne, but I would still be in search for the perfect face cleanser.

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Thanks for your comments! It's not that we're rating Lush products badly because we're anti-natural ingredients or anything like that. Rather, most Lush products contain one or more natural ingredients scientific research has shown to be a problem for skin. We fail to see why Lush cannot (or will not) formulate with natural ingredients proven to help skin rather than those that pose a strong, documented risk of irritation. We're all for natural products that only use good natural ingredients!


I've used this product for my sensitive acne prone skin and while it's not my fav, I do think it's interesting to note that PAULA"S CHOICE bashes the product for containing SLS, while many of her BEST rated products contain the same ingredient as well as many other unnatural chemicals. Why so much LUSH hate?

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi, and thanks for your comments! A lot of confusion arises because two different ingredients used in cosmetics products are very similarly named and can both be abbreviated as SLS. The first is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is safe for skin and in many products we rate "GOOD" or "BEST." The second is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is definitely not good for skin. A small difference in name, but a big impact in how a product can affect your skin!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
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