Strengths: None… OK, they do offer complete ingredient lists in their newspaper-like catalog.
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.