Are LUSH Products Natural?

August 9, 2018  •   2 min read

Photo courtesy of Lush


To be honest, I’ve never really been a fan of Lush products, and admittedly, have only set foot in one of their stores once. The smell alone was enough to keep me well away. As I’ve delved deeper in my journey towards sustainable and clean living, I’ve become more aware of what ingredients are safe and what aren’t. A growing number of people have mentioned to me their love for Lush products, so I thought writing a post on it might help separate what is truth from greenwashing and advantageous marketing.


For a long while I believed Lush products to be relatively safe, though overly scented. Upon looking further into their ingredient list however, I was shocked to see some of the synthetic ingredients that have become quite infamous for their toxicity on their list of ingredients. What’s worse, is that they try to convince the unknowing consumer that those additives are “safe synthetics”. Using words like “natural” on their packaging convinces consumers that the brand is free of harsh chemicals, but in reality, “natural” really doesn’t mean a whole lot.


The reason so many Lush products are chock-full of chemicals is because they are largely water-based formulas. Water needs preservatives (harsh chemicals) to keep it shelf safe and to prevent it from going moldy.


What isn’t as well-known are dyes. Artificial dyes are heavily present in many Lush products, which is clearly obvious from the wide range of colours available, everything from neon yellow to shocking red. While dyes aren’t as widely spoken about, artificial colouring poses serious health concerns, and is present in many products, ranging from toys, clothes, candy, food, and beauty products. Not only are artificial dyes terrible for our health, they’re also damaging to the environment, and when it comes to beauty products, they are completely unnecessary!


We thought we’d give you a quick rundown of what all these ingredients are and why they’re best avoided.


Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Sulfates


Known as SLSs which are used in beauty products, these chemicals are foaming agents. They give your shampoos, body washes, toothpastes, shaving creams, and bath bombs the lather and fizz that we’ve come to believe is necessary when cleansing. The problem with SLSs are that they are skin irritants, stripping moisture and oils from the hair and skin, and can cause rashes, inflammation, hair loss, and dandruff, especially in people predisposed to skin ailments like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. 


Artificial Dyes


Red dye groups are used in everything from beauty products to maraschino cherries. Red and yellow dyes are amongst the worst in the artificial dye family, and they’ve been shown to cause health problems such as ADHD, skin irritations, and hyperactivity in children.




Parabens are preservatives that keep water-based beauty products from developing mold and bacteria. We might think water in a product is great because water is the ultimate source of life, but it just means that it takes a lot more work and therefore harsh chemicals to preserve the integrity of the product. Parabens are known hormone / endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen.


Lots of actually natural companies don’t use parabens at all, so we know it’s possible to make great products without hormone disruptors in them.




Fragrance is a commonly found ingredient in many beauty products. It’s a synthetic blend of undisclosed scent chemicals and ingredients, and is often associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, migraines, and potential effects on the reproductive system. Parfum is another example of how this would be listed on packaging. Using essential oils to scent beauty products is a much cleaner way of adding scent, while remaining chemical-free.


Those who are well-versed in the green beauty world have boycotted these ingredients for some time now, and we urge you to do the same. Holding a mega-giant like Lush accountable for their greenwashing and misleading advertising is important, not just for the ethics, but for our health. While Lush products can be applauded for their humanitarian efforts in remaining cruelty-free and never testing on animals, the same can’t be said for the effects on humans.


Remember to always read ingredient lists, NOT labels, do your own research and keep these ingredients in mind to avoid for when you buy your next skincare product.


You might also like: 3 Ayurvedic Herbs for Clear Skin


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