Try Me

Lush: Handmade cosmetics
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The Independent Online
Lush is a great concept: cosmetics as groovy delicatessen, where the products are hand-made, fresh (some have to live in the fridge), sold with minimal packaging (soap is cut from a block and wrapped in paper), and everything's good enough to eat (the ingredients of the After 8.30 massage bar, which Madonna once bought in the King's Road shop, include cocoa butter, white chocolate, dark chocolate and peppermint).

For teenagers, they are a dream come true: cheap (the most expensive product is a perfume costing pounds 15), cheerful (sample copy: "WAKE UP! The slammer gets you going faster than the Boo Radleys ... Ever heard `Me in Honey' by REM? Well this could be YOU in honey"), ultra-vegetarian and named after a cool indie band.

Old ladies like me, however, remain unconvinced by the selection of "uplifting" products I was sent. The Ballistics - giant balls of bicarb and essential oil that fizz and dissolve in the bath - are a fun idea but, in reality, the sweet orange-scented Feel Good (pounds 2.25 for 225g) felt like being in a giant glass of effervescent Vitamin C and left an indelible stain in the tub. Blue Skys' (sic) and Fluffy White clouds (pounds 2.15 for 100g), an "ambient" bath foam made by Wesley on 10 September 1996, led to disappointingly few bubbles. Finally, the Phoenix solid bath oil (pounds 1.85 for 30g), a soft bar which you cut into chunks at home, was supposed to "revive the weak, exhausted and depressed" but led to a scrummy film and crumbly bits on the floor.

Perhaps I need to get in touch with my inner teenager. Meanwhile, pass the Yardley bath cubes, will you dear?

For details of shops and mail-order service, telephone 01202 668545.

Ruth Picardie