The best Lush products to shop, from vegan perfume to zero-waste make-up

With a focus on fresh, handmade formulas, you beauty regime will never look (and smell) so sweet

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Friday 09 July 2021 12:59
<p>Big on sustainability, many Lush products are free of packaging</p>

Big on sustainability, many Lush products are free of packaging

First established 26 years ago, cosmetics brand Lush is synonymous with strongly scented shop doorways, brightly coloured soaps, bath bombs and yummy looking textures. Today there are 900 shops in 48 countries worldwide, and all products are made freshly by hand using little or no preservatives and minimal packaging.

Lush took an ethical approach to cosmetics before it became more mainstream to do so. Taking a clear stand against animal testing, the vegetarian, vegan, and cruelty-free formulas span across ranges including haircare, skincare, bath and body products, make-up, and fragrance. Creation and expiry dates are outlined to reflect their raw organic fruit and veg ingredients. Sustainability is a strong theme, and many products come without packaging and are billed as naked. In February 2021, Lush introduced its plastic packaging returns scheme too.

After recognising the need to keep up with the ever-evolving market, Lush recently launched its new website and app with a 24-hour chat function. A beauty subscription box is another current shopping option, although, for those who favour the classic Lush experience, you can still book in store treatments.

We know it well for its fun, glittery bath bombs – a whopping 13 million were produced in 2020, in fact. But do Lush deliver equally impressive buys across the board, from make-up to perfume and skincare? And can these colourful concoctions translate into quality, high performance products? After a month trialling a range of beauty buys from the brand, here’s our verdict.

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The best Lush products for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Lush sleepy body lotion, 215g: £16, Lush.com
  • Best for a fun soak – Lush intergalactic bath bomb: £4.95, Lush.com
  • Best lip colour – Lush beit-ed-dine lipstick refill: £10, Lush.com
  • Best scent – Lush karma perfume, 30ml: £30, Lush.com
  • Best packaging free haircare – Lush new shampoo bar: £8, Lush.com
  • Best natural makeup – Lush lashes black mascara: £15.50, Lush.com
  • Best everyday skincare – Lush ultrabland cleanser, 45g: £9, Lush.com
  • Best uplifting lather – Lush honey I washed the kids soap: £4, Lush.com
  • Best for minimal ingredients – Lush repeat foot cream, 50g: £9, Lush.com

Lush sleepy body lotion, 215g

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Served up in a 100 per cent recycled tub with twist off lid, the vegan lotion is a dreamy lilac shade. On the side we found ingredient info, as well as a sticker listing what date the fresh product was made and by which team member. A silky smooth and shiny consistency, our tester noted its oatmeal, lavender, and organic cocoa butter scent to be lavishly soothing. While rubbing this quickly absorbed lotion onto skin, the enveloping aroma is both syrupy sweet and comforting like a rich caramel. Between that and the skin nourishing ingredients such as almond and jojoba oil, application feels relaxing. Leaving a satiny moisturising finish, as the cooling formula sinks in, we noticed its calming effect. We were consciously unwinding before bed when we applied this, but using Lush’s sleepy lotion resulted in a far better night’s sleep.

Lush intergalactic bath bomb

Best: For a fun soak

Rating: 9/10

This bright blue bath bomb has a glittery finish and layers of hot pink and yellow running throughout. Its peppermint, vetivert and grapefruit oil formula brings a warming tangy scent which is soapy sweet too. Thanks to the integral sodium bicarbonate, the vegan bath bomb fizzes and foams instantly when hitting water. We then noticed shimmery blue and pink swirls spread, with a marbly effect across its surface, which is really satisfying to watch. After a couple of minutes, the tub’s depth was filled with a dark ocean blue coloured water and shimmer that is like sparkly stardust as opposed to tacky glitter. We noted silkily softened skin and a subtle scent which lingered on limbs afterwards as did some sparkly particles. There was sandy residue in the bath afterwards which we rinsed away, but none of the bright water left any colour stains on our white tub.

Lush beit-ed-dine lipstick refill

Best: Lip colour

Rating: 9/10

To open the vegan refill, we peeled off a wax layer doubling up as protective packaging. This clever lipstick-coloured outer coating prevents the use of any unnecessary plastic, and is listed in the brand’s naked packaging free section. You can buy a separate refillable plastic-free lipstick case (£8, Lush.com) to insert it into, which takes a bit of patience as the push-up mechanism slips at times. But that’s a small gripe given the huge zero waste benefit. The slimline bullet is pointed, working well at both lining and defining lips. Gliding smoothly onto our pout, we saw an even coating and felt the moisturising effects of natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, sunflower wax, and organic castor oil.  The colour is a neutral dusky rose, with pigment that feels nourishing when applied. It stayed put for a few hours too, and we love the creamy texture and reasonable price point.

Lush karma perfume, 30ml

Best: Scent

Rating: 8/10

Housed in a compact square glass bottle, this vegan scent is also available in a larger 100ml size. Branding is refreshingly simple, with an ingredient list, plus the date it was made on there as well as by which team member. Our tester noted that a spritz brought a joyful sunny lift, with that initial scent haze not dissimilar to a summery ice lolly. Once the perfume has settled on the skin, we picked up the sweet uplifting notes of patchouli oil, Brazilian orange oil and lemongrass oil offset against the crisp Siberian fir needle oil. After spraying the perfume on, our tester could still detect its happy, distinctive scent a solid eight hours later, making it a quality fragrance at a very reasonable price point.

Lush new shampoo bar

Best: Packaging free haircare

Rating: 8/10

Another zero packaging purchase, the red bar is a new-ish addition to Lush’s arsenal, although shampoo soaps have been part of its range since 1988. Taking the form of red sprinkles compressed together into a round shampoo bar shape, we immediately noticed its warm spicy clove bud oil scent. Rubbing the vegan bar between our hands, we saw suds, which we then worked into our scalp and strands. The stimulating peppermint and cinnamon oil fragrance, which is released further during washing, makes for an invigorating shampoo. Bringing a lightweight froth to hair rather than overt bubbles, our hair felt thoroughly cleansed afterwards. It didn’t leave us with much volume, but we did see a definite shine and could smell the rich scent on our dry hair. Another big plus point – the bar doesn’t become mushy when wet and keeps it shape.

Lush lashes black mascara

Best: Natural make-up

Rating: 8/10

This bold black mascara comes with an ingredients list, plus the date made and when it will expire. Its compact tube can make application more fiddly, but equally, this is an ideal size for stashing in your handbag. Upon application we noticed that ingredients including coconut oil, wheatgrass and acacia gum ensure the mascara feels gentle on lashes. Plus, its slim brush features a detailed precision grip, which delivers a natural lift to the lashes. The formula is lightweight and buildable. Separating lashes and providing clear definition minus any spikiness, there’s no clumping or smudges either. Staying put all day, even in warmer weather, removal is surprisingly easy too.

Lush ultrabland cleanser, 45g

Best: Everyday skincare

Rating: 8/10

This buttery soft cleanser is presented in a 100 per cent recycled pot with twist off lid, and you can shop different sizes. A soft, glossy consistency, we smoothed the balmy cleanser across skin before adding warm water and removing with a face cloth. Because of its texture, there’s a little greasiness, which may not appeal if you prefer a gel or cream cleanser. We used this both in the morning and at night, noticing how efficiently it removes make-up without feeling at all stripping to the skin. The notably minimal ingredients list includes almond oil, rose water, beeswax, and honey, which are the reason for its soothing scent. After use we saw skin that looked and felt hydrated and nourished, as well as smoothly cleansed.

Lush honey I washed the kids soap

Best: Uplifting lather

Rating: 8/10

A substantial chunk of soap, the smooth block has Lush branding imprinted on its side and is finished with a honeycomb shaped top. Another packaging free number, the shape stands up which is handy for storage between use. Interestingly, it doesn’t become too slippery when wet either. The creamy scent and texture we noticed comes from ingredients such as coconut oil, British honey and aloe vera extract. And the brightening notes we smelt must be down to an inclusion of citrus elements like sweet wild orange oil and bergamot oil. We experienced a light lather that was enough to efficiently wash our skin, while feeling softening and leaving a lingering scent too.

Lush repeat foot cream, 50g

Best: For minimal ingredients

Rating: 9/10

A 100 per cent natural formula of just nine ingredients including moisturising castor oil and glycerine, the vegan foot cream is packaged in a recycled tub with a twist off lid. The sheer orange coloured, silky soft texture smells of fresh, juicy citrus thanks to the orange peel wax in the formula. This also adds to the emollient effect we experienced, with the balm-like cream coating our feet and sinking in. Dipping into the product, we found a small amount goes a long way, bringing a generous veil of hydration that almost melts onto skin. We were careful, as our soles became slippery, until the cream had fully absorbed. But what was most noticeable, is how deeply soothed and alleviated of achy tiredness our feet felt after use.

The verdict: Lush products

For its blissful scent and impressive pre bedtime skin soothing, we were wowed by the sleepy body lotion. Meanwhile, the intergalactic bath bomb is a fun standout buy that infused our tub with deep shimmering sparkle and skin loving ingredients. Finally, the smooth, hydrating effect of the beit-ed-dine lipstick refill was as equally impressive as its evenly pigmented finish.

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For more ethical beauty buys, try our edit of the best vegan and cruelty-free skincare brands, from Aesop to Bali Body

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