I used to think LUSH was all natural (their tagline is "Fresh Handmade Cosmetics") but really it's not. Just so you know, I'm not a LUSH fan. I find their strong fragrances overwhelming and I can "taste" the fragrances when I walk by the doorway. I am sensitive to that, having had a bad skin reaction to a solid perfume when I was a child.
One of the reasons I started No Tox Life is to create products that are gentle on the skin and safe for most people to use.
So, back to LUSH. There are many ingredients used in their products that, while they do list them, they don't highlight or talk about them in their marketing. I call them "secret" ingredients. Here are some of their "secret" ingredients that I have issues with for haircare and skincare:
SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE. Lots already written about SLS so I don't need to beat this one too much. It's found in commercial shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, and detergent. It's also found in many LUSH products. It's the main ingredient in all their shampoo bars, and it's an ingredient (along with many other ingredients such as EDTA) in COALFACE facial soap.
LUSH knows SLS is not a great ingredient, admitting on their website "We have recently begun to replace sodium lauryl sulphate with a milder surfactant..." But they're still using it in COALFACE facial soaps. And their shampoo bars, with it being the first ingredient listed ... my goodness! That could mean it's being used well above the recommended 1% maximum concentration level.
Did you know Sodium Laurel Sulfate is used as a SKIN IRRITANT in animal and human testing? According to the International Journal of Toxicology, "...Sodium Lauryl Sulfate had a degenerative effect on the cell membranes..." Meaning, SLS causes cellular breakdown. For sure I don't want to put it into my MOUTH (commercial toothpaste and mouthwash commonly contain SLS). And I for sure don't want it on my face.
Some alternatives: Our Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner bars (read the blog here) and DIY natural toothpaste. And a great facial bar is our Detox Charcoal Facial Bar made from mango butter (closer to your skin's natural oils so it doesn't clog pores).
EDTA. LUSH puts EDTA into nearly everything including their "shower soap" blends.
I've already written about EDTA in my Why I Don't Buy Trader Joe's Soaps article, so here's the short version: EDTA is used to dissolve limescale. Also it's used medically to treat mercury and lead poisoning. It binds to metals. It's been linked to calcium being leached from the blood, respiratory illness and asthma. It increases penetration of chemicals through the skin (in or out).
Some alternatives: Handmade soaps by smaller makers that don't include this.
There are many other LUSH ingredients I take exception to, such as: Benzyl Alcohol, used as paint solvent, and is toxic to newborns. It's highly toxic to the eyes, producing corneal damage. LUSH uses it in their shampoo, shower gel, and hair moisturizer. (PVP) polyvinylpyrrolidone, used in making glue sticks, added to batteries and fiberglass, oh, and in LUSH's mascara, eyeliner, and hair cream.
Want to know the deal with handmade soaps by smaller makers vs these bars? Check out an overview of our soap ingredients compared with mass-produced soaps and cleansers.