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LUSH -- The "Secret" Ingredients They Don't Talk About

LUSH promotes healthy ingredients but really has harsh chemicals

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 chemicals 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 chemical-free alternatives to commercial skin care products. Most of the time, we don't really NEED to use chemicals to get the same (or better) result.

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. I call them "secret" ingredients. Here are some of their "secret" ingredients that I have issues with:

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 nasties such as EDTA) in COALFACE facial soap.

Lush COALFACE contains SLS and EDTA

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. Eww.

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. This is not the kind of stuff I want to put on my skin. 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 Old-Fashioned Coconut Shampoo Bar for Dry and Damaged Hair and our DIY recipes for 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) and let me tell you, it leaves your face feeling so good!

EDTA. LUSH puts EDTA into nearly everything including their "shower soap" blends.

LUSH shower soaps contain EDTA

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. I'm not making this up! 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). Um, no. Just nope. Not a product I want on my skin.

Some alternatives: Almost anything! Jeeminee, I just can't think of any good reason to use EDTA in a skin care or body care product.

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.

lush shampoo soap contains SLS and EDTA

Okay, I'm done talking about all these icky ingredients! There are so many more but I can't stand it any longer. I just stay away from LUSH stores and products.

Want to know what's in No Tox Life goodies? Check out our detailed listing on each product page, and also an overview of our soap ingredients compared with mass-produced soaps and cleansers.

Keep chemically alert and read the labels, my friends!