We’ve seen bountiful glimpses of innovation through the years in Lush – from vegan Jelly for your shower to pocket-sized paper for washing your hands, now-bathroom staples such as Bath Bombs and Shampoo Bars to the weirdly wonderful Showders, Shower Bombs and Jelly Bombs.

But, do you ever wonder what and who is behind these creations? What makes Lush, Lush?

Behind the colours, scents, and fizz, behind the doors of 29 High Street, Poole, you’ll find a family who bind it all together. A team of inventors, co-founders, and colleagues with their own personal stories; and their own, special-kind-of love for Lush and invention.

As Rowena Bird (co-founder and inventor) describes Lush: “We invented the company the way it is, and allowed the space for invention to flourish throughout, we’re still innovating over 25 years later. Lush is a loose weave that allows things to grow inside, anything can flourish up and throughout. It’s all interconnected. It’s not a solid membrane that nothing can penetrate. If you have a skill, imagination, a love of putting things together and making things happen, it’s there for you to invent.”

Our customers trust us with their skin and their hair, and we invent products that cater for every need our wonderful customers may have. We want to create a product that’s useful for people at every stage of their (potentially 100 year) life. They trust us to use the finest ingredients, sourced in the best ways and formulated with care to create products they love. And it’s a trust we take seriously. 

It can be a system, inventing a till system or the Lush app. It’s the product, what that product sits on, how it’s sold, invention can be anything and can happen throughout the business – imagination and innovation flow everywhere

ROWENA BIRD, LUSH CO FOUNDER AND INVENTOR
65%

Natural ingredients

66%

of our range is Naked

Timeline

Iconic Product launches

1995

Our first bath bombs – Aqua Sizzlers

1995

Angels On Bare Skin

1995

H’Suan Wen Hua

1995

Blue Skies And Fluffy White Clouds

1995

Karma perfume

1996

Ultrabland

1996

Dream Cream

1998

Mask Of Magnaminty

2001

Henna

2002

Ocean Salt

2003

New

2004

Blackberry Bath Bomb

2005

Snow Fairy

2007

Charity Pot

2009

Synaesthesia spa treatment

2011

Ro’s Argan

2012

Fun

2012

Eyes Right

2017

Sleepy

2018

Renee’s Shea Soufflé

6.6m

Shampoo bars sold in 2019

Discover more about Shampoo Bars

We invented Shampoo Bars in 1988

Economical, naked and self-preserving; what’s not to love about solid shampoo bars?

In 2019 we sold 6.6 million shampoo bars saving over 19 million shampoo bottles ending up in landfills!

Small but perfectly formed, our solid shampoo bars can last up to 80 washes, replacing the need to buy three bottles of liquid shampoo.

Invented at Cosmetics to Go (the company that came before Lush), “Shampoo bars were one of the first patents that we ever achieved,” explains Mo Constantine. “Working with Cosmetic Chemist Stan Krysztal, we developed the idea of pressing shampoo needles and then adding in active ingredients for different uses on the hair.”

Our New shampoo bar is made with lots of stimulating ingredients like clove, cinnamon, peppermint and even nettles to get the blood rushing to your head and your scalp tingling. Our shampoo bars travel far and wide, so New is labelled with our #BeCrueltyFree message, a nod to our Fighting Animal Testing policy, wherever in the world it ends up!

In fact, we love being ahead of the crowd so much, we created a piece of packaging that quite literally fights climate change. Our cork pots remove more carbon from the environment than they produce, with each one eliminating 1.2kg of CO2e from the atmosphere.

The perfect bathroom accessory for any eco-activist. In July 2019, we received 6,000 cork pots by sail boat that came straight from Portugal into Poole Harbour – our first carbon neutral shipment.  Watch the journey.

Originally named INASIA bars, back then we used to wrap them in foil, but at Lush we like them naked!

Check out where the ingredients for Dream Cream come from!
197k

Honey I Washed The Kids sold

Baked Alaska soap
Snow Fairy soap
13 Soap Unlucky for Dirt
We sell 24 different handmade soaps!

Palm free soap bases

When we first looked at soap, back in the early 90s, most of the soap on the market was being made from animal fat. We wanted to move away from this, so we tried to make it from vegetable fats, one of which was palm oil.

Later we realised far too much palm oil was being used globally and we learnt about the environmental disaster that it had created.

Upon learning about the terrible environmental and social effects of palm oil production, we decided to remove palm oil from our soap base in 2008. Our goal is to become 100 percent palm-oil-free (read our UK article), and switching our soap base was a big first step.

We didn’t want to return to animal fat so we started to make soap from coconuts, rapeseed and friendlier stuff.  For cosmetics companies, buying a pre-made base has been part of the soap manufacturing market for years. Yet experimenting with distinctive soap bases in-house has enabled us to create a greater range of textures, lathers and ingredients, leading to greater creative control and ingredients transparency.

It’s also been an opportunity to remove less beneficial and unsustainable materials, such as monopropylene glycol and palm oil.

Until recently we’ve been unable to say that our soaps are 100% palm free. Although our soap bases have been palm-free since 2006, we were concerned that the sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) which is one of the ingredients which helps to create an abundant and rich foam, and the sodium stearate, which makes soap solid, were derived from palm oil. However, we’ve now developed our own in-house soap base made from Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil and organic castor oil, mixed with sodium hydroxide to induce a reaction called saponification. This creates the lathering solid base of the soap on which infusions, juices or oils are added to benefit the skin and provide fragrance.

This clever new formulation means there’s no need to add SLS or sodium stearate and, as it’s made in-house, we can guarantee that the entire soap is free from palm oil and palm derivatives. We’re now busy developing a palm-free sodium stearate that doesn’t compromise the quality of the end product. We’ve worked with our manufacturer to design a material that’s made from leftover olive oil, to create a closed-circle production. The good news is that it works — but not as well as we’d like.

You don’t like soap? It’s our job to invent one that you can’t resist. That’s what we’re here for.

Meet the Inventors

Many of Lush’s co-founders remain product inventors to this day. Pioneering new products and creating cosmetic best sellers is all in a day’s work for Mo, Mark, Helen and Ro. They’re joined by a team of inventors these days too…

Emma, Jack, Michelle, Wesley, Jason, Gary, Claire, Sarah, and Daisy are all part of the incredibly talented inventor team.

The way the team approaches product development and innovation contributes to our Secret Lush Masterplan of Making Perfect Products for every need, Being number 1 in every category and Creating a cosmetics revolution.

9770

Formulas created by Helen and Mark alone

Helen Ambrosen stands in her lab, smiling while looking off-camera
Rowena Bird poses in front of a red door, smiling
Mo Constantine leans on a silver bench holding a bath bomb, smiling
Mark Constantine sits in a pale pink chair smiling
Lush Inventor Jack pours green liquid into a jug of red liquid
Just a few of the wonderful Lush inventors

Further reading

100%

FRESH, HANDMADE AND CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS

27

Years of Lush

Fresh isn’t just important to us; it defines us.

Mo Constantine, Lush Co-Founder and Inventor
3500k

of Lemon’s squeezed for Fresh products

And we’re not done yet!

We’re still creating perfect products for every need – so watch this space for more amazing Lush products for every bathroom…

 

Product for every need animated logo

 

Read more on the Secret Lush Cosmetics Masterplan…

Be Number 1 in Every Category

Create A Cosmetics Revolution

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