03/25/2008 UPDATE: Warning to those who would order Lush products through the mail. I have had several reports from readers who ordered what they thought would be naked chunks of shampoo or deodorant, only to have them arrive wrapped up in a ton of plastic. So either be very specific in your ordering instructions that you don’t want any plastic packaging, or don’t order from Lush. Reading the comments on my updated 03/24/08 blog post might be helpful to you.
When you walk into a Lush Cosmetics store, (there is one at 240 Powell Street in San Francisco, as well as locations throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world) you are greeted not by rows and rows of products packaged in plastic (as you are when you enter The Body Shop, for example), but by big unwrapped chunks of solid soap as well as shampoo, deodorant, bubble bath, and massage oil. That’s right, big solid chunks of these things! They are sold by weight. You tell the staff how much you want, and they cut off a piece, weigh it, and wrap it in paper for you. I tried 4 products which have been working great for me for the past 2 weeks:
Lush Bohemian Soap smells like lemon, the fruit, not the furniture polish. I find it really refreshing in the morning. And if you don’t like that smell, there are about 20 more kinds of soap to choose from.
Unfortunately, if you don’t like any scented products, you are kind of out of luck with Lush. Everything is made with essential oils and contains some scent, although some are stronger than others.
After my visit to Lush, I spoke with Jennifer Graybeal who handles press inquiries for Lush. I asked her about the products that are packaged in plastic containers. She said that Lush is currently looking into more biodegradable options and is very serious about being environmentally responsible. However, at the moment, there is no non-plastic alternative for some of the products.
I also asked her how the bars are packaged for mail-order shipping. I would hate to order a product that comes without plastic in the store only to find plastic packaging in the box. She told me the only packaging they use is old paper copies of the Lush Times, and that they are looking into even better alternatives, including possibly using actual popcorn to pad the products for shipping.
The main drawback I can see to these products is that they are pricey. I purchased 1/4 pound of each item, and the average price was about $8.00 per bar. The salesperson at the store told me that the Lush bars last longer than other brands. That remains to be seen. But to me, the price is worth it for products that will not contribute to the plastic problem.