It’s a strange dichotomy we face as environmentalists, do we want to smell as the Earth intended or as if we pay thousands of dollars to attend a university? In general, we buy our soaps in plastic bottles that wash down into our watersheds and were originally tested on animals until they stopped causing those awful skin ailments. While we attempt to limit disposable water bottles, encourage car pooling, and generate a deeper interest into the world’s natural wonders, we have accepted the status quo required for basic cleanliness. What other option did we have?
Well, now we have stores such as Lush making a rather impressive stand in the world market (expanding to ~800 stores worldwide!). Other hand-made products can be found all over the internet, but, as my personal experience and research only relate to Lush, I will focus on the ways they have opened my eyes to the world of soap products. This may sound a lot like a sales pitch, but honestly, I am just excited to have found a company willing to stand for all of the things I wish every company would.
A lovely friend of mine, July L., took me to Lush over fall break and I discovered something amazing: a successful company that makes body wash, shampoo, face wash, face masks, and even toothy tabs (essentially toothpaste), all without the animal testing, preservatives (they are attempting to phase out parabens), and unsustainable packaging of my usual bath products! And, they actually smell and feel wonderful. And, I can buy them in a large commercial location like Tyson’s Mall.
I came home from my first trip with a face/body wash product called “Angels on Bare Skin.” And I almost want to eat it, because I trust the product. I know that it was handmade, the tub was recycled, and, from the looks of it, there are definitely no industrial chemicals involved. After I use it, everything just feels better. And smells better. (The lavender, almond scent is the most soothing smell I have ever encountered). Of course, my face is still wondering what happened to all the chemicals it was used to, but I’m confident in the product and I know I can always go back to find something that would fit me better.
Additionally, the store introduced me to a new kind of tooth cleaning: tooth cleaning tablets. The tablets are made out of organic oils and spices wrapped in recycled cardboard paper. You chew them up and wet your toothbrush in order to use them. It’s an interesting and “waste-free” alternative to a plastic tube of toothpaste.
Some background on Lush products can be found on their website (this link takes you directly to their “Our Story” page where they have links to “Green Washing,” “Ethical Buying,” “Fresh Ingredients,” etc.): http://www.lushusa.com/Our-Story/our-story,en_US,pg.html
This page refers you to their “Green Policy”: http://www.lushusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Lush-Site/en_US/AboutUs-OurStoryShow?cid=about-green-policy-intro
I promise I am not working for or speaking on behalf of the Lush company, I mostly find their sustainable advocacy and motivation rather impressive.