Lush (company)

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Lush Retail Ltd.
Public limited company
Industry Personal care
Founded 1995
Founder Mark and Mo Constantine, Liz Weir, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves
Headquarters Poole, United Kingdom
Products Cosmetics
Revenue £282.5m in 2014

Lush is a cosmetics retailer headquartered in Poole, Dorset United Kingdom, founded by Mark Constantine, a trichologist and Liz Weir, a beauty therapist. They sell products for hair and skin that are promoted as being fresh and natural. They met in a hair and beauty salon in Poole, England. A few years later, they decided to branch out and start their own business selling natural hair and beauty products. In the early 80s, Constantine read about Anita Roddick, who had just started The Body Shop. He called her and offered some of his products. She initially placed an order for £1,200 to start with, and from there Constantine and Weir developed products for The Body Shop and became the company's largest supplier for over a decade. It was at this point The Body Shop decided to buy their product formulas.

The Body Shop's purchase of their product formulas forbade Mark and Liz from opening another retail shop for five years, so they set up a mail order cosmetics company called Cosmetics-To-Go. It was a successful although complicated venture that ended up burning out. The company went into administration and sold to someone from Poole, who took the product formulas and the Cosmetics-To-Go name.

Mark and Liz, along with Mo Constantine, Helen Ambrosen, Rowena Bird and Paul Greaves from Cosmetics-To-Go, spent what money they had left on fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. In a shop in Poole, they hand made products upstairs that were being sold downstairs. They had previously been paying another company to come up with the fragrances for their products, but found out the perfumes weren't always pure, so Mark decided he would create the perfumes himself. A competition was launched for customers to give the company a new name. One customer suggested LUSH, which is defined as being fresh, green, and verdant.


The original Lush store, located in Poole, Dorset, UK. The store also houses a Lush Spa, accessed via the door on the left.

Mark Constantine started mixing potions in his kitchen for Anita and Gordon Roddick and became a supplier of The Body Shop in the 1970s.[citation needed] Mark Constantine, a herbal trichologist, and Elizabeth Weir, had an interest in beauty therapy and thus, formed a company named Constantine & Weir.[1] They developed a number of recipes for bath and beauty products and were a major supplier to The Body Shop, until Roddick was consulted to take more products in house. The Body Shop then paid £6m for the rights of Constantine & Weir's recipes.[2][3][4]

In December 2010, Mark and Mo Constantine were awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours list, for services to the beauty industry.[5]

Business structure[edit]

Lush is a privately owned company with a small number of shares available on an invitation basis only.[6] The company's growth is based mainly upon partnerships.

The company also owned the B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful brand, which had outlets in Poole, Leeds, Covent Garden, and Oxford Street. Lush announced in 2009 that B would cease trading, saying "the company has NOT gone bust or bankrupt and there are no administrators involved, we are simply unable to make a profit. Lush will be absorbing the business in order to retain the assets."

Maintaining its ethical roots, Lush Cosmetics donated £3.8m to charities in 2014.[7]


Lush produces soaps, shampoos, shower gels, lotions, moisturizers, scrubs, masks and other cosmetics for the face, hair, and body using vegetarian recipes. Solid shampoos as well as "Toothy Tabs" which are solid toothpaste tablets are also available for purchase online and in a retail store (Inventions: Patents DE 20314733, RU 2252011). Lush is also known for their "Bath Bombs" which are solid bars of sodium bicarbonate. As of July 2012, Lush began selling their "Emotional Brilliance" makeup collection, which includes liquid lipsticks, liquid eyeliners, and cream shadows. Lush also launched their first mascara, Eyes right, under the "Emotional Brilliance" line.

Lush products are made in factories around the world including Poole, Dorset, Toronto, Canada, and Vancouver, Canada, and are produced in small batches, based on orders from individual stores to ensure the freshness of the product. Lush marks its trademark black tub products with stickers of the actual creators of the product being sold, a unique trademark stamped on their recyclable polypropylene plastic black pots. The company also offers customers a way to recycle used black pots by bringing empty ones back to the store for a free Fresh Face Mask for every five returned.[8] Along with a digitally created photograph of the creator, there is an expiration date for each Lush product, since they are made from all natural ingredients. Most Lush products are to be stored at room temperature, with the exception of their Fresh Face Masks, which require refrigeration due to the absence of preservatives and the main ingredients being fruits and vegetables.[9] Stores do not typically sell products older than four or five months and most products have a shelf life of approximately 14 months, depending on the particular item.[10]

Often, the labels contain funny text, directions or signs.


Lush products are 100% vegetarian. They are 83% vegan and 60% preservative-free (though these numbers fluctuate, as the product range changes frequently) and feature grapefruit juice, vanilla beans, avocado butter, rosemary oil, fresh papaya and coconut. They contain more traditional soap ingredients, including glycerine, potatoes, linalool, and methyl- and propyl-parabens. However, some products contain lanolin, milk, eggs, honey, and beeswax. Constantine & Weir patented a shampoo containing sodium lauryl sulphate.[11]

Ethos and campaigning[edit]

Lush does not buy from companies that carry out, fund, or commission any animal testing.[12] They test their products on human volunteers before they are sold to the public.[13] Lush has also phased out its use of sodium palm kernelate, which is derived from trees in the natural habitat of orangutans. Since 2008, all Lush soaps have been made with palm-free soap base, and they have since removed all traces of palm oil from the products.[14]

Lush has created a product called 'Charity Pot', a hand and body lotion that ensures that 100% of all proceeds of these 'Charity Pots' go to charitable organizations that Lush supports. 'Charity Pots' support areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights.[15]

Lush is a supporter of direct action, animal rights operations including Sea Shepherd, a group that works to protect whales, seals, and other aquatic animals.[16] Lush has been a supporter of antitax avoidance grouping UKuncut.

In 2007, Lush started openly supporting campaigning groups by sending a dozen cheques for £1000 each, including road protests groups such as Road Block and NoM1Widening, Hacan Clear Skies (anti-aviation group), and Dump the Dump (which is fighting against an incinerator).[17][18]

In 2011, Israel advocacy groups StandWithUs and United With Israel UK launched a campaign encouraging consumers to boycott Lush products on account of the company's decision to promote OneWorld's Freedom for Palestine initiative.[19][20]

Since 2013, Lush's 'Charity Pot' has included the campaign to release Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer to the U.K., who is presently only clear for release to Saudi Arabia.[21]

In 2014 Lush supported the first Hen Harrier Day, with all its UK stores prominently highlighting the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers on upland grouse moors.[22] The following year it launched Hen Harrier bath bombs to help fund satellite tagging of these raptors.[23]

In Summer 2015 Lush raised £275,000 ($425,000) from the worldwide sale of its "GayIsOK" soap, with funds going to support LBGTI campaigning groups.[24]

Media criticism[edit]

In 2014, a UK newspaper Mail criticised Lush and Body Shop for implying that some cosmetics on sale elsewhere in Britain were still tested on animals, despite an EU-wide ban coming into force in 2013 (for which Lush had campaigned) which made it illegal to sell toiletries and make-up in the EU which had been tested on animals anywhere in the world.[25]

The following year it was criticised for insensitivity when it stocked Lavender Hill Mob - a brand of incense inspired by the 2011 London Riots, featuring a graphic of a burning building. Lavender Hill itself had been targeted by looters and rioters, but Lush stated that it was "created to emphasise the importance of community".[26]


  1. ^ "THE BIG BOOK: An Introduction To & History Of Cosmetics To Go". Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  2. ^ Teather, David (13 April 2007). "Interview: Mark and Mo Constantine, founders of LUSH cosmetics | Business". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  3. ^ "Body Flop: Anita Roddick proclaimed that business could be caring as well as capitalist, by Jon Entine, The Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Business Lessons for the Entrepreneur from Lush,, 2012-10-04.
  5. ^ "OBE for Dorset couple who founded cosmetics firm Lush". BBC News. 31 December 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics". 21 December 2002. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  10. ^ "Fresh Products". 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Solid shampoo composition in compact needle form with water as a binder, Constantine & Weir Ltd., 1989-02-21.
  12. ^ "Lush – Still Against Animal Testing". 
  13. ^ "Still Against Animal Testing". Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Ground breaking Palm Free Base". Retrieved 7 March 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^
  16. ^ "LUSH and Sea Shepherd Launch Global Anti-Shark-Finning Campaign". 3 September 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  17. ^ Bibi van der Zee (17 April 2007). "Guerrilla giveaway". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  18. ^ "CharityPot". LUSH. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  19. ^ Ghert-Zand, Renee (5 July 2011). "LUSH Soap Brand Boycotted for Ties to Pro-Palestinian Group". The Forward. Retrieved 25 July 2011. Those of us who like to like to soften our skin are being asked to toughen our stance against one of the largest purveyors of natural soaps and cosmetics. The pro-Israel organization United With Israel is calling on people to boycott LUSH products in response to the company’s financial support of OneWorld. 
  20. ^ "Don't Rush to Buy Lush (Cosmetics)". StandWithUs. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011. We hope that as supporters of peaceful coexistence, you will decide to stop buying LUSH products until LUSH reverses this policy or at least until LUSH’s North American subsidiary publicly distances itself from this campaign. We also hope that you will urge your family, friends, and community to do the same until LUSH'S-UK stops supporting WoW and ends its involvement with campaigns that harm Israel and the peace process. 
  21. ^ "Guantanamo Bay - Free Shaker Aamer". LUSH Campaigns. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Lush cosmetics launch national Hen Harrier Day campaign". 8 August 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Smell LUSH and save hen harriers!". The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "Lush raises $425,000 for LGBTI rights". Gay Star News. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Rap for Body Shop and Lush over ethics claims: Shops criticised for implying some cosmetics are still tested on animals despite ban introduced last year". Daily Mail. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  26. ^ "Cosmetics chain Lush comes under fire for selling London riots inspired perfume". Evening Standard. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 

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