I’ve already shared my organic, cruelty-free haircare regime with you (see here) and cruelty-free products from Body Shop (here) and now I’m pleased to share with you my favourite products for skincare from Lush!
Last year, I made the decision to visit the Edinburgh branch of Lush Spa for my hen do and had a fantastic time (see here). A friend of mine introduced me to their wonderful all-natural facial scrub years ago (by years, I mean 8 years ago!) and I’ve never looked back since. The great thing about this shop is that all products are 100% vegetarian while 80% of products are suitable for vegans. Lush also ensures that where products contain animal products that a vegan alternative is also available (see here).
While I make an effort to ensure all products I use are cruelty-free, I’ve not made the transition most have in converting to vegetarianism first before going vegan. I am aware and fully support companies and organisations that take into account the welfare of animals and refuse to support those that test on (or cause harm to) animals. While the thought of going vegan has been playing on my mind, and I try to take this into account when purchasing products, in no way have I ever claimed to be vegan and want to make sure that you are aware of this.
In my post below, I have therefore added information for your interest whether products are vegetarian or vegan, but I would ask that you check out the list of ingredients to be certain in case I missed any which may not be suitable for you.
Ultrabland is an amazing cleanser and effective, natural makeup remover, but unfortunately contains beeswax and honey so is not suitable for vegans. It contains almond oil, rose water, beeswax and honey and is great at removing all traces of dirt and makeup from your skin without stripping away its natural defences.
At the Beauty School party for my hen do, one of the lovely hosts, Jules, showed us just how good this cleanser is at removing even the most stubborn makeup. At the Spa in the City event (see here for more information), another lovely shop assistant Chris showed me just how good it is as a daily cleanser…and moisturiser! The product is a very thick cream and you only need a small dab of it (no more than a 5p coin) to cleanser your entire face and neck. Massage the product all over (including your eyes!) and well and as a makeup remover at the end of a great night, I would recommend wiping this off with a warm, damp cotton pad or soft face cloth. For your morning routine, a dry cotton pad or soft facecloth with do. This gives you a gentle exfoliation effect and it’s surprising how much dirt (during the Spa in the City demonstration) just how much dirt the back of my hand attracts!
As a moisturiser, a small amount will do. Instead of scooping a small amount, gently rub your fingertips over the surface of Ultrabland and massage the oils into your skin. At first it feels a bit strange, having oils on your face, but this absorbs quickly and leaves your face feeling soft and baby smooth without being overly greasy.
When I was in high school, I was a big fan of the Neutrogena scrub but knowing now that the plastic microbeads used in the pharmacy/supermarket variety of face scrubs are harmful to the environment and to our marine and avian wildlife (see here) leave me wary. Herbalism is a great vegan alternative for those who have combination skin like me. Rice bran and ground almonds are your natural exfoliators while nettles, rosemary and rice bran vinegar cleanses the skin and removes dirt and grease, and chamomile blue oil and rose absolute balances your skin.
I’ve not taken a photo of the product before I started using it, but the cleanser basically comes in a tub as dry paste. You take a small amount (no more than a 5p coin) and rub this into your palm with a small bit of water to turn this into paste which you massage into your skin. The gentle action of the rice bran and ground almond works wonderfully and you can feel them working on your skin without leaving it dried out like some commercial face scrubs do.
Aqua Marina (vegan)
If the idea of having to mix your face wash with water before you can even wash sounds like too much of a hassle, Aqua Marina is ready to use straight from the tub and is also vegan-friendly. I was given a small sample tub of this cleanser and have been alternating this between the seaweed face wash from the Body Shop and my Herbalism scrub and works just as well!
Aqua Marina is rich in Irish Moss gel (a type of seaweed) which is full of restorative minerals and vitamins and helps to balance the skin, with kaolin and calamine to absorb oil and cleanse the skin, aloe vera to restore moisture and a sprinkling of sea salt to give you that gentle exfoliation. The face wash is quite thick and creamy in texture, but I love how you can see the bits of seaweed in it. When you start rubbing this into your face though, the seaweed doesn’t clump on your skin as you would expect, but seem to just melt away leaving your face feeling fresh and squeaky clean.
Ocean Salt (vegetarian)
If you prefer a product with a bit more scrub, this vegetarian option is good for your face and body. The sea salt in Ocean Salt is great for scrubbing away dead skin while avocado butter, coconut oil and seaweed absolute leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. At first glance, I was under the impression that this scrub is vegan-friendly, but on closer inspection of the ingredients it contains lanolin (derived from wool) so would only be suitable for vegetarians.
You might have guessed from the list of face cleansers above that I’ve got more than enough product for my face, but I’ve learned from another brand that has now discontinued that a good body scrub with essential oils and sea salt can be quite good at leaving your hands free of rough spots. Ocean salt is a nice creamy scrub with large sea salt granules which gives the same effect. I use this about once a month to help get rid of dead and hardened skin and the creamy butter helps leaving them smooth to the touch. The only thing I would caution is, because it contains sea salt, I would avoid using this when you’ve got open wounds, are experiencing bumps from eczema as the salt can the condition. Wait till your hands are better before using this.
Eau Roma Water (vegan)
I haven’t used toner in a while but recently have been using Oils of Life™ Intensely Revitalising Bi-Phase Essence Lotion from The Body Shop. It has been quite good so far in helping me strip excess oils and dirt as well as any leftovers from washing my face with the Herbalism scrub! Eau Roma Water combines rose water to calm and reduce redness and lavender water to balance and soften the skin. This is a great toner for hydrate and smooth the skin, gently and effectively.
You would imagine with Eau Roma Water containing rose and lavender waters to smell quite floral and fragrant, but the scent is really subtle and you don’t notice it much when sprayed onto a cotton pad. I wipe this all over my face and I still don’t notice any lingering floral smells. It’s quite a clean feeling; you don’t feel as if it leaves a coating on your skin and it’s as if any remaining dirt or clinging excess oil (natural and from cleansers) are removed without overstripping the natural oils from your skin leaving it quite balanced.
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this toner water really works! On the morning of my wedding day, I prepared my skin for getting my makeup done by washing my face with Ultrabland and wiping my face with Eau Roma Water before applying my regular moisturiser. After a night of tossing and turning with guests loudly laughing, shouting and banging on the door to the room when returning to their own at 4am in the morning, I was not expecting compliments from the make up artist! I even made sure to pass on the compliments to Chris at the Spa in the City event that Carol (our MUA) said my skin was glowing and to keep doing whatever it was I used.
Breath of Fresh Air (vegan)
For another vegan-friendly alternative with a bit more zing, Breath of Fresh Air contains mineral-rich carrageenan seaweed extract and rose absolute to tone and balance the skin. Rose absolute will also help to reduce redness whilst patchouli oil is cooling and astringent on the skin. Limonene has a sweet lemon-like odour which helps waken and brighten the skin on a hot summer day or if you need a wee wake me up to help you feel refreshed and bright.
The limonene is a naturally occurring product in lemon rind and essential oils like lime, lemongrass, peppermint, rose, grapefruit, tangerine and sage which gives you a fresh, zesty scent that will keep you feeling bright and awake. I’ve been given a sample of this toner to test and can attest to the fact that it does brighten up your face.
The range of lip scrubs from Lush are all vegan-friendly and depending on what you’re after, one of the 3 lip scrubs are bound to tickle your fancy. Bubblegum smells really sweet and the scent is literally reminiscent of bubblegum. Mint Julips is fantastic smells like After Eight chocolate mints! If you’re looking for a scrub that helps stimulate blood flow and gives you plumper lips, this minty concoction is just the one for you. My favourite? Popcorn. Combining popping candy, caster sugar, fine sea salt and polenta as a gentle scrub and coconut and jojoba oils to nourish, I dare you to resist from licking it off your lips before they’ve been properly buffed!
Popcorn has a nostalgic smell and taste to it that I couldn’t resist getting a tub. You don’t need too much of it (literally scoop a tiny amount with the tip of your index finger) and scrub away! The best part of it is, because it is made from natural (and edible!) ingredients, lick away at your lips to taste the salty and sweet goodness of your au naturel lip scrub while giving new appreciation to your smooth and baby smooth lips. I’ve used scrubs from other brands before, but whether it’s the microbeads they use as scrubs or other ingredients within their product, I seem to have a reaction to them where painful wee bumps appear and I’ve stopped using it. Lush lip scrubs however are all natural and I’ve found Popcorn to be fantastic to use.
With a full on schedule of a full-time job, working away at my blog or attending events, trying to fit in sewing or craft projects and going to all 6 fitness classes over 3 different days can leave you feeling stressed and lazy. Leaving a mask on only takes 5 minutes while you go about your normal business at home – just beware not to open the door and give your neighbours or visitors a fright! A couple of face masks I can highly recommend are:
Mask of Magnaminty (vegetarian)
This mask is made with peppermint oil to stimulate; marigold oil and chlorophyllin to treat the skin; and evening primrose seeds and aduki beans to gently exfoliate as you remove it. Mask of Magnaminty also contains honey which makes it suitable vegetarians only. This is a fantastic and nourishing mask that cleans, calms and clears the skin. The cooling peppermint also soothes the skin while aduki beans cleanses and absorbs excess oils added together with the moisturising and antiseptic qualities of honey makes this a fantastic face mask that you can use for ages.
Catastrophe Cosmetic (vegan)
As this is a fresh mask with perishable ingredients, you need to keep this in the fridge and use within 6 months of purchase. A vegan alternative to Mask of Magnamint, this all rounded mask is truly suitable for all skin types. The combination of blueberries packed with minerals and vitamins A, C, and E, calamine and chamomile, rose, and almond oils in this vegan mask soothes and softens the skin while protecting it from environmental damage.
We were all involved in making a batch of this face mask which we slathered on in the shop while exclusively shopping the goodies within. After leaving this on for 10 to 15 minutes, the skin felt fresh and clean and everyone was happy with the result.
Hands and body
A look at the colourful and whimsical bath bombs from Lush
For a truly refreshing and soothing experience, you should give yourself some time to soak in the wonders of bath bombs and your hands in Golden Handshake (vegan). The wee wand with the golden glittery hand is vegan-friendly and is a great treatment for softer and hydrated hands with fresh cupuacu and murumuru butters. Like you would with a truly European hot chocolate, stand the wand in a bowl and fill with enough hot (or warm) water to submerge both hands. Soak your hands in this wonderful creamy mix for 15 minutes. Another way of doing this (if you want to keep your Golden Handshake for as long as possible) is to break off a tiny piece and rub it all over your hands before washing off under warm water.
I don’t normally take baths regularly as I feel it’s a waste of water and time. Not only do you need to make sure the bathtub is filled with enough water to soak in, you need to ensure the temperature doesn’t burn your skin either. I did get the chance to use a couple of their bath bombs and it’s a wonderful experience to watch and luxuriate in occasionally. The bath bomb is really what it sounds like: you drop your bomb (literally) in the water and watch the fizz and colour slowly spread through the clear water. The great thing is, the bombs are cleansing enough that you can use the scented and infused water to wash instead of using additional shower gel.
The Big Blue (vegan) contains sea salt which softens your skin and remove dead skin cells, arame seaweed to help regulate metabolism, lemon oil to clear the mind and lavender oil for antiseptic and cleaning. It’s a delightful combination to give you a truly wonderful bathing experience especially in clear blue sea-like bath water!
Sakura (vegan) is a lovely light and floral bomb reminiscent of the beautiful sakura blossoms (cherry blossoms) of Japan. Calming mimosa and jasmine oils are complemented by lemon oil and orange flower to bring to mind the smell of this colourful season.
One of the things I read a lot about is why companies feel the need to display the leaping bunny logo on their products when a ban was introduced in the UK in 2010 to prevent products being sold if this has been tested on animals, however this is still a bit ambiguous and woolly in my opinion (see here and here). If this was truly the case, then big brand names that still endorse animal testing and by selling in China where this is still primarily done before products can be sold in the country wouldn’t be in business in Europe.
Lush is one brand (alongside The Body Shop) that truly stand behind their cruelty-free declaration and can be seen to be encouraging customers to sign their petitions in shop to take action against practices that raise animal welfare concerns. I’m happy to be supporting a brand that takes into account how their products affect us and animals, and also take into account the requirements of both vegetarians and vegans.
If you have any Lush products that you love but isn’t listed above, please share in the comments below!