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Lush - beware the New Year rush!
Member Name: jo1976
Date: 18/11/08, updated on 08/10/13 (519 review reads)
Advantages: Natural ingredients, great customer service, lovely products
Disadvantages: Some products not very good value for money
I've seen so many reviews of various Lush products on this site that I'd be surprised if there is still anybody on here that hasn't come across this particular store yet! Nonetheless, I thought it was still useful to add my own experiences of visiting Lush and just have an opportunity to rave about their products in a venue where I know I'm surrounded by fellow addicts.
Lush sell cosmetics, toiletries, bath and beauty products etc. The difference from many mainstream shops is both the quality of the ingredients used and Lush's ethical and environmental stance. All of the products are suitable for vegetarians and many are vegan. These are all clearly indicated on the labelling. Before any smart Alec adds any comments, I know that you're not supposed to eat the products but it is reassuring to know that you're not washing your face with something that used to be in a cow's stomach, if you're a vegetarian! Anyway, judging by the lovely smells that emerge from your typical Lush store you could be forgiven for trying to taste some of the produce!
All the ingredients used in Lush products are sourced from companies that do not test on animals. They use fresh, organic fruit and vegetables and pure essential oils - hence the real strength of the fragrances and, in some cases, a reduced shelf-life. Items aren't stuffed with preservatives and artificial nasties, either. (Admittedly, this also justifies the higher price tag on some items.)
Some of the more iconic Lush products include their famous bath bombs. There are cheaper alternatives available and you can even buy kits to make your own at home but nothing could compare to an authentic Lush bath bomb. They work out expensive if you use one bomb per bath but the more frugal (or tight-fisted) amongst us have been known to split them in half and spread the benefit! Lush also produce shampoo bars (solidified shampoo) and bubble bars (a solidified bubble bath.) These are all products which fit in with the Lush ethos of reducing unnecessary packaging. Lush are committed to environmental issues and have even stopped using palm oil in their products recently.
As a shopper, I enjoy going into a Lush store as much as I enjoy using the actual products at home. In fact, I am probably one of the few people that can actually go into a Lush shop and walk out empty handed. Rather than put that down to my extraordinary level of willpower, I have to admit that it's partly because of the price of the products compared to the size of my budget! For me, Lush products are definitely a luxurious treat rather than a daily ritual. The shops themselves are a treat for the senses. I tend to go in with my oldest son (who is six) while my husband waits outside with the baby. (Men and shopping, eh!) My son recognises the smell coming from the Lush shop well before it is actually in sight and always asks to go into the 'smelly shop!' Once inside, we spend ages with our noses pressed up against various strange looking objects oohing and aaahing (and occasionally urgghing!) at all the different fragrances.
If the store isn't too busy, we often get approached by a shop assistant who offers to demonstrate how the bath bombs work. S/he crumbles up a bath bomb in a washing up bowl and we both watch it fizz up and work its magic. There's no hard sell in these little demonstrations though and my son never tires of watching the bombs (although understandably it does lead to a bit of pester power!) The assistants are also incredibly friendly, helpful and genuinely knowledgeable about the products they sell. With most chain stores, you are reliant on individual staff members for good customer service but, having been in a number of different Lush shops, their customer service has always been consistently excellent even at busy periods. I have very sensitive and dry skin and find that the staff can recommend products easily and usually offer generous free samples of different creams and moisturisers etc so that you can try before you buy. I even feel confident about asking for samples, even if not offered, as the staff are so approachable. When I do actually part with some cash, I find that I'm usually given a little freebie along with my purchase too - just something like a slither of a new soap bar - but it's a nice touch and makes shopping at Lush even more of a treat.
Being both a cheapskate and short of money, I find that Lush don't tend to provide many discounts, sales or offers of any kind. They have a long-running promotion where you can return five of their black pots to any Lush store and receive a free product. This is in keeping with their policy of reducing waste packaging although I haven't yet saved enough pots to take advantage of that offer yet.
The other exception is their amazing New Year sale. One of the highlights of the new year is rushing over to Lush to snap up some bargains. Last year they offered a free Christmas gift pack or item when you spent over £15, two free gifts when you spent over £30, three gifts if you spent over £45 and so on. (The offer went on so the more you spent, the more freebies you got.) This wasn't just stuff like a free soap being given away - any left over Christmas gift boxes and sets were also included in the offer, so the value of the free item could easily be a lot higher than the £15 you needed to spend to get it. Obviously, the sooner you can get to your local Lush store after Christmas, the more goodies there will be to choose from as the more expensive stuff tends to go within the first couple of days, as you'd expect. It's definitely worth a post Christmas visit to Lush though. Don't try and be smart and think you can stock up for Christmas 2009 though, as the items are being given away because of their short shelf life (remember the natural ingredients and the lack of preservatives!) It does give you a great excuse to treat yourself and, if you want to be super organised, you could get the first few birthdays of the new year sorted. I can't guarantee that Lush will be running the same promotion this year but they have for the past couple of years at least. They will certainly need to sell any excess Christmas stock though so my advice would be to get there on Boxing Day and see what bargains you can pick up. Now 'bargains' and 'Lush' don't normally get seen in the same sentence, do they! Happy shopping!
Edit May 2009: My husband run the gauntlet at Lush for Mother's Day and felt that he was subjected to a hard sell. Perhaps they target hapless looking blokes!
Summary: It's Lush!