Lush have been market leaders in sustainable beauty for as long as they’ve been around, but on January 18 they’ll go one step further, opening their first 100% packaging free store in the UK. The store in Manchester will follow in the footsteps of stores in Milan and Berlin, which already operate completely naked (Lush’s term for package-less products).
With naked products making up almost 50% of their core range, Lush is making a point that your beauty routine can be totally plastic free. This isn’t just “swap shower gel for soap,” this is getting your cleanser, moisturiser, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (yes, solid shower gels and they’re not just soap) all without contributing to the preposterous piles of plastic ending up in landfills and on beaches.
But it wouldn’t be Lush if it was all functional, would it? Obviously, you can still get your bath bombs and bubble bars, including the fabulous new Aubergine and Peachy, at the naked stores if you fancy a night of soaking in sustainable self-care.
Body moisturisers and bubble baths aside, this is a political move for Lush, responding to the current record levels of plastic pollution: “We’ve opened this up these spaces for debate, and we’re also inviting NGOs and activist groups that work on reducing waste and reducing plastic pollution into the store, so we hope that it’ll be an education for us and for our customers,” says product inventor Alessandro Commisso.
Lush are equally aware that this fight can’t just be fought by reducing waste. Their SOS Sumatra shampoo bar helped fund the regeneration of Orangutan habitats ravaged by palm farming, and their Re:Fund (regeneration fund), passes on profits from Lush to charities like Indigenous Climate Action and others doing important work for the environment.
There’s more work to be done on reducing plastic in the beauty industry, but Lush is serving up the future of sustainable beauty and it smells amazing.