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Introducing Lush's handmade, vegan makeup

So, you’re in the market for vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics that do wonders for your skin and won’t end up in landfill? Looking for colours you can get creative with, or just products that suit your lifestyle? Enter #LushMakeup. Defined by individuals, not industries, this range has been invented with a clear vision: to provide benefits beyond the selfie.


When Lush co-founder and inventor Rowena Bird decided she wanted to shake up Lush’s makeup range, she had three key aims. Firstly, the products needed to be of high quality with great benefits to the skin. Secondly, they should have minimal impact on the environment, and be made without packaging wherever possible. Finally, the process of ingredients sourcing should provide maximum support to the communities they came from. With these in mind, Ro gathered a team of makeup enthusiasts and set to work.

First up, in 2018, were Slap Sticks, Lush’s first solid foundations, which launched with the aim of making packaging-free makeup a reality. Made with soothing jojoba and softening extra virgin coconut oils, inventor Jemma Neary used her scientific knowledge and background in fine art to create a spectrum of 40 inclusive shades (with cool, neutral and warm undertones). Customer response was great and told us that shoppers were happy to swap standard packaged formulas for innovative, carefully sourced cosmetics. They’ve been the best-selling item since their release.

Next came the release of the Trix Sticks: multi-use concealers with the same naked credentials. Made with organic jojoba oil, shea butter and calming Fair Trade organic aloe vera, these provide a seamless application for cover-ups, contouring and more.

But no makeup range from Rowena would be complete without dazzling colour.

Enter Glow Sticks: solid highlighters made from plastic-free glitter, soothing argan oil and hydrating jojoba, for a beautiful glowy look and multiple benefits to the skin. For Ro, the versatility of the product and a wide range of colours were key. “Some people like to paint colour and create bold looks,'' she explains, “but you can choose what you want Lush makeup to do for you. You own it, it doesn’t own you.”

In 2019, after spending months anointing their wrists and lips in colour, the makeup team expanded the range further with 31 Naked Lipsticks. Ranging from nudes and greiges for all skin tones, to show-stopping reds and vibrant pinks, there are plenty of options for the discerning lippie lover, plus a chic Refillable Lipstick Case that won’t end up in landfill. Each colour is made with kalahari melon oil to keep your lips soft and hydrated, and candelilla and sunflower wax, which gives your high pigmented shade super staying power.

Named after cities around the world, makeup loving influencers Umber Ghauri and Lovette Jallow helped create their own lipstick shades, named Lahore and Banjul, after their respective homes. Their collaboration was highly valued. “Having influencers come to the lab to create, test, and give feedback means it’s more inclusive and collaborative,'' explains Ro.

Next, in March 2019, Beyond Foundation launched with the opening of Lush Liverpool. Inventor and co-founder Helen Ambrosen used her skincare expertise to create a liquid matte, silicone-free, buildable coverage base, with restorative sacha inchi, acai and buriti oils for a beautiful lightweight finish.

Helen explains: “This foundation base is unlike conventional ones because it contains ingredients which help the skin to be as good as it can be.  It is not the normal practice to use ingredients as effective as these in colour cosmetics.”

Responsible for cult Lush skincare favourites like Ultrabland and 9 to 5, Helen worked carefully on the formulation to create a foundation that would be a beautiful, matte alternative to Slap Sticks.

“Oils vary widely in their 'oily ' texture,” she explains. “Castor oil is very heavy, whilst jojoba is one of the lightest and finest. The three oils inside Beyond Foundation are ‘middleweight’, so as the water content evaporates these oils are left behind and soften the skin to just the right degree without being too heavy. The nutritional content of these oils is also exceptional - they contain lots of antioxidant Vitamin E which protects the skin from environmental damage. I wanted them to be as restorative as possible.”

The formula also includes Fair Trade organic aloe vera gel for its soothing anti-inflammatory properties and the benefits it provides for the Massai women in Kenya. “Fresh Aloe is one of the most beneficial and beautiful ingredients we have the privilege of using,” says Helen. “The communities it supports are incredible and its properties are undeniable! In this base, it will keep redness under control to provide comfortable coverage.”

And more innovation is on the way. With the help of a dedicated team and passionate, makeup-loving people, there’s no telling what they can create. “Having a team dedicated to ensuring that the makeup we create is of the highest quality is amazing,” says Ro. “It’s so much more fun when you can share the glory of a successful range with an inspiring group of people.”

So what’s next? Vegan makeup brushes? Check. Eyeshadows in compostable packaging? You bet! Thanks to Tagua nuts from Ecuador, and the keen eye and imagination of Maria Feast from the buying team, Ro is fulfilling another dream: “I am so delighted by the tagua refillable eyeshadow packaging we’re working on. If these are launched and I die the next day, I’ll be happy.”

For the full makeup range, head here.


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