Plastic-free cosmetics aren’t new. The humble shampoo bar has been a staple in plastic-conscious bathrooms for decades, but now you can find it alongside hundreds of innovative, packaging-free alternatives in the Lush Naked Shops.
In a world first, shoppers are able to grab their favourite cosmetics - that’s hair care, skincare, bath bombs, shower gels and everything in between - completely packaging-free in Lush’s Naked shops in Milan, Berlin and most recently, Manchester.
With awareness of plastic pollution at an all time high, product inventor Alessandro Commisso explains what inspired the world’s first plastic-free cosmetics concept.
He says: “When we look at the plastic waste produced by the global cosmetics industry, we know it is a problem, and we know that raising awareness is really important. But we can’t talk about ditching packaging until we have a solution - an alternative that is effective, good for skin, and good for the environment.”
But Lush has always been dedicated to reducing packaging. In 2017 alone, Lush customers saved 800,000 bottles from going to landfill. So what’s changed?
Ale explains that this innovative move is simply the logical next step in the journey to eliminating plastic waste, and the first time the team have been able to fill a shop space with entirely plastic-free products.
He says: “Reducing packaging is something Lush has been working on for many, many years. From the very first day over 20 years ago, our products were naked, but now we see a bigger movement against plastic and against waste. Alongside that, now we are able to fill up a whole shop with skincare, bodycare, hair care and bath bombs, while still providing that five star experience.”
So what can you expect inside a packaging-free Lush store? Whether in Manchester, Berlin or Milan, you’ll find a whole host of packaging free exclusives, innovative new concepts (hello, naked shower gel), and old favourites like solid deodorant and facial cleansers. Need something to carry your haul home in? A wall of ethically-sourced swag, regenerative containers, and vibrant Knot Wraps ensures your favourite, plastic-free goodies will get home ship shape. Want to check the ingredients in your favourite product? Use Lush Lens, an innovative AI product recognition tool that eliminates the need for packaging. Simply scan a shampoo bar, shower gel, or any other naked goodie, and you’ll be served up all the information you need on your smartphone.
But it’s not just about products, the plastic-free library is stocked with topical literature and films that delve deeper into the topics of zero waste and ocean plastics.
Ale explains: “With the naked shop we don’t just want to offer beautiful products to our customers, we want to use this as an opportunity for discussion. It’s pretty much about debating these topics with the public, with the media, and with Lush customers to find out where to go next.
“This is the last step in our twenty year development of naked products, but it’s the first step in the development of what Lush could be twenty years from now. 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.”
Berlin Store Manager Lisa adds: "The Naked Shop is the cosmetics store of the future. It shows what cosmetics can look like if there are no plastic packaging. We are very much concerned with sustainability and plastic avoidance, so we are all very excited about the project. Our customers are also very interested in unpackaged products and we will offer an even wider selection of packaging-free alternatives"
You can find the Lush Naked Shop in Milan, Berlin and Manchester and learn more about how Lush is tackling plastic pollution here.