Nov 11.7

10 Things You Might Not Know About The LUSH Labs

You may be aware that we invent all our own products and fragrances, but do you know where the magic happens and who works on the products? Here are 10 things you might not know about the LUSH Labs.

1. Our Home at 29 High Street: Did you know the very first LUSH shop, the location of the inventors’ laboratories and the first LUSH spa is at 29 High Street in Poole, England? This location has been the heart of our business ventures since 1979. When the first LUSH shop opened, we had no idea in a few short years it would become a global brand. LUSH fans often come just to visit the little shop in Poole, so to give them something special we have products that are only available at this location. Customers can find our exclusive perfume 29 High Street here, which smells like a LUSH shop. They can also touch and smell our full range of Retro products, making this shop the only place where you can sample Retro LUSH before buying.

 

2. Ro’s Color Room: At the top of a steep, spiral staircase above the first LUSH shop, you’ll find Rowena Bird’s color room. Ro has been inventing makeup for years and has been instrumental in introducing color cosmetics to LUSH. As a girl, she would collect lipsticks in every possible shade, scoop them out, mash them up and make her own unique colors. In her lab you’ll find jars of pigments, lusters, antique perfume bottles, and other beautiful ingredients, along with the products she is currently developing. Ro has invented some cult LUSH products including Buffy Body Butter, Lip Scrubs, Ultrabalm, Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner and of course our line of color cosmetics, Emotional Brilliance.

 

 

3. Helen’s Kitchen: Moving past Ro’s color lab, you'll come across LUSH co-founder and product inventor Helen Ambrosen’s kitchen. There is a stove, sink, floor to ceiling cupboards full of beautiful ingredients the buyers bring from all over the world to inspire new inventions and all her latest prototypes lined up on a table. Helen is a hair and skincare expert, but in addition to developing facial cleansers, moisturizers and haircare, she has invented Toothy Tabs, solid Body Butters, solid hair conditioners and solid bubble bars, just to name a few.

 

4. Mark & Simon’s Perfume Lab: From Helen’s kitchen, look to the right and you’ll find LUSH co-founder and inventor Mark Constantine and son Simon’s perfume lab. Open the cupboards and you’ll find hundreds of essential oils and fragrances; this is where the perfumes for our products are created. Mark taught himself how to create perfumes and for a long time was the only one making scents for LUSH. Simon put his art degree to use creating beautiful, unique fragrances. He first became interested in the quality of the raw materials and began travelling around the world, heading up the LUSH buying team to find the purest essential oils for LUSH perfumes. Simon gets frustrated because the inventors are always stealing his fine fragrances for Bath Bombs or soaps, but then they become best-sellers, so that’s not too bad!

 

5. Invention in Unlikely Places: Not everything happens in the labs. The Bath Bomb was actually invented in LUSH co-founder and product creator Mo Constantine’s garden shed. This is where she did most of her early work. Mo wanted something that people with sensitive skin, including children, could enjoy in the bath. She discovered that baking soda and citric acid (basically lemon sherbet) fizz up when dropped in water. She played around with various recipes, adding in gentle ingredients to a dry mix and then pressing them so they’d keep their shape. The resulting “bath bombs” were fizzy, fragrant and softened the water so that even those with sensitive skin would be able to bathe with them.

 

6. Cruelty-Free Approach to Product Invention: Once an idea pops into our inventors’ minds, they get to work in their labs trying to create it. Our strict against animal testing policy ensures our ingredient suppliers do not test anything they produce on animals for any reason. We ensure the safety of our products by only using ingredients with a long history of safe use, and by testing the finished products on human volunteers. When a product is finished being developed, the inventors take it home to test on themselves and their families. They know a product is good when all the prototypes completely disappear!

 

7. Shop Staff Have Invented Products: Whether it’s through a competition, or because one of our shop staff have caught the attention of our inventors, shop staff have invented some of our most loved products. In 2009 UK LUSH shop managers were invited to an event called Ready, Steady, Create. They were given 24 hours to design, create, make, market and sell a product to the LUSH creative team. The winning product was a tea tree spot cleanser called Grease Lightning. Another product invented by staff is R&B Revive and Balance hair moisturizer. Shop staff Shakira, Tosin and Natalie were invited to Poole to create their dream haircare product. The result was this deeply moisturizing cream to soften, add shine and strengthen hair. Plus, it smells amazing thanks to Shakira’s jasmine and orange flower fragrance.

 

8. Fragrance Headquarters: We have LUSH factories all around the world, in England, South Korea, Japan, Croatia and Canada, but there is only one building that supplies the entire world with all the fragrances that go into our products. The Essential Components Factory is in Poole, just a short bike ride away from the LUSH shop at 29 High Street. Top secret perfume blending goes on in this building; the factory runs with just six staff members doing five shifts a week. They blend all the Essential Components, or E.C’s as we call them, which are the secret perfume blends that make each of our products distinctly LUSH.

 

9. Where Does Inspiration Come From?: Inspiration for LUSH products has been known to come from anywhere. From Rowena in the supermarket looking at blueberries, to Mark riding his bike to the chocolate shop, and even Helen running in a storm, but one place we consistently find inspiration from is music. Our inventors have been inspired by songs, artists and music itself. As Simon Constantine says “Perfumery is a similar thing [to music] in that you’ve got a series of notes and you can make so many different things from them. There is definitely a similar flavor to it”.

10. Sometimes Products Are Invented By Happy Accident: Did you know that we invented solid Bubble Bar Slices, and even have a patent on them? What you might not know is that the creation of solid Bubble Bars was an accident! One night LUSH co-founder and product inventor Helen Ambrosen left a sodium bicarbonate and cream of tartar blend out as she was trying to make a new solid deodorant. The mixture accidentally got wet and when she came back in the morning she was pleasantly surprised to find it had a silky texture with tons of potential. Along came the Bubble Bar Slice; a packaging and preservative-free bathing treat for masses of soft, frothy bubbles. Shampoo Bars were invented in a similar way; Mo and a colleague were experimenting with surfactant needles to create bar soap but it came out with the wrong consistency of lather for soap. Mark came along and pointed out that what they had on their hands was an entirely new product – shampoo bars!

We may have given you ten things you might not have known about the LUSH labs, but none of us will ever really know about all the creative mysteries that go on there. All we know is that we can’t wait to see what will come out of the LUSH labs next!

Find out more behind-the-scenes info about our inventors and the company that came before LUSH in our first ever book, Danger! Cosmetics To Go by Mira Manga.

Loranda Vazquez

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