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Mar 03.26

How We Test for Safety: No Animals Required

LUSH has been fighting against animal testing for over 30 years.

We've been forthcoming and sometimes downright controversial about our no-nonsense views on animal testing and our policy of testing our products on humans. We often get questions from our customers who are curious to know how we do test our products. We merge scientific analysis with human experiences to ensure that every product is safe and effective.

Our commitment to remaining animal testing-free begins at the product development stage. Our LUSH product inventors are content to work with the amazing ingredients that nature provides, as well as a small palette of synthetic ingredients with a safe history of use in humans. This limited selection of ingredients already have heaps of historical safety data to draw from, so there's no need to test them before we're able to use them safely in our products.

Because we keep our recipes simple, we're never on the lookout for the next fad or "miracle" chemical because those ingredients often have not historically been used on humans and require rigorous testing (some of which is likely to be performed on animals) before they are considered safe for human use. Conversely, many of our ingredients have been used by humans for cosmetics since ancient Egyptian times. Isn't that more appealing than a brand new chemical whose long-term effects on humans and the environment are still questionable? We think so!

An argument we often hear from companies defending their choice to continue testing on animals is that without animal testing, they are unable to use new and novel ingredients, and therefore it is impossible to have innovation in the cosmetics industry. We certainly beg to differ: after 30 years of developing products with our limited number of safe ingredients, we still haven't run out of ideas. We're sure we'll continue to come up with fresh, innovative ways to dazzle our customers for years to come; it just requires a little creativity!

Once we've dreamed up a new invention, we need to ensure that it will be safe and effective for our customers, so we test our finished products on human volunteers. So how's it done?

• We whip up a batch of our new creation and mail it out to volunteer testers across the UK.

• After using the product, each volunteer fills out an extensive questionnaire that asks if the product was effective in its intended use, and whether it caused any reactions.

• The results of the questionnaires are collected and reviewed by two specialists; one of which is a medical doctor. The results are studied and the product formula is reviewed. Based on the specialists' analysis, they will either certify the release of the product or make recommendations for changes.

• In the case where changes are recommended, we reformulate the recipe and begin the process again until the product is certified for release by our specialists.

Among our fans, it's considered quite an honor to be included in this pool of volunteers and get the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of LUSH's creations. It's equally as exciting for us to receive feedback on our work to make sure everyone who tries it loves it as much as we do. These valuable human interpretations and suggestions are things we could never learn through testing our products on unwilling animals. Ideally we select impartial testing candidates so we get the most objective responses possible about our products. This means we purposely don't select our biggest admirers, who we fear would be far too flattering! Unfortunately for us North American LUSHies, all testing currently takes place in the UK, but we encourage you to provide us with feedback via product reviews and forum discussions.

Once a product has been tested by our lovely volunteers, has been certified for use by our specialists and has gone into production in the LUSH kitchens, you would think our testing duties are completed... but they're not! We go far beyond the call of duty because the safety and effectiveness of our products is of the upmost importance.

We collect a sample from every batch of every product that is made in our kitchens to keep on file for our reference in case quality concerns arise in the future. For a group of pre-determined products, we send a sample of each batch for analysis at an external testing facility. For others, we test on a cyclical basis (once every two weeks, once per month, etc.). These tests ensure that microorganisms in the products are within acceptable levels and will not interfere with the safety or effectiveness of the product itself. The majority of these tests are not required by law but are important to us to ensure our customers are getting the best possible product every time.

With this thorough approach to product development and testing, we can guarantee that the hard-earned money given to us by our customers in NO way will go towards funding tests on animals, but instead contributes to the ongoing fight against animal testing.