A few days ago, a Twitter thread went viral for exposing some harsh truths about beloved, cruelty free super-brand, Lush.
I’ve adored Lush for years so when I saw the thread pop up, I immediately thought it couldn’t be true and that it was just the poster’s expose on their own, singular experience. Perhaps they had a manager whose previous employment was guarding the gates of hell? Perhaps their store was just a lonely bad apple in an otherwise perfect tree of ripe, juicy, ethical goodness?
After trawling through the comments and replies, the evidence appears pretty damning. It seems Lush isn’t the dream workplace many of us are lead to believe it is.
The Twitter thread, by @MondayFake, has gained more than 64K likes, 15K retweets and more than 500 comments. If, like me, you’re struggling to accept that one of your favourite brands might not be all it’s cracked up to be, here are some of the tweets in the thread claiming to expose the brand’s treatment of its staff:
Worked in Lush, the soap shop and woo boy did I learn that ethical capitalism is fucking scam. Package-free shower gel is great for the earth but when you give zero hour contracts, pay pennies, and treat your workers like shit you shouldn’t really brag about ethics. https://t.co/RYwilgGZO2
— UselessMarxistGirlGang (@MondayFake) November 15, 2019
Had a similar experience when I worked my first job in lush! Thought I had bagged my dream job and it was awful
— Chlo ? (@Chloitoris) November 15, 2019
I used to work for lush and my experience was absolutely this way. I was regularly scolded for not “interacting correctly” with customers and was given worksheets to fill out on “how to improve” as if I was a child.
— Cayden (@Danger_EXE) November 16, 2019
I feel so seen! I worked there and it nearly gave me a break down. Told we had to learn the top 3 ingredients of every single product within a month, so I would find myself skipping actually uni essays to do homework for a just above minimum wage job – there was 100+ products!
— Heather Lee Shaw (@sardonicstork) November 16, 2019
worked at Lush a decade ago – same story. shit hours (4h shifts, never full day), constant surveillance, bully manager who brought employees to tears & after xmas they chose to keep on the (only) 2 male temps over many more competent women. heard same from friends at other stores
— Catriona Gold (@cat__gold) November 16, 2019
While I have always been a fan of Lush’s strong commitment to fighting animal testing, it is jarring to hear that a company that prides itself on being ethical isn’t always doing right by its staff.
Of course, not everyone’s experience of working in Lush has been negative and there were a few Tweeters keen to share their positive experience:
wanted to drop my experience here bc it’s not all bad! my management at my store in the uk are genuinely angels, we get paid living wage £9ph and even tho i’m on a 12 hour contract i get holiday pay and sick pay. only a week of sick pay mind but in the past year i’ve
— peach (@IovIee) November 16, 2019
i’ve been so impressed with how they’ve treated me, and others in my store who have struggled. i wish every store could have our management. i’m so sorry for what you experienced ?
— peach (@IovIee) November 16, 2019
i’ve got v lucky with my store. i’ve never had so much support for mental health in a job. it definitely all depends on the management. lush needs to address how many abusive managers there are and how much power they can have. i’m so sorry to OP for their horrific experience x
— lulu (@dreamlngofeden) November 17, 2019
Hey, when did you work at Lush? When I worked there five years ago, there were no zero hour contacts (you had to be on a min of 15h to work at the shop), and we were paid the London living wage. Obviously it can be different from shop to shop, just wanted to share my experience.
— Iskra (@IskraDee) November 16, 2019
While we wait for Lush to respond and hopefully shed some light on the accusations – and, more importantly, put some major changes in place to ensure the wellbeing of its staff, some shoppers are calling for a boycott.
If you want to swerve the store until some sort of resolution has been reached, you may be asking where on earth can we go to in order to bag some ethical beauty and skincare goodies?
Have no fear! There are a few cruelty free brands that have popped up over the years, many of which offer similar products to Lush. Here are a few of my favourites:
Miss Patisserie is a brand specialising in cruelty free bath and body products. Well known for its popular bath slabs, the brand’s products are vibrant and effective. Personally, I am partial to Miss Patisserie’s shower steamers – as somewhat of an anxious basket-case at times, they are top notch for helping soothe my nerves.
Ethique World could solve all your ethical woes, as the brand has a heavy focus on plastic free, sustainable, palm-oil free, plant-based hair and skincare products that are suitable for vegans. Winning! If you’re a fan of Lush’s shampoo bars, then this is the place to shop. You can pick them up in Holland and Barrett too, if you want to sniff before you buy.
ARK Skincare is an award-winning company offering a line of skincare concern and age-specific products, so you can choose exactly what your skin most needs. I’m a big fan of the Skin Protector Clearing Serum, though at £45 a pop, it’s quite pricey. I do think the quality is worth the price tag, though. They’ve also got plenty of vegan options, too.
We Are Paradoxx is an Irish haircare company that I just love. The brand offers a range of hair products to suit a variety of hair concerns made with natural, organic ingredients. The brand’s shampoos don’t lather as much as your standard shampoo, but that’s down to the lack of chemicals and a focus on honest ingredients. The packaging is also rather cool as it’s over 90% plastic free, plus every product is vegan friendly.
The Good Soap is a brilliant little brand, hand-making products in Wales. All products are plastic and chemical free, plus they’re free of palm-oil so you can pamper yourself without any guilt. As the name suggests, it specialises in soaps, but also offers shampoo bars, solid deodorants and lip balms and frankly, can you ever have too much lip balm?
Glossier is another of my favourite brands and though it isn’t plastic free, the company has recently acquired Leaping Bunny certification and I’m all about supporting those cruelty free brands! It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the brand, but its wide range of makeup and skincare products are pretty easy to fall in love with. Plus, its loyal following really does speak for itself.
Bitch and Bobs is a relatively new, independent seller I stumbled upon on Etsy, who hand-makes bath bombs, shower jellies and soaps. All the products are cruelty free – plus, shopping with her means you’re supporting a new, and budget-friendly, business. Georgia Sanders, the owner and creator, also says on her social media platforms that making her soaps soothes her anxiety – so that’s a double win for shopping with her!
What are your favourite go-to ethical brands? What do you think of the Lush controversy? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,