Pretty much everyone in the UK must know about Lush Cosmetics, and it’s generally one of those love/hate things: you either spend all of your monies in there, or can’t even stand the smell of the place and give it a generally wide berth. Their products, ingredients and philosophies all appeal to me personally, and literally none of my Gothy mates have a bathroom without at least one Lush offering in it, but on the other hand, I view them (Lush) with some suspicion as well.
I find shopping in their physical stores pretty much intolerable, because LEAVE ME ALONE, y’all; being stalked around by evangelical employees who seem to be pre-programmed to intervene if you pick something up or sniff something with intent just makes me feel harassed and like a shoplifting suspect, not helped by the fact that asking to be left alone gets you precisely nowhere. I strongly suspect that there are actual warnings/blacklists about the place on any number of forums or chat groups for people with social anxiety or communication problems.
On the other hand, their stuff is awesome, they seem to be good to work for, and they invented the bath bomb, ffs, which deserves a lot of props too.
I finally fell out with Lush almost terminally over their Boxing Day sale, which was the biggest shitshow I have ever seen from a large-ish multinational company, in terms of their website’s total inability to handle the predicted demand-and the same thing happens every year. The site was basically inaccessible for around 36 hours, or you could spend two hours trying to get in, fill a basket, and then fall at the final hurdle by getting kicked out before you manage to pay.
Rinse and repeat five times, and that was basically my Boxing Day-this blogger had a similar experience, and in the end, gave up and hauled ass to a physical store.
Now on the one hand, I am painfully aware of what an un-problem this is and how nobody has the right to whine about not being able to buy something for cheap, but when they send you a promotional invite to the sale and you waste hours trying to get on the site to buy from it only to fail miserably whilst seeing social media flooded with similar tales, interspersed with posts from buyers from America using the UK site rather than the US one because it is cheaper and checking out ok, it did my head in more than it reasonably should.
It felt like getting a notice of a sale, spending a couple of hours of effort getting to it, only to arrive and find the door locked, so that you get to look in and see other people buying the stuff you want while you can’t do it.
I was miffed, and I was by far the only one… whichever poor bastard got to field the company’s FB page comments and rage deserves way more pay than they can possibly be getting.
So anyway, my inability to throw money at Lush when I really wanted to prompted me to head on over to Bomb Cosmetics, which is a Lush-a-like that I would usually pass by as a total dupe/watered down copy of Lush, but that in my fit of pique, I chucked £30 at it instead.
Two days later, I managed to buy some stuff for cheap from Lush anyway, resulting in my early January seeing two giant boxes of Stuff arriving for me that smelled like a tart’s boudoir.
So, who did it better?
From both Lush and Bomb I ordered around £30 of stuff, and ended up with around the same number of products from each for the price. However, bear in mind that the stuff I got from Lush was half price, and so essentially, my £30 would not have gone so far on a regular day.
I got a couple of bath bombs from each of them, several shower gels from Lush, a shower soap from Bomb, and a facial wash and moisturiser from Bomb too-the moisturiser is just £8 or so, which is much less than an equivalent from Lush.
What I am about to say will both make no sense, and reveal more about my personality than any other sentence possibly could: The bath bombs from Lush annoy me because they come loose in the box, and so drop crumbly shit everywhere (and stink when handled), while the bombs from Bomb came wrapped in cellophane, which annoyed me because of the needless packaging and rather sterile feel they had to them.
This is why nobody is ever pleased when I review their stuff…
So basically, the Lush stuff feels a bit more raw and real (and stinky) while the Bomb ones felt a bit mass-produced. Both performed well in the bath-it is basically just scented baking soda, after all.
The facial wash from Bomb was not as foamy as I like, but that’s on me because I know that they don’t need to foam to work, and adding surfactants can make them harsher. The face cream was quite thick and emulsion-like, didn’t really smell of anything, and seemed like a good middle-of-the-road pick that would likely be good for sensitive skins too.
All of the shower gels from Lush smelled awesome and perform well. However, there’s just no way even so that I would regularly pay their price of a fiver a go for 100ml of product.
The shower soap from Bomb, on the other hand, was a flaming revelation. I haven’t bought soap and actually used it since I was maybe 15, because I use shower gel like a normal person. But this thing is basically a sponge with sticking-out tendrils all soaked in soap, so that it functions as both the shower gel/cleaner and sponge/bath puff all in one.
I loved this, and at £4 a go for a big chunk, with the range of three scents that were available when I ordered now increased to eight, I’ll be buying this on the regular.
So, in conclusion: I went off Lush over their whole Boxing Day sale debacle and cult-like shopping experience, but I still like their work-just not their prices (although I do understand why they are high, being as they treat their staff in all countries like humans not animals, and spend a lot on their ingredients) and I would buy from them in future on occasion, but with less enthusiasm.
Bomb still takes me as a Lush dupe in many ways, but that shower soap thing is not something Lush does or that I have seen before, I love it, and I’ll be buying it forever, so my end result is… Conflicted.