Saying I’m disappointed is not enough. Such an enormous corporation should not be making PR errors like this. Should not be misleading thousands of customers every day. Should not be failing to educate their staff. LUSH is not palm oil free, and need to stop telling people they are!
I recently visited LUSH in Cambridge, UK, and asked for a shampoo that was vegan and palm oil free. The shop assistant excitedly led me to their range and recommended the shampoo bars. Clearly labelled with the vegan society logo we could be confident they did meet this criteria. But I noticed Sodium Laureth Sulfate in the ingredients. I asked, was she sure this wasn’t from palm oil? She left to check with a manager and returned pleased, naturally, that she had been assured LUSH were wholly against palm oil and didn’t use it in any of their products. These were all OK to buy.
We pressed on through conditioner, shower gel, face and body scrub. I left lighter, both in my wallet and in my heart, convinced I had found a brilliant and simple way to support the wildlife threatened by deforestation. I was keen to share my finds!
I tagged LUSH Cosmetics (USA) and LUSH Ltd (UK) in my Twitter post, congratulating them on their great customer service and cruelty free cosmetics. Over 1800 people have seen these and my related blog tweets. I’m not stating that figure to show how popular I am on social media. Ha, I’m not! But to show how many people are interested to know about this topic.
Then, I started writing my blog post. I wanted to link to their website. I saw some ingredient names were hyperlinked so I read the glycerine information page and was pleased to see the source listed as rapeseed oil. Then I read the SLS information page. Hmm, no source was defined. A further search brought up Don’t Stress About SLS. “The sodium lauryl sulfate that we use is derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil” – er, what? I’ve just been told there was no palm oil. Back to Twitter.
I ask specifically about SLS. Then about Cetearyl Alcohol, Lauryl Betaine & Propylene Glycol.
After being reassured AGAIN these were all palm oil free, I relaxed, published my post and enjoyed my first LUSH shower. They really do smell lovely!
Then Twitter user @lizminnie01 informed me I was being lied to. I encourage you to read this article. http://www.selvabeat.com/home/2015/8/26/the-great-lush-hoax
Back to Twitter. I ask again. No response. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do they? Because no one has emailed back. Tweet again. Finally a confession.
“We’re so sorry for the error: we’re not 100% palm-free. We don’t add palm oil, but there may be traces in our safe synthetics.”
NOT PALM OIL FREE
If I worked for LUSH I’d be horrified to learn my bosses were making me into a liar. I’d be embarrassed that I was regurgitating their lies to trusting customers who are just trying to do their best for the planet, whilst smelling nice!
It’s not hard…
Customer: Hi, are your products 100% palm oil free?
LUSH staff member: I’m sorry, no.
Customer: OK, thanks. Bye!
No money dishonestly taken. No trust broken. No harm done. Well, except to the animals and indigenous people having their homes and lives destroyed for the palm oil in these sickly sweet treats.
So I’m off to return my products, get a refund, and start the search again for some vegan palm oil free shower products. In the mean time looks like I’m back to the baking soda and apple cyder vinegar. Send me your tips!