Originating in the UK, Lush is a cosmetics company that took the world by storm after launching in 1995. What makes Lush different from the next cosmetics company is its business structure. Preferring to make all of its products as clean as possible, Lush uses organic fruits and vegetables, fights against animal testing, and ethically sources their ingredients, among other genius things that no other large retailer dedicates to do themselves.
However, over the past 20 years, rumors about Lush have been coming to surface. Now with retailers in the US and abroad, stories of their factories, ethics, horrendous HR department, and hiring process have been coming to light.
Lush may be queen of the cosmetics world and is breaking down barriers that many haven't been able to before, but these 20 Lush employees came out blazing when it was their time to talk about what really went on for them behind Lush's walls.
20 Controversial Ingredients
Lush is known for being handmade and "natural," but what exactly does that entail? Created to be transparent, many beauty bloggers dissected the ingredients to Lush's top products and realized it's not as "clean" as the company states. They may be eco- and animal-friendly, but ingredients like fragrance, Blue 1, Red 27, Red 28, Methylparaben, and more are still in the products. As Food Babe states, parabens have been linked to different cancers, and artificial dyes go right into our bloodstream — becoming contaminated. You can do better than this, Lush
19 The Interview Process
One of the things many people have heard is how intimidating the hiring process is. With so many stores across the world and jobs popping up left and right, what does it take to land the gig of a Lush employee?
One woman told Reddit she was in a group of five people. "We all went in, chatted with the manager for a bit then split off for one-on-one interviews while the other four went to the opposite side of the conference room." She also noted how Lush's management will judge your cover letter more than your resume, so get creative.
18 HR Is Like A Cult
It doesn't take long to figure out that not many Lush employees are a fan of the company's human resource department. To put it simply, do they even have an HR department? One woman told Reddit, "It’s like a cult and there is no actual professional HR system in North America. Would never recommend anyone working there ever. I [disliked] my last year."
17 You'll Have To Demo The Products On The Other Interviewees
If you thought Lush's interview process was a simple group interview with a unique cover letter, you'd be wrong. You'll also have to be familiar with some of the products and demo them on the other people interviewing for the same job. Talk about pressure! If that sounds cut-throat, that's because it is.
16 Health & Safety Regulations Are Sometimes Ignored
Typically when companies bring on new staff, there's a handful of rules or procedures to follow that correlate with company policy. But one Lush employee noted the company did not allow written steps when it came to packaging, and when it was done incorrectly, they were reprimanded for it. "When basic violations of health and safety regulations were pointed out management ignored violations and did not appreciate feedback," one factory worker told Indeed.
15 Training is No Joke
Depending on the position and company, training for a retail position could end in a half-a-day seminar or a company-wide meeting. But at Lush, they do a week-long at normal 9-5 hours. As one Redditor called it, "It was basically this overwhelming boot camp!" Once the week of training was over, the new hires are thrown on the main floor, ready to sell.
14 Mental Illness Isn't Treated Seriously?
There seems to be many employees who feel like they're not treated with the same kind of respect that a normal human being should be given. After a rough few weeks at work, one Lush employee stated the brand is "low-key very corporate and intense about sales goals and branding. I was told to 'leave my mental illness at the door.'" If mental illness really isn't treated seriously, then maybe their HR department really is a joke.
13 Lush's Payroll Is A 'Joke'
The men and women who work at Lush seem to love the company's ethics and the products. Following on, they should be paid accordingly; but according to one employee, that's not the case. "The biggest con of all is that LUSH simply does not pay their employees enough or give them enough hours. Also, the Payroll department is a joke," they said. To make matters worse, they continued venting: "Expect your wages/raise not to go through, or to experience mystery deductions being taken from your paycheck! HR is completely invisible."
12 Ethical Products But Not The Same Ethics Towards Employees
It's truly amazing how much Lush cares about the environment and creating a good carbon footprint when creating their products. But do they put the same kind of TLC into the workers helping them? As one worker told Indeed, Lush "claims to be all about ethics but when their upper management act like mean girls, all of their words don’t mean anything. They’re all about fair trade for their suppliers, but they don’t even pay their employees as much as Target, Amazon, or even Walmart."
11 ...But Wait A Second, Are They As Ethical As They Claim?
Now that we know Lush's work environments aren't always as kosher as we'd hope, does that mean their products aren't as ethical as they claim? One woman who works for Lush did a Reddit AMA and had this say about a certain mystery ingredient inside some of their products. The Lush consumer said, "I learned recently that you use PET plastic as glitter in your products. This ends up in the oceans and can be super harmful to fish etc...who consume it. " The rumor was then confirmed by the employee.
10 Rinsing Out Black Pots Is No Bueno
The beautiful thing about Lush is how seriously they take their clean packaging. Practically everything is recyclable or reusable, including their black pots you buy most face masks in. And while Lush employees will happily wash these out so they can be recycled or reused, they're annoyed when customers give these back un-washed. "We [dislike] having to wash out the black pots you return. It would be so much more pleasant if you gave them a rinse before you brought them in." Is it just me or does it sound like Lush employees are never happy?
9 Backlash After Bare Bodies For Activism
Nationwide, over 100 Lush customers got undressed to work in just their aprons and sneakers — that's it. The message was to "shed light on the detrimental impact of over-packaging." However, seeing a bunch of bare women and men led to people shouting "Take them off! Take them off!" from the streets. Some of the Lush employees loved the attention, others felt regretful and uncomfortable over their choice in activism.
8 Customers Don't Want To Buy? Bother Them Anyway!
If you've shopped in Lush before, then you've noticed how pesky employees can be. If they're not asking you what brought you in that day, they're trying to do a demonstration on you. But don't feel attacked — it's not just you. They're trained to be over the top. As one employee told My London, "Rest assured you have no chance of being hired at Lush unless you are prepared to approach someone who is signaling that they don't want to speak to you with every part of their body at the same time."
7 Save The Animals (Don't Worry About The Humans)
It's gracious how much Lush cares for animals and the environment, but it would be equally gracious if they treated their employees with the same respect. "...For a company that refuses to sell to China due to animal testing, resulting in Chinese customers coming in to literally clear the shelves before flying home, Lush operates in a lot of countries with appalling histories of human rights [misuses]," one employee told My London.
6 Employees Stalk You For A *Nice* Reason
Following the point of employees following customers around without a second to breathe, Lush employees are actually trained to do this. As one employee wrote, "Lush trains its staff well because they know that the store can be overwhelming to a customer." Overwhelming or not, sometimes a shopper just wants to shop without someone breathing down their neck.
5 A Farmer's Experience Went Viral After Getting Kicked out
Lush is very progressive in many ways, but there was one instance where their progression put them in some deep water. After a 17-year-old worked all day on his family's farm, he stopped by a Lush store to pick something up for his girlfriend. His shopping experience was put to a halt when a worker told him to leave because Lush "didn't support farmers and stood against cruelty to animals and refused to sell to him." Perhaps this employee forgot that farmers also grow the organic produce they use?
4 Their Payroll Department Is As Unorganized As Their HR Department
Back in the summer of 2018, ABC announced that Lush "launched a $2 million backpay scheme after admitting it underpaid as many as 5,000 employees." Looks like the fellow former Lush employees on this list complaining about their HR and payroll departments weren't kidding! While Lush was honest about their mistake and apologized to their employees, sometimes what's done is done.
3 The Palm Oil Conflict
The war against palm oil is alive and well. Using palm oil puts our rain forests and animals in them in danger. According to blogger Holly Rose, Lush admitted to being palm oil-free in 2009, but that claim wasn't 100% authentic considering some of the ingredients they use still have traces of palm oil in it. Lush’s Ethics Director, Hilary Jones, said the brand would "never make that claim again," until all traces are removed.
2 Is Lush's Pricetag Too High?
It's no surprise that Lush comes with a hefty price tag depending on the products you're buying. Like many people, those with large pores, blemishes, or acne are want to try Lush products to see if it'll help their skin. However, one customer heard that Lush uses the organic and natural tag as a gimmick. "I've heard from people who have worked there that have said it's mostly a scam and there are cheaper products out there that do way more than LUSH claims to do for your skin."
1 The Epic #SpyCops Campaign That Went Too Far
Last summer in Lush stores abroad, there was a situation revolving around cops spying on particular activists. The release of this information infuriated activists and community members, rightfully so. However, in an odd turn of events, Lush decided to take a stand against this controversy and posted advertisements against the police force. This led to customers thinking Lush was against the men and women who risk their lives to protect their communities and resulted in some major backlash.