Easter Tour: Day 2 (p1) – Lush Cosmetics

Well, it was a rude awakening at 5am this morning as Lucan really did not want to sleep in his strange hotel room bed. However, we did need to leave early this morning as we were due to be at Lush and meet Graham Satchell and crew from the BBC for 9am. We were still about an hour away from Poole so we breakfasted and hit the road.

We smelt Lush’s factory long before we saw it, and followed the olfactory compass through a rather unglamorous industrial estate. Graham was already there waiting for us, looking a little bleary-eyed after filming in Blackpool the day before. We last filmed with Graham in January and were personally pleased to see him again. A genuinely nice bloke and not consistent with how you would imagine media types.

We were greeted at the door to Lush’s factory by Helen Ambrosen, one of the seven co-founders of the businesses. Helen welcomed us enthusiastically and told us that we would be making soap and some of their face masks. What an exciting proposition!

We were all lead to the main manufacturing units where they make their bath comforters, new Fun soaps and face masks. Once you get inside any reservations that we may have had about the industrial location of the factory quickly dissolved. The factory takes on a very different feel inside. It would not take too much of a leap of faith to make comparisons between what we were seeing and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. It is just a shame that Helen could not manage a forward roll for us on our arrival ;-). The whole place is brightly coloured, with whirling machines and interesting smells. A real overload of the senses.

Made By James, Emily, Lucan & Teddy

If you have bought stuff from Lush you could not help but have noticed a little sticker of a cartoon style face telling you who your new soap has been made by. It was at this point that we knew that they were keen to put us all to work as they presented us with our very own stickers for the Lush goodies that we would be making. We were extremely flattered that they would have gone to this much trouble for us (but a little concerned about how much work they actually wanted us to do!?!).

First off was a tour of the factory. Actually to call it a factory seems a little wrong. It felt more like a very large kitchen. All of the equipment would not have felt out of place in a bakery. In fact when we were shown the walk-in fridge filled with fresh fruit and veg we really began to understand how close to food production this all was. One of the questions that some of our twitter followers asked us to ask Lush was about the nature of their ingredients. Some were concerned that because there shops smell so strongly that they might use a lot of synthetic ingredients. We were left in no doubt that this was not the case!!!

After walking through the factory we were put to work (Lucan included). First off we were shown how to make the bath comforters. These were bubble bath slices containing a pink and white swirl. We saw the machine mixing the pink colour which was so vivid that it honestly boggled your eyes to see so much pink swirling about in the mixer. This is then portioned out, rolled and white mixture added on top. The two colours are flattened further, rolled-up together in one long sausage and cut. All of this is done by hand.

Next we were off to make face masks. Our challenge was to create a batch of their Sacred Truth mask, which contains ginkgo leaf, honey, papaya, yoghurt, free-range eggs and wheat-grass among other things. What is interesting here is that, dispute what you might believe, the ingredients are all added in a form in which you or I would recognise them. By this I mean that the papaya used was not a concentrate from a big tub, it was actually quarters of the fruit itself. The same goes for the other ingredients, nothing was added that I did not feel I could have quite happy have eaten… actually I was getting a little hungry at this point.

We were again whisked away to see some more production and have a quick interview with Helen. Lucan was a good boy, for the most part, but after 2 hours of being a part of the Lush family he was getting restless. It was time to move on to our next destination with the BBC in tow. Later in the day we were due to visit Mathmos… of lava-lamp fame. This will be documented in our next post.

Comments

  1. Really glad to know that the ingredients are natural

  2. I love Lush products. First bought Lush at their shop in Poole.

  3. This is very cool. Was this a special tour for you, or do they do tours by arrangement for anyone? I’d really like to take a French friend who’s fav shop is Lush. She would love this.

    • admin says:

      I am afraid that they do not ordinarily do public tours. However, you may want to contact them and ask… you never know. J

      • Thanks. My French friend thought they did, but I wasn’t able to find any evidence. I’ll take her to the Spa, that will blow her mind. Jx

  4. Does Lush have a factory shop?

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  1. […] a lover of Lush cosmetics, I found the Bradshaw’s visit to the Lush factory in Poole really interesting. All of that delicious fresh fruit, […]

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