LUSH has been a Kitsilano staple for over fifteen years. You can follow your nose to its storefront on West 4th Avenue from blocks away. Known for its fresh, handmade, naked cosmetic products packed full of fragrant essential oils, LUSH is an iconic Vancouver, and Kitsilano, brand.

Offering everything from fresh, preservative-free face masks made from ingredients like blueberries and peppermint, to solid massage bars made of fair trade organic cocoa butter and fragranced with Sicilian lemon oil, to a perfume line that includes Jude Law’s daily fragrance pick (majestically titled ‘Breath of God’), there’s something for everyone in this vibrant shop.

If you live in Kits, then you’ve inevitably sniffed the LUSH scent whether or not you’ve ventured inside. But how much do you know about this cosmetics company that produces products good enough to eat?

I’m willing to bet that I’ve found five fun facts that might surprise and entice you:

1) LUSH is local

LUSH was initially founded in the UK in 1995, and the first North American shop opened right here in Vancouver just a year later. Since then, the company has expanded rapidly, both around the world and throughout the continent. But even with this summer marking the 200th shop opening in North America, the Vancouver kitchen, located on SW Marine drive, still cooks up the majority of product sold in North America (the second, smaller kitchen is in Toronto). Ingredients, too, are sourced locally whenever possible.

2) LUSH is ethical

It’s true that LUSH is luxury product – a $35 body wash made with Turkish rose absolute is not really a necessity – but you will feel amazing treating yourself to this luxury once you realize all the good that LUSH accomplishes. The number one LUSH rule is no animal testing; the company refuses to source ingredients from anyone who conducts or commissions tests on animals, and it tests its own product on humans. All buying is done ethically, and many products are certified fair trade. LUSH consistently runs ethical, albeit sometimes controversial, campaigns, drawing awareness to issues ranging from bullying to the fur trade. Most emblematic of LUSH ethics is its Charity Pot. This beautiful hand and body lotion, made with olive oil, aloe, and rosewood, donates 100% (yes, 100) of the price to over 600 grassroots charities around the world that work in areas of human rights, animal welfare, and environmental causes. (And that rose absolute? It comes from a family farm in a village in Turkey where LUSH supports a local school.)

3) LUSH is fresh and handmade

All LUSH products are vegetarian and the majority is vegan, leaving lots of room for fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to this the unique concoctions of essential oils, and you’ve accounted for that striking fragrance that wafts down 4th Ave. The product is so fresh, in fact, that kitchen employees are known to snack on smoothies made from the ingredients going into the shampoos and face lotions that end up on shop shelves. Each of these pots and bottles sports a sticker with a drawing of the person who made that batch, stamped with the date and the expiration. You can’t get fresher, or more personal, than that.

4) LUSH is hair and skin

Yes, LUSH is famous for its innovative bath bombs and those huge rounds of soap that make you feel like you’re ordering cheese at a deli. But did you know that all of that fun stuff comes second to its expansive skin care and hair care ranges? In fact, the founder of LUSH is a trichologist (that’s a hair and scalp scientist) and LUSH originally expanded out of his unique line of hair care products. Absolutely everything is on offer – shampoos, conditioners, masks, treatments, dyes, sprays, creams, gels – and that’s just the hair. The skin care range is just as extensive and effective. With cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks, serums, make up remover, spot treatments, eye creams, and more, LUSH can find the perfect regime for every face. And the employees go through comprehensive training, so that they’re equipped to deal with any skin or hair woe or query.

5) LUSH is fun!

It is next to impossible to make LUSH a quick errand on your to do list because it’s just so darn fun in there. With bath bombs fizzing away, arm massages taking place, bubbles overflowing, and glitter flying, the shop is more a magical getaway than a chore. Even if you are shopping for a new skin care regime or running in to restock on R&B (a leave-in hair conditioner that everybody must try – it’s a miracle worker), the employees never fail to make sure that you have a good time. The holidays up the ante, with a host of new inventions and extravagantly wrapped gifts piled on the shelves. Be sure to follow your nose all the way through the door next time you find yourself sniffing those fresh, naked products – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

LUSH Cosmetics, 2248 West 4th Ave., 604-733-5874,

Last modified: January 20, 2017

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