credit: K Martinko — A colorful array of solid bath oils

Ever since Lush’s iconic bath bombs hit the market decades ago, the cosmetics company has become famous for its ‘naked’ products. Walk into any Lush store and your eyes will be dazzled by kaleidoscopic colors, a variety of shapes and textures begging to be handled, and, of course, the strong fragrance of items whose scents are not masked by packaging.

Not only is it a clever marketing scheme, to put such vibrant and beautiful products on full display, but it’s also an ethical one: Less packaging means less waste. While many items still come in recycled plastic pots (which can be returned for reuse), Lush has gone the ‘naked’ route with a great number of other products.

This is good for another reason. A waterless solid product means fewer synthetic preservatives, which is why 65 percent of the company’s product line is completely preservative-free, and increasing:

“The low water activity of the product means they are perfectly safe without requiring any extra preserving at all.” (The Preservatives Handbook)

At a recent visit to Lush’s flagship store on Oxford Street in London, England, I was impressed by the wide range of package-free items. Here are the ones that I liked best – not mentioning the bath bombs and regular soap bars with which most people are familiar.

Note: TreeHugger was a guest of Lush at the Lush Summit in February 2017. There was no obligation to write about the summit or to endorse Lush products.

credit: K Martinko — An array of eye jewels on display

Eye Jewels

These are eyeshadow in solid bar form. The small wedges measure about 1.5 inches in length and are the perfect size to hold between two fingers. You can choose from a wide range of brilliant colors, and apply straight to the eyelid, no tools needed. At the checkout, the jewels are wrapped in little paper squares. Eye jewels are only available for purchase in UK stores or through UK site.

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credit: K Martinko — Package-free lipstick? This is revolutionary!

Solid squares of lip color are a radical departure from the non-recyclable plastic tubes that accompany every kind of lipstick and lip gloss. Better yet, they offer three different shades per block, which allows you to pick or blend the colors of your choosing. Blocks are only available through UK site or in UK stores.

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credit: K Martinko — Shampoo bars come in many different scents, but only one size.

Lush is famous for its solid shampoo bars, and we’ve mentioned them before on TreeHugger. These are not much different from a bar of soap and will give you an estimated 80 washes – the equivalent of three bottles of liquid shampoo. Lush sells a metal travel tin for the bar if needed.

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credit: K Martinko — Luscious body butter bars

Who needs a plastic dispenser for lotion when you can have luxurious body butter bars that melt into the skin as you rub? Lush sells many kinds of body butter and massage bars, even ones with aduki beans added for exfoliation.

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credit: K Martinko — More gorgeous bath oils

They look like truffles, and apparently people have been known to bite into them at the Oxford Street store, according to one employee. These are, in fact, bath oils in ball form that will disintegrate and scent a warm bath deliciously.

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credit: K Martinko — The most convenient travel soap you’ll ever find

One of the strangest inventions I’ve seen, these wash sheets have the texture of a rubbery carpet but are really just soap in an unusual and ultra-lightweight form. You tear off a piece and use it to lather up. Perfect for traveling.

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Henna Bars

The solid henna bar was invented by Lush’s founder Mark Constantine, whose training as a trichologist (hair and scalp expert) resulted in him writing a book about henna back in the 1970s. The bar is melted together with hot water to make a paste, then applied to the hair using hands. Made with fair-trade organic cocoa butter and no preservatives.

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credit: K Martinko — Showder is shower powder!

Worth mentioning, too, are the products with minimal, mostly plastic-free packaging:

Wondering what on earth showder is? It’s shower powder, made from a baking soda base with exfoliating sugar (extracted from beets that have an average farm-to-factory journey of 28 miles in the UK), calamine powder, and essential oils. It comes in a recyclable cardboard box, and you shake it into your hand, wet it, and lather up. Only available through UK stores and website.

credit: K Martinko — Returnable plastic tops is the next best thing to no plastic tops.

Not truly zero waste, but pretty darn close, these brilliantly colored liquid eye liners come in glass jars with plastic lids and dippers that can be returned to the store for reuse.

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These, too, come in cute little glass jars with aluminum lids that can be recycled. Plastic-free is always best. Only available through UK site and stores.

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…or take another peek at Lush and the Zero Waste beauty routine!

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