LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, as you know and love today, was first started in 1995 in Poole, England before making their way down under in 1997. LUSH was founded by Liz Weir, Mark Constantine, Mo Constantine, Rowena Bird and Helen Ambrosen. Each bringing their own unique and incredible talents to the business.
For more than 20 years, LUSH has been creating fresh handmade cosmetics for customers all over the world. However it wasn’t always this way. In fact, humble beginnings brought us to where we are today.
Mark Constantine and Liz Weir (now Bennett) first met in the early 70s working at a Poole beauty salon. Mark was a trichologist (this is an expert in the science of hair and the scalp!) and Liz, a beauty therapist. Both were interested in creating effective beauty products. So in 1977, they started a business of their own - Constantine & Weir.
Mark and Liz developed a small operation hand-making herbal hair products for local herbalists and salons. With the help of Mark’s wife, Mo, they would concoct batches of products made from their own recipes.
Constantine & Weir began providing many best-selling items to The Body Shop. This was when Helen Ambrosen and Rowena Bird joined the business. With The Body Shop booming in the 80s, Constantine & Weir sold their formulas to the business after 15 years of partnership and became fully independent. With the funds they received from their formulas, they launched their exciting new mail order business, Cosmetics to Go (CTG).
CTG exploded onto the cosmetics scene in a burst of colourful catalogues and never-before-seen items! There were bath bombs, solid shampoo bars, and solid massage bars. Products which survived and evolved into the next millennium to be some of the colourful and familiar items you see today at LUSH. They constantly experimented and played with ingredients - and still do to this day!
The independent status also allowed them to focus on the issues close to their hearts. Staunchly against animal testing, they developed a buying policy that ensured that no supplier tested on animals - a pioneering policy that still stands today. They also funded the important work of those looking for cruelty-free solutions to cosmetics testing without the use of animals.
A visit to a London delicatessen also sparked the desire to use fresh ingredients in the cosmetics that they produced, and an emphasis on cutting down on preservatives within the range.
In six short years, the innovative CTG business unfortunately found itself in receivership. However, the team picked themselves back up and we soon saw the birth of LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics!
LUSH’s debut was understated and humble after the hard lessons from the CTG venture. The first shop was simply designed with the day’s specials written on chalkboards in the 29 High Street space. Frivolous packaging was nowhere to be found, and all money went into buying fresh, quality ingredients. This was the beginning of the signature LUSH look that still exists today.
The echoes of the Cosmetics to Go ethos is embodied in how LUSH has progressed and how we continue to do business today.
LUSH is still a campaigning company, still proud to swim against the tide and support groups and causes we truly believe in. We are still fighting against animal testing, and are working on preservative-free cosmetics. The creativity remains unfettered by industry trends, and thrives on passion, innovation and the excitement of the next invention.