LUSH’s new “Emotional Brilliance” line of makeup is a conscious coquette’s wet dream—at first blush anyway. The color-wheel’s worth of liquid lip colors, eyeliners, cream shadows, and translucent face powders are completely cruelty-free, but that’s not all it has going for it. The beauty firm also designed the packaging to minimize resources and waste. Each bottle, made from widely recyclable glass, is screwed shut with a reincarnated version of LUSH’s signature black pots. The applicator wands are intentionally shorter than industry standards to reduce the amount of plastic. Even the hangtag is basically a slip of paper attached to a hair elastic.


A 30-color-strong palette, names like “Vibrance” and “Quietly Motivated,” and a kicky soundtrack, as well as the edict to choose not by hue but by mood underscore LUSH’s patented Manic Pixie Dream Girl leitmotif (it’s the dippier younger sister of The Body Shop, if you will). The company even devised a virtual and in-store “spin game” designed to plumb the depths of your personality based on the three colors you find most appealing at that time.

The label includes not-so-great ingredients like methyl- and propylparaben and coal-tar-derived synthetic dye.

More’s the pity then that the label includes not-so-great ingredients like methyl- and propylparaben and coal-tar-derived synthetic dyes, all of which have links to the Big C, among other health risks. Then again, LUSH has always been dodgy on the subject of parabens. To its credit, most of its products—65 percent to be exact—are preservative-free, which is why so many of LUSH’s goodies have a shorter shelf life than their chemical-laden counterparts.

“The reality is that some products must contain preservatives because they are stored at room temperature and contain a lot of water,” Helen Ambrosen, product creator and co-founder of LUSH told the Chicago Tribune in 2011. “In these products, like shower gels and liquid shampoos, LUSH only uses parabens as a last resort and in the safest and most mild form.”

Your nit-picking mileage may vary.

Appropriately, this author’s spin at the color wheel suggested that my subconscious needed some “Perspective,” a dusky-rose lipstick that will set your wallet back $22.95. Emotional Brilliance: It’s like a mood ring for your soul.

+ Emotional Brilliance