The Smell of Bullshit part 7 – Lush, thrush, rash

I don’t think this post title has assonance or alliteration, but it has something. Is there a term for when the last sound of words is the same?

Anyway, yeah, Lush, rash, thrush.

I should start by saying that I have had eczematous skin since I was very little. It’s generally a stress reaction, but it also reacts to certain toiletries and cosmetics. Over the years I’ve worked out that mineral oil-based toiletries upset my skin, and certain shampoos – some of the “for blondes” shampoos by big-name hairdressers have left the palms of my hands with weeping blisters. For years I avoided the pleasure of bubble baths and nice “smellies” because they would bring me out in a rash. And I have to say that for the most part, I have been able to use Lush without any problem at all. Dream Cream is the only thing that works on my eczema (E45? Makes me itch. Diprobase? Makes me sweat and itch). I have been able to use Lush soap, shampoo, moisturiser, cleansers, shower gel, bath ballistics, bubble bars and pretty much everything else without any problems, although anything with cocoa butter makes me spotty. Facial products with cocoa butter make my face spotty, bath products with cocoa butter make my décolletage spotty (big shout out to all the yoghourt fans there). I have had bad reactions to very few Lush products – Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner smells beautiful but gives me an itchy burny reaction and is impossible to wash off properly so my hands stay greasy after using it, making it very difficult to put contact lenses in without them being smeary and uncomfortable all day. And Phoenix Rising ballistic also gives me an itchy burny rash. But other than that, in over a decade of using Lush, I haven’t had problems.

I think I’m quite lucky though, especially as my skin is sensitive and my immune system likes to party. Over the years I have seen numerous forumites raise numerous complaints about bad reactions to Lush, most notably burny skin rashes and thrush (note to North Americans, when Brits talk about thrush, they mean what you call a yeast infection – that horrible, white, cottage-cheesy vaginal discharge with the most appalling vaginal and vulval itching you can imagine. The sort of itch that makes you want to scrape your genitals over barbed wire just to make the itching stop, the sort of itch that makes you stand on one slightly bent leg while you rub the other knee up and down the supporting thigh in an attempt to scratch without sticking your fingers in your knickers). And there have been so many complaints about it that I’m finding it hard to believe it’s down to just sheer bad luck and individual sensitivity. And I’m finding it really hard to believe that Lush are unaware of these problems but that’s what company employees on the forum are saying this week. “We didn’t know, you haven’t told us, we’ll look into it.”  I’m going to quote now from both posts on the public forum and discussions I have had off-forum about it, without specifying who said what, to protect the dignity of my itchy-flapped friends. The first posts are from 2010 and 2011.

  • Help us in our hour of need. We have been quietly grumbling about sore fannies in dark corners of the forum, but it is time for our ailing ladygardens to be brought into the light and there is only one woman for the job. We want you to deliver a special vagina monologue to the Mafia on behalf of our poorly nether regions. Tell them that there is something foamy in the water that is bringing a tear to our eyes. We are wearing cold flannels instead of pants and squirting Eau Roma water where the sun don’t shine. Only you can save us.

  • My little girl also had a fannyzingtastic bath earlier this evening from an Abominable. She started crying about it and wincing after two minutes and I’ve had to cream her little ladybits as they were a bit red.

  • Well, my ailing ninny has been paraded at length on this forum. So white, fizzbanger and a few others have affected me.  The symptoms have been, severe burning, swelling, itching, difficulty in passing urine, painful weeing, open wounds and watery discharge (sorry). Trying to sleep nekked with your legs open is not a good look.

  • The minty shower emotishit thing hurt me so badly I was walking bandy! Hilarious but not really, and so white gave me actual cystitis that I had to go to the dr for antibiotics for. Its supposed to be a pleasure remember!!! Mint and fanny do not mix Lush.

  • I had an Abombinaball last night (and have had a few before) and have had no problems with it (thank goodness) but with So White, I was dancing like James Brown (and screaming a bit like him too). On fire I was! It was agony.

  • I had problems with So White – both in ballistic form and perfume form. The ballistic tortured my ladybits and the perfume brought me out in a rash. I’m not a fan.

  • I don’t get vag problems from Lush baths, but they make the bottoms of my feet and often palms BURN AND ITCH like there is no tomorrow. Satsumo Santa was the worst I think.

  • So White = Crotch Fire. Fizzbanger = Crotch Burn. Street Party = Crotch Party from Hell

  • I made the mistake of using a WHOLE floating Island (I am normally very stingy with my Lush, as I only have a tiny tub and end up using quarter bars (or 8ths if it’s a comforter) – I had chronic minge mange for over a week (as well as a red rash all over)

  • Pop in the bath gave me thrush. I’ve stopped using all bbs/ballistics/soap because they all have something that makes my bits sting.

  • Now, there are willy issues, too. I treated the boy and myself to a lovely bath (I think it was Ma bar) and aplied IRM lovingly to his bits(sorry for the details, but they’re necessary) thinking I was treating him to some pure honey nectar in a bottle and…he came out with a terrible rush down there. He refuses to take Lush bath with me now. I had to relish Christmas Eve and Melting Snowman on my own and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll bother with the bath stuff. My arms were dry and itchy. But the poor boy…

  • Honey bee and I do not see eye to eye either cone to think of it. It gave me loins of fire (and not in a good way)

  • Iced wine gives me a horrible burning sensation. It took me a while to figure out what it was as I was using different things but my bits recoil in horror whenever I take the lid off it now.

  • from a customer complaint point of view, this is something we don’t tend to hear very much about, which is why it’s important if you have had a bad time with a product that we get to know about it here in Customer Care (not Mail Order).  When products are tested, obviously part of the feedback we receive is whether our beautiful human testers have experienced any reactions or sensitivities, and this, if it appears to be a problem with a particular product, will be passed on to the product formulators to prevent it from being a problem when the product is released to our stores. That being said, sensitivities of this nature tends to be something individual to each person – if you’re sensitive ‘down there’, then perfumed products used in the bath may exacerbating this condition. That being said, if there are common products (e.g. So White) that are aggravating it for a number of people, maybe that’s something we can look at. [comment from Lush employee on the forum in 2010]

  • I never had any problems that I remember till the last 2 years or so… makes me think it might be one of the changes in supply of a major ingredient (such as citric or bicarb) that might be the culprit, rather than the perfumes/oils that people tend to blame??? (That said, obviously the minty ones cause probs for many people – although did Ice Hotel and that xmassy minty one do the same? I don’t recall…) E.g. The Magic BBs I bought not only made my ladygarden itch like feckery, but brought my arms out in small blistery spots FFS. I was NOT impressed.

  • I have quite sensitive skin in general and have to avoid certain things, but I wouldn’t class myself as someone with an especially sensitive downstairs. Since the problems with Lush I have been able to use other brands without incident.

  • Though I have never had trouble with bbs in the past, I have now joined the ranks of flaming fannies.  I had a bath with 1/2 (!) a 3 Gold Rings and it hasn’t stopped burning since. Gave me proper thrush methinks and I so liked the scent of this.

  • I have had terrible trouble lately and it’s not just me either. A straw poll of lush inclined friends with ladygardens has revealed that my poor flaps are not alone. I have wondered if something in the recipe has changed lately because I never had to have a problem.

So, that’s lots and lots of comments from 2010 and 2011, including one comment from the company, which of course means that since that date Lush have been aware of the problems some people have experienced. And now we’re in 2013 and things still aren’t sorted.

  • Would Trading Standards be the people to contact about fiery fallulah? Because I’m fucked if I’m having my emails read out in the lush office about my lady garden.

  • I went to the nurse once and she physically recoiled from poor my flaps of fire. She said it was one of the worst cases she’s seen and gave me tablets, cream, pessaries by the boat load and said if it happened again they’d have to refer me to a specialist. As soon as I realised it was happening to other people and I stopped using the products I haven’t had it until this last week. From a stashed bubble bar!

  • I had proper big pustule type spots and it was so red and swollen I think it looked like I’d turned inside out. I could barely sit down and was having to pour water on myself to go for a wee. I’ve had it from Flying Saucers gel, Aura Suavis gel.

  • My feet burned like shit with volcano and I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients. A friend is currently having a similar reaction to mumkin

  • Oh, that bloody thing that smelled like rotten eggs brought me up in welts and burningness, and when I said about it on the forum an employee was like ‘well I wouldn’t use it on the decolletage’. Yeah cheers. And a few weeks back I has a Gingerbread House/Glogg bath, then sat down to do some work, and actually had to send J out to the chemist because I thought my bits were going to burn right off. It fucking killed. And for some reason I didn’t connect it, not even when I had another Gingerbread House bath the next week and the same thing happened, until someone said on here about her problem with it. And as for the bloody (literally) sugar scrubs…

  • It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? On the one hand, it could be that we’re overthinking it and putting everything down to Lush being dreadful – which is perhaps *slightly* unfair; e.g. I got on fine with the haircare, but when I changed to TBS banana shampoo and conditioner I developed dandruff for the first time ever. On the other, it seems like a bit of a coincidence that the problem I had with an appallingly itchy breast (to the extent that the doctor sent me for a scan to see if there was something wrong with the implant) went away as soon as I cut down dramatically on Lush SG/bath products.


  • I stocked up on Gingerbread Houses when they were in Retro but after reading other people’s experiences with burned bits (and putting two and two together about the raging cystitis I got after my last GB bath, which for some reason I thought was unrelated), I just don’t really want to be using this stuff any more.
  • I threw the last of my lush in the bin. I had not used any for months and the first bath I have with a ballistic in it I get thrush
  • I honestly don’t know why I carried on using Lush hair care as long as I did. I seemed to have convinced myself that it was me that was the problem, when my hair turned into a tangled mess of knots, when it was lank and flat a day after washing, when my scalp itched like buggery, I thought that that was just how my hair/scalp “was”, it was my fault for colouring it, maybe it was my water? Was it to hard or to soft? Anything but blame the product.
  • I would like it to be recorded that by using solely Lush showergels over the last 2 years or more my skin on my arms and legs became so dry that a dermatologist in London banned me from using ANY body products on my skin other than prescribed emollients and creams. Doing so helped my skin recover somewhat, but I got bored of not being able to use scented products that I began to use lush again- the dryness returned immediately. Then I got so angry with lush that I stopped using my shower gels, bought a £2 reduced bottle from the body shop. Full of chemicals I am sure, but my skin has returned to how it was when I was only using emollients and creams that I was prescribed. Occassionally I am tempted to shower with rose jam or twilight showergels, but can immediately see the drying effect on my skin, so its very much a case of having to use small amounts on rare occasions. for the health of my skin. By dry skin I mean the skin on my shins was so dry that it was cracked and bleeding and itching, agrovating my chronic urticaria and dermographism and causing large flakes of skin to fall off.
  • To be perfectly honest I just can’t be bothered to list anything anymore. I’m tired. I’m ill and tired and I just can’t being myself to care for the majority of these products ever again. I like the shower gels (but I do find them a bit drying) but the bubble bars and ballistics have a long history of causing any number of vaginal problems and that is all over this forum and yet it is still occurring. Thrush or cystitis is no joke but nothing is being done to remedy this as it has been going on for years with no change whatsoever. I imagine any other company being horrified to hear such reports but not here. Separating moisturisers has been going on for years too and the scentless products is well documented. It’s all been said so many times that I for one am just too tired of it to repeat it all again and for what – for it to be ignored again. Anyone who still has the stamina will still be reporting the same problems for years to come and still nothing will be done. It’s the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Mark likes to think we’re insane though. I’ve heard it said that he thinks we’re all fat and/or crazy and I guess we’ve at least been the latter for trying to get things fixed for so many years even though nothing ever changed. The joke was on us I suspect for caring. Well the caring has been a little one-sided for me.
  • I think because we were told we were being listened to on here and that it was being ‘looked into’ we didn’t raise each individual issue separately and again. I know I haven’t mentioned my thrush directly to customer care. For one thing it’s an embarrassing thing to discuss. Personally knowing that a male or anyone without any confidentiality agreement, may then discuss my burning flaps puts me off. I used a half of an stashed Christmas Eve last week after using no Lush in the bath for months and guess what? I have thrush. Lush are also in the unique position that their products have no batch codes on them and disappear after use. So what exactly are we supposed to do about the bath stuff? And having heard that forumites are called fat, lazy and crazy, I am really, really reluctant to discuss a delicate lady issue. And we really have believed we are being listened to on here. Because sometimes there is evidence of it. I mentioned that my little girl had had to leap out of a bath saying ‘mummy it’s burning, it’s burning my tuppence’ and XXX immediately offered to send me a box of different goodies from her shop as that was where I’d had purchased that item. I declined but it gave me the impression notice was taken.
  • I have a lot of baths and use a lot of different products, and the only time I’ve had to make a rush for the cystitis medicine has been after using Lush products. I’ve got about 10 Gingerbread Houses sitting in a box which I simply can’t use, because it hurts. Radox doesn’t do that, and nor does Future Primitive, and nor does Enchanted, and nor does (continue ad infinitum).
  • All Lush haircare made my scalp a complete mess. Lumps of it would scale and fall into my hair and looked disgusting. I constantly felt like my head was dirty. I asked Mark once about what I should use and was told Soak and Float and Snake Oil, and perservere. It just got worse and my actual hair was a tangled mass of frizz. Dry, split ends and in an awful state. My hairdresser would wash my hair for me and tell me to change my shampoo all the time but I said I wanted to stay with Lush because I believed it all…that it was natural and therefore going to be better for me in the long run.  When I eventually ended up with patches of bleeding, raw scalp all around my hairline, I gave in. I started using cradle cap shampoo until it healed up and then carried on since then with (and I am ashamed to admit this on Lush’s forum) Head and Shoulders. For three years now, it’s all I have used and my scalp is clear and pink and free from flakes and pain and soreness. I never need to condition it either, and it just works. I will add that before the Lush thing, I tried everything on the market for my flaky and mental scalp and not one of them made it worse, just didn’t make it better.

After several pages of new complaints this week, Lush’s response was

As you know, we gather all feedback in our office and where product concerns are involved we ensure these get to the right department. After making some checks on the rock-like bubbles with our Bubble Room I can tell you that no change has been made in production so to see such a number here is puzzling. One thing we believe is that each person is very unique and their skin/hair care needs should be treated in exactly the same way. The range of products covers a variety of different tastes/preferences/hair/skin, that would hopefully mean that everyone can use it but as with so many things – what works for one may not be quite right for the next. This is also a shame to hear of because it isn’t something we receive a great deal of feedback on, this would be useful for us to log. With that in mind, if you have a concern about any products you have we would welcome your feedback. We will require purchase info to get batch details (receipts are ideal) and we may ask you to return them so we can look at it further (as you may have heard, we now have a freepost label to help with that). If you have already been in touch I trust that everything was resolved for you but look forward to hearing from you otherwise.

I agree that these things may have come up elsewhere on the forum but on the other side of things I hope you can understand that receiving that feedback directly allows us to collate the relevant details and put things right with the customer wherever necessary. The forum may be a good place to air feedback/queries but we really do prefer to proceed with solutions with the customer directly wherever we possibly can.

You are also right that we are unable to see the shop storage from our office but we do have access to the warehouse below us and good links with the shop customer service team, it is not something that has been brought to our attention as fully before but now it has been, it will be monitored by both myself and the bubbles room. We aren’t expecting customers to log everything as this is part of our role, we are requesting pieces of information in order to help us do that for you as efficiently as possible.

I’m not expecting everyone to repeat themselves because you know that we know about those aspects, and I can only assure you that they really are being looked at. Myself and the team here are really wanting to resolve current issues and also let you know that we are here should you need to get in touch.

The more feedback we have the better and will allow us to gather more comprehensive information in order to address any issues that may be raised; we really do care and we really do want to make the products and service enjoyable for you

Unfortunately, they don’t think to explain how a thrushy customer is supposed to return the offending bath item to the company, given that it has already been dissolved and disappeared down the plughole. I also really like the bit where they say they don’t get a lot of feedback about it. That’s what they said two or three years ago after several pages of complaints on the forum. And believe me, if previous versions of the forum still existed, I’d be able to quote posts from there with exactly the same complaints.

It’s obvious that Lush products are causing serious problems for some Lush customers. That might not be because the products are inherently unfit for purpose; it really might be just that some people have rare reactions to them. But I would argue that a bath product which leaves the user’s vulva covered in massive pustules probably isn’t fit to be used. And I would argue that a company which has been aware that these kinds of issues have been going on for three years and more possibly isn’t all that bothered about sorting them out.

If you’re one of the lucky majority who can use these products without symptoms, that’s great. If you’re one of the sizeable minority who has a bad reaction – don’t just put it down to bad luck and don’t let Lush tell you they’re surprised to hear about it. If they are surprised to hear, it’s only because they haven’t wanted to listen.

(PS Sorry I buggered up the formatting. I can’t be arsed to sort it out; it’s nearly bedtime).


54 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit part 7 – Lush, thrush, rash

  1. I feel it’s necessary to leave a comment to this post as I have just had what can only be described as 12 days of hell with my vagina. Last week I decided to use a bubble bar, Gingerbread House, from my Lush stash. I have used this bubble bar on many occasions before so didn’t anticipate any problems. About a hour later. after exiting the bath, my vagina started to tingle, and not in a good way. 3 hours later I found myself smothering my vagina in Canesten Combi Cream to try and relieve the itching that was starting to overwhelm me. After a very restless nights sleep and difficultly peeing the next morning I went to see my GP. I explained my symptoms and he requested that a swab be taken for analysis. Upon spreading my legs the pain was 10x worse. It actually felt like my flaps were on fire. I was so embarrassed and mortified, especially when he said it looked like the skin was burnt and it was weeping through open sores. After a very painful swab was taken he prescribed me antibiotics for infection prevention and said that I should soothe the area by having luke-warm salt baths.
    This week I received a call from my GP to tell me that I had in-fact contracted bacterial vaginosis. I have never had this before. Yet more antibiotics have been prescribed and it’s fair to say that I feel like shit. Not only is the pain unbearable, it makes you very drowsy. A to 4 yous a motherng children, I feel at the end of my tether most days and I can feel depression starting to creep in.
    Not only has it affected my health greatly, I am now £16 out of pocket due to prescription charges. My sex-life with my husband is non-existant. We can’t even cuddle, as getting into an aroused state makes me cry with pain. We had to come home from a friend’s birthday party early as I couldn’t pee without trickling water onto my bits and I have had to purchase new underwear as I am so concerned that the bacteria will never go away.
    Needless to say, the rest of my Lush has hit the bin. There was around £100 of unused items. I will never, ever use another of their products ever again. I am still experiencing some really horrible symptoms and I’m now starting to think I will never be the same again.
    The icing on the cake? My bath smelt of fuck all.

  2. Call me naive: I have exclusively used only Lush products for the last five years and also been on the forum for the same amount of time but reading this post outside the confines of the forum it has only just occurred to me that the itchy boob I have had for months and the recent bizarre pelvic pain that incapacitated me and led to numerous tests, antibiotics and ultrasound scans which found nothing could all be related to my bloody bath and shower products.

  3. Hi, do you know anyone that used to work in the Lush factory? If so can you let me know?

    I have enjoyed reading your blog, I just found it while googling.

  4. I’ve had no issues with Lush products and I think I’m one of the lucky few. However, my husband who has psoriasis behind his ears, says that Lush shampoo aggravates it. I used to buy him Reincarnate which I thought would be soothing but it made him itch. He now uses only L’Occitane Five Essential Oils shampoo and he has no problems at all with it. I don’t use Lush shampoo anymore as citrus oils and SLS are hair colour death. Blousey seems to be overpriced for what it actually is – a primarily banana based product – and I’ve just had to bin a mostly used pot as it’s gone off.

  5. We are another bunch who have been hit by Lush Thrush. Namely with Snow Fairy. I used it on my lady bits and within a couple of hours I was itching and burning like you wouldn’t believe. The idea of using a cheese grater to itch it even seemed appealing. I didn’t think much of it at the time until my husband and daughter also both used it. My husband’s privates turned a vicious shade of red and itched to high heaven. His itching became so bad he slathered Sudocrem all over. My daughter sadly suffered the worse. She is only 6 (5 at the time of using this) and she itched her girl bits red raw to the point they bled 😦 She said it burned and itched…eventually making her cry. The only thing which would alleviate it was Sudocrem.

    The only thing which had been used on my daughter was Snow Fairy but I reluctantly tried it again to see if it really was this pink, harmless looking gunk in a bottle causing so much discomfort. Sure enough, it was. This time it took 5 days to clear completely.

    The remainder of our Snow Fairy has been used as toilet cleaner. I have to say it brings the toilet up very well. The thing I wonder is what the hell is in the stuff to make the toilet so sparkly clean?

  6. thanks for letting me know! you know all of the head honchos, i was really looking for an ex member of staff who used to work in the factory on the ground floor. i have a question about one of the massage bar formulas and some advice.

  7. It’s only now I’ve seen all these responses collated that I’ve clicked onto the fact that the rash that doesn’t appear to go away ever on my legs and thighs and backside is more than likely being caused by Lush products. I am waiting on an order from another company, and will trial a month with no Lush. Will be interesting to see the results.

  8. Pingback: The Smell of Bullshit: the comments post | Mitherings from Morningside

  9. Lush use Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) in all their bubble bar formulas and in their shampoo bars. This is a really harsh foaming agent that causes a lot of controversy due to it’s links to cancer. When I was a member of staff we received annual training from head office as to what to say when confronted by someone with issues regarding SLS. We were told to say that there was more SLS in one squeeze of toothpaste than there was in an entire shampoo bar (which would do up to 80 washes so not sure how that analogy worked). however, they didn’t give any figures for the amount of SLS in their bubble bar slices, tho it must be around 25% of the product.

    There is an alternative foaming agent in the form of Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (probably spelt wrong). This is a much milder foamer, is less drying on the skin and causes a lot less discomfort after use, BUT, it’s five times the price of SLS. so Lush have it in their power to use something that doesn’t cause the pain and suffering that the comments above have caused, but because of their endless quest for profit, they are not interested in using it. Ethical to the last.

    • My toothpaste has Sodyum Lauryl Sulfate though, not Sodium Laureth Sulfate. And I’m writing the right things, I can assure you. One of the shampoos I use has SLS though, while the other only has SLaurylS. To be honest though, most of the world’s shampoo brands seem to have Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Doesn’t mean it’s a harmless ingredient, but if it can’t be the only thing causing harm in Lush’s products…unless they use it in a bigger amount than most brands.

  10. This is a copy of what is being discussed on Lush’s staff facebook at the moment. It just shows how ‘well informed’ the staff are when faced with issues such as Thrush…


    Now that I have your attention… We’ve had a lady in today who has had a reaction, potentially (not confirmed) with our bath bombs. She bought a load of stuff about a week ago, and has since had a minor skin reaction, but has also developed thrush. She has been to her doctor, and the doctor in fact said to her that he gets a lot of people in who have shopped with us in for the same problem…

    While it isn’t great that the Doctor bad mouthed us to this customer, I was just curious if this is a common complaint, or is there something else at work here? As a biologist I am certain that bathroom moulds and chemical cleaning products used in baths are far more likely to cause something like thrush, or am I mistaken?”

    Here are some of the replies:

    “I know lots of anecdotes (friends, relatives etc) about our ballistics and bubbles giving people thrush, but no hard data and as we all know the plural of anecdote is not evidence!”

    “I know a few people who got thrush from cinders, which poses the question, I know thrust is an yeast infection could popping candy be a irritant to it? (did your customer have the reaction to Dragons Egg, Twilight, Space Girl, Fizzbanger?)”

    “Honey can be a natural treatment so any honey products should be nice and safe! I’d just say to stay away from the more citrus ones etc when they’re sensitive”

    “Wouldn’t honey be a little bit more of an irritant to thrush too? Because it’s a yeast infection? Even though i know its antibacterial.”

    “Technically nothing we sell can give you thrush… unless of course we’ve started using candida as an ingredient and I’ve missed the memo.”

    “I actually get thrush from pop in bath and the once was geo phyzz,,, very badly aswell within 24 hours after,,, however no other ballistic or bubblebath causes it,,, ive concluded us ladies just sometimes have hyper sensitivity to certain oils used,,,, x”

    “I think it may be due to the bicarb in the bath bomb being an alkaline which causes a pH imbalance and when you remove the acidity it creates good conditions for thrush to grow- any alkaline or bath product can cause it, certainly not just lush :)- maybe more citrusy acidic bath bombs would be better as these create conditions that thrush hate”

    “I think a lot of bad reactions are due to people not rinsing with clean water after their bath. Also i think a lot of women have their baths way too hot which will affect lady bits too! xx”

    “I’ve heard of plenty of women getting thrush by using Lush products in the bath. The doctor wasn’t bad mouthing lush, he was stating a fact.
    It is massively advised against to use anything perfumed on your vag. It has a delicate pH balance and doesn’t like anything much other than water.
    I don’t think I ever got full on thrush but I’ve found recently that whenever I bath with Lush, I feel a bit sore for a while. And I ALWAYS shower to make sure I’m totally clean after a bath so it’s not a lack of rinsing. I just tend to put less stuff in now because i did pile in the bath goodies for a while.”

    Staff have no idea. Head office will never commit and give a definitive answer. so everyone speculates about stuff and suddenly it’s fact.

  11. A little google around the subject shows that a fair few people are asking the same question about Lush, thrush, and lower urinary tract cystitis (i.e. inflamed urethral opening. Which is a feeling akin to pissing razor blades). Here are some of the things I found:

    (You may have to use the ctrl + F feature to find ‘thrush’ in these posts, but trust me it’s there). This was just a handful of things I found. And of course, I know from bitter experience of how bad some Lush products can be for thrush and lower urinary tract cystitis. I have never had thrush in my life until having a Think Pink bath, and ended up doing some kind of itchy dance until I saw my doctor, who quite sensibly pointed out that anyone bathing in hot sugary solution would possibly get thrush (there are candy flowers atop of Think Pink). I avoided that one for ever more. Then there was the year that “So White” came out. Not sure why it is called that, because it left my urethra, vagina and labia flaming red – I was sitting on a cold flannel for quite some time after that. I was on fire. Several of us voiced our concern at this on the customer forum; Lush’s response? Make the bastard bigger! Last year they brought out the previously diminutive (90gm) So White in a great big 200gm version, now with added dye.

    Let’s have a think about the dyes Lush use, as well as the strong perfumes, and the foaming agents, and also the sugar. Doesn’t sound like a great cocktail with which to submerge your mucous membranes and erectile tissues into, does it? I mean, would you want to drink that shit? I wouldn’t! Yet we have possibly all bathed in it at some point. Is it our fault for doing so? Well, no one held us under arrest until we did but then do you expect products marketed and sold as safe for use in the bath to give you acute thrush and cystitis? No, you do not. In fact, I have undertaken a little research with some of Lush’s ingredients, and this is what I found:

    Colour 17200 also known as FD&C Red 33. Research tells me this is an “azo dye”. I remember a cartoon featuring Mark Constantine’s voice telling you how bad azo dyes are for you. In fact, it’s this one here. Seriously, your jaw will drop. My research tells me it should not be going anywhere near mucous membranes.

    (Does anyone else think the pig in the video looks like it is wearing Emotional Brilliance cosmetics?). And yes, regarding testing ingredients on animals, tell me how you are tackling that one now please Lush? Seeing as REACH is now law – are you side stepping it or do we have ingredients that have been freshly tested on animals? I would genuinely love to know, please tell us how that one is going.

    Then we come to Colour 42090 – that is also known as FD&C brilliant blue. Wikipedia will tell you this comes from the petrochemical industry. (Ethical, yeah!). A report from the FDA will tell you this:

    Doesn’t sound too good, does it?

    Now we come to Colour 14700, also known as FD&C Red number 3. ALSO AN AZO DYE. And also, although permitted for topical cosmetic application (and also in maraschino cherries as a colourant), would you want it on your skin, milling around your urethra, coating you vagina or going up your foreskin? I know I wouldn’t! (To add, I only have a vagina, I am not hermaphrodite, but I don’t want to exclude male readers).

    Lastly we have colour 45410. Also known as FD&C Red 27. Another azo dye! This one is a purpley-red one. Again, the type that Mark Constantine slams as being incredibly toxic in the video I linked earlier. Again, regarding long term safety of this azo dye, have a look here:

    It’s permitted for cosmetic use but not near eyes. If something isn’t wanted near my eyes, I wouldn’t want it near my vagina either, I’m telling you that.

    Now all these dyes are permitted for cosmetic use, I am not saying otherwise. But considering said linked video openly says how bad azo dyes are, why the hell are Lush using them? Another form of inconsistency? All those dyes I have mentioned are in their best selling ballistic, Sex Bomb. The ingredients are listed clearly on their website, and you can then do your own research and see what you find. They are quite open about the ingredients they use, but tell me, would you want any of those going near eyes, mouth, genitalia, little cuts and grazes, children’s sensitive skin, anyone’s sensitive skin, hell, any skin, sensitive or not!! I know I wouldn’t. And yet I did, for years, believing Lush to be ‘better’ (because that’s what they always tell us, they are better, you know). They have always applauded their usage of ‘safe synthetics’. Well, they’re not better or safe for my vagina or urethra, that’s for sure.

    I encourage other people who have had myriad skin, scalp, eye or genital irritation post Lush bathing to have a look at the products you used most and then have a link up to the ingredients and join the dots. It’s fucking scary, I can tell you.

  12. Oh, also, from page 38 of the last Lush Times (from January 2013 – leaving such a gap in a major marketing tool sounds a bit… ‘creative’) you will see this:

    Page 38, titled “Our hair dyes are safe and 100% natural. Les Cacas, no s**t hair colour”.
    “During the Victorian era, a lot of modern chemical compounds were developed; one of the things they had a lot of was coal tar. It was a by product from street lamps, so it was free. If you were a research chemist you could get a lot of it. People developed all sorts of chemicals from coal tar – including azo dyes. Soon enough you could dye curtains and carpets and bedding and clothes; and it wasn’t very long before some bright spark took carpet dyes and started to dye peoples’ hair with it. The problem with that is that it was very very allergenic, so many people had dreadful reactions to it. Their tongues would swell, they would asphyxiate and die, or they would just get dreadful allergic reactions and itch and be in a bad state for several days. But that didn’t stop people from doing it because they did like to have their hair coloured. We believe in using a dye for your hair that has thousands and thousands of years of safe use – that’s why our all-natural hair dyes are made from red henna and indigo herb. Not only will you get great colour, you’re putting a 100%natural, unpreserved, unpackaged product on your hair and scalp – that won’t show up in your wee the next day”

    True, Lush Henna has no azo dyes. Now tell us about the azo dyes you openly use in bath products. Double standards, much? You cannot say you don’t use azo dyes in hair dye and use it as a marketable point when you still use them in bath products – it’s scandalous. It’s amusing Lush call their hair colours ‘caca’ from this point of view, because whilst they are 100% natural and also very effective, their marketing around non-usage of azo dye appears to be a great big pile of steaming shit.


    To add to the information given in the above link which is very informative, check out the toxicology studies, in particular point 6.1 that describes the effects of it being on tested on animals such as rats, mice, rabbits and beagle dogs!

    Dangerous colours that are tested on animals are being put into lush’s benign ethical and animal friendly products.

    I would be interested to find out how Lush only get hold of these chemicals from companies that ‘do not commission testing on animals’.

  14. Pingback: The Smell of Bullshit, part 18: more comments – thrush, and products going off | Mitherings from Morningside

  15. It appears there are other azo dyes in Lush products too, more about that below.

    With regard to above posts, which I wrote, there is a typo. FD&C red 33 (Colour 17200) is an azo dye, and colour 14700 is actually FD&C red 4, which is also an azo dye (it is not FD&C red 3 which I stated above). Here is the source for FD&C red 33 and red 4 being azo dies:

    Colour 17200 (red 33) –
    Colour 14700 (red 4) –

    Worryingly, red 33 seems to be used in many of Lush’s pink products, which always seem popular.

    There seems to be confusion about red 27 – some sites say it is, some say it is an azo dye, and some say it isn’t but for clarity I wanted to state that. The brilliant blue, as stated above, is not an azo dye but appears to be a derivative of the petrochemical industry. It appears that many of the synthetic and non-azo dyes used are from coal tar or bitumen sources and due to potential carcinogen toxicity may have to be animal tested (certainly will under REACH). It all makes for interesting extra research.

    Now that’s cleared up (as I can’t edit the original post) here is some more about some of the colours Lush uses.

    – Colour 19140 (tartrazine) – azo dye.

    – Colour 42043 (fast green fcf) – not an azo dye, but causes irritation.

    – Colour 61570 (D&C green 5) – not an azo dye but from petrochemical industry, may be animal derived.

    – Colour 15985 (Sunset yellow FCF) azo dye.

    – Colour 12085 (FD&C red 36). This is a monoazo dye. Not sure if that’s the same as an azo dye but there you go.

    – Colour 173360 (FD&C red 30). Not an azo dye, but from petrochemical industry.

    So a nice mixture there. And that’s without going through the rainbow of “Emotional Brilliance”…
    Just thought I would add that to clarify…

  16. WOW, I’m not the only one, then!! I’ve had problems with being itchy for many, many years. Falling for their brand whitewashing and thinking they could help me while also being environmentally friendly, I started using Lush products in 2006. Most left me rather underwhelmed, but there was one soap that I really liked (can’t think of which one now). On one visit to the store, they didn’t have that soap in stock, so I purchased a similar smelling one. Don’t remember the name of that one either, but I remember it had sand in it. This was probably late 2008? Anyway, I used that soap for a few days. I quickly developed a terrible, body-covering raised rash that was unbelievably itchy. I contacted customer service and was given the oh well, maybe try this one or this one instead? I asked if there were any particular ingredient differences that might have caused my massive reaction, and was told that there was such minor difference, and maybe it was something else I used? The only thing I was putting on my body was that soap, nothing else, I KNOW it was that. It felt such a waste to toss an expensive soap but I was in terrible pain and red all over. After that incident made me realize how terrible some of their ingredients are, I started buying soaps off Etsy and lotions and whatnot from green grocer shops.

  17. The term for when the last sound of words is the same is homoioteleuton (derived from ancient Greek for ‘like ending’).

    Thank you for such an incredibly comprehensive blog post, which I discovered while googling what to do with the itchy itchy rash that has developed on my body from Lush products (thankfully not on the fanny though!). I’ve never had anything like this happen before, and have been using Lush products on and off for a decade so maybe one of the ingredients has got stronger.

    I’m worried I might have a full-blown contact allergy. I’m waiting for this awful rash to go before I try anything on my body stronger than aloe vera gel, savlon or sudocrem, but I’m really hoping that this doesn’t mean I can never use any fragranced product again.

    Dunno if it’s comforting or not to know that it’s not just me…

  18. this explains so very much!! i had attributed my symptoms to all sorts of other things, but never lush. how could i have been so blind. especially after the incident i had with “red rooster: soap. i took a bath with it and got scald like burns all over from it! i should have known better than to use it when i could barely sniff it without my eyes water, but i thought “it’s lush, it’s natural, they test it on people, it’s got to be safe!” wrong, wrong, wrong. i was seriously thinking of taking advantage of their after christmas sale today, but you know what? i think the lush i have right now is all the lush i’m likely to ever have. this was just the shit frosting on the shit cake that is the sum total of the experiences i’ve had with lush over my 8 year relationship with lush. i’m out.

  19. Wow!!! I cannot believe it! I googled Lush rash, because I have severe rash on my hands, decolletage, down my arms, and on half my back aaaand on my WHOLE face from their hard shampoo and “Veganese” conditioner! Great stuff! I got myself a carma komba (or something like that) green shampoo and the above mentioned conditioner and less than 24hrs after I washed my hair, and slept, I woke up to a beautiful red rash face and upper body (pretty much where my hair touched). I am also having itchiness all over my scalp, which is so bad I want to cut it off my head …
    I went to my dermatologist and she said she had the same problem from that same shampoo, because it has raw seeds on it.
    Another thing I noticed is that the conditioner, although all VEGAN-Friendly and all that crap, contains the one and only Methylparaben, which as you know is so bad for your overall health in the long shot, you can’t imagine.
    So I’m going tomorrow to their shop and making a huge scandal, writing my blog post about the whole deal and stopping on giving away my money on this crap. I’m back to baby organic cosmetics which are
    made in my country and natural oils and DIY masks/scrubs etc …
    Too bad no one will return the nearly 20$ I spent for 2 products and a shampoo tin …
    And I am starting to wonder if they really “don’t test/don’t buy” products on animals. And have you ever wondered what kind of bacteria there is on all their hard shampoo, soaps and pretty much everything that is left out in the open in those malls?
    Never going to buy from them again, especially after reading this article.

  20. Ahhhhh! Ladies what have we accidentally done to ourselves??? I have certainly done myself a mischief with Lush products too.

    I used to work for the company several years ago and never had problems then but I have had recurrent problems since a reaction to The Comforter BB I used last May. From that point forth it has been a constant cyclic, allergic response, that I swear was triggered from that ONE bath- since then I have had chronic vaginitis (no discharge or smell) just crazy itching and swelling and it even got to the point that I thought I had Herpes, which made for a lovely couple of weeks of fretting, sobbing and nursing my poor welting flower. It has been hell. Doctor’s fob you off with some cream and seem not to understand how distressing it can be, however low grade the problem may seem sometimes… It really does affect your self-esteem. I am trying all sorts now to end this never ending cycle of mad, angry vag. Homeopathy, emolient creams, coconut oil, probiotics,, calcium powder, ending a relationship (so no sex) and changing to cheap unbleached toilet paper, so no more of that “luxury” stuff, which is a lie too. I think I’m sloooowly getting there, but it has been frustrating beyond words. I am going to try a hydrogen peroxide solution to help too… I know it sounds scary, but I have read some very positive testimonials about usage of this, so we’ll see. I hope it’s not in vain and I accidentally burn it off completely!! So on that note, I wish you all and your lady bits well. Oh and try to avoid SLS in your tub too. xxoxoxx

  21. Thank you so much for this post! I know it was posted a while ago, but I just came across it tonight after researching to see if anyone else had symptoms similar to what I went though. Several weeks ago, I had to go to the emergency room in excruciating pain. Turns out I had a horrid infection (it occurred not long after I had taken a bath with a Lush bath bomb and bubble bar.) I was in so much pain the Morphine they gave me in my IV didn’t work. I had experienced similar problems prior when using Lush products in the past, but chalked them up to something else since my symptoms at the time were more mild. This most recent experience has really put me off from wanting to use their products. After my trip to the ER, a urologist, and reading everything on here, I’m 100% sure Lush was the culprit since it was the only brand I used and I had no pre-existing problem. No bath product is worth what I went through. (They put me through a CT scan, uriflow test, and renal ultrasound as well.) Never again will I use their products. Many smell lovely, be the pain they caused me is not worth it whatsoever. I’m honestly disheartened they’ve known for years that other people have had such sensitivities to their products, and they haven’t taken steps to reformulate a more safe product. I’m not trying to bad-mouth Lush, this was just my personal experience, and I don’t want anyone else to wind up visiting the ER like I did.

  22. I thought I was the only one that had these problems from lush! Every time I walk past the store I ooh and ahh at the smell I love what they do (against animal tastings etc… But blimey do I have to be a victim.anyway I come across this desperately trying to find a luscious lush bomb I can bath in without the dam! thrush but couldn’t find nothing!! Apart from this post! I had been given a christmas present a from a family secret Santa doo we had a few days ago I could smell it was lush so I decided to peek and YEP! The second time now I received lush gifts I’m so angry why does people think i would be ok with this stuff! I pre warned them that basically it burns my lady area and causes me rashes due to strong fragrances and colours! But no I get something that they think I like just because they are ok with it doesn’t mean I am )-,; I know I shouldn’t moan on here but to me I feel like they may aswel gifted me a box of frogs!!! Lol I feel better now haha! WHAT LUSH SHOULD DO!! … Is do sensitive products too it’s all well smelling beautiful but we want to be rash and thrush free thanks but we also do like to feel pampered! They could do a christmas box called sensitive snow fairy! A gift for people that are sensitive to colours and perfume! X

    • Well, I don’t think this blog can do much about people buying unsuitable presents. But Lush have been told and told that their products are causing problems, and they don’t seem to be interested. To be fair, you can’t always predict what people will have a problem with, and no matter what you put in your products, someone will have a reaction somewhere because people are all different. But when so many people are saying “this has caused this problem for me” it seems obvious to me that there is a widespread issue.

  23. The northern lights left me with the worst thrush ive ever had 😦 . Used half the bomb and was in agony the next day once it cleared up i used the other half (big mistake . Only its not rare for me to get thrush so i didnt link the 2 until the second bath. Then bam back at square 1 in agony . Took 2 pills and 2 tubes of cream each time

  24. I had bought “Cupcake” the face mask from Lush and I had left it on for 5-10 minutes then wiped it off with a wet rag as the employees had advised. The next day I had hives all over my face. I have no idea why because I am not allergic to anything in it.

    • Cupcake never gave me a rash, but it did make my face sting, and didn’t seem to make any improvement to my skin. Smells nice, but so does a bar of chocolate and that won’t make my face hurt.

  25. Just to add to the misery. I got a tin of lush for Christmas, used a whole “star dust” bomb and for the next few days had a very itchy red raw vulva…made worse with scratching in my sleep probably. Had the same problem last christmas after a lush christmas present….Anyway I decided to use the rest of the “goodies” in the shower with the plug in, let my feet enjoy the experience alone. So in went a whole “shoot for the stars” and not long after that my feet started to tingle, then my toes started to itch. I also had to clean my bath after each bomb due to staining, shimmer and a slippery residue left behind. I’m beginning to think the elves at the factory are putting itching powder into those bombs for a laugh.

    • I recently received the Father Christmas bath bomb for Christmas and it left a gross red splotchy rash all over my legs as soon as I got out of the bath. I’ve used tons of Lush products and bath bombs before and I’ve never had this result. It’s been about 2 days since using it, the rash is still there and still itchy.

  26. You’re not supposed to use perfumed products on your bits!! It messes with the very delicate PH balance down there and that is what BV is. You can also get it from unprotected sex because the vagina is acidic and semen is alkaline.
    I understand that of course some people are allergic to stuff and I am in no way disagreeing but people please!
    Stop using shower gel on your vaginas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    When using highly fragrances bath products, you should rinse your bits with clean water after. Yes it’s annoying but your vagina is delicate and you need to look after it.
    Sorry for the rant but some things written I have found to be a little ignorant in my opinion.
    I don’t mean to offend, merely educate and hopefully help your oozing minges lol!
    Good luck ladies!

  27. One thing to watch out for, and something that floored me when I realized it was so, was that a few Lush bubble bars are made with frickin’ sugar!! Any sex shop worker worth half their salt knows that NO FOOD ON YOUR DOWNSTAIRS because the sugars in food cause UTIs, bacterial vaginitis, and thrush. Couldn’t believe it when I read the ingredients lists, but if you’re prone to yeast infections, stay away from Lush bath products containing sugar.

  28. I’ve used Lush products for years and the last 6 years or so I noticed a lot of ingredients in products I rarely, if ever would see in early 2000’s. I have had a couple different reactions and my skin isn’t very sensitive to much.
    I have honestly just given up on this company. I used to buy lush all the time now it’s not worth my time or risk.
    I’m not expecting them to change so I would rather just not be a customer anymore.
    The stuff I buy in Korea is far more superior anyways. Now I’ll take Tony Moly over anything like Lush.

  29. Hi. I’ve recently reacted badly to a Lush product. My face got burnt. Oozing and itching like hell. While I was googling for adverse reactions experienced by other customers, I found your article. It is really helpful. Thanks. I might have simply reacted to one of its ingredients but I think it was too severe to call it an allergic reaction. I guess I should be careful next time or avoid buying a Lush product.

    • I would advise you to report it to Lush and don’t let them tell you they’re “not aware of any issues.” It might just be bad luck that you’re sensitive to something in it, or it might be a product made with known irritants (what sort of moron puts cinnamon oil in skincare?), or it might be a bad batch. Since I stopped buying Lush, I’m using Origins, Burts Bees and Our Tiny Bees, and I’ve had no problems with any of them. Oh, and Future Primitive.

      • Yes, I did report it to Lush. I was so furious. I’ve never had a reaction like that after using a facial product. I used so many different cosmetics in the past so it came to me as a shock. I think Lush needs to give some warning to their customers. It’s easy to think ‘natural ingredient’ as ‘safe’ but the reality was the opposite. Thank you for your recommendations.

      • Lush offered me a package of their products for free. I declined it. I wonder who in the right mind would accept it. And I went to the shop to get a refund. The shop assistant asked me ‘Do you remember who recommended you the product?’ twice. I felt there’s some kind of blaming culture going on in that work environment.

      • Surely it’s the person who came up with the original formulation who should be blamed, if anybody should be blamed? Not that I’m advocating blame, but if you’re going to blame, why would you blame the person who sold it rather than the person who decided it was ok to make it?

      • Yes, you’re right. I felt sorry for people working for Lush. All the more so after I read your recent posting about Lush. I also found some postings while googling which showed the company is unorganized and avoids responsibility. So far the company got out of troubles because they labelled unhappy customers as overly sensitive (including me) or blamed them for misusing their products. People should know about Lush’s dark sides. What you’re doing is great.

  30. I bought snow fairy body wash and i brought it swimming with me I washed myself with it my legs started stinging and started a spotty rash. I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients.

  31. I’m currently in agony after a bath with the Christmas pud bath bomb. The nether itching is unbearable. Maybe they are just too concentrated with cleansing ingredients?

  32. Perhaps the bath bombs are absorbing bacteria into them while in storage, before they are used in the home; like how people keep baking soda in the fridge to soak up bad smells.

  33. I used to buy mail order cosmetics to go products while it was around, then switched to Lush when it came out when CTG went bust. I stopped using their products for a a year or so because it’s so expensive, but a years ago I treated myself to lots of bathing products – shower gels, bubble bars, soap.
    I have never had a reaction to a product from them before, or any other product I’ve used – all my life – I don’t have sensitive skin. Not now with Lush, the worst case of thrush I have ever experienced. I stopped using it for a year and recently used a bit of shower gel a few times – and the thrush is back.

    I also am not fond of this company and the way they had complete disregard for complaints, they do not care. Years ago they listened to you but not now. They are also slow at delivery, the products have just too much colouring in it that stains everything. How can this be good for you or the environment? My 20+ year love of some CTG and Lush things have come to an end. It’s just simply not a nice place to shop anymore, be it staff, service or products.

  34. So now we know how harmful it is to use artificial fragrances and other harmful chemicals in those bath bombs and products… But what about all natural bath bombs? I know they’re a lot safer, but I wonder what the long term effects would be of bathing in all that baking soda and citric acid, especially since your skin absorbs so much of it. I know that some people using natural deodorant get rashes from the baking soda that’s usually in them. Any idea what baking soda + citric acid does to the pH of the vulva? Would love some ideas xx

  35. last night i used a new piece of ooh la la soap from lush just on my hands and after a few minutes it started to burn like crazy ,as other people i never had this reaction before or from other brands or products in general . but that said i allready knew that their animal testing policy and safe chemical ingredients are a lie . i am from an area with a chemical giant who is under fire and this same chem giant delivers to lush , since one of the lush ingredients is an exclusive to that only that chem giant and that ingredient is listed as a possible cancer course . ask yourself why lush is always using so many temps and sort hired staff, yep not to get ill from those products ,i bet when they get ill that they are sacked . i also wonder if staffs urine is tested or blood work is done and without getting results back . also indeed the colours in lush products are indeed from the petrol chemical industry and are highly cancerous indeed . workers from petrol chemical companies and people who live around those factory plants are ill and or dying because most of these products are never been tested on safety for human use BEFORE been taking in production ,iwithout knowing what the long term effects are on humans . .but as we speak those petro chem companies are in and out of court ,either for human safety or production reduce or complete shutdowns ,this is why lush takes the Mickey at their customers ,if their still are no outcomes by court lush is not doing much ,i am pretty sure of that . this same thing is also why lush is Always changing their ingedients ,some are getting shut down or end up on black lists and cant be used any more because of their toxicity.

      • nope i am not google Dupont or spin off chemours and titianium dioxide , lush use it in their products . take a look at http://www.keep your promises dupont .com and you know what dupont does (this has not to do with lush but you know then i am not speculating)they also make teflon and new follow up gen x ,lycra , paint ,building materials ,preservetives ( formaldehyde for mascara among others and plastic pallets for cheese) they have toxicated soil, water ,air and people for over 40/50 years ,us has won a lawsuit ,the Netherlands is also going prepare to go to court .dutch health inspections have warned for synthetic holy powder in newspaper ,but i doubt you can read dutch ,that why i did not had any source included , i hope you understand know .

  36. by the way have a google on synthetic holy powder ,you know ,that india spring festival where people throw coloured powder at each other and you will find some terrible outcomes , are the yep the same used by lush on their bath bombs and bubble bars etc .

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