Online Exclusives

Back to the Beach

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | May 28, 2010

Lush�s latest rollouts feature ocean-sourced ingredients.

Aimee O’Donnell Saunders
June is National Ocean Month. And what better way to celebrate the sea than to try some ocean-inspired skin care? Lush Cosmetics is set to debut a variety of new products this month that contain seaweed, sea salt and seawater. The brand also will support Oceana—the largest international ocean protection and restoration environmental advocacy group—through its Charity Pot SKU.

Aimee O’Donnell Saunders, a product trainer at Lush in San Francisco, took time to chat with Happi about the brand’s latest ocean-sourced rollouts for June 2010.

Happi: What ocean-sourced ingredients does Lush use and what are their benefits?

Aimee O’Donnell Saunders: At Lush, we love ingredients from the ocean.In addition to sea water, we are using several kinds of sea salts, seven kinds of seaweeds, seaweed absolute and sand.The benefits of these ingredients are multi-faceted.

We source our sea water from the Vancouver Aquarium, which takes sea water from 14 meters below the surface of the water, off the coast of Vancouver and filters it several times. Sea Water is one of the most underestimated resources to cleanse, hydrate and refresh the skin. It actually mirrors the mineral content of our skin by almost 90%, and in doing so, sea water plumps and moisturizes the skin, unlike fresh water, which causes our skin to go wrinkly due to the leaching out of minerals and lipids into fresh water. Additionally, sea water has roughly 3% salt, which gives the hair body and contributes to shine. We use two kinds of sea salt—Atlantic and Hawaiian.

Happi: This sounds interesting. Tell us about the salts that you use.

AOS: Our Atlantic Ocean salt is harvested off the cool blue waters of Portugal. This salt is less refined, with more minerals than table salt. Salts have been used for thousands of years for therapeutic properties to re-mineralize and stimulate, and impart a glow to the skin. It can be a great scalp soother when used in shampoos, and offers both volume and shine to the hair.

Our Hawaiian salt is purchased from a source on Molokai, and is only found in GeoPhyzz, one of our Bath Bombs. One ton of sea water, harvested off the coast of Molokai, creates 77 pounds of sea salt. The red color comes from Alaea, a Hawaiian clay that gives the salt a nutritious boost of minerals. This salt is a gourmet, edible product highly prized in the culinary world. Even more than regular white salt, the added Alaea makes Hawaiian red salt extra mineral-rich, which can relieve troubled, itchy skin and leave it very soft.

New Lush products make waves with ocean salt.
Happi: And what about the benefits of the seaweed?

AOS: Soothing, protective, nourishing and hydrating—seaweeds contain up to twenty times the levels of elements found in land plants. Seaweed is packed with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc plus iodine.It’s an ideal ingredient for improving skin tone and softness, as well as moisturizing and reconditioning processed hair.We use seven seaweeds in total—Bull Kelp, Tooth Wrack, Nori, Carrageen, Irish Moss, Agar Agar and Arame.

Seaweed Absolute is made from Nori seaweed, which also goes by the names of Bladderwrack, Black Tang, Rockweed, Bladder Fucus, Seawrack, Sea Oak, Black Tany, Cut Weed, and Rockwrack.It is found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.It’s a wonderful ingredient to stimulate lymphatic drainages and encourage the body’s release of toxins, as well as deliver nutrients and hydration to skin and hair.

Happi: Why did you decide to use ocean-sourced ingredients in your products?

AOS: Lush chooses our ingredients for the benefits they provide for the skin and hair, and have found oceanic ingredients to be some of the most beneficial for many different skin and hair needs. Our goal is to create effective products with as many naturally occurring ingredients as possible. Several of our product creators grew up and live now along the south coast of England, and have used seaweeds and sea salt for decades.

Happi: What do your customers like about these ocean-infused products?

AOS: One of our top selling products in North America is Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub. Ocean Salt, as the name implies, has a good deal of salt to polish and exfoliate, but also leaves the skin nourished and hydrated. Another top seller is our Big Shampoo, with 50% sea salt to add tons of volume and shine to hair.

Also, a portion of the proceeds from Lush’s Charity Pot Hand & Body Lotion are donated to Oceana—it’s just one of the charities that we support. Since its inception, Lush has proudly donated over $1 million to handpicked charities— including Oceana—in support of animal rights, environmental protection and humanitarian concerns.

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