Arts & Leisure

Lushly colorful

Posted on July 30, 2012

A BRAND famed for its handmade skin care products welcomes a new category into its family; inspired by feelings and colors, the line is a leap from the bubble bars, bath bombs, and skin creams it’s popularly known for.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics recently launched a make-up line with two collections, Emotional Brilliance and Desert Island, a first for the United Kingdom-based brand. Although just recently introduced, the make-up line actually started in 2010 with one product, the Colour Supplement, a multipurpose base color.

Considered as expert in natural skin care and known for its vegan and handmade products, the introduction of the multi-purpose base color came as a surprise for many. It took the brand and its co-founder and product inventor Rowena Bird two and a half years to come up with an entire range for the make-up line, making sure each product fit the brand’s DNA.

One of the values the brand lives by is: “we invent our own products and fragrances, we make them fresh by hand using little or no preservatives or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients and tell you when they were made,” a value that did not make things easy in creating the make-up line. Ida Cruz, brand manager of Lush in the country, recounted that Ms. Bird loved and had a passion for color and despite foreseen difficulties, really pushed for the line. “It was in development for two and a half years [after the release of the multi-purpose base color], some ingredients were really hard to work with and we had to make sure ingredients were not all synthetic.”

“We had to have less preservatives than the commercially available [make-up] and make sure everything is still handmade and the packaging still very much environmentally friendly. Basically, the [make-up] products we were planning on carrying should be in line with the brand.”

The patience and perseverance were worth it as the line not only upholds all the values the brand lives by (vegan and handmade, among others) but also has so few preservatives that it claims it can be worn by the most sensitive of skins.

The Desert Island collection was inspired by Ms. Bird’s three must-have products to take to a desert island -- mascara, skin tints and face powder. For this collection, she worked with fellow co-founder and product inventor at Lush, Helen Ambrose; both inventors were trained by Stan Krystal, a cosmetic chemist who is known for developing Nivea cream.

Eye Right mascara (in black) uses only one preservative, “while most mascaras on the market contains four to six,” noted Ms. Cruz. Made with wheatgrass, the mascara has been packed full of vitamins and minerals to condition and nourish lashes, with Japan and Carnauba wax to help it set and not smudge.

Meanwhile, the skin-tint -- which comes in two hues -- is designed to be mixed in with Colour Supplement, one’s moisturizer, or used alone as a skin primer or to highlight specific points on the face. Using a soothing, softening and calming base of simmered oats, almond and jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and orange flower water, the tint claims to helps nourish and tone the skin, take away shine from the face, and help colored pigments in make-up last longer.

The Translucent Powder on the other hand is a simple, ultra-fine light reflecting face powder.

Meanwhile, the Emotional Brilliance range consists of a rainbow of lip colors, eyeliners and eyeshadows. The items are packaged all the same despite the difference in application, Ms. Cruz said that the “colors” aren’t limited to their stated applications -- “eyeshadows can be used as lip colors, and lip colors as eyeshadows.”

“I love lipstick, but why wasn’t one great color ever enough, why was I drawn to a particular one on different days or even sometimes feel the need to change color part way through a day?,” said Ms. Bird.

“After chatting with like-minded lipstick junkies, it struck us that it wasn’t about what clothes we were wearing but more about how we were feeling, so the idea was born.”

With 30 colors to choose from, the brand took renowned Harley Street strategic behavioral therapist Lady Kennedy on board, to give each color a name. The words she used were from her therapy sessions which help alter perceptions and change behavior, like Feeling Secure, Quietly Motivated, Lifted, Happy, and Believe, among others.

“Colors reflect what’s on your mind. How colorful you want [the product] to be is up to you -- you can make it lighter or brighter depending on your mood,” said Ms. Cruz.

Another thing Lush is known for is being so fragrant that you can catch a whiff of a store from quite far away. But surprisingly, the make-up line is not heavily scented (some items have no scent at all) which could come across as a bit awkward to loyal fans. In addition, because of having little to no preservatives, shelf-life is also a topic among make-up enthusiasts.

However, the brand makes sure to note in the product when it was made and when to use it by.

Whether that is a selling point or not is up to the customer, but one piece of good news is that the line is priced the same in all shops around the world, noted Ms. Cruz -- P995 for Emotional Brilliance and P825 for Desert Island products.

“Coming out with a make-up line was complimentary to our skin care expertise, we want to make women feel beautiful, inside and out.”

Lush Handmade Cosmetics has branches at Glorietta 4, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Greenbelt 3, Mall of Asia, Bonifacio High Street, TriNoma, SM the Block, and Alabang Town Center. -- Camille Erika R. Sarte