When you walk into a LUSH factory, it resembles a kitchen more than a soap manufacturer—everyone's chopping fruits and vegetables. The earthy company got its start in the United Kingdom in 1995, but it has found a home in Orange County in the past several years. LUSH makes every body product imaginable, except in a different form—if you've ever heard of the shampoo bar, LUSH was the company that invented it and has since turned many liquid products into solids. But the best part is LUSH's commitment to making natural products free of chemicals (although it does admit to using some parabens—ask which products and just what that is!).
Honestly, LUSH is about 90 percent of the way to making a flawless product, and you can't say that about many companies. The problem is you can't recommend just one. The amount of moisture, exfoliation and scent varies so much that the only way to shop is in person. Plus, employees at LUSH stores are paid to sit you down at a sink to wash and rub your hands so you can try every product before you buy it. And do try that shampoo bar; there's one for every hair type, and each one lasts forever. Same goes for the conditioner bars. The body soaps smell delicious and resemble slices of delectable European cheese. They're made in Pyrex dishes and sliced to your desired weight. The bath bombs will turn your tub into a multicolored, silky-soft wonderland, and the lotion bars are a lovely substitute for massage oil.
Some items, though, I just don't get. LUSH's dry toothpaste come in chewable squares that explode into foam; when I've tried them, I typically ended up choking. Then there are the tins you buy to keep your bars in; they look sleek, but they're hard to open, and the lack of ridges on the bottom means the soap always gets stuck. Just a few more tweaks, LUSH, and there will be no reason for anyone to shop anywhere else.