Looking for the cheapest Opium perfume? Jo Malone?

Find your designer perfumes here – cruelty free!

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Most big designer fragrance brands test on animals. Period. They also contain 80% to 94% alcohol, which is why the scents don’t last (and why they can make you sneeze and cause other allergic reactions). The commercial fragrance industry is MASSIVE – a massive rip-off! Sorry to be so blunt, but when you realize what goes into a $60 – $120 bottle of perfume (including the animal testing), that’s the only words for it.

Now, there are more and more cruelty free companies out there (which is a good thing) and many have their own fragrance lines. But what do you do if you just can’t identify with anything other than your signature scent – Opium, Chanel No 5, Jo Malone etc? For years I just went without – until I discovered the Nantucket Perfume Company in 2008. Owner and master perfumier John Harding has the olfactory equivalent of perfect pitch – he can recreate a fragrance just by smelling it. He then sets about making a “pure” version of the scent – using only essential and natural oils.

My own, small bottle of “Opium” has been with me since 2008. Admittedly I only wear it on special occasions; but it still smells as good as the day I bought it, and exactly like the original (only better). A small 0.25 oz bottle of pure perfume or cologne costs about $45 – but is the equivalent of 3, 4 oz sprays. That makes it easily the most cost effective way to buy your favorite perfume – not to mention that it also lasts much longer because the scent doesn’t evaporate like it does with store-bought versions.

John has a vast supply of fragrances available, including his own signature lines – and he even carries some perfumes that are no longer available commercially.

Nantucket Perfume Company

I would love to hear from you if you have discovered any other companies that make cruelty free versions of designer fragrances, or if you have tried this company yourself – please leave your comments below!

Where to buy Lush products – cruelty free

A LUSH Beauty Bar – buy your soap by weight!

My introduction to LUSH products

While working for a non-profit in Sri Lanka, some years ago, one of the favorite places for expats to hang out was a shop called Odel in Columbo, the nation’s capital. As you went through the doors you were greeted by two things: the AC (people would go there just for that), and the delicious smell of LUSH soaps and other cosmetic goodies from the beauty bar.

LUSH cosmetics locations

This is not a widely available brand in the US, and I do get asked where to buy Lush products here. At the time of writing the company has 182 shops in the USA, with higher concentrations in California (38), New York (15) and Texas (13). Products ordered online are sent from Vancouver or Toronto, via UPS. Shipping costs start at $6 for less than 3kg (by ground to 48 states), and $8 by air to 50 states. They pay all import charges to the US.

Why do I recommend LUSH?

1/ The company is listed as “cruelty free” on PETA.org.  They are not listed in the Leaping Bunny program, however; I have read that they believe there is a loop hole in the Leaping Bunny program that would technically allow them to buy cruelty free ingredients from a company that does test on animals. That sounds a bit confusing, and I think in this case it’s down to trust – I do believe that LUSH has a very strong ethic against animal cruelty in the cosmetics industry, and personally, I do trust them. They are very active in the anti cruelty arena.

2/ LUSH is privately owned, and is not part of a bigger corporation that might not have the same cruelty free credentials as its individual brands.

3/ It has a LOT of ethical credentials – not just cruelty free. It advertises “Against animal testing”, “Freshest cosmetics”, “Ethical buying”, “100% vegetarian”, “Handmade” and “Naked packaging”. Pretty impressive.

4/ I like their innovation. They offer “knot-wraps”, like colorful scarves instead of traditional gift wrapping – it’s like giving two gifts instead of one, and they are made from plastic bottles or organic cotton.

5/ They have a great website – it’s easy to order, there are plenty of “how to” videos, and you can “auto-reorder” for some products. Shop here: LUSH USA

Brand criticism

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The LUSH brand has generated some criticism, but on a pretty small scale. I provide these simply for your information:

  • the brand is not shy about supporting political issues that it believes in, which may not always be in line with your own, personal views. In particular, LUSH UK has been criticized for supporting an independent Palestinian state.
  • Some people don’t like the smell of its products, which can be over powering.
  • in early years the company was criticized for poor wages – I don’t know if this is still the case or not; but they do advertise a “Best Employer 2015” Canadian award on their website.
  • it is not 100% vegan.

LUSH Products


Product selection: LUSH has a pretty wide selection of goodies, but doesn’t offer nail polish (which is a common trait with greener brands), and it’s selection of makeup is limited (particularly the eye shadows, which tend to be bright colors).

Bath & shower

Bath bombs – one of their signature products, LUSH bath bombs range in price from $4.95 to $12.95, for one. They come in bright, fun colors with and include ingredients such as  sodium bicarbonate, rosewood oil, orange oil, rose absolute (“Ups-a-daisy” ingredients). Image result for lush

Solid bath oils start at $3.50 for a single use bar.





Solid soaps – another signature product (imagine choosing a slab of brightly colored, ideally scented soap and getting a slice cut off to your requirements – like buying fudge!). These come in a multitude of colors and scents – try “Honey, I washed the kids” for a honey, coconut & orange solid bar; or “Sea vegetable” for ingredients such as seaweed, coconut and lavender oils. “Respect your elders” is a deep purple combination featuring elderflower infusion, elderberries and bergamot oil. When buying online you buy set sizes – a 3.5 oz bar starts at $5.95.

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Shower gels cost $19.95 to $26.95 for 8.4 fl oz. Try “Dirty springwash” with a focus on fine sea salt and spearmint oil – or “It’s raining men” for a honey, rosehip, lotus flower and tiger lily infusion.

Shampoo and conditioners

Shampoos and conditioners come in bar and liquid form, and range in price from $19.95 to $26.95 for 8.4 fl oz. They each feature a key ingredient – “Daddy-O” comes in a bottle and focuses on violet leaf to brighten grey and blonde hair; “Jungle” is a solid conditioner costing $11.95 for 1.7 oz, featuring organic, fair trade bananas, organic cocoa butter and ylang ylang oil. Their richest conditioner, “Retread”, costs $31.95 for just under 8 fl oz, and ingredients include seaweed gel, avocado oil and organic yogurt.

Hair colors

LUSH hair colors are henna based, and come in solid form in four different colors (black to red). The cost is $27.95 for 11.4 oz, which I believe is a 6 block like the picture. You melt the cubes of henna with warm water to form a paste (some people use strong black tea and add a cap full of apple cider vinegar, which may help the color to color grey hairs better). There is a helpful “how to” video on the LUSH website.


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Skin care

Image result for lush cosmeticsLUSH offers a full range of cleansers, toners and moisturizers, as well as face masks and even solid toothpaste! My favorite cleanser is “9 to 5” (almond oil, fresh clove and orchid extract, $22.95 for 8.5 fl oz). If you don’t mind the color, and want a cleanser that you can use all over your body as well as your face, you could try “Dark Angels” – its a black, solid cleanser containing powdered charcoal, avocado oil and rhassoul mud. I would only try this in the shower though!

They have a fair selection of moisturizers too; try “Full of Grace” serum ($15.95 for 0.7 fl oz) for an infusion of portobello mushrooms, murmuru butter and calamine powder; or top of the range “Gorgeous”, which focuses on the highest quality ingredients including fresh orange blossom honey, wheatgerm oil, pineapple, lemon and orange juices ($87.95 for 1.5 oz).


A variety of perfumes are available, from a small solid perfume (try “Dirty”, with spearmint, thyme, tarragon and sandalwood tones; $10.95 for 0.4 oz) to “Imogen Rose”, a pure liquid perfume focusing on real rose oil and rose absolute, $69.95 for 1 fl oz).

I hope you enjoyed this post – let me know your thoughts and reviews below, good or bad, about LUSH!