A few weeks ago, I was SO honored to have been invited to attend the LUSH Prize awards ceremony in Vancouver, BC. I’m super excited to share my trip with you – including my LUSH factory tour, meetings and interviews with LUSH VIPs, Capilano suspension bridge visit, and bath bombs for days! Warning – it’s going to be a photo-heavy article – but I just have a ton of pics to share with you!
When I arrived in Vancouver, I was immediately, like okay – I need to move here. It was cold, but it felt crisp and fresh. Instead of choking in the LA smog, I felt like I could actually breathe! There were trees and greenery mixed in with the HUGE high rise buildings, and I got to take a ferry ride on the water, which was a few blocks from my gorgeous hotel (The Opus in Yaletown).
When I first stepped into my hotel room, I smelled LUSH immediately. I was excited to see LUSH bath bombs and other products that had been left in the room along with a sweet note from my new BFF, Peter (AKA member of the LUSH PR team). I don’t think I need to tell you that I took a LUSH bath every night while I was there! I haven’t stopped since I’ve been home – in fact I think I’ve developed a bath bomb addiction. Hey – could be worse, right?
LUSH is the only beauty company I know that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to ending animal testing. Not only do they NOT test on animals, they actively campaign against the practice, and they give out huge awards to scientists, researchers, nonprofits, lobbyists, and others who are working to end or replace animal testing.
The LUSH Prize awards ceremony takes place every year in London, but this year, they held two additional young researcher ceremonies in the Americas (Vancouver) and Asia. The Vancouver event was just beautiful. It was a formal dinner at a beautiful venue in downtown Vancouver.
The theme was “cruelty-free science” (obviously!) and there were beakers filled with colorful water and dry ice, as well as the famous “fighting bunnies” logo everywhere. The award winners came from all over the world, and their passion was contagious. I felt so happy to be in the presence of so many like-minded people who aren’t just saying they are against animal testing – they are DOING something about it.
(Photo credit: LUSH) How freaking cute are these guys? And that bunny award is amazing – maybe someday I’ll do something big and get one! For now, I’m happy just to be in the presence of these amazing people. 😀
I interviewed Hilary Jones, the Director of Ethics at LUSH. First thing I noticed – she had bright orange hair (Co-founder, Rowena, has pink hair – maybe it’s a company requirement to have cool hair!). Second thing I noticed – she REALLY cares about animals, and so does LUSH. As she told me the history of LUSH, the strides they have made in fighting animal testing, and how far they have come, I could sense the passion.
She told me that the reason for the LUSH Prize is that legislation alone isn’t enough. For example, the European Union banned animal testing, but there are loopholes. Brands can still sell in countries that require animal testing by law (like mainland China). She went on to tell me that we do need good legislation, and we have a lot of work to do on that front, but we also need scientists to change the way they do things in labs. Oftentimes animal testing is just a result of “we’ve always done it that way”, so we need young researchers to come in to the labs and say “hey – we really need to try something new.”
Education is also hugely important – and sometimes that takes a little shock value for news outlets to take notice. I know not everyone is on board with the methods LUSH has used to bring awareness to animal testing, but sometimes people need to be shocked in order to change. Seeing PETA’s undercover footage of animal testing facilities is what inspired me to create this blog in the first place (even though I cried all night when I first saw it!).
So, the biggest excitement for me during the trip was that I GOT TO TOUR THE LUSH FACTORY! Oh wow – talk about beauty blogger dreams come true! It was such a nice experience – the team showed me around the main factory area (where the bath bombs and other products are made for Canada and the US).
It was like a high-volume bakery more than a factory-factory. I have toured other beauty factories, and this one was a lot…well friendlier. The people who worked there seemed genuinely happy – and the products are made with the kinds of tools you would see in a cupcake or cookie bakery!
After the tour, I got to meet LUSH co-founder, Rowena Bird (who has major style and awesome pink hair), and actually make a batch of Buche de Noel with her! They gave me my very own LUSH factory shirt with my name on it – and LUSH “made by stickers” to put on the products I made – how cute is that?
We used all fresh ingredients to make the seasonal body cleanser (REAL oranges, cranberries, almonds, cocoa butter, essential oils and brandy). If it didn’t have the essential oils and cocoa butter, you’d be able to eat it! Below is a pic of me sniffing the brandy while Dan patiently waits for my photo opp to be over!
Blending it up was no joke – it took some major power tools for such a large batch. I don’t know how these guys do it all day – major blending muscles! The next day I was excited to see the product I had made (okay not the ACTUAL batch) in a LUSH store – how cool!
After my tour, I went with Peter and Lauren (from LUSH) and Madelynn (cruelty free and vegan YouTuber and Ipsy stylist – check out her channel here) to the Capilano Suspension Bridge (right outside of the city).
So much greenery – I had no idea that area was considered a rainforest (I thought rainforests were only in South America and Africa – not true!). That bridge is scary in the best way possible – I loved it. All I can say is WOW – so gorgeous – I am ready to go back. Vancouver (and LUSH) – I hope you will have me back soon!