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How we test

It starts with invention

Our commitment to cruelty-free cosmetics starts at the invention stage. Our product creators work with natural ingredients and a small selection of synthetic ingredients with a safe history of use on humans. In fact, a number of our ingredients have been used in cosmetics for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, carrying a long history of safe use.

We avoid using new ingredients that require animal testing by law. Under product safety legislation, ingredients that have no history need to be fully tested before they can be put on the market - some of that testing could end up being done on animals.

Some companies claim that without animal testing, innovation in the cosmetics industry is impossible. After 30 years of developing products with only known, safe ingredients, we still haven't run out of ideas; it just takes a little creativity.

Human volunteers

We still need to ensure that our newest creations will be safe and effective for our customers, so we test our finished products on human volunteers. Here’s what that looks like:

We test our products in house first - each one of them need to be good enough for us before it goes out of the door.

We prepare a batch of our new creation and send it to a sample of volunteer testers. We have around 350 independent volunteers on our panel across the UK, covering different skin and hair types.

After using the product, each volunteer fills out an extensive questionnaire that asks if the product was effective, what they liked and disliked about it and whether it caused any adverse reaction.

The product testers then send back any multi-use product that is left over for microbiology testing.

The results are collected and analyzed by the inventors - sometimes the feedback is great, sometimes they need to go back to the drawing board.

These results are also incorporated into the safety dossier of each product. As we go forward, more and more in-vitro information about the ingredients and the finished products are included in this dossier, too.

The dossier is then reviewed by safety assessors. They will either certify the release of the product, request more testing or make recommendations for changes.

As the product hits the shelves, as part of our on-going monitoring programme, we collect and review customer feedback from around the world.


There’s quite a broad range of microorganism in cosmetics, especially fresh cosmetics.

During the development of a new product and during the regular production cycles, we collect samples and analyse them to make sure that the level and nature of the microorganism won’t interfere with the safety or the effectiveness of the product.

We perform a general "aerobic plate count" on nonselective agar medium. This is a little dish with a thin layer of agar (a clear jelly extracted from seaweed), sometimes mixed with PH indicators or other vegetarian nutrients such as sugar. The microbiologist puts a drop of product on top, incubate the dish and sees what grows.
We accept that there may be some organisms present, but nothing potentially pathogenic or harmful. We also look at yeast and moulds to see how the product will last.

Find out more about the Lush vision for the replacement of animal testing.

Comments (6)


about 1 year ago

Can I pls become a volunteer?


about 1 year ago

Can you please tell me how I can become a volunteer?


about 1 year ago

Myself & my daughter find it difficult to buy beauty products as we both suffer from sensitive skin I’ve tried lush products numerous times as there naturally made some are fine & we’ve bought more but some still irate don’t know why I’d love to be a tester for you & review your products for others in a similar situation thank you

about 2 years ago

Hi there, After reading this article. I was wondering how to go about applying to become a volunteer for you. I am very interested in the process of non- animal testing and would be happy to help! Many thanks.


about 3 years ago

Where can we see the results/comments from the testing on healthy volunteers? Where can we read the regulations that you follow? Are you following a "randomized clinical trials" style of testing? Is anyone producing statistical outputs that can verify the safety and efficiency of your products?

Lush Customer Care

about 3 years ago


Hi! Please email [email protected] and we will be able to help you with these questions. :)