As I’ve said numerous times, I’m currently in a foreign country. This particular country is actually generally much cheaper than the United States. For example, you can buy a train ticket for an overnight journey for what would be the equivalent of $15. Your trip to the grocery store for enough food for the week might only cost you $10-$12 (if you buy frugally and cleverly). Of course, the wages match this level, so depending on your job, you might only make $500 a month as a professional, and your rent might be half of that.
Thankfully, my rent is covered by the company I work for, since they specialize in hiring international people (they need native English speakers). So all of my money is take-home pay. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well into dollars for when I go home, but I’ve been trying to save up a decent amount that I’ll transfer. In the meantime, though, I haven’t been stressing too much about the money I’ve been spending. I try to spend smartly, but sometimes I just go for it when the whim strikes.
The one thing I’ve spent a substantial amount of money on so far in this country (maybe $100 worth?) is LUSH. LUSH is a cosmetics company that is now found in dozens of countries around the world. In this country alone, there are almost 60 locations, and many of them are in my region, since I live near one of the bigger cities. I found the store that’s on one of the big streets in town, and since then, whenever I have to go into town, I stop by. I do this for several reasons–1) I couldn’t bring many cosmetics into this country, so I had to buy some here, 2) LUSH is much cheaper in this country than it is in America, and 3) I really like what LUSH stands for, and I think their values coincide with my own. Plus, I’m just probably addicted to the smell of the place.
Now, while I’ve been in this country, my environmental impact has not been what I would like it to be. As I’ve said before, recycling is not widespread here, and it is nearly impossible to find a place to recycle. It’s very common to throw out plastic, glass, cans, and paper in the same trash bag, into the same dumpster. Likewise, there’s no place to compost. Even more, water is often wasted here–it’s pretty common to leave the water running while washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. (my roommate is guilty of this, and he’s from England), and sometimes even not shutting the water off properly after bathing, resulting in a lot of water going down the drain. Now, this water is not exactly potable from the get-go (it must be boiled before you can drink it), but that doesn’t mean it should be wasted. Thankfully my parents instilled in me the habits of turning off the water while doing mundane tasks, and while my showers sometimes run long, I’m working on that too.
So, what I mean to say is that I’m trying to lessen my environmental impact wherever I can. This means that if my cosmetics are environmentally friendly, use sustainable harvesting practices, come without packaging, and have mostly natural ingredients…like, sign me up. I’m so glad to have found LUSH while being here, even though it is still far more expensive than I would like.
The truth is, though, that just buying LUSH products is not enough. I love what they’re doing, and I think that being trendy is helping them really break into the mainstream cosmetics industry, but I hate seeing so many people on YouTube and other social media just buying LUSH because it’s trendy. Like, sure, they buy LUSH, and they love getting LUSH products, but they don’t actually have the mentality that LUSH does–or maybe they say they do, but they only say it for the video. They’ll be like, “I don’t condone animal testing!” and “There’s no packaging, so it’s totally eco-friendly!” but then in the next shot they’re gushing over their mainstream products, which come in plastic bottles and non-recyclable containers, or use harmful chemicals or test on animals.
I realize this. I realize that enjoying LUSH products is a step in the right direction, but more than that, I’ve realized that it is doable, and necessary, to find and use products that are good for the environment and don’t harm other living things. And even more than THAT, I’ve realized that my choices as a consumer are a major way in which I can support the practices that are healthy for nature. So, even though LUSH is very expensive, I want to keep coming back to their company. I believe in companies like LUSH, and how they’re changing the industry. I hope their mentality spreads to other industries.
And of course I’m not being paid by LUSH or anybody to say any of this stuff. But I would definitely recommend them, if not because they’re an awesome company with great values, then because the store smells fabulous.