When Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty with an impressive 40 shades of foundation, she set the bar for any other beauty brand unveiling a makeup range.
With 40 shades, three undertones to choose from (cool, warm and neutral to complement all complexions) and 100% vegan credentials, they sound pretty great. And after landing an exclusive swatch session at the newly built Lush Labs HQ Swatch Shop, we can confirm that they're even better than we hoped.
Now, Lush obsessives will know that aside from bath bombs and fancy soaps, the brand turned their hand to makeup a few years ago – the Skin Tint and Liquid Eyeliner are just two of the products that we can't imagine our makeup bags without. But this is the first time they've branched out into foundation, let alone launched a product with such an array of shades to choose from (their Eye Powder previously held the top spot with 12 hues).
So what can you expect? Unlike most of the foundations currently lining your dresser, this little egg-shaped number is solid. In keeping with Lush's fresh philosophy, the ingredients list boasts tons of naturals (you'll see them labelled in green) while preservatives and synthetics are kept to a minimum.
Fourteen percent pigment, 45% Indonesian coconut oil and a megamix of candelilla, sunflower and Turkish rose waxes means each bar lends brilliant coverage (we'd even suggest skipping the concealer), satisfying slip (making blending with brushes, sponges and fingers an absolute dream), and protection against whatever the environment slings at your face on a daily basis, like humidity. In other words, the staying power is on par with any high-end foundation range, and although the ingredients are rich, it doesn't feel at all heavy. The best part? Each solid bar is an affordable £16.95.
Even better, though, sourcing raw materials from projects supporting women in work and children in education is a key focus in the formulation of Lush's brand new makeup, and through the purchase of coconut oil, 10% of profits go towards funding literacy classes and a dentist on the Indonesian island of Nias.
Then there's the packaging. Plastic packaging especially is a huge issue in the beauty industry, and according to Lush cofounder, Rowena Bird, a lot of plastic makeup packaging – such as foundation bottles – is too small to be recycled. Lush has a solution, though. Just like their increasingly popular solid shampoo, serum and moisturiser bars, they decided to make their solid foundations 'naked'.
Instead of heaps of unnecessary packaging, the foundations are housed in a natural black wax seal. Not only is this a good alternative to plastic waste, but it means you won't make your fingers mucky when applying; Lush also supplies complimentary recycled boxes to store and transport the bar in. "We need to look beyond fancy packaging," says Rowena. "For Lush it's all about the product. How much do you care about what you're putting onto your lips and on your skin? Come in, have a look and save the planet."
So where can you lay your hands on one?
For now, the foundation bars are limited edition (cue the stampede) and available to buy online for a month from Friday 29th June, but we're pretty certain they'll become firm fixtures in the range, and according to Rowena, there's scope to make new formulas. "There are so many natural ingredients that are great for treating acne-prone skin, for example, so it would be great to expand," she adds. And if you want to try before you buy, the Lush Swatch Shop, which you'll find at 65-7 Beak Street in London's Soho, just a stone's throw away from the brand's flagship store, is open to members of the public from 26th June for two weeks.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the brand also let slip that they will be unveiling five different shades of iridescent cream highlighter sticks (including an Instagram-worthy rose and yellow gold), as well as a brand new range of matte and metallic lipsticks, in pinks, reds and nudes, to boot – all by next February.
You might want to clear some space inside your makeup bag...