Hoy. Always with the money…

L’Oreal have bought out the Body Shop.


Lush, anyone?

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  1. On March 19, 2006 Statto says:

    Did you shop at The Body Shop and, if you did, did you do so for the reasons which preclude buying L’Oreal stuff?!

    Lush smells horrible. There’s one in Oxford, and someone once tried to take me in, but I stumbled out ten seconds later, gagging at the nose-murdering aroma. Perhaps a little bit of animal testing would make them realise that their products smell awful…

  2. On March 19, 2006 JTA says:

    Aye, pretty much. L’oreal are scabby buggers at the best of times. And their adverts suck.

    I rather like Lush! I used to hate the smell of it, but hey, we live and learn (and randomly losing that very annoying dust alergy I used to have helped enormously, of course). It’s not half as bad as a joss-stick, if that helps, and some of their stuff is fantastic, although not so much if you aren’t into baths.

    Lush stuff smells really nice on its own, although I agree it takes a bit of getting used to en masse. You could always mail order. Not that that solves the “you’re not really a baths person” problem, but still. They do soaps and shampoo and things for shower people, as well.

    Heh. There’s a new take on the “dogs or cats” argument. “Bath or shower”?

    Mildly Entertaining Lush Anecdote: (because I don’t want to do this blasted essay…)

    Was in the Lush in Stratford whilst there in December, and generally browsing. When you head into a Lush, one of the staff always comes over and asks if you need any help.

    Two surly looking teenage boys enter, acompanied by a teenage girl, who gleefully trots over to the Christmas Gift-Set stuff. The two boys are then left looking grudingly at a display, shoulder-to-shoulder in a world that seems scarily womanish.

    Enter 20-something female member of staff, stage left.

    “Are you boys looking for anything in particular?”

    Cue mass panic and looks which, unless panicky looks have changed much since 2001, mean “O, crap, we’ve come into a cosmetics shop, and now she thinks we’re gay!!”

    Pause. Attentively sympathetic look from member of staff. General pulling back of shoulders and beefing out of chests from boys.

    Deep, assertice, hollow voice from one of them: “Er, no, thanks.”


    Slightly shrill panicky voice: “We’re with HER!” [points] “She brought us in here!”

    Well, it made me laugh… Got the general impression they’d spend the rest of the day talking about football, power-tools and cars just in case anyone followed them out of the shop and thought they might like bubble-baths and little photo frames…

  3. On March 19, 2006 Statto says:

    Bits of that won’t make sense unless you realise that JTA & I had a conversation on MSN about the relative merits of baths and showers betwen those two comments.

    We did.

    Surely there can be no argument for baths as a method of regular cleansing? You end up sitting in the crap you’ve just washed off and they use more water, just as a little eco-irritation to top it off.

    As an irregular relaxation exercise, perhaps, or if your caravan has no shower and so the alternatives are not washing, breaking into someone’s more-extensively-plumbed house or rolling around in dust/mud depending on the season…

    But, come to think of it, couldn’t you just get one of those funny adapters which go over the taps?

    Showers rule.

  4. On March 19, 2006 Claire says:

    I’ve obviously missed something here. A large company buys out a slightly smaller company, to their mutual benefit, and this is some sort of problem? What have Loreal ever done wrong, and why does this affect whether you buy The Body Shop’s products?

    As far as animal testing goes, the only reason The Body Shop can get away with not testing on animals is that they only use products made of stuff that have already been tested on animals by other companies.

    I’d love to hear what makes Loreal some sort of devil company. They are out to make money, like all companies — including The Body Shop.

  5. On March 19, 2006 JTA says:

    OK, Claire. I’ll try and fill you in on what I think you may’ve missed. Basically, the Body Shop was one of those Ethical companies, that found a way to make money without being unpleasant about it. L’Oreal, on the other hand, has never shown any inclination to do anything of the sort, and it seems astonishingly implausible that they’re going to change of a sudden, just because they’ve found themselves in posession of another few hundred outlets that used to be ethical but are now owned by entirely different people.

    Animal testing on medial grounds is something that I’m not sure about, but which at least has some demonstrable value; like helping to avoid putting six blokes in critical condition during trials on a regular basis. That makes some sense, if we can try to avoid doing that, then we should.

    Animal testing for the sake of a shampoo, on the other hand, is pretty pointless. It has no immediate benefit to people; people aren’t going to get put in intensive care just because a shampoo they didn’t test on animals got in their eyes, and the Body Shop was a major player in brining people to realise this, and in ensuring that they didn’t use anything tested on animals in their products.

    As far as animal testing goes, the only reason The Body Shop can get away with not testing on animals is that they only use products made of stuff that have already been tested on animals by other companies.

    I have no idea where you’ve got that from. Er. At all. Here’s the Body Shop stance on animal testing, if that helps; they don’t use ingredients they know to have been animal tested, they don’t source from suppliers who perform animal testing, and they don’t comission animal testing on any of their products…

    It’s because of that stance on animal testing that a lot of people bought from the Body Shop; it became iconic as an ethical company. For it to be bought by a non-ethical company is really quite sad. Not to say dissapointing.

    If you, as I did, buy things from the Body Shop due to an objection to cosmetic animal testing, then their getting bought by a company that is OK with animal testing affects whether you buy their stuff: companies, as you say, are out to make money. If a pro-cosmetic testing company is out to make money via a previously anti-testing company, chances are they’ll use the old image as a marketing ploy, not as an ethical stance.

    Hence the advantage of Lush; a company (out to make money) but which is actively anti-cosmetic testing.

    If you’re someone who didn’t buy Body Shop on ethical grounds, and just liked their shampoo, it makes no difference at all. If you supported them because they were different to L’Oreal and co, it means you’ve lost the reason to support them. L’Oreal isn’t a “devil company” per se. It just is in contrast to what the Body Shop used to be…

    Think that might’ve filled you in on the missing bits.

  6. On March 19, 2006 Claire says:

    Thanks, you’ve filled in a lot of the blanks there. I don’t have any problem with animal testing, because I DO think someone might end up in intensive care from a shampoo if it were not tested on animals. That they are using a cosmetic rather than a medicine does not make them less deserving of having their products properly tested.

    The key point from I read from The Body Shop’s stance is “since 31 December 1990.” Most products going into cosmetics would have been tested before that time, and that is where I get that particular point from. Most substances known to man have been tested on animals at some point, so it is a fallacy to say that The Body Shop and Lush do not use knowledge gained by animal testing. There is usually no reason to retest such products, individually, but perhaps there is still worth in testing their combination.

    I see that they also take positive action towards halting animal tests, which is indeed noble, though I disagree with the reasoning. I look forward to a time when animal testing is no longer necessary, but at the moment it is a necessary bridge of the gap between the lab and the shelves.

  7. On March 19, 2006 Claire says:

    However, the fact is that almost all cosmetics ingredients have been animal tested by somebody at some time for someone. So no cosmetics company can claim that its ingredients have never been animal tested. But they can take action to stop the tests.

    That from the exact page you linked to, which backs up the argument of mine that you questioned.

  8. On March 20, 2006 JTA says:

    Er, not really.

    Nobody can do much about the fact that lots of stuff *was* tested on animals, in much the same way nobody can do anything about the fact man invented the atom bomb. Once something’s happened, it stays happened.

    The point about being against animal testing is that you refuse to use products that have been tested on animals at any time since the point at which you say “piss off, that’s bloody stupid.” Prior to 1990 the Body Shop rejected animal tested products and reviewed their stance on specific companies every five years. Since 1990 they’ve just said “no” flat out.

    In medical testing, there’s some argument that animals might be necessary. In cosmetic testing, there isn’t one – dermatalogical testing’s far more practical anyway, because humans and animals have very different physiologies, and just because something doesn’t blind an animal doesn’t mean it won’t give people a horrible rash if they run it all over themselves in the shower.

    Given that almost everything we’ve got in the cosmetics industry has been tested on animals already continuing to test new formulas of shampoo with extra-glossy-advert-spawning vitamins for extra lift, or renewed vigour or whatever is entirely pointless. We’ve got shampoos now that do the job, and which we know to be safe because people have used them for years without going blind or getting rashes. What’s the point of trying to develop new things that do exactly the same thing?

    Aside from trying to nick a bigger market share, there isn’t one.

    The point about being against animal testing isn’t about never using anything that’s been tested on animals, because the big companies (like L’Oreal) have made sure everything is, even though it isn’t necessary – it’s about taking a stand and saying “this is pointless, we don’t condone it.”

    Medical testing needs a bridge between the labs and the hospitals, because it’s hardcore stuff that fucks with the body’s natural functions. Shampoo doesn’t need that, because it’s more efficient and gives better results to test shampoo on the back of someone’s hand, and see what happens than it is to test it on something that’s got fur, and less exposed flesh.

    Frankly, there’s no real need to develop new formulas anyway (unless all the cosmetics firms are lying through their corporate teeth when they say their shampoo cleans your hair, which is pushing it a bit far) but if we’re going to, animals are pretty much useless to test on.

    I don’t see L’Oreal doing that in a hurry. Hence; Lush.

  9. On March 20, 2006 Claire says:

    You seem to be saying that cosmetic testing on animals has never been necessary. What I don’t understand is why companies would spend so much money on doing something that is pointless, after all, aren’t they out to make money? It strikes me as stupid to spend money being cruel to animals on a whim, so I presume they have their reasons.

    I just don’t think they would be doing it if they didn’t have to, for simple reason of economics, and I think most companies these days are mostly animal testing free anyway, except in certain cases where they feel such a thing is necessary. If all you say is true, then presumably all those scientists haven’t realised it yet, or maybe there’s something you’ve missed. I don’t know, but I don’t see any reason to disagree with the scientists, who do know.

  10. On March 20, 2006 Statto says:


    Once something’s happened, it stays happened.

    Dodgy ground. Surely by this logic you should be allowed to use all animal testing data, without stipulating some “stop” date? You should of course simultaneously campaign against it, as they do, but if the animal testing happens irrespective of your lobbying, you should have no qualms with using its results.

    Body Shop reviewing their stance with respect to suppliers is more justifiable: they’re effectively denying profits to those who break their code, thus giving them a financial incentive to behave ethically.

    …dermatalogical testing’s far more practical anyway, because humans and animals have very different physiologies…[because they’ve] got fur, and less exposed flesh….[A]nimals are pretty much useless to test on.

    This, I’m afraid, is just rubbish. Such anatomically primitive observations as the amount of exposed flesh an animal has cannot indicate its being physiologically remote from us. Whether it’s drugs or cosmetics, animals are imperfect, but they’re the best model we have. I’m afraid I’m with Claire about leaving the scientific questions to the scientists!

    What’s the point of trying to develop new things that do exactly the same thing….unless all the cosmetics firms are lying through their corporate teeth when they say their shampoo cleans your hair?

    Good question, and one that certainly is much more compelling in the case of cosmetic testing than medicine. I’m certainly unsure how a new range of hygiene or even vanity products can increase the well-being of mankind. Though justifying this is possible, depend on your reasons for supporting animal testing at all.

    Medical testing needs a bridge between the labs and the hospitals, because it’s hardcore stuff that fucks with the body’s natural functions.

    True that medicines have a larger effect than most shampoos, but that can’t quite be equated with a reduced necessity for testing. A few dead animals finding out that a shampoo sends people blind is animals better wasted than the many who die testing medicines that later prove useless in humans, for example. And, even if the medicine does go on to succeed in human trials, it’ll probably be used, and thus wreak its horrific side effects, on far fewer people. Almost everybody washes, only a handful use a given prescription drug.

    My point

    What I’m driving at in the above is this: how can you have a coherent ethical standpoint which allows medical testing on animals, but prohibits cosmetic testing? I don’t actually have an answer, it’s something I’m currently embroiled in consideration of.

    My investigations so far seem to indicate that a concrete moral framework either allows animal testing or disallows it, with no ifs or buts.

    I can’t deny that I have the feeling that cosmetic testing is more ethically dubious than its life-saving-drug-based counterpart…but it’s just an eerie supposition which I can’t dislodge, I’ve not got a good reason why.

    Any ideas?

  11. On March 20, 2006 Statto's 'Blog says:

    Animal Testing

    The ethical and scientific debate surrounding testing stuff on animals.