Creativity and Zero-Waste: Lush Cosmetics and 3D Printing

You smell it before you see it, it’s “That place where you go to get those fizzy things for the bath”, using fresh and handmade ingredients, Lush is at the frontline of producing ethically sourced, good-for-the-planet cosmetics. From its package-less “naked” products, to its biodegradable shimmer, the company is nothing short of innovative for both its customers and the environment. But where does 3D printing fit in all of this?

In 2017, Lush Cosmetics co-founder and managing director Mark Constantine announced the company’s decision to invest in 3D printing technologies, an innovation totalling £13 million. In this article we’re going to look at the ways in which the cosmetics company has employed 3D printing since the announcement, and the benefits it has for the company.


3D printing has presented a great deal of innovation when it comes to the Cosmetics industry, for instance, the Mink 3D makeup printer launched earlier this year, allows customers to create customised shades and employ a bit of DIY when it comes to their makeup. Thanks to Mink’s unique 3D printing technology, users no longer have to face jacked-up prices of High Street retailers and can create bespoke products in the comfort of their own home.


The immediacy of production and the ability to create highly-specialised designs makes 3D printing a great tool within the cosmetics industry. For Lush Cosmetics, this means a completely new way of manufacturing moulds for their naked products i.e. products without any kind of packaging.

3d printing cosmetics
The Mink 3D Makeup Printer. Source:
3D printing cosmetics
Lush Bathbombs and Their Many Shapes

One of Lush’s most known products – the 'bath bomb' made of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, essential oils, and plastic-free shimmer which are then hand packed into two halves of a mould and left to dry. For many years the Lush bath bomb held a traditional spherical shape, with a few exceptions, but thanks to the incorporation of 3D printing, the moulds made out of plastic can take the shape of cats, strawberries, or even crowns. With a much quicker turnaround time when it comes to design development, that is. 

For a company that adopted a green-grocer approach to cosmetics in the form of handmade signage, little to no packaging, recyclable materials, this leap into 3D printing technology has enabled Lush to strategically align their business model with the digital revolution. 

At the Lush 2018 Showcase in Manchester, visitors were able to see the 3D printers at work making bath melts and laser cutters etching soap. By aligning their business with 3D printing, the company will be able to create highly specialised items within a much shorter time frame, which would be a quicker turnaround time for innovative products to reach the market.


Lemon Zest - One of the Soaps featuring 3D printed design. Source:
3d printed cosmetics
Purple Loosestrife - One of the Soaps featuring 3D printed design. Source:

It is no wonder that a company such as Lush cosmetics would invest in 3D printing, it’s energy-efficient, creates little material waste, and let’s face it, it is pretty cool to watch. To find out more about how 3D printing impacts the environment, read our recent article.

But aside from that, it allows the company to accelerate its production, especially when it comes to launching more and more zero waste alternatives that require a mould during their production. 3D-printed moulds, compared to other methods of manufacturing, allow for more experimentation when it comes to creating the perfect shape, and when creating a zero-waste product, size and shape matter.

But would the company go as far as using 3D printing to create the actual products? The Lush ethos Fresh and Handmade could potentially coincide with the concept, as it partially eliminates the handmade touch, however the ingredients would still be hand blended before inserted into the 3D printer as the filament. We call it 3D printing with a human touch.

Here at 3D Print Works, we welcome creativity, which is why we offer 3D printing services for whichever stage of the printing process you may be at. Click here to find out more.