Lush, the "delicatessen of the skin-care world," is opening its first Tucson store today at La Encantada. The 722-square-foot store is looking to employ 20 to 30 part- and full-time workers.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics opened its first store in Poole, England, in 1995. There are now stores in 51 countries, including 168 in North America. "We have a huge expansion going on in North America," said Nic Martinez, manager of Lush in Scottsdale. "We've opened 26 stores to date in our fiscal 2013. We'll have opened 45 stores by the end of our fiscal year."

Lush features what it calls ethical, 82 percent vegan skin, hair, bath and body-care products. That means everybody who has a hand in creating the products is ethically treated and nothing is tested on animals, the company says.

Martinez compared the stores' setup to the produce section of a supermarket. Fresh face masks are served on ice and towers of soaps are sliced to size, for example. "It literally looks like a skin-care delicatessen. Two-thirds of the products in our store are unpackaged," Martinez said. "It's sitting out there naked. You decide how much you want. You can touch it and smell it."

The remaining third of products is packaged in 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials, he said.

Customers are given incentives to recycle, as well. Those who turn in five "black pots," which are the containers lotions come in, get a free face mask. The black pots are then ground up into new items, such as display boards.

The company also sells "charity pots" of lotion and donates proceeds to a chosen charity partner for the region.

Handmade soaps, masks, scrubs and lotions are available to order in scents made from fruits, vegetables and essential oils. Each product is labeled with when it was made, by whom, how long it will be fresh and its ingredients.

A hot seller is the massage bar, made of solid chunks of cocoa and shea butter, with essential oils. It's package-free.

Lush recently launched a makeup line called Emotional Brilliance.

"We believe in color therapy," Martinez said. "All colors have a name that corresponds with an emotion."

For example, if a customer walks in and feels ambitious, there's a shade of red for that. "It's a new way to think about cosmetics," Martinez said.

If You Go

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics opens its doors today at 10 a.m. in La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, Suite 169.

Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. 529-7270.

Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at or 573-4137.