If ocean conservation is an important cause to you or you just love Shark Week, there's a new body product you're going to want to shop stat. Lush's Shark Attack campaign is dedicated to raising awareness about the health of our oceans and the integral role that sharks play in keeping them in balance, and to support their efforts they've launched an adorable Shark Fin Soap ($5.95, lushusa.com). The product, which was launched on June 8 in honor of World Oceans Day, boasts a lavender-lime fragrance and is flecked with Arame Seaweed, but the best part of all is that 100% of its will benefit the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, which focuses on shark conservation. Why is Lush so invested in protecting the ocean animal? As it turns out, the beauty industry is a huge threat to it, and once you find out just how important sharks really are, I think you'll agree it's a worthy cause.
Head to Lush's website and you'll be greeted with an unmissable banner promoting the campaign. "100 million sharks are slaughtered every year," the subtext reads, which is a shocking static and only becomes more harrowing as you read the articles Lush has provided as to why that figure matters so much.
To start, sharks are are a keystone species, which basically means they play an integral role in keeping the ecosystems they inhabit healthy and balanced. "Sharks thin the numbers of plant-munching fish, ensuring that they don’t eat coral or other plant life to extinction," explains Lush's website. "Sharks also consume weak, sick and dying fish, as well as the carcasses of dead fish on the ocean floor. This prevents the spread of disease throughout the environment and helps to regulate the overall population." Without sharks, our oceans would cease to be the colorful cornucopia of coral, fish, seaweed, crustaceans, and the like that make it so magical — as we know from watching the Great Barrier Reef slowly die, it's an incredibly sad thing.
Why are humans killing 100 million sharks per year, then? To be used in pet food, supplements, and cosmetics — gross, I know. If any of your beauty products contain the ingredient squalene, there's a good chance it contains a shark product. As explained by Lush, squalene is a compound that's derived from shark liver oil and is commonly used in products like sunscreen, eye makeup, lipstick, and lotion because it mimics our body's natural oils. This means such products won't leave a residue when rubbed into our skin, but will rather feel lightweight and easily absorbed. While vegan squalene substitutes derived from amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, olives, and more do exist, shark liver oil squalene is far cheaper and is therefore used more often than not. Pretty awful, right?
If you want to help conserve shark species, check to make sure that squalene doesn't appear on the ingredients list of any cosmetics you buy. Also avoid any supplements that contain shark liver oil, and canned seafood and dog food that contains shark on the ingredients list. Along with purchasing the Shark Fin Soap, you can also support the cause by buying Lush's Charity Pot lotion ($7.95, lushusa.com) — 100% of its proceeds will go to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.