Snow Fairy shower gel by Lush cosmetics comes in an pink, iridescent bottle. Contained within is a rich, foaming lather with a “shimmering luster” called “fairy dust,” per the product's description on its website.
For British mom Lesley Hughes, it's not so much what's inside the Snow Fairy shower gel that matters to her, but what's written on the product's label.
As she explains to the Mirror, her 12-year-old daughter received the $10 shower gel as a Christmas present this year. Jennifer, her mom says, suffers from skin problems, so after she received the Snow Fairy shower gel, Hughes scanned the ingredients list to be sure the product was safe for her daughter's sensitive skin.
When she read the product's instructions for “How to Use,” the mom was mortified. She tells the Mirror:
“As soon as Jennifer saw my face, she said 'what's up?'' My exact words were 'what the hell?'”
The Snow Fairy label read:
How to Use
If you really don't know how, then we suggest you find someone you really like and invite them into the shower with you to demonstrate.
Hughes tells the Mirror:
“I was shocked.”
The product, she says, although sold as the perfect gift for a 12-year-old girl, is actually unsuitable given the labeling:
“This product is clearly aimed at young girls, it is pink and glittery. It's dangerous—people could use it to persuade kids to do things they should not be doing.”
As for what her daughter thought the label's instructions meant, Hughes tells the Mirror: “She didn't understand.”
Hughes further explains:
“Jennifer is not an idiot, she knows what's going on in the world, and we are not prudes and do not keep things from her, but at her age she knows what she needs to know.”
Hughes says she wants Lush to change the product's label: “It definitely will be causing a lot of awkward questions for parents up and down the country,” she says.
As for Lush cosmetics, a spokesman for the British-based company told the Mirror:
"While we take our products and their ingredients seriously, we try not to take ourselves too seriously and like to have humor at the heart of everything we do.
Our humor is very traditionally British—sometimes in the style of seaside postcards and Christmas pantomime, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, often self-deprecating.
Our customers tend to have an innate understanding of this style of humor. It is never our intention to offend, but as with all humor not everyone will find the same things funny.
As far as the mixed age of our customers and readers is concerned, we take the same line as UK pantomimes and many children's films—where a laugh can be inserted that adults will understand but will go unnoticed by the young and innocent."
This isn't the only instance of an adult being taken aback by the Snow Fairy's label. According to Yahoo! News, grandparents in England were recently stunned when they too read the label after giving it to their 8-year-old granddaughter for Christmas.
Richard Shiner told the Sun he believed the product's name meant it was “ideal for kids.” But when his granddaughter opened her gift, he was left scrambling for an explanation:
“Then, of course, [my granddaughter] Macy was asking me what it meant. I didn’t know what to say to her, so I had to pretend it meant she could bathe with [her brother] Buddy. But that’s not really appropriate either. It was the only thing I could think of to say to her at the time.”
It seems Lush's tongue-in-cheek approach to product labeling extends well beyond the shower gel:
Lush cosmetics are widely available for purchase in the U.S.