5 mins with Imelda Burke founder of Content Beauty & Wellbeing…
Content Beauty & Wellbeing in London has been my go-to place for natural and organic beauty almost since my green beauty journey began about 8 years ago. A small boutique it may be, but that compact square footage is becoming more powerful than any large department store. The shelves are packed full of amazing products, that you know without any doubt can be trusted on their credentials, but also on their performance. If you’re signed up to the regular newsletter, you’ll know that each one comes with news of another exciting brand or product launch. It is not just the products that people flock there for though, it is the advice and knowledge that Content has also become famed for. No problem if you are not London based, there is no missing out as Content has a massive presence online and reaches far beyond the UK.
Everything is curated by Imelda Burke who has been at the forefront of the green beauty movement in London since she opened Content in 2008. Imelda has pioneered organic and natural beauty by introducing so many of the clean and green beauty brands we know and love to the UK market. There isn’t much she doesn’t know about clean beauty so a book was the natural progression. Last week saw the launch of ‘The Nature of Beauty – Organic Skincare, Botanical Beauty Rituals and Clean Cosmetics’ which can only be described as a bible for anyone who is interested in cleaner beauty. Whether you’ve been into it for a while or you’re just starting to make the switch over, the book is an incredible source of information. It is a collection of Imelda’s wisdom along with wise words from other green beauty experts such as brand founders, make-up artists and just general amazing people.
Imelda is one of the busiest women I know, so I’m very grateful she found the time to answer a few quick questions for the blog! 🙂
Why is natural and organic beauty important?
Often we ignore our skin until it prompts us to take notice via a blemish or a skin condition, it is your largest organ, the most visible, and often the first to indicate if something is not quite right with your health internally.
For me, choosing what gets into our layers of skin is so important. I always return to the following argument when considering what we come into contact with daily: there are so many other synthetic chemicals in our environment that we have very little control over, why not avoid what you can in your make-up bag and skincare regime – the areas over which you do have some control?
It’s quite simple – because you have the choice. In the same way that you might opt for a real strawberry smoothie over a strawberry-flavoured milkshake or for fresh food instead of ready meals with their increased levels of preservatives, you can also make this choice with your skincare.
I also like that my natural and organic purchasing supports a variety of social and ethical issues. Natural skincare is often locally made in small batches with sustainability and the environment in mind. The money that goes back to these companies in product sales can enhance local communities, support fair trade practices and organic growers in developing countries around the world – it’s a way of being a more conscious consumer.
What is the best piece of beauty advice that you were given and by whom?
All the brand founders and customers we have at Content are full of good advice and the book is really filled with all the tips I’ve discovered or been told.
It’s not strictly classed as beauty advice but my Mother’s childhood advice ‘why would you want to look/be like anyone else’, instilled in me from a young age an ability to question things. Without this I may not have questioned what I was putting on my skin!
What made you want to write your book ‘The Nature of Beauty’?
Over the years I have personally answered tens of thousands of questions from customers and beauty editors about natural skincare and spent nearly 10 years explaining why it is just as good (I think better!) than mainstream products. I thought it would be great to have all the research and experience in one easy to read place – as a starting point for people wanting to make the switch. It’s really the book I wished was around when I first started reading labels.
I’ve had the pleasure of learning so much from our customers and brand founders (and make-up artists like yourself) that it is in essence, a collection of all the best experience from around the world of natural beauty. I also wanted it to be a book that is treasured and handed down or gifted to people you love, so we tried to make it pretty too – the cover is by an artist who makes beautiful images of plants via x-ray.
Learn how to read a label and how your skin functions. Once you know this you and only you can decide for yourself what to use. An informed choice should be the only choice.
Even if you aren’t that bothered about the natural beauty sector, it’s still worth getting to know your skin. Once you learn what it does and what it needs from you to function optimally, you can then decide what you want to put on it.
What would you say to anyone in the process of switching their beauty routines to a more natural one?
Start with the largest surface of skin – your body! That way you are avoiding putting synthetics over the greatest surface area and use in-store teams – they get so much feedback from customers that they are a wealth of knowledge on where to start.
I think this will be the year that it becomes much more commonplace and less of an ‘alternative’. Hopefully this year most people will be at least aware of what is available or integrating a few natural products into their beauty regimes.
Thank you so much Imelda for your pearls of wisdom, for writing the book and for being an inspiration – I salute you!!
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