If there ever was a shop that I would want to set up, it would be this one. In a state of peaceful happiness this little mecca of natural and organic beauty goodness lies snuggled a few streets away from the craziness that is Oxford Circus. Opened in 2008, Content was the first natural and organic beauty shop to open which focused on being an expert in organic skincare, a naturopathic clinic and a beauty salon all in one, as well as providing a shop online for Glow Getters like me and you. The products are handpicked, there is a strict criteria that each one has to pass before being sold and the focus is on results driven products, so you know you’re in good hands when going to a place like this. Not only that, but exclusive events are held every month with talks from amazing natural beauty leaders such as Kristen from Kjaer Weis, Rose Marie-Swift from RMS Beauty and offers that you just can’t refuse.
So I wanted to spend some time with the amazing Kiwi lady (Kiwis are the best!) that created this dreamy shop, why she set it up and what her morning routine was like (er, extensive springs to mind!) to see what life as Imelda Burke was like. Ladies and gents, the fabulous Imelda Burke…
What is Content Beauty and why did you set it up?
Content Beauty & Wellbeing launched in 2008 at a time when natural beauty was still hidden away in the back of health food stores with the odd token brand in department stores and boutiques. The aim was to provide an alternative to mainstream brands and also combine the worlds of well-being and complementary therapies with natural beauty – clear, healthy skin comes as much from within as it does from the products you choose to use.
Since then we have launched some of now cult natural and organic brands into the UK market. Brands such as Rms Beauty, Ilia, Vapour, W3LL People, May Lindstrom, Soapwalla, Lina Hanson started their UK lives at Content, along with many more.
Why should people choose natural/organic beauty products?
For their own wellbeing and the health of the planet (often these brands are growing their own ingredients) and just because they smell better and work! I also like that we are often supporting smaller owner operated businesses too, which is better for the local economy.
What advice would you give to people who are new to natural/organic beauty?
It can be difficult to switch as it’s like starting over again. Often people have used the same products since their teens so it can take a little bit of trial and error when switching to find the brand for you but most reputable stores will know the ‘natural’ equivalent of a pharmacy or department store brand which gives you a head start.
Some people, once they become aware of what is in their products want to switch everything there and then – this is great and gives your bathroom cabinet a good beauty detox. But it can be a bit of an investment as we easily often use 20 products a day. An easy way to switch is to replace an item with a natural product as you run out.
There is a misconception about which products to switch out first. People always prioritise switching their face products, but if you think about it, the body is the largest surface area of skin so starting here makes more sense. Lipstick next – you are eating it! And you can feasibly leave the wash off products until last although if you have dry skin or an itchy scalp I’d switch these quickly too.
Do you have a daily beauty routine, and if so, could you share it with us?
It is rather extensive as you can imagine! I test new products and brands almost every week but there is a core set of products I always go back to. As far as routine goes I use a light gel cleanser in the morning for a quick cleanse, then I use a hydrating floral water or mist – preferably one that contains hyaluronic acid. I always use a serum and sometimes also a targeted treatment serum, for example in Summer I use one that targets sunspots and sun damage – then a season appropriate moisturiser and lastly make-up. At night I always double cleanse, oil first to remove make-up and pollution and then often a cleanser contain enzymes as it helps gently exfoliate the skin, then mist, eye cream and facial oil which I massage in well. In Winter I often replace the oil with a mask ‘good enough to sleep’ in for an overnight treatment. Body and hair are a whole separate story.
What is the best piece of beauty advice you have ever been given?
It wasn’t really beauty advice as such, but I can remember when I was told about the link between dyeing your hair darker colours and certain cancers. The research was compelling and I haven’t dyed it since. Remembering that your skin is the largest organ of the body is always good to keep in mind too.
What are your top 3 favourite beauty products?
Can you share some top tips on glowing from the inside (Wellness) and out (skincare & cosmetics)?
- Outside: Always double cleanse at night it can make a big difference to your skin especially if prone to spots. Switch to using a night oil and learn some facial massage or facial yoga tricks – it’s exercise for your face.
- Inside: the combination of a therapeutic dose of good quality Omega 3 and a green juice or smoothie (light on the fruit) a day can make a huge difference to your glow! Definitely ditch the coffee and sugar. Sleep can also transform the way you look and never ceases to amaze me how it affects the texture and tone of my skin.
What is the most exciting beauty invention you have seen this year?
I’m less about new inventions and more about using what we have and looking to history for the benefits of the plant ingredients that have existed for centuries.
What are your plans for Content in the future?
Being more Content, sums it all up.
Sentences to finish.
I love natural beauty products because… They often have a therapeutic well-being quality to them rather than just the superficial skin benefits.
If I could tell my 20 something self, one piece of beauty advice, it would be…don’t buy that Clinique moisturiser just to claim the gift with purchase set – you’ll never use any of the products in it!
My favourite beauty quote is… ‘be yourself – everyone else is taken’. It alludes to the fact that often the most attractive people are those that are the most content within themselves.
My favourite beauty resource is… the Content blog! I mostly use a lot of medical databases for research on ingredient studies.
To relax I… jump on a plane to New Zealand, for 3 weeks of family, friends and swimming. The rest of the year I’m busy loving what I do. Although I do treat myself to a steam and sauna followed by a massage to recharge my batteries.
What an amazing interview! Imelda, you’re such a glow getter! If anyone wants to find out more about Content then just click the link here. I highly advise getting down there to experience the shop, the beauty salon and the amazing events that are held. Such a special, fabulous place.
*image from Content Beauty