A New Era Of Style

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Being Content Organic Beauty

We interview Imelda Burke of Content Beauty/Wellbeing, our favourite organic beauty store in London.

-What gave you the idea to start up and open Content Beauty/Wellbeing?

I suffer from a skin condition similar to eczema called Ichthyosis which causes very dry skin, so ever since I was a child, I had been using a medicated cream to treat it back home in New Zealand. Then when I moved to the UK 15 years ago, I didn’t want to ship the cream across the world, so I started looking for alternatives by researching and matching the active ingredients. I was horrified to see what I had been using on my skin! I started to explore other options and set about switching to natural skincare. I then became a little bored of having to shop at the health food stores for my natural beauty products and not being able to choose from across every category – at that stage there were little to no organic beauty brands available in department stores or boutiques, so I saw there was a gap for people like me who didn’t want to give up beauty products, but wanted a better choice.

-What was your first love in Organic Beauty Skincare?
Difficult to choose! One of the first brands we stocked was rms beauty, which is pioneering in its own right. Since then we have launched most of the now cult natural and organic brands into the European market such as Amala, Dr Alkaitis, Ilia, Vapour, W3LL People, May Lindstrom, Soapwalla, Lina Hanson, Strange Invisible Perfumes, and many UK brands have all started their lives this side of the world at Content. They are all very inspiring and clever people who have fought against mainstream industry standards to create some amazing products for us to sell!

-What are the criteria a beauty brand needs to adhere to before they can be displayed on Content Beauty/Wellbeing?

Overall, it’s really a combination of ticking many boxes – do the products work? Do they meet our ingredients criteria? Do we like the branding? But it’s also about the people behind the brand, the ethos and story. We really value authenticity too and appreciate those that believe in what they are doing as an inherent part of their lifestyle, rather than creating a brand to catch a trend.

We stock brands that are certified organic and natural although this isn’t the main criteria as for smaller brands it can be expensive. None of the brands we stock test on animals and many also source fair-trade ingredients ethically, give back to the community where they can and are mindful of the environment with components like their packaging.

-What challenges do you face when trying to educate a consumer that the organic way is the best way?

People that come in the store have usually already made a lifestyle choice to avoid mainstream and many synthetic chemicals. But it can be confusing, especially the questions of what do you avoid and what’s OK? The scope of ingredients used is broad and it pays to keep it in perspective and avoid what you can where you can. Trying to be perfect in all your choices can ultimately drive you a bit crazy. Being mindful is best – we may not be able to change the pollution we are living in overnight, but we can change the products we are putting on our skin and into our waterways – change what you can.

Finding a brand that suits your skin can be frustrating as it is like starting all over again, but it’s worth the time and effort. We advise going to a physical store and speaking to experts or emailing with your questions – it’s worthwhile, as it can help guide you in choosing a brand that might work better for you. We run a Detox Your Make-Up Bag service where you can literally bring your make-up bag in and we’ll match colours and textures to the ones you love. It’s fun and saves on incorrect choices.

We get a lot of questions about ingredients to avoid, the difference between ‘natural and organic’ and we respond to these via emails, on social media or via our online magazine and also in-store. My number one piece of advice would be: Do your research, decide what you want to avoid and if in doubt ask questions.

So many of our customers say that the skin conditions they have battled with for years have improved when they start using natural skincare. Others who have been inspired from their change in lifestyle, have ended up going down the natural and wellbeing route in their personal professional lives too. So the challenge is worth it ultimately!

-What is your most cherished product?

That’s a pretty much impossible question to answer! As you can imagine, between my favourites and new product testing, my bathroom is almost as full as the store. There are ‘staples’ I am never without though and have stood the test of time.

-What products would you recommend to kick off the New Year to an Organic Beauty novice?

People always get excited about switching their ‘beauty’ products to green beauty and instantly think ‘face’. Actually, it’s generally best to start with body products, as they are covering the largest surface area of skin. Start with your body lotion first, then lipstick – since you are eating it! Then, swap one product at a time from your bathroom cabinet/ make-up bag as they run out and work your way around those. Face wise: starting with products you leave on your skin like moisturiser is best.

These are some of our all time favourite products for the New Year:
Wild Medicine and Content Rose Quartz and Pink Salt Soap 
Nuori Vital Body Balm
Species by the Thousand New Moon Bath Salt
De Mamiel Winter Face Oil
May Lindstrom Honey Mud

Also worth remembering that beauty really starts with what goes into your body, so the lifestyle goes hand in hand. For clear skin, it helps to clean up your diet, especially at this time of the year after the holidays. For this, it’s good to drinking lots of herbal tea – my current favourite is the Content Cleanse Tea – and to add some natural detoxifying greens in your diet like Pure Synergy – I am never without this!

Get 10% off  your purchase at Being Content from now until 31st January! Code: Reve En Vert