Disrupting the Beauty Industry with Cindy of Luk Beautifood
Cindy Luken, the founder of Luk Beautifood, was kind enough to share a bit of her history and expertise when it comes to skin-nourishing beauty that literally feeds your skin. She knows quite a bit about creating beauty products that are clean enough to eat, having actually cooked for Prince Charles and Lady Di herself! On top of that, her concern for beauty ingredients in mainstream cosmetics led her to creating her own brand of gorgeous nourishing lip tints which you’ll want to try for yourself! Read more on her journey to green beauty, how she’s disrupting the beauty industry, what’s inspired her brand and products most, and her top tips to keeping your skin and lips nourished all fall and winter season!
What is your history in natural beauty?
As a little background, I have a B. App. Sci. in Food & Nutrition, an Honorary Master of Science from Newcastle University for my contribution to the world of food and science, cooked for Prince Charles and Lady Di and got sticky fingers creating Sara Lee’s Ice cream and Sticky Date Pudding! With my first business Luken & May we baked about 30 million bikkies pa. We sold them into major department stores – including Harrods and Selfridges in the UK.
So why am I in the makeup industry now…when, if you know me, I rarely wear it! In 2005, I ran a ‘natural body care’ business for a friend and witnessed first hand how beauty products were formulated and became concerned about what we were piling on our skin – chemicals, and the lack of knowledge we had about the ingredients used in products and the affect on our bodies.
So many of us had made the connection between eating for health, but were yet to make the connection with “what goes on our skin goes in” despite knowing that medicines and nicotine for example are delivered into our blood stream via patches on our skin.
I quickly realized there was no point eating well if you still slathered on body care products and painted your face with a toxic cocktail of fragrances, synthetic dyes, chemical preservatives and petroleum (aka plastic) ingredients when evidence was starting to show that they were known endocrine disrupters, carcinogenic or linked to cancer or caused allergies and skin sensitivities.
With a craving to have another business and armed with this insight, my science qualifications and experience with developing new products (in the lab at Sara Lee and with the creation of 80+ biscuit lines for Luken & May my first biz). I set up a test kitchen at home and started experimenting with formulating all natural, skin healthy makeup.
It was a ‘no-brainer’ that lippies could be made from food instead of synthetics.
I scoped out my first product range, found packaging, an eco designer and world class manufacturer in Melbourne…a path that took 4+ years from concept to launch when you only work 15 hrs a week and had an aversion to risk when you had 2 preschooler kids.
With Luk Beautifood, I entered into new territory – creating makeup made from food, sharing my food, cooking and nutrition knowledge, giving fresh hope to beauty, and pioneering a healthier way to live that encompassed a woman’s whole body.
What inspires you most when creating products?
I want to disrupt the beauty industry…I want to give women the confidence to highlight not hide their natural beauty with simple, beautiful and multipurpose products that feed your skin outside in and inside out.
We are bombarded with messages every day on what to eat, what products to use, how long to work, how to raise our children and how to live, and as hard as you try, everyone still looks like they are doing it ‘better’ than you. In our demanding, connected world, this makes ‘being beautiful’ seem out of reach to so many of us. At some point you can lose touch with who you are and what motivates you. Sad isn’t it?
At Luk, we have a defense mechanism that fights these powerful influences. We believe there is beauty-in-food.
Food has the power to transform how you look and feel, how much energy you have, your attitudes and beliefs. Real food – nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables intrinsically contain a synergistic mix of phyto-nutrients such as antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics – food actives that protect, nourish and balance your body and mind.
So in a nutshell we want to empower women to look and feel beautiful; to be confident and in control of their life; to glow with vitality and celebrate their innate, natural beauty.
And to support this we simplify her beauty routine – we give her back the time to do the things she really loves whilst offering her beautiful and inspiring products and education on the science of ingredients used in cosmetics and food in bite-size digestion pieces! We like to think that we offer the recipe for every woman to be a natural beauty, to have luminous skin and radiate health.
I am on a quest to prove that food is the essence of a beautiful woman. It powers and transforms how you look, feel, your action and attitudes.
I hope to:
- Inspire you to make better choices with the products you apply and eat.
- Motivate you to nourish your whole body.
- See your natural beauty glow.
What are your top tips on keeping lips beautiful during the colder seasons?
The lips can have it rough, quite literally. That’s because they’re virtually naked in comparison to other areas of the face and body and are therefore more prone to dryness. While your face has a thick, protective layer of skin, the lips only have a layer of skin (stratum corneum) that is exceptionally thin and transparent, barely covering the vulnerable mucous membrane underneath.
Lips have no oil or sweat glands, and they’re constantly exposed to irritants: the saliva, our food and drinks, environmental pollutants, the weather, the list goes on and on!
When lips are moist on the surface from your saliva, they attract moisture from deep within the skin which evaporates into the dry air. Adding to this, when you lick your lips, the digestive enzymes in saliva break down the skin, causing the corners to crack, so it is not just the outside elements that cause painful chapping. In fact, water loss on the lips is three to ten times higher than other parts of the face or body!
HOW TO NOURISH YOUR SKIN & LIPS:
- Avoid repetitively licking the lips in a futile attempt to restore moisture. Even though it may make them feel better, it is actually making matters worse!
- Try drinking water instead or applying a nourishing, natural balm such as our Lip Nourish.
There are some brands out there which are a chemical cocktail for disaster, and despite claiming to soothe the lips, they actually contain ingredients that have no benefit for the lips and end up compounding the problem. Most often they are poorly formulated and lack beneficial oils, emollients, and repairing ingredients, therefore your lips will remain dry.
While a good lip balm can help, so can your diet.
Different vitamins and minerals found in food can be helpful to your skin by rejuvenating and restoring its healthy glow. Some nutrients serve as antioxidants, which reduce the effect of free radicals on your lip cells.
In particular, the Omega-3 fats in walnuts and fish help regulate cell turnover to keep the lips moist and beautiful.
Avocados are also one of the most important moisturising nutrients you can eat to improve the appearance of your skin and lips.
That’s because avocado lipids are luscious, they contain lots of skin-healthy polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and because of these luscious lipids, avocados house lots of important beauty-fying nutrients and phytochemicals.
I was really lucky to get a sample of these delightful Lip Nourishes in the color, Tea Rose, which is a beautiful sheer color. My lips are naturally quite pink so it looks very nude / pink on me, but if you happen to have lighter lips, it might appear a bit more pigmented. As for consistency, I really love how creamy and hydrating these are!
They feel incredibly softening to the lips and my lips feel an instant shot of moisture upon application. I love that these include a sheer wash of color because it makes them super wearable on anyone, even people who are lipstick-phobic (it’s my new word!). At the same time, these lip nourishes are a wonderful way to brighten up your face during the winter while keeping lips soft, plump, and moisturized. I absolutely love it and I’ll definitely be picking up more colors!
Ingredients: Avocado (Persea americana) Oil, Castor (Ricinus communis) Oil, Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Oil, Candelilla (Eupohorbia Certifera) Wax, Jojoba Esters, Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax, Isopropyl Jojobate, Jojoba Alcohol, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Corn Starch, Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Tocopherol, Lecithin, Lemon (Citrus limonum) Oil, Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Oil Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Oil, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Thanks so much to Cindy for sharing her journey and her incredible amount of knowledge and tips for living a healthier, confident life that’s filled with skin-loving beauty from the inside out. I really enjoyed reading about this and I hope you did too!