Reinventing The Beauty Industry with Content Beauty's Imelda Burke

Beauty, hair, and fashion will always go hand in hand. We think we’ve found our perfect match. There is nothing we like more than discovering like-minded companies with beautiful products and services aligning with our ethics. When we discovered Content Beauty and Glasshouse Salon we knew we hit a goldmine (for our hair and beauty regimes at least). To celebrate a meeting of minds we launched a competition with the natural hair and beauty destinations, giving you the chance to win a sustainable summer suitcase here.

In honor of our collaboration we wanted to introduce you to the two women behind these boundary pushing brands. Today we're starting with Imelda, the founder of Content Beauty.

1. How did you first get into the beauty industry?

It was a combination of accident and a couple of life-changing events.

I have a skin condition called Ichthyosis, with extremely dry skin being the main symptom. When I was growing up bath time was tinted green (the colour, not the eco-credentials!) with a medicated liquid, designed to soothe the skin. A full covering of a GP-issued body cream followed this. As a daily ritual, I used this cream (the green bath water fell out of favour as my teens arrived) at least once if not twice a day for 20 plus years.

When I came to the UK I didn’t want to ship the cream across the world so started looking at alternatives, by trying to match the key ingredients. This started a new hobby, researching skincare ingredients, as I wasn’t keen on what I found. As I wised up I started to explore more natural options and the beauty industry as a whole.

At the same time I became really ill after working in the fashion industry for 15 years, renowned for long hours my heart wasn’t really in it anymore so I knew I had to change how I was working or get out. I chose the get out option as I had always had an interest in complementary therapies and I started studying Naturopathy while continuing to research organic skincare for what would become Content.

2. Was it always natural products or was this a gradual progression?

Definitely the naturals and the brands that were avoiding the ingredients I deemed to be least desirable. I also wanted to provide a place for people who were creating natural brands to be stocked – some were too premium for health food stores but at the time to niche for department stores. It was a gap in the market – a boutique environment where you could shop for natural brands in a similar way to the way other premium brands were offered.

It was largely a selfish reason. I didn’t see why just because I wanted to put plant oils on my skin rather than mineral oil I had to shop for beauty products in a health food store – as much as I love them for food.

3. Which products complete your beauty box staples?

I think mine is more of a beauty ‘wardrobe’. As you can imagine my bathroom, between favourites and new product testing, is almost as full as the store.

There are lots of products I am never without though, of which a few are: Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser and Hydrating Floral Essence, Rms Beauty Oil, May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt and The Good Stuff, Vapour Luminous Foundation, Rms Beauty Magnetic Eye Shadow, Ilia Jump Lipstick, W3LL People Mascara and the list goes on….

4. Innovation is something we look for in all our brands, what is the most innovative product you work with?

This is an interesting question as it really has two answers. For people switching from mainstream brands, products combining food-state and raw ingredients (herbs, spices and powdered vegetables), like Dr Alkaitis and May Lindstrom, can seem very innovative. Beauty products no longer smell like the foods they were traditionally made from so people can find it ‘new and innovative’ when they don’t smell synthetic perfumes or spot a food ingredient.

For others the innovation comes in the form of clinically tested natural ingredients with performance results to match the science behind department store beauty brands. Within this sector Tata Harper and Amala are using some of the most advanced and innovative natural ingredients for results-driven skincare.

5. How would you describe your beauty routine?

Quick! I love using organic make-up as they can mostly be used with fingers – this warms them to soften the oils and makes them really easy to blend onto the skin – you don’t need to bother with brushes. I use a cream foundation stick, a cream eye-shadow, a multi-stick that works for cheeks and day lips, eye pencil and mascara. For night I do use a concealer and add a brighter lip and get a more ‘formal’ finish by using the vegan brushes we stock.

6. Do you have any specific beauty muses you draw inspiration from?

Not so much actually – I am a big fan of vintage fashion and beauty shoots but no one person in particular. Both my team of very smart organic beauties and our customers are a constant stream of inspiration. They are some of the most interesting and intelligent women in the world as they have turned their backs on mainstream beauty marketing, and often friends and family, to question what they are using and eating and make up their own minds.

7. What does the future hold for Content Beauty?

More Content! We are continuing to launch the most innovative brands into the UK and Europe so watch this space for some exciting new launches. We can’t wait!

Shop Content:
Follow Content Beauty: @beingcontent