Meet Our Makers | Lük Beautifood
We are delighted to introduce to you the inimitable founder of Luk Beautifood, Cindy. A self-confessed foodie with a background in Nutritional Science, Cindy combines the best of both worlds to create her range of Lip Nourish Natural Lipsticks made from food, not synthetics. We’re a little bit obsessed with Luk lippies here in the conscious.kin office; they’re lip-smackingly good, 100% natural, cruelty-free and utterly delicious. Cindy pours her heart and soul into all areas of Luk, from the unique and nourishing formulations (which she began creating in her kitchen), right down to eco-friendly packaging. Cindy’s zest for life is tangible; whether she’s launching a natural lipstick label or jetting off with her young family to live on a barge in France for 15 months. Unbeknownst to us, Cindy was putting the finishing touches on this interview from the emergency department, while dealing with young kids and broken bones. Welcome Cindy...
From food science to cosmetics; what inspired you to start Luk Beautifood?
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 effect 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”. I quickly realised 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 disruptors and carcinogens.
With a craving to have another business and armed with this insight, my science qualifications (I have a B. App. Sci. in Food & Nutrition, an Honorary Master of Science) and experience with developmenting new products, I set up a test kitchen at home and started experimenting with formulating all natural, skin healthy lipsticks. 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. In 2012 lukbeautifood.com was officially launched!
Tell us about the creative process behind Luk's Lip Nourish Natural Lipsticks?
Food and science are a natural marriage and with lipstick taste is key when you are foodie. To identify a consumer need and create a product from the formulation to packaging design is my sweet spot. When I worked out I could replace for example synthetic oils with avocado oil and texture modifiers such as phthalates with lecithin and delicious goodies I thought: what about taste? Why can’t each lipstick have its own delicious flavour? I started combining cold pressed citrus and spice oils and applying them at different percentages to the base formulation in my kitchen and that is how I came up with a menu of different culinary combined flavours that you keep licking your lips for!
My strength is to look at each step of how a product is made and think what can I do to make this better. Back then we wrapped every Lip Nourish Sheer lipstick by hand in a glass cleaning cloth so that the packaging protected the lippie during postage and then could be repurposed. The beautiful velvet feel on the tubes is another example, I wanted a simple, stylish and multi-sensory experience for my customers...a little special pause and reflect moment - time to take a breath and regroup with a fresh pretty smile!
When you're not running the business how do you self-nourish?
By taking time to look after me! I start the week day at 5am, do the family tasks and household management (as this clears my mind and stops distracting me during the day) and then as it gets light, I take a 30 minute walk up to the local bush reserve where I watch the sun rise over middle harbour and do my yoga stretches. I walk with hand weights to maximise my time and result! I also love to read and cook whether it is dinner or making healthy snacks for the lunch box, for me this is a charm not a chore as I feel good nourishing my and family’s body and mind.
Was there a defining moment in your life that made you swap to clean beauty?
Not really. When Mecca opened in Australia in the late 90’s I discovered the Darphin brand of skincare with their waterless balm and oils. I loved the simplicity and beauty of their aromatherapy philosophy. As I developed my lipsticks I became completely aware of what ingredients are used to make all personal care products and cosmetics and made the change to clean cosmetics. Over the years I have simplified my face care to 2 products, gone toxin free on my deodorant toothpaste, nail polish and hair care and eliminated any types of body cream...and this did not limit itself to food and cosmetics - everything that touches me and my family body and the space we live in from washing powder and detergent to organic bed linen and wooden floors is part of the whole picture. We thankfully have been been living clean for decades.
What is your guiding ethos when it comes to purchasing skincare and makeup?
That it is made from skin delicious foods rich in active nutrients that promote healthy, glowing smooth plump skin, strong smooth nails and shiny hair! Everyday ingredients - make sure you can read the ingredients on the statement so you know they are as real and minimally processed as possible to retain their intrinsic actives and most importantly they are not synthetic. You can’t go wrong if you look for food and plant based ingredients. Go Toxin free - be armed with your list of no go’s. ie synthetic preservative, synthetic colour, flavours, fragrances, and fillers…know their names. Keep in mind that each style of product has a different base formula so don’t expect to find SLS (foaming agents) in for example a lipstick. Know what the common culprits are product specific ones. Not tested on animals - if you think about it ingredients are clean, whole and real means there is no reason to test on animals. It goes without saying, look for the Peta Cruelty Free accreditation symbol. Ethically produced and Sustainably sourced - let’s care for each other and our planet. Together we make a difference.
What does your own daily skincare routine look like?
For my face I religiously use Darphin. I simply wash my face with a hot water a cloth and apply in the morning one of the oils and in the evening the purifying balm, this followed by an oil/ water moisturiser. As I rarely use a foundation or makeup so I can simply use a cloth and warm water. If I am wearing makeup I use an olive or avocado oil from my pantry to remove an traces. I decant it into a pretty bottle with a pump. I use this oil for pretty much everything else: daily in the shower to hydrate and soften my skin, avocado is also a hero ingredient in my Lip Nourish base for the exact properties and benefits for lips.
What does living consciously mean to you?
That’s a great question as looking back, I’ve always lived a pretty simple and outdoorsy life and eaten healthy, nourishing foods. Interestingly. I’m drawn to well-designed items and make careful and thoughtful purchases to invest in and support the ‘maker’. My husband and I have been together for 25 years and discovering unique, beautifully designed products that are made with care and respect has taken us on an amazing journey of discovery. I’ve never been a glossy magazine, mainstream media consumer influenced by what everyone else is doing. I have just lived from the heart - I have always found that mother nature is the most inspiring creator so let her beauty shine. From ingredients to form and function. Even as a kid I remember going to a mud brick making lesson with my step-father and then building our own mud brick compost bin… that was more than 40 years ago! We put solar power in our house 25 years ago. So ‘living consciously’ is just that...living consciously.