I normally don’t do monthly product posts, spotlighting the products I use, but with Organic
Women have been masking for years and I believe that using face masks, once or twice a week, depending
Generally from the age of 40 women notice that their skin starts losing pigments and might become more blotchy ( having said that, we are all individual and some things that were unheard of before in your 20s, do occur now ). When it comes to sun rays, while many of us like to luxuriate in them, it also affects our skin all over the face – forehead, around the eyes, cheeks, all around the nostrils and mouth. Sun-bathing, in fact, is one of the worst things you can to your skin, as it alters our skin genetically, speeds up the ageing and in the worst skin scenario can even lead to skin cancer. Many facialists, dermatologist and cosmetic surgeons will tell you that the vast majority of the ‘rejuvenation’ work ( superficial peels, microdermabrasion, IPL ( intense pulsed light ) they do for their patients is to rectify the damaged done to the skin by persistent overexposure to sunlight – there is a lot to be said about the daily use of UVA and UVB high-factor broad-spectrum sunscreen.
According to the information on the packaging ( I simply love a combination of yellow and green colours, maybe because it reminds me of the fifty shades of green of the Irish grass, as well as the sunshine ) ‘this high-potency, lightweight brightening essence delivers an instantly refined, radiant look and dramatic, long-term lightening effects. It continues to say that ‘a delicate infusion of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy technology tones the complexion, minimises pores and visibly fades the appearance of dark spots and hyper pigmentation for a more even, luminous glow‘. A little note: alpha-hydroxy acid is a ‘blanket term’ for a range of acids, which are derived from natural sources, for example citric acid is derived from citrus fruit, malice acid from the apples, tartaric from grape extract, glycol from sugar cane and lactic from either sour milk or bilberries. It is often used to improve uneven pigmentation. Beta-hydroxy acid ( salicylic acid ) is often used to treat acne damage, as well as sun-damaged skin, but it is not suitable for very sensitive skin.
Now, the subject of pigmentation and hyper-pigmentation (unless you have a specific skin condition ) used to be only relevant to the older women or expectant mothers-to-be. However, as the environment is going through the changes, in part inflicted by the human activity, the sun often feels ‘hotter’ on our skin than in previous years. We have become more vigilant about sun protection but the subject is grabbing our attention, especially after we come back from the holidays in the sunny climates and notice that the skin is not as smooth and can become quite uneven than it used to be, when the suntan fades.
I was tempted to review this product in December, as part of my Christmas gift selection, but then I thought about it and decided to delay it until January, when we have slowed down a little to contemplate things and this product is a good step in the direction of better skin and can be part of your new year resolution that you will implement and keep up the good work, instead of giving up a month later.
In Spring and Summer the sun tends to be more active and it has a stronger effect on the ageing of our skin ( I say that as a natural suntan lover ). Colder months of the year are better for focussing on reversing the damage and instilling good habits. Like certain cosmetic procedures, I think this product is a good one to use now and by the time spring arrives on the door step, not only will you hopefully notice an improvement in the way your skin looks, but you will have become more vigilant about sun protection, to prevent further damage to the health & skin’s abilities.
Tata created this product to expand her ‘SuperNaturals’ line, by building on the success and efficacy of the Concentrated Brightening Serum ( I know of many women upwards of 40 who simply adore this product. Yes, it’s not cheap but it does deliver what it promises and instead of using several mid-point products, sometimes buying one more expensive one is worth it ). Concentrated Brightening Essence works best in combination with the Concentrated Brightening Serum ( I did an experiment of using this combination on one side of my face and the Dr Sheller Serum (German natural brand ) on the other side and can see a difference between the two combinations with the Tata Harper products side of my face looking plumber and more even after about four weeks of once a day use.
The main aim of the Essence is to help combat dark spots and hyper-pigmentation, something we might take for granted until we start experiencing those issues ourselves – a case in point of prevention being better than cure. The Essence has a flowery smell that Tata’s products are known for and even though its smells is quite ‘potent’, somehow it relaxes your senses and features. It has a texture of tonic and serum mixed together and when you apply it, not only does it instantly refresh the skin, while sinking into it, your skin experiences a lovely cooling sensation as well. All you need is to shake a bottle gently before each use and then dispense one or two pumps of the product on the clean palms of your hands. Sweep the product over your decollete, neck and face upwards ( I also would suggest adding it to the tops of your hands, if you have noticed pigmentation spots on them ). Tata suggests applying it daily after cleansing but before applying your serum. Once both products ‘sink in’, you also feel like your skin has been slightly lifted and plumped. I noticed that my skin’s natural brightness has improved and that my complexion was more even overall. I don’t have large pores (thank you genes and mother nature) but I have small moles, which have become more noticeable since my 20s, so it is something that I keep an eye on ( I am a fan of moles and freckles, but it is something to keep an eye on, in terms of your skin health – if you notice any changes or have concerns, do make at appointment with your GP).
After using the essence for seven weeks I can report an improvement in the evenness and brightness of my skin overall, without any other drastic overhaul of my daily skincare routine. Interestingly, as I was testing it, I recommended the product to a colleague who lives in Spain. She is in her early 50s, looks way younger than her years and is quite fit. She is also a big sun-lover, who always talks about her desire to balance the love of a natural suntan with the beautiful skin, as her skin does give away her age a bit. She has been using the Essence now for about four weeks and says that it is one of the most effective products for the pigmentation that she has tried lately.
- Organic Lemon Extract, Willow Bark Extract, and cells from Madonna Lily lighten skin and help encourage cellular turnover
- Sea Fern Extract lightens the skin and helps reduce dark spots
- Rapeseed Extract helps reduce melanin content in the skin
- Lavender hydrosols provide weightless, oil-free hydration
- Honeysuckle flower extract & lavender scent water scents brings together a sense of elation, while magnolia’s exotic scent boosts emotional positivity.
Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence, 100 mls,
Recently Tata launched two new cleansers ( Nourishing Oil Cleanser & Purifying Cleanser ) in the US and they are expected to reach British shores in January, so don’t spend all of your money in the run up to Christmas .) Unfortunately many women still lack the understanding that without properly cleansing their faces twice a day even the best skincare in the world isn’t going to solve their problems or slow-down the signs of ageing. That is why Tata is so passionate about the power of cleansing ritual, particularly at the end of the day, when you can lock yourself in the bathroom and thanks to her new cleansers pamper your senses and your skin.
Nourishing Oil Cleanser: it has a luxurious texture but is in no way greasy, so don’t be nervous. It will remove the make-up, even heavy one, while nurturing your skin and with the colour of liquid honey it is very pretty to look at as you apply it to your face. It contains Beta-Carotene, Vitamins A, C, E, Lycoprene and Omega 3. This combination of ingredients will soften and purify the skin, as well as improve your skin’s texture with regular use and soften the skin, making it ideal for dry or de-hydrated skin. As this cleanser is an oil and oil pulls oil, after use excess sebum will be washed off and it will help normalise the process of cell turnover leading to even, healthy, beautiful skin that we all desire, irrespective of our age.
There is a lot of research into accelerated
Fast forward a year, and I got a chance to attend an intimate event that
If someone said to me a few years ago that I will take organic brands seriously and not just that, but start using them more often than the more well-known cosmetic brands and that their effect on my skin will be quite profound, I would have giggled at best. But as they say, life is a journey, we live and learn.
My opinion about organic brands and the actual consideration of what is it that I actually put on my skin started to gradually change when I got pregnant with my first child. When you become a mother, your life changes instantly and you start questioning your judgement while caring for a tiny bundle, who can be susceptible to the nasty environmental effects with long-term health side effects. And one of the first things that I realised was that Johnson’s baby products didn’t work for us and I wanted to use something gentle and full of goodness on my child’s skin, yet there was hardly anything on the shelves at the time-be it for the mother or the baby for that matter.
I went for treatments to Michelle Roques O’Neil and she mixed me oils to nurture my skin and the baby growing inside of me- my body bounced back pretty quickly post birth and I had no stretch marks. I massaged my babies with Michelle’s oils (my son hardly even had a cold in his first year of life) and desperately wanted to find a place where I could try a variety of effective organic skincare. I started looking around, trying things but remained skeptical and then, one gloomy day, I was passing a small store, off Marylebone High street and the name Content beauty/well-being attracted my attention. I went inside and the first thing that caught my eye was the Butter London nail polishes ( I used to go and have pedicures by the lovely woman who started the brand called Nonnie Creme at Vaishaly’s spa). The place was quite, in a meditative kind of way, and the staff didn’t hassle me, allowing me to get on with peaceful browsing.
Time passed and a few months ago I popped into the store again, looking for something for my skin that has become a little temperamental. A young woman, called Cindy answered my questions and recommended a brand called Amala, that she used on her skin. The range had a cute packaging and smelled delicious, so I thought I would try one of the cleansers. I also got some Suki products (unfortunately my skin didn’t like it but it was my choice, not a recommendation and there is a lesson in it-everyone’s skin is different, so it doesn’t mean that this brand won’t work for you !) and decided to buy a couple of products from the range called Stem Organics-so that’s how it started and this love affair continues to grow. I now also buy RMS Beauty products there, Dr. Alkaitis, Barefoot Botanicals, W3ll People and Suvana’s paw paw and honey balm.
The store itself reminds me of the apothecaries with interesting products on the shelves, yet the whole place breaths health and contentment-it’s in the small hand held mirrors hanging on the walls, in the decor that accentuates the brands yet doesn’t push anything on you-it always whispers to you ‘come in, browse and you will discover a secret that is just waiting to be discovered by you’.
Content was started and remains a huge passion of Imelda Burke, who cherry picks small, niche organic brands (some of the products are uniquely distributed by Content boutique or their online store ) that in the long-term will revolutionise our skincare routine and well-being. Her staff is smiley, welcoming and honest, so when you make your choice, you know it will work, hence you won’t be disappointed.
Sometimes the store can be quite, with just a couple people browsing and sometimes it’s full of laughter, as women of different ages seem to converge on it and exchange tips and happy banter, while browsing the shelves. I have never seen a place like that before in London and can truly say that their customer service is second to none. You can try the products there or ask for samples and if you place orders on the Internet, not only do they arrive pretty speedily, but your package always contains samples, often of the brands that might not be well-known now but will definitely grow and become big.
I couldn’t resist asking Imelda a few questions and she was kind enough to answer them, so please read the Q & A below. Having met Imelda I can honestly say that her passion for natural cosmetics is contagious and I only wish that more of you started thinking about what it it that you are actually putting on your biggest organ, your skin, daily and what goes into your body and blood stream. Don’t you deserve to be healthy and beautiful, just like the nature and life cycles intended?
Q & A with Imelda Burke, owner of Content store in Marylebone
GAP: Can you please tell me about your professional background and how you the idea of Content was born?
Imelda Burke: I was in the fashion industry for 15 years. The idea came from my own needs really. I had a mild skin condition from birth and was prescribed creams for it by my doctor. In my 20’s it suddenly occurred to me that I had been rubbing this cream on my whole body for over 20 years – everyday! I looked at what was in it and didn’t like it, so looked for alternatives. This lead to a dissatisfaction with what was available in the natural and organic sector. I didn’t want to purchase my products from a health food store. So I created CONTENT.
GAP: What has been the biggest lesson you learnt while setting up Content?
Imelda Burke: I started in a recession with a very niche product selection. The greatest lesson has been learning to hold your nerve. Three and a half years down the line the new brands we had at the time, which no-one was interested in, are now becoming household names. You need to be incredibly passionate about what you are doing when setting up a small business independently. It is this passion that keeps you going late at night.
GAP: From your point of you, what’s your secret of running a successful beauty store with a difference?
Imelda Burke: Customer service. Switching beauty brands is like starting over again. Many of the people that shop with us are trading up to natural and organic brands for the first time and it can be confusing choosing where to start. I wanted the store to have a more personal feel to it and I think people appreciate the extra lengths we go to. We don’t always get it right but we always attempt to.
GAP: How do you choose which brands to stock and which has/have been the biggest success/surprise so far?
Imelda Burke: There are lots of different criteria to choosing the brands we stock, ingredients being only of them. This sector can be confusing with the different certification bodies, some brands choosing not to certify, and some synthetic ingredients being allowed under certification. So we aim to provide an open discussion between brands and customers.
GAP: Can you please share a few of your full-proof beauty secrets?
- Sleep!. My skin looks rubbish if I have a late night.