Karen Cummings-Palmer is a beauty brand owner and an integrative wellbeing and beauty consultant specialising in age and weight management as well as beauty from the inside out.
No matter how many products she tried, Karen could never find a product to treat her dry eczema-prone skin, and so she set about creating her own. In the award winning 79 Lux Balm Karen has used the highest quality, carefully chosen, organic ingredients that leave skin deeply hydrated without greasiness. With her nutrition background (Karen is a well known nutritional therapist), she wanted to create a product that was more than just a cream and actually fed skin with antioxidants and deep nourishment. The result is a product that contains a skin saving cocktail of high quality essential oils, shea butter, and rose quartz as well as being rich in hyaluronic acid, amongst other anti inflammatory ingredients.
Next in the capsule range came the 79 Lux Golden Oil, a therapeutic and gold infused top-to-toe super oil containing Marula, Frankincense and Rose. Most recently Karen has added the 79 Lux hand Cream to the range which is intensely restorative and contains Rose geranium, Squalane and Vitamin C. It is the perfect antidote for our Covid-wrought, moisture-stripped hands.
Here Karen tells us about her personal experience of lockdown, running her business and the importance of staying healthy in these troublesome times.
Tell us about your work
“At the core of what I do is integrative health and nutrition specialising in age management, I have both private and corporate clients. I also work for health and beauty brands that are aligned with my values, helping them develop or tell their story. In January 2019 I launched my own skincare brand 79 Lux which delivers solution specific, serious skincare for the body in luxurious formulations.”
Where do you physically work currently?
“Like so many – in my home office, or in my kitchen whipping up fast food ‘delicious nutrition’ and giving cooking classes to local clients.”
What is the best thing about your work?
“I have the privilege of helping people. Seeing transformations, both emotional and physical is such a joy. Developing 79 Lux is a challenging and wonderfully creative process -seeing the product on shelves and receiving feedback is always a thrill.”
What is the worst?
“About once a month I think “Why didn’t I climb a corporate ladder with the stability and security (real or imagined) that it brings?” About ten minutes later I realise it just wasn’t my path and I am so grateful for my own magical, sometimes rocky, ever winding path that has led to such beauty.”
What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?
What is the best advice you’ve ever had?
“Just do it.”
What’s your context outside of work?
“Work and personal life are integrated rather than separated, family and friends are all very supportive and I take full advantage, so lines are blurred. But I am very strict about switching off small screens by 9 pm, proper meals at the dining table and Sundays are still sacred. I am lucky enough to live close to both woodland and water in South West London so being in nature is both easy and more important now than ever.”
What was your ‘normal‘ day-to-day life like pre COVID?
"Every day starts with a few minutes of meditation a stretch, some water and between ten and twenty minutes of movement which includes Pilates, yoga and free weights. I often follow with some oil pulling. I don’t pick up my phone for at least an hour after waking, I’ll then check on overnight emails and Instagram activity.
Next comes a green juice sometimes followed an hour or two later by some sort of cooked breakfast, otherwise a bullet proof coffee comes twenty minutes later. Then I will fire up the computer and do an hour or two of admin or brainstorming. A client might come to me or I may head out to see them and I will often have a meeting about 79 Lux or with a corporate client.
I’m a bit of an early bird when it comes to supper, I like eating light and early in the evening except when I’m out to dinner in which case I relax and tend to eat pretty much whatever takes my fancy with the exception of dessert – excess refined sugar is reserved for big celebrations only.”
What is your day-to-day life like now?
“My morning routine remains the same. Most clients are now on Zoom and of course I miss the big raucous gatherings, dancing, and theatre that would punctuate the pre Covid months.”
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?
“Like so many I have an ever great appreciation for simplicity – the beauty of nature, the importance of spending time with family and dear friends. In many ways I am very lucky because wellness is at the core of my professional life – I have the tools to help me get through the crisis both emotionally and physically. My need to ‘walk the talk’ is real motivation to stay well which doesn’t mean denial – balance is key, I drink red wine often but I try to stick to one glass (preferably organic) and have three alcohol free days a week.”
What are you now finding challenging right now?
“Hanging on to the truth that this too will pass.”
What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?
“My morning movement routine, loungewear that makes me feel and look good. Burning candles, walking in nature, 79 Lux Golden Oil that I rub on my temples to help relieve stress, on my face for nourishment and luminosity, and on the soles of my feet to help support immunity. Then there are real phone calls with or without videos (text messaging doesn’t cut it).”
Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?
“Everything feels more urgent – if not now when?”
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?
“Wellbeing continues to be front and centre, which for me means a set of tools not a set of rules. Mental health is at the top of my priorities – I have even greater respect for the need to constantly fine tune and create balance.”
What are your thoughts on travel right now?
“I have always been the strange woman that wipes down the plane seat, sprays air purifying essential oils on my travel blanket and hand sanitizes on a regular basis so my personal habits remain the same but of course this is a collective challenge and responsibility so my approach is that the greater the circle of contact the greater the chance of the spread and whilst I am not high risk, people around me may well be so I try and limit unnecessary travel. “
What are your current handbag essentials?
“79 Lux’s new Restorative, Protective hand Cream that is both incredibly nurturing and antimicrobial. Altrient C’s Vitamin C sachets, Zinc and Colloidal Silver nasal spray and the Organic Pharmacy’s hand sanitizer.”
What gets you through working from home?
“Stretching on the hour, supplements – I take a few, but two non-negotiables that seem to help everything feel and look a bit better are Og Wellbeing Omega 3’s and Lumity’s amino acids. I’ll have two cups of espresso pre-lunch, two cups of Matcha green tea post lunch, I’ll listen to classical music, and make sure I have one purely social call. I also love flowers, some dark chocolate or one of my oatmeal and chia cookies and take some time outside.”
What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be?
“Most days I’ll apply 79 Lux Balm, spritz Frederick Malle’s Superstitious, wear pretty knickers, an old cashmere jumper, some version of a sweat pant and thick socks. On the one or two days a week I have face to face meetings or dinners I’ll wear a dress probably by Maria Grachvogel, Sika Designs or Max Mara. Otherwise its jeans, a Lisou London silk shirt and a tailored jacket. My favourite shoe designer is Roger Vivier they do a walkable, wearable heel that works with everything, in the old days it was the other way around, so that the days of loungewear felt like a ‘treat’.”
What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?
“Sweaty Betty Gary yoga pants, a Uniglo Sweater, White Company socks, Frame Jeans and a fifteen-year-old Max Mara Cable Knit Cardigan.”
What is your vision for the future of your business?
“Rolling out more solution specific luxury skincare and continuing to support women first, embrace then manage, and celebrate the privilege of ageing.
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