Mothers of Influence: Cindy Luken

The beauty and cosmetics industry has long profited from the insecurities of women and, through marketing linking flawless looks to self-worth, has fanned those flames of insecurity further.

As a result, women typically spend their entire adult life and a small fortune attempting to improve or enhance their looks as a way of feeling better about themselves and to meet a standard of beauty set by commercial (and photoshopped) interests.

Not only has it impacted on women’s self-esteem but also, until now, the products they’ve been encouraged to use have been limited to options loaded with chemicals, many of which have now been linked to various health issues, not the least of which being hormone disruption.

Times are changing though, ever so slowly. More of us are seeking cleaner skin-care and cosmetic products, as we gain a greater understanding of the health risks of applying layer after layer of toxic chemicals to our skin.

And, most happily, there is a movement to encourage more self-acceptance amongst women, and for them to view beauty as an inside job as opposed to the status quo view of beauty which operates on the basis of women practicing self-loathing and looking to hide what they see as imperfections.




One leader of change in this area is Cindy Luken, founder and CEO of luk beautifood,  a delicious and gorgeous range of cosmetics made entirely from food.

Cindy, a university-educated food scientist and savvy businesswoman, is combining her love of health and food with her belief that true beauty comes from within, to create a beauty range with women’s best interests at heart.

“We all want to feel good about ourselves,” Cindy said.

“My whole philosophy is that we have to feel good about ourselves to radiate natural beauty.

“Throughout history women have adorned and decorated themselves but the make-up is there to highlight natural beauty.”

Cindy’s beliefs and philosophy are in direct correlation to mine here at Sense of Self: beauty is about more than what you look like. It’s a combination of confidence, good health and attitude, and it stems from self-respect . It’s the result of living a life and in a style authentic to yourself; of following your dreams and spending your time doing things that bring you joy; and also looking after yourself in body and mind.

“If you learn how to eat well, not to load your body with chemical-laden products and foods; learn to be aware of what you you love to do and what nurtures you, then you can start to set yourself some goals so you’re not going in a million directions,” Cindy said.

“As you meet those points in life, you start to feel good about yourself.

“It’s once you are able to do that, that you start to see the beauty of that woman – the beauty begins with yourself.

“You have to know yourself and all of this is fuelled by good food, whether you’re eating it or applying it.”

If you are a fan of Sara Lee, chances are you’ve eaten some of Cindy’s previous success stories, albeit in another, very different market. She started her food career in the ice-cream development team at Sara Lee, and her sticky date pudding recipe is still on the shelves today.

Following that, she started a gourmet biscuit company, after noticing there were no home-made or chef-style biscuits in the marketplace back in 1996. That company, Luken & May, became a $5-million a year business, which she sold in 2003.

She then turned her attention to cosmetics when she noticed another gap in the market, and started experimenting in her kitchen with oils and butters.

Following an 18-month stint living in France with her young family, and taking time out of her career to be with her children before they started school, Cindy was ready to launch luk beautifood, which she did in 2012.

She’s excited the chemical-free message is finally starting to spread and more women are beginning to understand that what you apply to your skin is absorbed into your body.

“Only now are people getting that ‘what goes on, goes in‘,” she said.

“What is being shown in the research is that the problem is the load – whether it’s skincare, make-up, detergents – there are unanswered questions for so many things.

“But we’re able to control what we put on our skin.”

{Product review: a look at luk beautifood}

I’ve been using the black tea mascara and the lemon & mint lip nourish for a month or so now, and love them.

2006-01-01 10.27.50


‘Natural’ beauty products have in the past suffered a bad reputation for being inferior. It’s not the case anymore and luk beautifood is lovely to use.

The mascara has great staying power (eg the tears during the end-of-year dance concert) and the lip nourish is beautifully lush and nourishing.

I will try a different lip colour next time. The lemon & mint has a delicate tinge which is great for everyday use but I need a little extra colour sometimes.

It’s exciting though to know that not only can I use something that is natural and not loading my system with hormone-disrupting chemicals, but that it’s going to be a safe and gentle product for my daughter, who is already eyeing it off!

The packaging is also something to be seen in itself. Incredibly unique.

You can read more about Cindy, the company and the products on the luk beautifood website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Comments 4

    1. Post
  1. Hi Rachael,
    I have been experimenting at home making my own cosmetics because I don’t want my teenage daughters to be putting chemicals on their skin, but have had difficulty finding mascara so thanks for introducing me to Cindy’s products.

    Also, and just wanted to say thank you for your emails this year.
    Your posts are always refreshing, uplifting, educational and concise. I hardly ever read posts all the way through however; when I see something from you I actually get really excited as it means I take 5mins for myself to read and without fail it always add a little sparkle to my day.
    Thanks again
    Merry Christmas
    Jo x

    1. Post

      Wow Jo, making your own cosmetics! That’s awesome. It’s great you’re thinking of your daughters – now that my Miss 10 is starting to want lippy and the like, I’m loving products like Luk Beautifood, as well as Evohe. It’s so great to be able to protect them from a chemical overload for as long as possible.
      The mascara has been great, so I can highly recommend it.

      Thank you so very much for that feedback – I’m so thrilled to hear that. It’s all I could hope for when I sit down to write something – that the ladies at the receiving end feel just like you 🙂

      I hope you had a Merry Christmas too – have an amazing 2015!

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