I first learned about Cult Beauty through one of the lifestyle blogs I read and it was like my prayers had been answered. All the cult-favourite products of professionals, bloggers and the general public alike compiled on one shoppable site? Yes please. Co-founder Alexia Inge is a pioneer in the new wave of beauty, from championing independent brands to focusing on blogger-based marketing rather than celebrity endorsements, she has remained on the cutting edge since Cult Beauty's launch. We sat down with her to chat business of beauty, wellness routines and (of course) favourite products.
Cult Beauty are offering INSPIRE readers £10 off when they spend £40. Just enter the code CBXPSYCLE at checkout to redeem. T&Cs apply.*
How did Cult Beauty start up? What inspired the idea to found it?
The beauty industry confuses most people; the pseudo-science, the conflicting information, the sponsored ‘opinions’ and the excess of choice all conspire to make sourcing the perfect products for our specific concerns near impossible.
To answer this need, my co-founder and I created a ‘Beauty Hall of Fame' with a filtered selection of cult products that one can shop knowing that anything you choose will be ‘sell-your-granny’ good! To do this we gathered a panel of some of the top hair & beauty experts in the world and asked them what they actually use, the answers are available on Cultbeauty.co.uk.
What were you doing before you and your partner founded Cult Beauty and how did your background get you where you are?
After I graduated as a fashion designer, I modeled for a couple of years, working with some of the top hair and makeup artists in the world and learning all their insider secrets. In 2002, I broke my back in a horrific car accident which stopped the modelling career in its tracks. As soon as I was back on my feet I became a fashion journalist and then lifestyle PR, which taught me how to build a brand and gave me the contacts I needed to do so with minimal funds.
The £45k insurance payout from the accident allowed me to set up Cult Beauty and survive for the first 18 months without pay. It was incredibly cathartic to be able to create something so positive out of such a negative event.
What does ‘cult’ mean to you?
I would define ‘Cult’ as representing a culture of perfection. A cult beauty product is one so good that it endures the fickleness of fashion and micro-trends; it exceeds your expectations so much that you are compelled to cut open its container to scoop out every last bit. You spy it when you read about beauty experts' kit-bag essentials and celebrities talk about how good it is without being paid to.
What is your personal beauty philosophy?
I like natural enhancement, your skincare should be so good that you don’t need make up. Then makeup becomes a pleasure, a creative process rather than strategic Polyfiller.
How has the beauty industry changed since you started Cult Beauty? And where do you see it going next?
I think Cult Beauty has had a part in changing the industry, by cherry-picking only the best products on the market and championing the most exciting independent brands, we have empowered consumers to focus on what really works for them. Social media has also completely changed the way we discover and buy beauty products. Instagram has completely taken over from glossy magazines.
Personalisation is the future. My skin is constantly changing through the month; I need my products to either adapt or offer a solution to allow me to answer those needs. Anti-pollution skincare is becoming more and more of a must!
How do you stay active? And what products do you use before, during and after exercising to take care of yourself and feel your best?
Yoga is my sanity, it’s stress-relief and cake-weight-inhibitor in one! Before I practice I like to dot one of the UMA Wellness Oils on my pulse points (either Pure Energy or Pure Bliss) and inhale the essential oils, it’s an instant, centering pick-me-up.
Another trick I quite like is using the heat produced through my head during a work out to activate an intensive hair mask like the Sachajuan Overnight Conditioner.
Do you have any wellness rituals or routines that help you balance stress and stay on top of a busy workload?
After high-stress days, with hours in front of a computer I find falling asleep really hard. My coping mechanism is a long hot bath with the Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts; they are the closest thing to natural valium this side of a mallet!
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by successful working mothers, especially entrepreneurs. They’re like Ginger Rogers - she did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in heels!
What are your all time favourite products?
The Jouer Cosmetics Luminizing Moisture Tint is the best tinted moisturiser on the market. I voraciously trial every new complexion product that launches and always end up reaching for this. It’s water and sweat-resistant so you can wear it to work out, it has SPF20 and anti-ageing; the luminizing finish takes years off my face without looking glittery.
What is a new product or line you have been absolutely loving?
If you want a tip for the next big thing in skincare, try Allies of Skin. It’s ‘Adaptogenic’ - the three products in the range provide a daily smorgasbord of nutrients and active ingredients for your skin to select what it needs - the ultimate in personalisation.
*Offer ends midnight (20/10/2016). Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. Brand exclusions apply; see website T and Cs for full list of exclusions.