A Moment with Karen Cummings-Palmer

The founder of 79 Lux on the age of age management, and creating body care that finally resonates. In conversation with Jamie Rosen.

Every morning, the founder of 79 Lux and Integrative Health and Beauty Consultant Karen Cummings-Palmer does the following four things, which she calls her non-negotiables:

A quick meditation (“being conscious, present, for five minutes”), tongue-scraping, drinking water, and a series of stretches and quick movements that include hanging her head upside down to get her blood flowing. “It’s not very long,” she says, “because the deal is I have to do it every single day.”

That 10-minute routine is indicative of her entire approach to wellness: practices that are realistic, meaningful, and above all else, consistent. It’s a philosophy she shares with private and corporate clients who come to her for integrative nutrition and beauty guidance, work that has included everything from kitchen edits and supplementation consultation to updating a menu of comfort food classics for the Sanderson hotel in London.

While general well-being is a focus, she’s really become known for what she calls “age management,” the process of optimizing your daily habits in the name of feeling and looking your best, crafting a transatlantic approach that draws on her British upbringing, years living and working in Los Angeles, and her African heritage and ancestry. “I want to feel as in control as possible of the aging process but I also understand that aging is a luxury,” she says.

The missing element in her healthy living arsenal? Body care that really resonated with her, something that could soothe her eczema-prone skin while also firming and nourishing. It also had to smell incredible, be largely organic, pretty to look at, and easy to use. “There are enough things in the world, but there wasn’t anything exceptional for the body,” says Cummings-Palmer. So she created it. The brand name 79 Lux comes from the atomic number for gold and the word used to measure the illuminance of light. The products, which have already racked up a slate of beauty awards, do just that.

The Golden Oil is a luminous, cold-pressed marula and rose oil that increases circulation with helichrysum and subtly distributes gold flecks (not sparkles) to enhance every skin tone. The Balm lightly exfoliates with lactic acid while nourishing with rose and blackcurrant oil. And the Cream, which launched in the midst of the pandemic, delivers naturally anti-microbial and nourishing rose geranium and frankincense oils directly to hands.

For her, efficacy is just as important as the application process. “A silk shirt and jeans are a uniform for me, so everything had to be easily absorbable, yet still rich and intense enough for very dry skin.” For her, the goal is to be kind to the skin, and recognize that aging has a currency that shifts over the years. “There is something so wonderful about that plumpy, youthful thing that is very specific and there is also something so beautiful about the grace and elegance and the humility and the humanity that comes with age,” she says. “One can’t have the other so what you do is you value both.”