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Women In Wellness: Karen Ballou of Immunocologie On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Being artfully aware — social media has taken away so much from our lifestyle, so much so that we’re not taking the same amount of time out of our lives to be aware of ourselves and the world around us.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Ballou.

Karen Ballou is Founder and CEO of Immunocologie and a partner at Lucas Brand Equity, an equity firm that acquires beauty brands. A beauty industry leader, entrepreneur and master esthetician, Karen founded Immunocologie after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Immunocologie is an innovative, fully natural skin health, skin care company, which strengthens the skin’s microbiome and immuno-skin protection system through mineral and vitamin science.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I’ve always been passionate about health and wellness– I’ve been a master esthetician for close to 40 years, curating thousands of skincare and wellness routines for clients around the globe. My career has spanned from working with top brands like Redken to Elizabeth Arden, developing curriculum for fellow estheticians, and collaborating with top doctors and dermatologists to create my skincare line.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma– a diagnosis that caught me completely off guard. I’ve always eaten healthy and prioritized working out, despite being a busy mom to four kids. Surrounded by chemotherapy and radiation, I was inspired to develop products that would eliminate toxins from our day-to-day skincare routines. During remission, I felt it was important to give back. From there, Immunocologie skincare, skin health was born.

How I got here. With my early days at Elizabeth Arden, to Redken, to then growing into more Entrepreneurial positions and growing brands, I’ve been able to not only see the dynamic change within our industry, but also contribute to it. At the outset of my career, there were little to no spa or esthetic licensing — I was a part of this forefront to advocate for change. This change created the ripple effect that helped form our cosmetic/skincare landscape today!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

I’ve always been on a very specific path with regards to my career — skincare. Something that’s interesting to me is that at the beginning of my career I created a wheel much like a mood board. Each facet of the wheel had various functionalities of things I wanted to do, and interesting enough as I look back, each piece of that wheel has come true.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I believe mistakes are all perceptions, they can be taken as a negative or a positive. I can say this, it hasn’t been an easy road pioneering change. I’ve always been about change. Mistakes have ultimately been learning lessons for me.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Sustainability is such an important part of our lives today and beyond. Things that we couldn’t do in the past are possible now. Ultimately, we’re in such a better place in terms of availability to make conscious decisions for your brand and ultimately your consumer. We can do our part to make these changes, however we also have to be the receiver of these changes, and be conscious of these changes. We must continue to be mindful about how we can push the sustainability angle of our brand even further.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Mindfulness — we tend to get caught up in our everyday lives and pause mindfulness towards ourselves or others.

Acting consciously — consider where you can present yourself more consciously to those around you both professionally and personally.

Being artfully aware — social media has taken away so much from our lifestyle, so much so that we’re not taking the same amount of time out of our lives to be aware of ourselves and the world around us.

Community — we have all this culture around us, how much are we actually bringing in?

Learning — making a conscious effort to learn something new every day.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Banding a community together and having a ripple effect of important conversations. Dirty Wellness is a big issue in our industry, the dissemination of this information and having conversations around the protection of Clean Beauty ethics is paramount.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Short & long term planning.

Building a community — It’s about “doing it”

Talent — how to hire properly.

Growth of a business and scaling a business.

What it takes to grow a business.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Sustainability, if you can get this right — it covers all areas, sustainability in your ingredients, your packaging. I really believe sustainability is an Important part of our future and our world!

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I have the Ballou Review! It’s a “full circle resource” with the latest health and wellness tips you can apply to your lifestyle.

Keep up with me on instagram and LinkedIn

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Women In Wellness: Karen Ballou of Immunocologie On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.