Indie is about ownership, not worth, according to Jillian Wright, founder of Indie Beauty Expo. “To us, this means a brand needs to be owned and operated 50% independently,” she told Happi.
Today’s indie brands also have a way of reaching the consumer that is working for their cutting-edge allure.
“Brands are continuing to leverage social communication, so they are able to quickly bring to market the products their customers are demanding…brands are able to identify almost immediately who is buying from them and in turn can quickly implement strategies catering to their needs. Being nimble is the key to success,” Wright told Happi.
Happi reached out to a new generation of innovators breaking boundaries in the beauty sector. Here are their stories:
Ceylon by Anim Labs
Year Founded: 2017
Names to Know: Patrick Boateng II, co-founder; Blake Rascoe, co-founder
Major Products: Ceylon Skincare Set
Hero Product: Ceylon Clarifying Moisturizer
Stocked At: www.ceylonskincare.com
Brand Story: After difficult personal experiences taking care of their skin, Los Angeles-based entrepreneurs Rascoe and Boateng created Ceylon as a way to give men of color skin care
that’s appropriate for their basic needs.
Rascoe was a three-sport athlete in high school. The rigorous schedule and constant sweating made it difficult to keep his skin clear. He began using an over-the-counter skin care product recommended by his dermatologist to help combat acne. Over time, he discovered that while the products made his skin relatively clear, they also ended up bleaching his skin leaving him with a pale, washed-out complexion. It took many months for his skin to recover and achieve its natural color again.
Three years ago, Boateng moved to mainland China for a job working with the US State Department. Due to the stressful environment in a big, bustling city as well as the extensive air and water pollution, he had difficulty keeping his skin clear and healthy. Boateng had daily breakouts and routine acne scarring. Despite trying hundreds of products, nothing seemed to help clear up his skin.
The duo both discovered that no products specifically catered to men with melanin in their skin or with different ethnic backgrounds. Worse yet, many products on the market contained harmful substances that would bleach the skin or leave it dry and unprotected from the elements. Frustrated with the lack of options for men of color on the market, the two set out to build a company dedicated to providing the best possible skin care basics for men of color.
Why We’re Watching: Ceylon is focused on providing the basics for men of color, a group for which few products exist, the founders contend. “The success of Ceylon will likely signal the extent to which the beauty market has truly diversified and whether or not there is an opportunity for growth in the men’s market. We’re optimistic,” said Boateng.
What’s Next: More products, different product sizing, and a number of collaborations with well-known creatives.
Year Founded: 2014
Names to Know: Andrea Horwood, co-founder and CEO; Elle Macpherson, co-founder
Major Products: WelleCo Nourishing Plant Protein, a plant-based alternative to whey protein formulated with organic sprouted brown rice and pea protein to support a lean, fit and energized body.
Hero Product: Super Elixir Greens, a daily greens supplement formulated by nutritional experts using 45 premium wholefood ingredients for nourishment at cellular level
Stocked At: Sephora.com, WelleCo.com and WelleCo’s New York store located in SoHo
Newest Launch: WelleCo Super Boosters
Brand Story: Australian-based WelleCo was co-founded by supermodel Elle Macpherson and entrepreneur Andrea Horwood who also has worked in media and for a sunscreen company. Macpherson’s nutritional doctor, Dr. Simone Laubscher Ph.D., formulated an alkalizing green powder for her that turned her life around, and later became the basis of WelleCo Super Elixir Greens, the brand’s hero product.
When formulating, Laubscher reviewed the average imbalances of an adult, and thought about what specific ingredients she could include to support gut health and balance the body’s 11 systems. Since taking two teaspoons a day and adopting a predominately plant-based diet, Macpherson felt like she had more energy and felt healthier than ever. It made her realize the profound impact food can have on the way she felt and truly transformed her life. She knew she had to introduce this product to the world and change lives, one elixir at a time.
Why We’re Watching: WelleCo dietary supplements are said to be simple but effective, designed with a group of dedicated scientific council made up of leaders and experts in the fields of ethical ingredient sourcing, dietary nutrition, PhD formulation, science and philanthropy. The panel of experts’ knowledge combined informs the brand’s long-term aim to provide wholefood products to its customers, with results from the inside out.
What’s Next: Some exciting new launches are lined up and company executives can’t wait to share with everyone to continue to provide a healthy and balanced life, they told Happi.
Year Founded: 2009
Names to Know: Paula Hayes, founder and CEO of Hue Noir
Major Products: Perfect Pout Hydrating Lipstick, True Hues Flawless Finish Foundation, Perfect Pigment Velvet Eyeshadow
Hero Product: True Hues Flawless Finish Foundation
Stocked At: HueNoir.com (all 25 shades), Costco.com (8 best-selling shades) and beauty boutiques and salons in key US cities
Newest Launch: True Hues Flawless Finish Foundation
Brand Story: According to Paula Hayes, founder and CEO, Hue Noir is on mission to change the face of beauty by putting multicultural women at the center of the modern beauty movement. Blending color, science and technology, Hue Noir developed innovative, everyday makeup solutions ideal for customers with nuanced skin tones ranging from fair to deep.
Multicultural women have long been challenged to find high-caliber cosmetics in shades that work with their skin tones while providing long-lasting benefits like oil absorption, moisturization and extended wear, according to Hayes. So Hue Noir set out to give women more choices and better options for achieving their desired look, developing formulas designed specifically for the varied and unique complexions among women of color.
“Our True Hues Flawless Finish Foundation, for instance, is available in 25 true-to-skin-color shades,” explained Hayes. “Further, our products are formulated to emphasize a woman’s natural beauty while nourishing and protecting her skin.”
As a product chemist and woman of color, Hays said she was inspired by the challenge of finding quality cosmetics that complemented her complexion.
“I was personally aware of the beauty industry’s limited makeup options for me and women like me, so I decided to do something about it.”
She embarked on a mission to rethink cosmetic formulas and put multicultural women at the center. Her goal was to create products calibrated to interact well with darker complexions and trusted for their consistent high quality. So, she began to develop makeup formulas specifically suited to women of color.
Today, Hue Noir combines scientific-based research and development, custom-made manufacturing equipment, leading-edge light and color technology, and innovative luxury ingredients to design textures and shades guaranteed to work for women of color. With products ranging from hydrating lip butters to true-to-hue foundations, Hue Noir relies predominantly on natural ingredients for worry-free, everyday wear for even delicate skin. All products are hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic.
Why We’re Watching: Since day one, Hue Noir has been run by women of color for women of color. “We are our target demographic, and our customers’ happiness and satisfaction mean everything to us,” notes Hayes.
Company executives oversee every step of production at the Portland-area office and lab—from conception to manufacture and packaging.
“Our customized equipment and approach allow us to develop beauty products designed for multicultural women, helping them to look and feel their best,” Hayes added.
What’s Next: New pencils, blush and highlighters; quarterly offerings of limited-edition colors and palettes across product categories and expansion into international markets.
Year Founded: 2016, launched in 2018
Names to Know: Amy Carr, co-founder; Mary Schulman, co-founder
Major Products: No BS Eyeshadow Palette, Primed + Ready Mascara, Heartbeat Cheek Color, Upgrade Highlighter, POV eyebrow pencil
Hero Product: No BS Eyeshadow Palette
Stocked At: Credo, Ulta.com, Anthropologie, Amazon, PYTBeauty.com
Newest Launch: All + Nothing Concealer and Strike Twice Lip Duo
Brand Story: PYT Beauty was founded by two friends on a mission to change the face of clean beauty—Mary Schulman, an entrepreneur who previously created and sold a health-conscious snack company, and Amy Carr, a veteran of Gap and Sephora. It all started when Schulman’s daughter became interested in makeup. Having been an entrepreneur in the natural snack food industry, Schulman was already sensitive to ingredients both in the foods we eat and the products we wear, and says she was not impressed by the questionable ingredients and high prices found in stores. She reached out to college friend Carr, who had a daughter of her own.
With a shared concern for harmful ingredients and deep background in consumer insights and behavior in beauty, Carr was passionate about joining forces to tackle the challenge. They set out to build a brand with integrity, not wanting to compromise on any of their three pillars (clean, affordable, high-performance makeup). After more than two years of research and development and seemingly endless product trials, PYT Beauty was born, launching with its No BS Eyeshadow palette.
Why We’re Watching: PYT Beauty executives say their brand stands on the pillars of high performance, clean, affordable beauty.
“We don’t think questionable ingredients should be a part of our daily routine, but they’re often in our cosmetics – and that’s not okay by us,” said company founders. “We created PYT Beauty because we think what you put on your face should be good for your body, and clean makeup that delivers should be the norm.”
Not wanting to compromise when it came to color cosmetics, PYT Beauty worked for two years to formulate the perfect product before launching. The PYT Beauty No BS Eyeshadow Palette launched in July 2018 with four matte and four shimmer shadows and the perfect size mirror.
What’s Next: Standing on the three pillars of clean, high-performance, affordable beauty, PYT Beauty has a large assortment of SKUs coming to the market in the coming months.
Year Founded: 2008
Names to Know: Ute Leube, co-founder; Joi Ruud, co-founder; Titus Kaufmann, CEO
Major Products: Rejuvenate Treatment Oil, Hydrating Yogurt Mask, Advanced Rejuvenating Complex
Hero Product: Rejuvenate Treatment Oil
Stocked At: online at www.amalabeauty.com
Newest Launch: Detox Body Oil
Brand Story: Amala’s company name means “most pure” in Sanskrit. Born in the foothills of the German Alps, today Amala enjoys a reputation as the beauty industry’s premier plant-powered luxury skin care collection, according to the company. Trusted by five-star spas around the world, and available in the US since 2008, Amala relies on the transformative powers of nature, using whole plant ingredients grown in their most natural environment to ensure that each plant’s healing properties are not compromised. The outcome is a results-driven, clinically-proven skin care collection that is equally heralded for its purity and environmental integrity.
Rooted in advanced plant chemistry and artisanal craft, Amala works in total synergy with the body, optimizing the skin’s ability to strengthen and repair itself. Its scientific formulations are advanced, highly concentrated, and carefully considered custom blends that deliver visible, proven, healthy results for all skin types, at any age.
Amala is the only luxury skin care brand to have its entire collection certified by Natrue, the world’s most recognized and respected natural and organic cosmetic certification organization, said its co-founder Joi Ruud. Additionally, the company is committed to sourcing its powerful plant actives through longstanding fair-trade partnerships with its 14 farm partners around the world.
Why We’re Watching: According to Ruud, Amala is unique for several reasons.
“First, it has a heritage rooted in treatment expertise; we’ve been serving the world’s most exclusive 5-star spas for over a decade with both retail and professional skin care products. Fans of Amala can actually integrate the wellness experiences and skin results from a top luxury spa into their daily self care. These spas have very high expectations for product textures and efficacy; as a natural brand, we’ve raised the bar in both areas to exceed the needs of our spas,” she told Happi. “Second, giving back is built into our DNA. We actively support our own network of fair trade organic farmers around the world, helping them preserve their communities and traditions as they provide us with superior natural ingredients.”
What’s Next: According to Ruud, prioritizing new product innovation for 2019 and beyond is next at Amala. She said, “We want to continue to push the envelope in the natural skin care space to show the world that product purity and proven results are not mutually exclusive.”
Year Founded: 2013
Names To Know: Annie Tevelin, founder
Major Products: Maqui Berry Beauty Drops PM, Eye+, Maqui Berry Beauty Whip, Neck+
Hero Product: Maqui Berry Beauty Drops PM
Stocked At: Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, Aerie, Cult Beauty, Lane Crawford, Trellis Beauty, Beauty Heroes, Carbon Beauty
Newest Launch: Crystal Inspired Body and Face Illuminator Body+ in Amethyst, Selenite, Morganite and Rose Quartz
Brand Story: Annie Tevelin took matters into her own hands after her own personal struggle with cystic acne. She enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA and received a certificate in cosmetic chemistry. It was from this moment on that she was dedicated to educating the masses on the often harsh realities of the skin care and beauty space. It was at this time that Tevelin created a private Facebook group called SkinOwl where people could send any and all of their beauty questions and she would respond with her many years of industry insight.
In 2013 SkinOwl was born by introducing its first product, Geranium Beauty Drops, which in itself healed Tevelin’s cystic acne within weeks. She knew she was onto something big and the company grew leaps and bounds. SkinOwl is a brand that is dedicated to healing and nourishing skin.
Why We’re Watching: According to Tevelin, there is a “true pulse” to the brand. She explained, “People feel connected to us beyond healing their skin, but also their soul. We want to not only encourage people to take care of their skin, but also to spend time expanding their own minds.”
In 2018, Tevelin launched Off The Record, a podcast which is truly expressive of what the brand is all about being real, loving a lot and loyalty.
What’s Next: The brand’s founder is dedicated to devoting more time speaking and working with teens and young adults, who are concerned about skin care and self-care. SkinOwl hopes to grow its Off The Record audience and Parliament Project audience (which helps women reconnect with themselves and others, and disconnect from technology), to cities across the country.
Year Founded: 2012
Names To Know: Maya Crothers, founder
Major Products: Abo Eye and Face, Geothermal Clay Cleanser, Dew Perfector, Jacqueline’s Blend
Hero Product: Abo Eye and Face
Stocked At: Neimanmarcus.com and circcell.com
Newest Launch: Fruition Brightening & Polishing Mask
Brand Story: Crothers attended the University of Pennsylvania for her MBA and after graduation went to work for Bain and Company as a strategy consultant for several multinationals. She completed many engagements with companies in the auto, computer networking, airline, defense industries and beyond. In 2003 she left corporate America in order to focus on raising her two children and in 2007 moved to Jackson Hole, WY.
As a city girl moving to a world-renowned ski resort, Crothers found the climate was drastically different. She was inspired to develop a skin care line that not only would nourish her skin in the harsher mountain climates, but also protect her when traveling to major cities. The brand needed to be able to adapt to the busy life of an entrepreneur and feel luxurious on the skin. Circcell is built for the everyday woman who wants to not only look good, but also feel good.
“Our products work hard with their advanced ingredients to pamper, protect and nourish your skin,” said Crothers.
The brand officially launched in 2012 after years of hard work and research, and is now available across the country in leading spas and retail locations including Neiman Marcus. The line has evolved to combine the best of innovative technologies with tried and true, traditional natural ingredients. Crothers is driven by the company’s “hardworking yet elegant” motto to produce products that show real results while at the same time feel luxurious and effortless.
Why We’re Watching: Crothers says she listens to what the customer wants instead of creating what she thinks they need.
“It’s so important to hear your customer base. One of our best selling products is our Vitamin C Ampoules, which was inspired after a conversation with a loyal customer,” she explained. “We wanted to create a product that not only was results driven, but travel friendly for the busy woman on the go. “
What’s Next: Circcell is reformulating its products to a cleaner formulation across the board and plans on launching a new eye product toward the end of 2019.
Year Founded: 1998
Names To Know: Elina Fedotova, CEO, founder and formulator
Major Products: A complete line of clinical holistic skin care products for face and body.
Hero Product: Ambra-Lift Skin Elixir
Stocked At: More than 100 holistic skin care spas around the country, Elina Organics Kalamazoo Spa, Elina Organics Chicago Spa, and www.elinaorganicsskincare.com
Newest Launch: Under Eye Recovery Mask, Upper Arm Firming Elixir with wild mushrooms, Wild Mushroom Mask, Organic Hair Growth Serum, Makeup Removing Oil, Skin Renewing Oil Blend and Anti Wrinkle Eye Shadows
Brand Story: Award-winning cosmetic chemist and aesthetician Elina Fedotova is the formulator and CEO of Elina Organics. She points out that beauty is more than skin deep and that a person is much more than a physical body. Wellbeing requires mental clarity, positive emotions, whole food and a clean environment. By taking a “whole-listic” approach to health and personal care, consumers can continuously feel and look their best, care more about natural resources and help create a harmonious life for all.
Fedotova’s professional skin care line is handmade in her laboratory using holistic principles and organic ingredients from around the world. In 2007, she founded the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP); a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing training and education for professionals.
“All of our skin and body care products are liposome encapsulated for optimum transdermal delivery, achieving the deepest therapeutic effects,” said Fedotova. “Their bioenergetic properties are totally unique. The formulas change seasonally for optimum effectiveness and can be customized for the consumer’s unique needs.”
Fedotova describes her formulas as “always 100% transdermal, organic, fresh, handmade and cruelty-free.” All of them are free of artificial fragrances, synthetic chemicals, toxic preservatives, gluten, dairy, and soy. And every package “is packed by hand, with love.”
According to the company, independent scientific testing has proved the formulas activate the expression of important anti-aging and antioxidant genes that stimulate production of collagen and keratin. These genes regulate biological processes important for skin cell regeneration, renewal and protection.
Why We’re Watching: Homemade, small batch, seasonal formulas with real benefits.
“Our products are scientifically proven to provide clinical benefits while still being 100% natural containing organic ingredients sourced from around the world,” said Fedotova.
They’re tasty, too. Elina Organics are 100% edible as Fedotova demonstrates by eating her products during workshops.
What’s Next: “Every day we hear from more skin care professionals in search of corrective, fresh and organic skin care products,” she said. “My goal is to continuously upgrade my production facility to meet this demand, without compromising my high quality standards. I also want to continue to educate professionals on how to offer effective results for their clients.”
Sand and Sky
Year Founded: 2017
Names To Know: Sarah and Emily Hamilton, co-founders
Major Products: Porefining Face Mask, Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment
Hero Product: Porefining Face Mask
Stocked At: Sephora, Revolve, Urban Outfitters and Sandandsky.com
Newest Launch: Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment
Brand Story: Sand & Sky is rooted in Melbourne where twin sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton grew up and learned a lot of their business skills from their father who was also an entrepreneur. They were in their late teens in the 1990s when Australia was in the grips of its worst recession since the Great Depression. The crash hit the Hamilton’s father’s property business very hard and the family was forced to move out of their home near Melbourne and downsize to a smaller house. Determined not to let his business fail, their father bought a rundown building and renovated it into a thriving business park.
According to Sarah Hamilton, “When creating Sand & Sky, we knew we wanted to formulate an Australian-made and Australian sourced clay mask and we discovered Australian Pink Clay through a bush medicine course in Alice Springs. We learned the power of Australian Pink Clay along with the purity of the Australian environment would push results beyond typical clay masks.
Australia is one of the purest continents in the world which is why our active ingredients are so effective. All Sand and Sky products are formulated to address more than one skin concern. With our Porefining clay mask for example it really purifies the skin, tightens pores, and leaves your skin glowing all in one product. Australian Beauty is about being simple, natural, and effective.”
Why We’re Watching: According to its founders, Sand & Sky accelerated the growth of Australian “A-Beauty” in the global skin care market including the highly competitive American beauty market.
“Growing up in Australia, it’s all about having the glowing, healthy looking skin you have after spending a day at the beach and Sand & Sky delivers those results to our customers worldwide,” said Sarah Hamilton. “Our products have so many amazing, natural Australian ingredients. People are more and more cautious about what they put on their skin and we are delivering these clean ingredients to support our customers through their journey towards natural beauty. We are thrilled to part of the Clean Beauty Section at Sephora!”
What’s Next: The twins plan on growing Sand & Sky and will have new products available next year that will highlight different Australian ingredients and botanicals.
“We will also continue to keep our customers involved in creating our new products,” said Sarah Hamilton, who notes that the exfoliator was inspired by a survey of more than 5,000 customers.
Rahua by Amazon Beauty, Inc.
Year Founded: 2008
Names to Know: Fabian Lliguin, founder and president; Anna Ayers, co-founder and CEO; Heather Lindgren, general manager; Leslie Petrosino, director of sales
Major Products: Rahua is earth-friendly, fashion-forward, eco-luxe hair and body care products created with organic, plant-derived Amazonian ingredients that deliver superior results.
Hero Product: Rahua Classic Shampoo and Conditioner
Stocked At: Sold nationally in Barneys, Sephora.com, Space NK in Nordstrom’s & Bloomingdale’s, ABC Carpet & Homes, Dermstore, The Detox Market, Follain, Cap Beauty in Fred Segal. Available outside the US in Holt Refrew (Canada), Harrod’s (London), Le Bon Marché and Cult Beauty (France), and online at rahua.com
Newest Launch: Rahua Legendary Amazon Oil
Brand Story: Rahua (pronounced “Ra-Wa”) is Rainforest Grown Beauty. Rahua markets clean, natural, organic, sustainable, luxury beauty products, rich in hand harvested, plant-derived Amazonian ingredients. All Rahua products are vegan and cruelty-free and contain no parabens, sulfates, or gluten.
Brand categories include daily hair care, treatments, styling and body care. According to founder and president Fabian Lliguin, “Our daily hair care portfolio of shampoo and conditioner formulations are our strongest brand pillars. The Rahua daily care category include strength, volume, color preservation and hydration.”
The rare Rahua oil is the catalyst and base of the Rahua brand. Rahua oil is rich in Omega 9 which has an extremely small molecular structure that allows it to penetrate the hair’s cortex, bonding and repairing it, restoring hair and scalp health. Rahua oil is still harvested and extracted today by the indigenous women in the Amazon Rainforest in the same ceremonial methods done for centuries.
Rahua oil in its most concentrated, 100% pure form is sold as Rahua Elixir, with a Palo Santo scent. Pure Rahua Oil is also sold as Rahua Elixir Daily Hair Drops, which includes the brand’s enfleurage gardenia scent available in a more accessible and affordable smaller size. Rahua executives say that caring for your hair and skin with clean, non-toxic formulations is an essential part of overall health and relies on plants, not chemicals, to provide superior performance.
Rahua is a business born through the efforts of entrepreneurs Fabian Lliguin and Anna Ayers, who are determined to protect the Amazon rainforest. Prior to creating the company, they were brought together through environmental passion and preservation, establishing the non-profit organization, Ecoagents, with a mission to create awareness about the Amazon Rainforest and the importance of protecting it, the people that live there, and their wisdom.
While on an environmental mission, Lliguin, a New Yorker of Quechua-Inca descent, was introduced to Amazon women and was amazed by their extraordinarily long, strong, healthy hair. The women shared their use of a natural oil, called Rahua, derived from the ungurahua nut. This rare oil is made through a highly sustainable and regenerative process using ancient wisdom and ceremonial practices, according to Lliguin. A hairdresser by trade, he brought the Rahua oil back to his New York salon. When he started using it on his clients, he was amazed at its potency and what it did to replenish and restore the hair.
The introduction of the Rahua oil served as the method to channel the mission’s work in helping the Amazon tribes sustain their environment and their local economies. Research followed to develop a hair and beauty line to honor the rituals and a business was born. By producing ingredients through revived traditional methods, the tribal communities have established economies and take great pride in their culture and land. The couple’s philanthropic approach is to empower the indigenous people to create and sustain an economy based on preserving their traditions. According to Lliguin, this ensures that the tribes remain the rainforest’s guardians and protectors.
Why We’re Watching: Lliguin and Ayers’ approach to founding their company was to establish a business model with philanthropy built into the DNA and company function with reverence toward Mother Nature. Anyone who purchases Rahua products can feel good about helping preserve the Amazon Rainforest. Rahua is dedicated to creating the most natural and healthful ingredients possible and have heightened their commitment to earth-friendly ingredients by creating a new cosmetic category– Symbiotic, which means that not only are the ingredients plant derived, they are grown wild in undisturbed virgin forest or rainforest and processed by the indigenous people using traditional hand-made ceremonial processes and ingredients must be purchased at a more than fair price to build economies and empower the indigenous people.
What’s Next: Rahua will continue to introduce plant-based formulations. Moving into the future, the indie beauty brand plans to broaden its styling category offerings by introducing effective, natural styling products. Rahua also plans to bring to market products specific to alleviate scalp issues.
Year Founded: 2017
Name to Know: Azlín Farré, senior director, marketing and product development
Major Products: Meet Your Matte Velvet Foundation, Set The Stage Soft-Focus Translucent Finishing Powder, The Works Wow Effect All-in-One Mascara Palette Pro Eyeshadow Palette, Matte Addiction Liquid Lip Color
Hero Product: Matte Addiction Liquid Lip Color
Stocked At: Sally Beauty
Newest Launch: Palette Pro Multidimensional Face Shaping Palette, MoonstiX Prismatic Highlighting Wand, Set The Stage Soft-Focus Translucent Finishing Powder, Grand Finale 3-in-1 Hydrating Makeup Setting Mist, Closing Time 3-in-1 Mattifying Makeup Setting Mist
Brand Story: Col-Lab is the first professional color cosmetics line created directly in collaboration with beauty influencers. Channeling the ideas, inspirations and intel from the minds of the Col-Lab Collective (a handpicked group from every corner of the US to represent today’s diverse, multifaceted beauty community), Col-Lab is all about inclusivity, not exclusivity. From Los Angeles to Dallas, Washington DC to New York and everywhere in between, Col-Lab aims to expand the beauty dialogue via influencers and consumers.
On a mission to offer a game-changing color concept directly in line with today’s ever-changing cosmetics landscape, Col-Lab delivers high-performance color artistry with cutting-edge textures and finishes, according to its founders.
Crafted to offer professional color without the professional price tag, Col-Lab products range from $6.99 for micellar makeup removing wipes to $14.99 for an eight-shade eyeshadow palette. From lips to cheeks and eyes to brows, all products in the Col-Lab line are paraben-free and cruelty-free, completely user-friendly and feature state-of-the-art pigments and breakthrough technology at a fraction of what prestige brands cost.
Why We’re Watching: Col-Lab offers high impact colors and textures at an affordable price, with the unique perspective of an evolving community of beauty influencers.
What’s Next: Expansion of Col-Lab Collective to introduce new voices, and launch innovative, trend-driven formulas.
Year Founded: 2017
Names To Know: Nonie Creme, co-founder, chief creative officer; David Lonczak, co-founder, chief executive officer
Major Products: Damage Control Lash + Brow Fortifier, Oil-Free Lash + Brow Shampoo, Magic Charcoal Facial Cleanser, Hangover Hero No Rinse Facial Sheet Mask, Swell Lip Volume Serum
Hero Product: Damage Control Lash + Brow Fortifier
Stocked At: Riley Rose, Nordstrom.com, Ulta.com; coming soon to Nordstrom stores.
Newest Launch: Swell Lip Volume Serum, Magic Charcoal Facial Cleanser, 12-Hour Water Proof Highlighters
Brand Story: According to co-founder and industry veteran Nonie Creme, BeautyGARDE was conceived to fill voids she was seeing in the beauty industry.
“It’s not about reinventing the wheel—it’s about bettering the wheel through thoughtful new formulations and innovative repackaging of staple beauty items in never-before-seen ways,” she explained. “When we started BeautyGARDE there was no other brand educating consumers on the importance and special care needed for lash extensions, which is a pricey beauty service. What started as a line of Oil-Free Cosmetics for lash extensions wearers has now expanded into lip and skin care products with patented technology to better service consumers. We are excited to continue filling the void of the beauty industry through advanced formulations that deliver results.”
After years of working as a freelance nail artist, Creme created the Butter London product range in 2006. As founding creative director, she oversaw all aspects of product development and managed the brand’s identity. Following Butter London, Creme founded Colour Prevails, a Walgreen’s project, which was an “exciting departure” from prestige beauty, she noted.
“This line of color cosmetics challenged consumers to change the way they looked at their local drugstore and furthered my mission of being respectively disruptive in the beauty space,” she said.
Why We’re Watching: Since its launch in 2017, BeautyGARDE has brought innovative formulations and packaging to the beauty category, as seen with its Oil-Free collection.
What’s Next: According to Creme, BeautyGARDE intends to continue on its mission of creating “hero” products across multiple categories such as skin, hair, lips and even nails!
“We will look to grow within our current retailers (Ulta, Nordstrom, Riley Rose) and grow outside the USA (UK, Canada),” said Crème. “There will be a focus on direct to consumer traffic with site updates and enticing offers on BeautyGarde.com.”