Shop the best independent beauty brands this holiday season


Every year, at the end of November, around the start of the holiday shopping season, we talk about “small purchases”. But have you ever thought about what it really means to support independent businesses? In the corporate landscape of the beauty industry, heavily funded parent companies tend to dominate the scene, with the resources to run large-scale campaigns and gain the attention of influencers and celebrities. . Unfortunately, the odds are against the little guys.

But just because big brands are getting all the attention doesn’t mean there aren’t comparable heroic products on the independent scene. Independent brands are driven and kept alive by passion, and their founders are known to adhere to their values. As Lisa Mazzarella, CEO and founder of Karisma Skincare in Malibu, points out, its commercial autonomy allows it to prioritize the quality of ingredients over profit margins. But without investor funds, survival is scarce for these hidden gems: Karisma Skincare will most likely close its doors in 2022. After being taken over by Neiman Marcus, it was ultimately the COVID-19 pandemic that prematurely ended the company. “Karisma was on the move. I was training the staff, planning launch exhibits with Neiman Marcus when COVID hit,” Mazzarella told Coveteur. “It all came to a screeching halt. All of our events across the country were called off. We never got to get started.”

Mazzarella assures us that she will always be taking special orders, and even though she is about to close her doors for good, she remains true to her belief that supporting independent brands is the most important step you can take on behalf of. the quality. “Let’s just say I’ll never buy from big brands again. The independent community is a tight, supportive network. There is a human behind every product, who does their best to bring high quality products to market. “she told Coveteur. “Small business owners have put everything on the line and put their heart and soul into what they do. Not only will you feel good about supporting a small business, but you will get better quality products. ”

In the interest of shopping small this year and bringing hope to others this holiday season, here are seven independent beauty brands we’re supporting this season.

Amber Makupson is the CEO and Founder of Meraki, a crystal-infused hair care line that combines the founder’s passion for wellness and spirituality with her love of vegan beauty products. The single mom sources fair trade herbs, butters and oils from around the world, including Ayurvedic favorites like amla and buriti oils. “Meraki was created around the idea of ​​self-esteem, the passion for life and the fearless pursuit of what sets my soul on fire,” says Makupson. “The word ‘meraki’ is Greek to do something with love, soul and creativity, to bring the essence of yourself into your work.”

Passionate about discovering new herbal remedies that solve problems, Makupson is inspired by the holistic benefits of nature. While its products are suitable for all hair types, they are absolutely transformative for those with dry or coarse strands. Of course, the sparkling gemstones at the bottom of each product also provide a very special experience. “Incorporating crystals into my formulas adds an element of high vibrational healing to the energetic level,” says Makupson. “Well-being and personal care are really important to me. I wanted to create an experience that extends beyond the day of the toilet. “

Founded and managed in Washington DC, Skincando is a line of luxury green beauty products, handcrafted in small batches and used at the Garden Spa. Founder and CEO Sara D’Amelio’s inspiration for the line came after working in luxury beauty product sales and finding herself dissatisfied with the product line. “Conventional products did not keep their promises and my sensitive skin was chronically broken down,” she says. “I realized that if I wanted healthy, healing skin care that was filled with natural and nutritious ingredients, then I had to create them myself. That was over 20 years ago now.”

Housed in durable glass jars, the formula rejuvenates the skin using its ‘menu’ of organic ingredients. “They feed your skin a nutritious, biodynamic diet of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals,” she says. “We’re a special little business run by creative people who care about us.” Note that one of our favorite freebies to give is Combat Ready Body Balm. If you have dry or itchy skin on your body, it can be layered with body oil for amazing results.

Gabriela Navejas, co-founder and CEO of Madame Gabriela, has spent over two years with her chemist creating the clean and luxurious lipsticks that make up the range. “I couldn’t find a great, non-toxic formula that I could wear all day [that] would also protect my lips, “she explains of her decision to start the business.” I wanted nourishing color that performed and was clean, chic and long-lasting, so the quest began.

“Madame Gabriela is a brand that is truly created out of our love of ingredients and of nature. When you come back to what nature gives us, it opens a whole new door to well-being and the understanding of value. of this Earth “, adds Navejas.

The line comes in three perfectly designed shades named after the founder’s international jet-set lifestyle: a warm neutral, a sultry red and an alluring coral. Celebrity makeup artist Katrina Klein is a huge fan of the line. “The formulas are gentle and hydrating, but stay awhile.” She notes that her favorite shade is Sydney at 8 a.m., a warm nude, but Paris at 7, a blue-red, is her favorite shade during the holiday season “because it’s the perfect red.”

Founded by famous makeup artist Dani Kimiko Vincent, Kimiko Beauty offers cosmetic products that stimulate eyebrow growth. “My struggle to find the products for the perfect eyebrows started out as a very personal struggle that many of us share, over plucking our eyebrows too much in the ’90s or at some point in our lives,” Vincent told Coveteur. “I realized that the natural form I once had would probably never come back completely.”

So Vincent, who had a background in product development, created his own line. “Nothing I applied was convincing enough to read truthfully, or would stick around long enough to endure the day,” she says. She started experimenting with precision pencils that incorporated the right balance of hot and cold pigments. “I knew it [what became] The Super Fine Eyebrow Pencil Automatic was my personal hero product, and then when other artists and clients started saying the same thing, I knew I had created something that there was a need for. colors that are not too hot for the brows “with a precision tip that allows for a natural-looking application. Next is The Brow Sensei, a clear, shaping brow gel with active ingredients to promote hair growth, a tapered brush and just enough hold for styling.

When it comes to CBD skin care, the water-soluble botanical formulas concocted by Priya Apotheca co-founders Tracy Brown and Judit Konrad are some of the most hydrating on the market. Konrad draws on his doctorate in pharmacy and formulation experience for brands like MAC and Smashbox to formulate the anti-inflammatory formulas. “[We] combine clinically proven science with proven herbal remedies, and [then] imbue them with the healing energy of reiki and high frequency sound baths, ”says Brown of the branding process.

The brand claims that its water solubility is the key to CBD’s bioavailability. With the ability to act on the human body’s endocannabinoid system, the soothing form of the active ingredient they use “mimics the molecular structure” of our own biological sources, allowing it to be readily accepted into skin cells. . “92 percent of our skin cells have cannabinoid receptors, which is part of why it’s so effective in skin care,” they explain of their heroic ingredient. “With water soluble CBD, the molecular size is small enough to penetrate under the skin and into the cell matrix, providing an absorption rate of around 90 percent.”

At the heart of Ranavat is Ayurveda, an alternative medicine school that originated in India. CEO and Founder Michelle Ranavat says, “Ayurveda is about mind-body connection and the understanding that true beauty is work inside and out. The incredible ingredients, like saffron and turmeric, and the holistic approach to skin care are what really connects me. to Ayurveda. “The range is the culmination of Ranavat’s experience as a first generation South Asian American.” I grew up with such a strong connection to my culture. [and] it makes me happy to see traditions like hair oiling resonate around the world, across so many different backgrounds. “

Featured products in the line include Radiant Rani, a brightening saffron and turmeric serum, and jasmine-rich fortifying hair serum, both beloved by actress Freida Pinto. Famous Pinto Facial Beautician Jenlyn Ball adds, “The Ranavat skin care line really complements the experience of my signature facial because the lovely scents help enhance the trip. [along with] calming, healing, adaptogenic and antioxidant ingredients for the skin. She also notes that it is safe for pregnant women and works wonders for the overall health of the skin.

The luxury brand Orcé was founded by Yu-Chen Shih. When asked what prompted her to found the independent luxury brand, she replied: “Frustration, really! yellow for the products available. “Sensing her Southeast Asian tanned complexion somehow left her invisible, she decided to create an inclusive luxury line.” My mission is to break down the barrier that exists between beauty luxury and inclusiveness, ”she said.

Rest assured that the effective and light serum foundation works on diverse and sensitive skin types. The formulas are infused with Tahitian pearl for brightening and hyaluronic acid for plumping; Plus, they’re free from questionable ingredients like talc, fragrance, gluten, sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.

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