Indie beauty is booming, from popular brands like Glossier to RMS to True Botanticals. But we went to Indie Beauty Expo in New York to discover the new brands that are about to explode in popularity—from ethical ingredients to gorgeous packaging and effective results, we hit skincare gold.
But first thing first, what classifies ‘indie’?
“Independent beauty is at the forefront of a movement that is helping people make better decisions about their beauty purchases,” says Jillian Wright, the co-founder of the Indie Beauty Expo, the annual event held in New York City, Los Angeles, and Texas that celebrates indie beauty brands from around the globe. “Independent beauty is about ownership—the company has to be 50 percent owned and operated by the founder.”
Why you should care
“The majority of indie brands tend to practice sustainability, use organic or natural ingredients, and support communities or causes dear to them,” says Wright. “Independent beauty tends to be bespoke, curated, small batch, and limited.”
Oh, and girl power: 199 out of 227 brands featured at IBE are female-owned brands.
After cancer diagnoses with family and friends, Olio Di Alessandro owner Alex dove deep into the ingredients in skincare, and was determined he could make something safer and more ethical. Corpo Body ($132) is the result, made from plant retinoids and packaged in a bottle topped with a handmade Carrera marble cap (of your color choice).
A belief in olive oil’s potent benefits led to Bottega Organica’s creation, which is a natural beauty brand focused on scientific results. Ingredients come directly from nature and are extracted using only chemical-free processes.
The story of Olverum is as rich and rare as the oil itself, involving a family secret carried for decades. Owner Dominic resurrected the 1931 German family recipe for the Bath Oil ($48) that soothes aching muscles, relieves stress, and promotes restorative sleep.
Smoothie Beauty is built on freshly made, organic food-based skincare that is 100 percent preservative, additive, and fragrance-free. And they’ve now created “boosters” to amp up the effects of each mask if you wish, with either charcoal, maca or matcha, each having their own set of additional benefits.
Committed to “beauty without secrets,” OY-L is a zero chemical brand, but also no animal testing and they donate 15 percent of certain products to Dysautonomia International. And bonus points for clean (in design and ethical practices) packaging.
Between marbled, emoji, and now cosmo-inspired masks, this Korean brand is Instagram gold. But don’t be fooled by gimmicks, Petite Amie uses organic, botanical, and lab-made ingredients with proven certifications.
Just launching at IBE this year, this Australian brand is geared towards interesting and effective ingredients, like sea kelp. But that packaging! So good.
Beneath Your Mask
After owner Dana developed Lupus, she changed everything in her life, including personal care. This line is the result of her effort, and everything is without parabens, sulfates or toxins. For example, the Total Body Elixir ($90) is a blend of 19 oils and botanicals for a curated luxe experience.
The organic bioactive Plum Beauty Oil ($72) is a proprietary blend of plums grown, harvested, and pressed on Le Prunier’s family-owned farm in Sutter, California. And it’s eight times more powerful than Argan oil and six times more powerful than Marula oil in protecting the skin from damaging free radicals.
A highly unique concept, Province Apothecary is committed to innovation, sustainability, and small-batch skin care of the highest quality. But we’re literally obsessed with the Natural Facelift Ritual with the Rejuvenating and Hydrating Serum ($26), which focuses on facial massages that mimic highly effective acupuncture treatments for the reduction of fine lines and improved skin tone.
Based on 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic beauty secrets long cherished by Indian Royals, the USDA certified organic mixes are effective yet gentle.
Beloved owner Maryna makes everything in her Hawaiian studio. Working with organic and raw botanicals, many sourced directly from biodynamic farms, and others even grown and processed by the brand themselves. For example, the Rare Indigo Balm ($110) is supercharged with the rare extract of the indigo plant and is a potent anti-inflammatory moisturizer.
Centered on three unique botanics—marula oil from Kenya, camu camu berry from Brazil, and kigelia africana from Malawi, Luxe Botanics is focused on restoring skin’s youthful vitality through high powered natural ingredients.