6 American beauty brands that should be on your radar
It's not July 4th, but these US brands are worth the celebration
Americans are enterprising, individualistic and outspoken. And these are traits that spill over to their approach to beauty. Their skincare products are no-nonsense, with brands stripping down the formulas to the most effective and basic ingredients. Their makeup constantly pushes the envelope both ways, from the most minimalist looks (hello, Kylie Jenner’s nude lipsticks) to the next-level extravagant ones (have you seen makeup artist Jeffree Star’s Instagram feed?).
And it is the sum of the parts that differentiates them from the rest of the competition, making them the coolest kid on the block next to the minimalist-chic French beauty, ethereal Korean beauty and innovative Japanese beauty. Here are six uber-cool American beauty brands you need to keep on rotation.
Visionary Tom Ford had already helmed Gucci and Saint Laurent before he started his own clothing, eyewear and beauty label in 2005.
It’s no secret that we’re fans of the brand’s super-pigmented eyeshadow and luxurious lipsticks, but it’s the perfumes that are the sophisticates of the lot. Intense, opulent scents housed in minimalist cuboid bottles with just the right proportion of curves – these are made for tastemakers.
Cashmere Nicole wanted to raise awareness for breast cancer. She also liked the colour pink. So she set up Beauty Bakerie, a makeup artistry brand in 2011. Then in a twist of fate, she got diagnosed with breast cancer and worked through a double mastectomy while growing the brand. The inspiring founding story was made even cooler when pop queen Beyonce featured Cashmere on her website in October 2014 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Backstory aside, the products are made with inclusivity in mind (before the concept became mainstream), with 30 shades of foundation and liquid lipstick for every skin tone in cruelty-free, paraben-free, smudge-proof and vegan-friendly formulas, which makes it an uber-cool front runner in this aspect.
Milk Makeup is founded by the people at media company Milk, together with beauty and fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi. The media company covers fashion, music, photography and film, and supports talents and innovative brands. The brand is inspired by community and culture, and the formulas are cruelty-free, paraben-free and vegan-friendly.
The no-frills packaging and effective solutions (like the Cooling Water stick which helps depuff under-eyes in an instant, and the Blur Stick which reduces the appearance of enlarged pores) appeal to the cool millennials who have a devil-may-care attitude to makeup, yet still want to look good in a jiffy.
Milk Makeup doesn’t ship internationally, so you’d have to engage a concierge service if you want to get your hands on its products.
We’d all agree that being comfortable in your own skin is cool – and Glossier’s a beauty brand that is just that, sharing pictures from its community of followers on its Instagram feed, even if there are other beauty brands’ products in the frame. And it shouldn’t be a surprise, since Glossier is created by Emily Weiss, the founder of beauty website Into the Gloss, where a curated collection of interviews, articles and reviews come together like an online magazine/forum/community discussion site.
Unless you’ve been drunk, you would have heard of Drunk Elephant, the designed-, tested- and made-in-the US skincare brand. The name comes from the myth that elephants that eat the Marula tree fruit get drunk once the fruit is fermented in their tummies – and of course this links to the skincare line, which has virgin marula oil, an antioxidant– and fatty acid-rich oil as a staple ingredient.
The cool thing about this brand is how committed it is to maintaining skin integrity, using ingredients that benefit skin health without worrying about labels such as natural, organic or synthetic – which explains why dermatologists love it too. But like most clean beauty brands, it does avoid what it calls the “Suspicious 6” (silicones, essential oils, chemical screens, SLS, drying alcohols, and fragrance/dyes) in its formulations.
We call this brand’s products skincare from space, because the active complex (NAC Y2) that is in the brand’s products is developed with space scientists who were doing research on accelerated ageing in astronauts.
111Skin’s products stimulate skin’s natural defence mechanism to reduce inflammation and improve rejuvenation. In essence, 111Skin is a really high-tech, anti-ageing skincare brand that has ingredients that have been tested in outer space – which tags it with a cool factor that is hard to beat.