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Beauty & Fashion
7 Best Beauty Brands for Self-Care and Gifting
Get out of your rut -- and ditch 2020! -- by exploring creative new scents and indulgences created by women
Everyone can use a bit of pampering during and after this challenging year. Treat yourself or someone else to Covey’s selection of beauty products created by women or from women-(co)owned companies.
One of the newest entrants in the luxury skin care game comes from influencer Shea Marie, who is also the style entrepreneur behind the Same Los Angeles swimwear collection. Bigger is not necessarily better, and the small Feelist collection features bath salts, everyday or extra-strength body cream, and the honestly exquisite Most Wanted Radiant Facial Oil. Each product contains varying amounts of broad spectrum CBD and other moisturizing, nourishing, anti-inflammatory or antioxidizing ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, and passion flower extract. The products are delicately scented with essential oils including lavender and ylang-ylang. The Most Wanted oil is the most ingredient-packed of the group. While not technically a dry oil, it glides easily over the skin and absorbs quickly. Many users report clearer skin and less redness, while the scent and the texture literally melt your — and your skin’s — stress away.
Even if your New Year’s celebration might be nuclear-family only, you still want your nails looking fabulous on a champagne flute. Smith & Cult, a nail polish and cosmetics brand founded in 2014 by Dineh Mohajer, has your nails covered. Fans love the variety and depth of the nail colors, the shortened brush, which offers more application control, and the $18 price tag, which is pretty good for high-end polish. Plus, Smith & Cult is vegan, cruelty-free, and “eight-free,” meaning that its manufacture excludes eight toxic ingredients, including toluene and formaldehyde, that are often found in nail care products. Mohajer, who founded Hard Candy in the mid 1990s, runs Smith & Cult with CEO Jeanne Chavez. Make sure to also check out the full collection of color cosmetics they launched last year.
Founded in Stockholm by Ben Gorham in 2006, this luxury brand perhaps best known in the US for its amazing fragrances and scented candles, now has a cosmetics range that’s perfect for lighting up the night — or jazzing up your Zoom screen. This very glam beauty collection, created via a collaboration with London-based It-makeup-artist Isamaya Ffrench, features stunning eyeshadows in gem and natural stone colors, lipstick, lip balm, eyeliner, and mascara. There’s also a novel “colour stick” that comes in 16 colors and can be worn anywhere on the face. The captivating line will be an elegant addition to anyone’s personal beauty counter.
This Parisian fragrance collection, launched in 2016 by Lola Tillyaeva, is focused on the balancing principles of yin and yang and centered around the traditional Chinese elements of fire, water, wood, earth, and metal. After this year, can’t we all use some equilibrium? Tillyaeva, who lives in Los Angeles, develops the parfums and eau de parfums in Paris with perfumer Guillaume Flavigny, who has created scents for top designers including Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani. The Harmonist website has a questionnaire that allows you to discover what element and corresponding fragrance best matches you, or the person you are shopping for, based on the date, time, and place of birth. My result was yang metal and I am pretty delighted with the Matrix Metal scent.
Codex Beauty is a new skin care company focused on developing natural, organic, and fully sustainable products based on ethnobotany, which is the scientific study of effective plants and herbal medicines that people and indigenous tribes have been using for centuries. The Bia Collection, based on skin care products conceived by Irish herbalist Tracy Ryan, features facial oils, cleansers, lotions, eye gel, and soap, all of which come in sustainable packaging including the tubes made from ethanol. The quality, efficacy, and gentleness of the Bia Collection make it a great self-care gift for you or a friend. The “Byte” size gifts and the Discovery Set, with smaller products, are a great way to try Bia, but we think you should take the plunge on the Double Cleanse Set, with full sizes of the cleansing oil, the exfoliating wash with jojoba grains, elderflower water, and milk thistle oil, among other ingredients, and the limited edition soap made with French clays, nettle, and wheatgrass. Codex is the brainchild of Barbara Paldus, an engineer and inventor who spent most of her career in biotech and is now a beauty entrepreneur and venture capitalist. [Note: Codex Beauty is also TheCovey’s first sponsor. You can hear more about Barbara and the brand on the Reinvent Yourself podcast.]
Did we say we need some balance? The Discovery Kits from Knesko Skin should also be on your beauty gift list this year. Knesko was founded in 2012 by Lejla Cas, an esthetician and Reiki master who believes in the healing power of crystals. There are four skin care kits with different purposes, including skin repair and detoxification. Each kit includes a collagen face and eye mask and a gemstone roller in a limited-edition bag. For example, the Repair Kit includes nanogold collagen masks, containing nano gold particles and polypeptides — the first mask Cas ever developed — and a jade gemstone roller. The website reports that gold stimulates the body’s “natural healing response” and, as with the green jade roller, it “awakens your Third Eye chakra to clear negativity from every other energy field within your body.” Sign me up!
Self-care includes personal care, and it’s nice to indulge in elevated basics like a great body wash. Beast offers up a roster of goodies for men, including body wash, shaving products, skin masks, and natural soap along with a smattering of skin care for everyone. Founded by Nashville’s John Cascarano, who launched the Lock & Mane online beauty retailer, Beast boasts women’s soccer pro and World Cup champion Kelley O’Hara as a stakeholder and vice president of brand engagement and product strategy. We love the Beast bottle, which can be filled with the reduced-plastic Beast refills — including the liquid castile soap or the Tingle shampoo and hair conditioner — but this simple bar of soap is also just right.