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Newest Beauty Trends You’ll Want to Try
From the New York Indie Beauty Expo: luxury-level ingestibles, creams that filter blue light, and supercharged vitamin C from the Kakadu plum
It’s not your imagination. Everywhere you go — salons, spas, local boutiques, farmer’s markets, major retailers — not to mention your Instagram feed — new beauty brands are there to greet you. Beauty is one of the fastest growing consumer categories, fueled by digital influencers, selfie culture, and the desire for more natural products (from ingredients to packaging). Indie brands — often founded by a female entrepreneur with a specific problem that needs solving — are leading the charge.
Recently I visited the Indie Beauty Expo in NYC to peruse the latest brands looking to make it into your regimen. From shampoo and sheet masks to serum and sunscreen, 200+ brands showed their wares and told their stories.
The themes point to a growing expectation that products promote beauty from the inside out, meaning that they will help us look good while also being good for us — and for the Earth. Paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, phthalate-free, cruelty-free, vegan, ethically-sourced, reef-safe, botanical, biodiverse, biodegradable are words currently on the most interesting labels. CBD-infused products are front and center. Skincare that filters damaging blue-light from the screens we spend our days in front of and products that promote an overall wellness are also on trend. Aloe and shea remain favorite ingredients of the “natural” brands, while Kakadu plum, which rivals citrus for Vitamin C concentration, is the next superfood ingredient you’ll want to try.
I took home a bag full of samples. Here are the ones that stood out.
Sleep Like a (Luxurious) Baby
Married cofounders Janna (an aesthetician) and Marc (a plastic surgeon) Ronert believe good skin starts with good nutrition and healthy habits. Frustrated by their inability to find nutritional supplements free of fillers and synthetic ingredients, they formulated their own. Hush & Hush, their line of four “clean supplements,” includes a protein powder and three different capsules — a daily rejuvenating formula, a sleep formula, and one to stimulate hair growth. While true results can only be assessed over time, I can report that MindYourMind, the melatonin-free sleep supplement, lives up to its promise: “restful sleep that calms your mind, body and soul” (well, everything but the soul!). And one scoop of PlantYourDay, the gluten-free vegan protein powder, added a slight chocolate flavor to my coffee and helped me coast through the morning without the usual energy drop.
Block That Blue Light
You can’t see free radicals, but we’ve learned they’re out there, degrading our cells every chance they get. The newest culprit? Blue light emitted from computer screens (and the sun), which may contribute to photo-aging such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Cram Session Blue Light Protecting Moisturizer from Higher Education Skincare is formulated to tackle blue light head on. It’s loaded with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, and melanin, which filters out blue light. Formulated by Dermatologist Dr. Susan Cox with young adults in mind, the easy-to-use line is geared to help teens start good skin habits early, and build self-confidence at an important time in life. Cram Session is paraben-, sulfate-, and gluten-free. $33
Hemp To It!
I lost track of the number of brands that now include CBD oil, the hemp-derivative that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. From serums to scalp treatments, CBD was the most popular ingredient at the beauty prom. One product containing CBD that we tried and liked is Mineralgia Pain Relief Cream. L.A. chiropractor Dr. Brigitte Rozenberg developed the lotion with menthol, camphor, arnica, CBD, and a number of other natural minerals and oils. Designed to treat soft tissue pain in her patients, but safe enough for her kids who get achy from sports, it absorbs quickly and gave quick relief to my tennis elbow. It’s FDA-approved, paraben-free, vegan, and I’m taking it with me for my next sports massage. $28
Lady cramps and other downstairs discomforts are addressed by Quim, a plant-based self-care line “for humans with vaginas and humans without vaginas who love vaginas.” Their Happy Clam Everyday Oil, which contains 1.5-2mg CBD per dose (3-5 pumps) as well as other natural oils, is specifically formulated to alleviate cramps, prevent UTIs (tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal), and otherwise soothe our most sensitive parts. Cofounders Cyo Ray Nystrom and Rachel Washtien have a refreshing take on self-care (for grins and giggles, consider their site a must-read), and their products address a range of vaginal health issues from yeast infections to painful intercourse, low libido, and allergic reactions to commercial lubricants. Learn more and find stockists at itsquim.com.
Say G’day to the Super Plum from Down Under
Australia’s superfruit, Kakadu plum, is packed with more vitamin C than citrus and is prized for activating collagen production and brightening skin tone. Berkshires-based luxury skincare brand Blüh Alchemy claims to have the world’s first stable vitamin C from wild harvested Kakadu plum. Their special extraction process delivers “liquid gold” vitamin C that is as potent and bioactive as it exists in nature. Multi-C Serum also includes Kangaroo Paw Flower, rich in ferulic acid that protects against UV damage, plus Quandong, a potent antioxidant that fights the kind of free radical damage that causes wrinkles. At $155, it is pricey, but their cellular extraction method, farflung organic ingredients, and small-batch production are unique. This is the Bentley of high-performance, botanical beauty, lovingly crafted by founder Becky Bluh. As one reviewer wrote on their site: “I love how my skin feels when I use the Multi C Serum. Active. Alive.” And having used it myself, the scent is divine and the glow is real.
[Through November 15th, Becky is offering Covey Club members 15% off their entire order with this code: COVEYCLUB15]
Newest Wearable? Lipstick.
According to glamorous founder Nikki Oden, “Everyone knows [that] with the right lipstick you can conquer the world.” So that’s what this Florida investment banker created. Oden loved wearing highly-pigmented lipstick, but was frustrated with drying formulas. She developed Hickey Lipstick, a collection of shea-butter-rich,long-wearing, high-color-payoff lipsticks, in the five key shades every woman needs: red, nude, hot pink, soft pink, coral — and made them to suit multiple skin tones ($29/each). Birthday Suit, the nude shade, looked just as good on my dark haired, deeply-tanned colleague as it did on me — a fair, blue-eyed blonde. Each lipstick comes in a chic pointed bullet case, with a ribbon and a chain, so you can wear it or attach it to your bag or belt loop. The case fits any of the shades, and refills are only $12, so it’s eco-friendly too.
Fatigue Fix at 30,000 Feet
Stressed by long-haul travel to/from Asia, British entrepreneur Louisa Booth created these stylish self-heating, disposable eye masks to help her arrive fresh, rested, and ready for work. While ideal for use on overnight flights, users praise them for helping to alleviate severe headaches, depuff eyes, and unwind in general. While the single use factor may bother the sustainability-minded, it makes them uber convenient for travel, and way more sanitary than anything reusable. At $5 each, I am tucking a few into my carry-on.
Skin Bling is Now a Thing
This is the only mask I’ve ever tried that looks so shimmeringly beautiful when applied that you don’t want to rinse it off. Diamonds & Pearl Firming Gel Mask from Herbal Dynamics Beauty feels cool and hydrating, smells lovely, and you can feel a gentle tightening up right away. Afterward, skin looks dewy and feels soft, and pores are noticeably less noticeable. Acacia collagen, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, and peptides are the active ingredients (plus “diamond complex” and “Mother of Pearl,” which give the product its ethereal appearance) and judging from the 124 five-star reviews, I am not the only person impressed by the “during” and the “after.” Paraben-, sulfate-, and phthalate-free. $30