Sephora Just Stocked Its First Black-Owned, Clean Makeup Line Ever

Love Your Self. What a wonderful way to lure the customers in.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #46 series on my blog.

As a beauty buff, I’ve had the opportunity to test a bunch of makeup products. But as I’ve grown to be more conscious of what I’m putting on my skin,  I noticed there aren’t many clean options that work well. So when I heard that Sephora’s first Black-owned clean makeup line was launching, I was ecstatic. LYS Beauty landed at Sephora in mid-February with a variety of makeup products, including foundation, primer, powder, lip oil, bronzer and blush. Of course, I had to get my hands on it.

BeI was pleasantly surprised to see how many shade options LYS Beauty Foundation had. With 35 shades available, the line makes it simple to find one that matches your skin. The first product I tried was the Triple Fix Serum Foundation, and it definitely lives up to its name. The texture is velvety smooth and looks like a veil on my skin. Another factor that’s important to me is blendability; if a formula doesn’t blend easily, then it’s simply not for me. However, that isn’t the case with this foundation, because the blending process was seamless and the color melted into my skin flawlessly. The color also worked very well for my skin tone, and I didn’t feel the need to mix it with anything else in order to get the proper coverage — which leads me to the next thing I love about these products: the actual coverage.

Shop now: $22; sephora.com

I’ve found that a lot of clean foundations provide minimal coverage (which is great if that’s what you prefer!), but I like mine to offer at least medium coverage. I found that this one has buildable coverage so you can increase it depending on your preferences. 

The foundation is made with Ashwagandha, an herb that can combat signs of stress in the skin, turmeric for brightening, and hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration. And I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a great formula — despite being a fairly new product, it already has a 4.8-star rating from Sephora shoppers. “I hate the feeling of heavy makeup on my face and this is super lightweight and covers my blemishes so I am Zoom-ready for my never-ending conference calls,” wrote one customer. “Best foundation I have ever used. I am obsessed with the coverage, feel and finish,” said another. The fact that the Triple Fix foundation has this many great details and still doesn’t use any toxic ingredients makes it a total game-changer for me. 

I also got my hands on the LYS Beauty Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer. Now, just to be clear, I’m a big primer girl to begin with. I typically find that by using the right moisturizer and a flattering primer, my makeup blends and stays put if I hadn’t used it (opinions vary from one person to the next, though).

Shop now: $20; sephora.com

Created for combination and acne-prone skin, the primer’s key ingredient is grapefruit extract, which is rich in vitamin C to brighten skin, along with niacinamide and an exfoliating AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) blend to smooth pores.

Just like the foundation, this primer has a lightweight feel to it, which is of the utmost importance to me. I don’t like layers of thick or heavy product on my face, and this one results in an airbrush-like finish that makes my skin feel smooth before I apply the rest of my makeup.

All in all, I’m very impressed with the quality of both the primer and the foundation. Sephora’s LYS Beauty collection makes it easy to transition over to clean makeup products while supporting a Black-owned business. 

Sculpt, define, and warm up your complexion with this matte bronzer. The ultra-velvety, buildable powder effortlessly blends while delivering a sunkissed glow. Formulated with niacinamide, this bronzer gives skin the warmth you want while blurring the look of imperfections and texture.

Shop Now: $18; Sephora.com

Give your cheeks a kiss of color with this cream blush that delivers high payoff for all skin tones. Packed with clean, skin-loving ingredients like kaolin clay and avocado oil, this multipurpose cream leaves skin looking refreshed. Rich in pigment, this blush adds the finishing touch on any look.

Shop Now: $16; Sephora.com

This clean, cushiony lip treatment oil maximizes comfort with a blend of chia seed oil and sweet almond oil, quickly replenishing lips with vital moisture. Perfect for every day, this colorless oil pairs with your favorite lip liner or lipstick, leaving behind a non-sticky, glossy finish.

Shop Now: $12; Sephora.com

This clean, talc-free, finely milled pressed setting powder buffs beautifully into skin as it blurs and locks makeup in place for all-day perfection and no white cast. Infused with niacinamide, green tea extract, and sodium hyaluronate, this weightless powder won’t accentuate texture or pores.

Shop Now: $18; Sephora.com

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:

Clean at Sephora
Clean at Sephora is formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more. For the full list, check out the Ingredients tab.

SHOP LYS BEAUTY AT SEPHORA

The 18 Best Lip Masks For A Softer, Smoother Pout

These days, masks are as ubiquitous as hair tools and CBD-spiked skin care. Not surprisingly then, there’s been an influx of options hitting the mask market made specifically for your lips. Ahead, find 18 amazing lip masks of every variety — balms, gels, and sheets. Slather them on while you sleep, mid-commute, or before swiping on a bold lip you need to last all night. Get ready for smoother, softer-looking lips.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm isn’t technically called a mask, but it sure feels like one. The ultra-rich consistency coats lips in a blanket of soothing butters, including shea and murumuru, which are known to nourish dry skin. It also contains vegan waxes that make the formula extra thick and satisfying to use — especially if you’re struggling with severely dry or cracked lips. The subtle vanilla flavor definitely doesn’t hurt either.

$22 (Shop Now)

Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask

Available in three lip-enhancing hues, Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask is perfect for anyone who loves a little tint to their lips. Infused with hyaluronic acid to quench dry lips, along with avocado, jojoba, and argan oils to lock in moisture, it leaves lip supple, soft, and smelling sweet.

$14 (Shop Now)

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask

Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask features hyaluronic acid and a blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts for their powerful antioxidant benefits. It not only smells sublime, but makes lips look plumper, softer, and smoother after just one use.

$22 (Shop Now)

Henné Organics Lip Mask

Henné’s Organics Lip Mask is made with ultra-nourishing oils like rosehip, avocado, sweet orange peel, and jojoba (that’s four of many) and comes from a brand fully devoted to lip care, so you know it’s legit. Its light, citrus-and-vanilla scent sends it over the edge. The best part? Leave it on as you choose — lip masks like this one don’t have a limit since their sole purpose is to soothe, plump, and moisturize.

$37 (Shop Now)

Sara Happ The Sweet Clay Lip Mask

Sara Happ is renowned for her sublime lip treatments and The Sweet Clay Lip Mask is no exception. Comprised of deep-cleansing bentonite clay, nourishing shea butter, and an Ayurvedic herb known as Swertiamarin sourced from the Himalayas, this mask means business. Its bubblegum-pink hue will makes your lips look like you’ve caked them in icing while you wear it, but that’s a bonus if you ask me. Apply it weekly — or nightly — for soft and supple lips that appear visibly smoother after one use.

$32 (Shop Now)

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

Thick, luxurious, and super hydrating, this clear, jelly-like balm is like a deep conditioning treatment for your lips: Agave nectar and lanolin provide a dose of long-lasting moisture, while a hefty dose of antioxidants (literally three times the amount found in a serving of red wine) protect your pout from the elements. It’s best worn as an overnight mask, but the formula also comes in two super-pretty sheer, glossy shades (a gold-flecked rose and a cool, pinkish red) for daytime wear.

$26 (Shop Now)

Klavuu Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack

Klavuu’s Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack comes highly recommended by Allure’s digital reporter Devon Abelman, who lauds it for its weightless formula and ability to bring dry, dehydrated lips back to a happy and balanced state. Enriched with avocado, sweet almond, and apricot seed oils, this Korean beauty treatment leaves lips looking and feeling instantly more moisturized after a mere five minutes.

$15 (Shop Now)

Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask

For less than a Lincoln you can score the Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask, which soothes and hydrates with meadowfoam and sweet almond oils. It’s also 100 percent natural for those of you who prefer a green option.

$3 (Shop Now)

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is an all-time Allure editor favorite. Its über-thick formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream, and works its magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight. Come morning, lips look and feel soft, bouncy, and supple as ever. It also comes in a vanilla version, if that’s more up your alley.

$20 (Shop Now)

Jouer Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask

While Jouer isn’t typically known for skin-care offerings, its new Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask is a true standout I couldn’t not mention. Jam-packed with ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil, as well as hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture, lips feel quenched for days after using it. Leave it on while you snooze for kitten-soft lips when you wake — or use in place of an ultra-thick balm for the ultimate luxury lip-care experience.

$20 (Shop Now)

KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask

KNC Beauty’s All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask contains vitamin E, rose oil, and hydrating cherry extract to help plump fine lines and deeply moisturize the lips. You might remember Emma Stone’s pre-Globes selfie wearing the jelly-like lip patch, which was recommended by her makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, in order to prep the actor’s lips for the big night. Needless to say, if it’s approved by Emma and her MUA, you can bet it won’t be a letdown.

$40 for 10 masks (Shop Now)

Patchology FlashPatch Lip Gels

Patchology’s FlashPatch Lip Gels are similar to that of KNC’s in that they adhere to your lips, feel cool to the touch, and look slightly sheet mask-esque. The biodegradable patches feature soothing green tea extract, redness-reducing niacinamide, and peptides to help enhance elasticity and promote collagen production.

$50 for 24 patches (Shop Now)

Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lip Mask

Flower Beauty’s Petal Pout Lip Mask, which just launched, is already a fast favorite. It’s portable, affordable, and, most importantly, infused with decadent mango and coconut butters to repair chapped and flaking lips.

$10 (Shop Now)

Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask

Clinique’s Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask not only comes in this unarguably cute, millennial-pink tube, but it also works like a charm on winter-worn lips. Moisturizing ingredients, like murumuru seed butter, hydrogenated castor oil, and sea whip extract go the extra mile to hydrate and simultaneously plump lips while you sleep.

$18 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips is as delicious as its name implies. Chock full of nourishing ingredients like mango butter, coconut oil, and cocoa, with a creamy (not sticky!) consistency, it’s worth the splurge. Blanket your lips with a hefty coat of the stuff before bed and come morning, you’ll wake with supple, hydrated lips.

$26 (Shop Now)

Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Duo

Kaplan MD’s Perfect Pout Duo feels like a dream on lips. The pillow-like balm is whipped to a dreamy, gel-cream consistency and is made of reparative ingredients like seabuckthorn berry extract and sunflower seed wax to nourish lips while you snooze.

$24 (Shop Now)

Starskin DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask

Starskin’s DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask utilizes an innovative, coconut juice-derived, bio-cellulose technology that adheres to the lips seamlessly and feels similar in texture to Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask. Each one is submerged in a tropical-scented bath, which leaves lips looking and feeling juicier after just 15 minutes.

$10 (Shop Now)

111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo

Before you scoff at the price of 111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo, allow me to explain why it’s worth the hefty price tag. For starters, the tiniest amount goes a long way (we’re talking the size of a pea or less here). It has also been scientifically tested (and proven effective) to give the illusion of having thicker, suppler lips after just a few uses. What’s more: It contains exfoliating ingredients, like lemon and orange peel oils, which naturally shed the top layer of skin to create an even-toned, softer surface.

$150 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

15 Best Foundations For Dry Skin

Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation

This foundation is perfect the person who still wants their skin to look natural and dewy. Thanks to a concoction of oils like avocado, meadowfoam, red raspberry, jojoba, rosehip and more, this foundation gives your skin all the hydration it needs while offering an enhanced glow and light coverage.

Buy on their website $54

Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum

This foundation gives the skin a moisturizing boost with a thin veil of makeup that includes vitamin E oil, antioxidants, and peptides. The foundation not only works to cover blemishes but also reduces wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull-looking skin with neuropeptides, daisy flower extract, and bisabolol.

Buy at Dermstore $60

Black Opal Even True Foundation

This hydrating liquid foundation is an all-in-one complexion perfecter. Not only does it nourish skin with licorice root extract but also hides imperfections like hyperpigmentation, acne and more well with its lightweight and full coverage formula. The hypoallergenic formula is also safe for sensitive skin.

Buy on Amazon $23

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Hoping for a dewy finish? Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer should be your go-to. It not only protects the skin from sun damage with an SPF of 30, but it also takes away the appearance of skin impurities and adds hydration with macadamia, tamarind seed extract, and kukui seed oil.

Buy at Sephora $47

Fenty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation

This liquid foundation offers medium coverage and is perfect for those with dry skin because of the infused grapeseed oil and sodium hyaluronate, which helps replenish the skin. The easy-to-use tube is perfect for the girl on the go.

Buy at Sephora $36

Clinique Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator SPF

This paraben- and fragrance-free tinted moisturizer offers a full day’s worth of nourishment for all skin types. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe water for maximum skin health and dewiness. SPF coverage protects skin from environmental aggressors as well.

Buy at Macy’s $53

Armani Beauty Neo Nude Foundation

If you’re in need of an instant hydrating and skin-plumping fix, this foundation should be in your rotation. Hyaluronic acid and moisturizing glycerin are the stars of this buildable coverage show. 

Buy at Sephora $40

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint Foundation

This lightweight, water gel and hyaluronic acid formula not only leaves the skin more hydrated, but is also oil-free and non-comedogenic, so you don’t need to worry about it clogging your pores.

Buy at Target $13

The Lip Bar Skin Serum Foundation

This foundation has a built-in brush to make application easier for the busy body. The formula lasts for eight hours and is deeply nourishing thanks to hyaluronic acid and Irish moss extract.

Side note: I really don’t like the applicator, it gets very dirty and messy very fast. If you can find another way to use the actual product, such as dispensing some on the back of your hand and then applying it, you’ll love it.

Buy on their website $28

Tarte Babassu Foundcealer Skincare Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20

This foundation is vegan, hypoallergenic, and hydrating—perfect for those with sensitive and dry skin. The coverage is buildable so you’re able to play around with what suits you best on any given day. Babassu, vitamins A & E, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids and antioxidants offer skin nourishment and a plump feel.

Buy at Dermstore $39

Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation

This foundation not only includes SPF 35 to protect the skin, but also pansy extract, which keeps the skin from drying out throughout the day. The coverage lasts for 24 hours, with a glowing finish that avoids looking too shiny or oily.

Buy at Sephora $52

Chanel Les Beiges Foundation

This foundation features light protective pigment and antioxidants which lessen the damage caused by pollution, free radicals, and blue light. It’s also made up of 40% water which helps to keep the skin hydrated.

Buy on their website $60

UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation

This foundation incorporates berry extract for hydration, along with a formula that delivers a flawless, pore-blurring finish. It’s also vegan and paraben-free, making it great for all skin types.

Buy at ULTA $39

Dermablend Cover Creme Full Coverage Foundation

Dermablend’s foundation delivers all-day hydration through a smooth, creamy formula, while also protecting the skin with SPF 30. The coverage stays on for 16 hours, and works wells even over acne, rosacea, and vitiligo.

B uy at Dermstore $39

Mented Skin Foundation

This stick foundation is easy to apply, offers buildable coverage, and moisturizes thanks to sodium hyaluronate, castor oil, and grape seed oil.

Buy on their website $30

VOGUE article

The 13 Best Mascaras For Sensitive Eyes

Finding the best mascara for sensitive eyes sounds like a highly specific ask for a makeup product that notoriously leads people on never-ending searches. Just figuring out the best mascara in general can be tough, particularly if you want one that does it all: lengthening, volumizing, and holding a curl—all while being easy to remove and flake-free.

Because everyone’s sensitivities are different, it’s tough to make any generalizations about ingredients to avoid, but there are a few strategies you can try. Hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested mascaras are the way for some; tubing mascaras are the ticket for others, especially if mascara flakes in your contacts are the bane of your existence. Beyond not making your eyes feel like they’re watering in pain, the best mascaras for sensitive eyes should also do the stuff you actually want mascara to do, like thickening, lengthening, and defining your lashes. It’s a tall order, but here are 13 gentle formulas that truly do it all.

Clinique High Impact Mascara

Clinique has a reputation for making gentle, irritation-free makeup, and this mascara is proof. It’s ophthalmologist- and allergy-tested, mineral-oil- and fragrance-free, and safe for contact lens wearers. On top of that, it’s really freaking good, giving definition on the first swipe and drama on the second.

Buy at Macy’s $27

Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Mascara

Maybelline’s Full ‘N Soft mascara is beloved for the long, natural-looking lashes it imparts. The formula is hypoallergenic, and whereas some lengthening mascaras can leave lashes brittle and spidery, this gives you results that are as soft as the name claims.

Buy at ULTA $9

Chanel Le Volume de Chanel

This volumizing mascara gets tons of rave reviews for the noticeable results, especially from makeup lovers with sensitive eyes. Chanel’s mascara makes good on its nonirritating reputation, thanks to its conditioning, flake-free formula.

Buy at Violet Grey $32

Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara

If you’ve been let down by flaking, smudging formulas before, set your trust issues aside and give this drugstore gem a try. The vegan mascara features a fragrance- and oil-free formula that uses tubular fibers to impart volume and definition without any hint of stinging. Plus, it removes easily with just warm water (but still manages to stay on through a sweaty workout).

Buy at ULTA $5

Talika Lipocils Eyelash Growth Mascara

A nonirritating mascara that also grows your lashes as you wear it? Leave it to Talika to make that magic happen. The brand makes one of the few lash serums that even the most sensitive of eyes can tolerate, and its mascara is equally gentle. The fluttery, volumizing formula helps lashes grow longer and more pigmented with consistent use.

Buy on their website $35

Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

Ilia makes so many of our beauty bag staples, and this mascara is no exception. It feels totally weightless, with a soothing boost from aloe and rosewater. The lengthening, defining wand leaves lashes with a pretty flutter.

Buy on their website $28

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

Tarte’s mascara truly checks every box: It’s vegan, hypoallergenic, and ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested—so many stamps of approval. If you can’t get through the day without your eyes suffering, this conditioning and clump-free tube brings peace of mind (and tons of volume).

Buy at Sephora $23

Blinc Mascara

The holy grail of tubing mascaras, Blinc is the answer if you’ve never, ever found a mascara your eyes can stand. The brand says it’s been clinically tested to be nonirritating, while the technology means it stays on even if your eyes tear up easily. Just remove with warm water at the end of the day; while it withstands a crying session, the enveloping tubes also slide off easily when you need them to.

Buy at Sephora $26

CoverGirl Professional Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara

Allow a long list of glowing Reddit reviews to introduce this affordable choice. It’s completely smudge-proof, but whereas some mascaras use harsh ingredients to lock onto your lashes, CoverGirl’s doesn’t even call for makeup remover; it easily washes away with soap and water.

Buy at CVS $8

Elate Essential Mascara

Elate’s gently formulated clean mascara is water- and sweat-resistant, and reviewers love how the buildable formula stays put all day long. The wand is specially designed to hug and coat your lashes, leaving no clumps or flakes behind. 

Buy on their website $28

Heroine Makeup Long & Curl Mascara Advanced Film

Heroine makes some of the best curl-holding mascaras on the market; apply once in the morning, and your lashes won’t even droop a centimeter come evening. Along with maintaining a curl for hours, this lengthening formula won’t shed any flakes in your eyes or cause other forms of irritation.

Buy on Amazon $27

L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara

Drugstore tubing mascaras aren’t the most common find, which is why this one has a cult following. The white end primes your lashes with a conditioning coat, while the black side builds a ton of length on top. No flakes, no irritation, no crying.

Buy at ULTA $12

No7 Stay Perfect Mascara Black

No7’s Stay Perfect also relies on tubing technology to get the job done. The most noticeable difference is that the tubes are “elastic” and cling onto lashes extra tightly. The brush also sets it apart. It avoids clumps like a boss and grabs every lash single for a lifted cat-eye effect.

Buy at Target $9

GLAMOUR article

12 Korean Beauty Trends To Try In 2021

Snail mucin. Bee venom. Glass skin. These are just some of the beauty trends to emerge from South Korea in the past five years. Whether you’ve dabbled in a bit of donkey milk (good for rejuvenating the skin with protein and fatty acids) or you’ve played it safe with a weekly face mask, K-beauty is everywhere. In fact, Allied Market Research says that by 2026, the K-beauty market will be worth an estimated $21 billion. According to Jenni Middleton, director of beauty at trend forecasting company WGSN, “During the coronavirus pandemic, consumers searched more for K-beauty, looking for innovative products to add to their lockdown beauty regimes.”

Like most cultural phenomena, K-beauty is ever-changing—what was big last year may not be as popular this year. As Middleton observes, we’re seeing the traditional 10-step routine give way to a more minimalist approach as conscious consumers react against fast fashion and excessive packaging. Elsewhere, playful gimmicks such as color-changing effects or jellylike substances are being passed over in favor of science-backed formulas.

1. Hanbang ingredients

Hanbang ingredients are traditional herbal ingredients used in Korean medicines and they’ve long been a staple in Korean life. For example, ginseng root, houttuynia cordata, sacred lotus, and rehmannia boast antiaging, anti-inflammation, and regenerative properties.

2. Acid layering

K-beauty has been incorporating more acid into its products, but with a gentle approach that focuses on striking the balance: Too much can irritate and aggravate your skin, too little will yield no results, so products with an optimal amount is key. Use the right balance of AHAs and BHAs (plant and animal-derived acids) to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and smooth skin texture.

3. Carrot seed oil

Carrot seed oil is an unsung hero at the moment, although it has been used in K-beauty for more than 10 years. It contains vitamin A and is a great antioxidant. It’s antiaging, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory—so it’s ideal for anyone looking to brighten up their skin.

4. Gentle retinol

K-beauty’s ‘skin first’ approach will continue through 2021, especially given that self-care and skin care are so important right now. There’s no denying retinol’s powerful antiaging properties, but the K-beauty approach uses a lower percentage, so the skin stays healthier and less irritated. Retinol is highly efficacious without causing unnecessary damage.

5. Centella asiatica

[The year] 2021 is less about what’s ‘buzzy’ and more about what’s tried-and-true, with a focus on calming the skin. Centella asiatica [an herb grown in Asia, known for being anti-inflammatory]—or ‘cica’—is huge right now. With everyone dealing with the prolonged stress of the pandemic and dreaded ‘maskne,’ soothing irritated, angry skin seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds. Cica is the ingredient that everyone wants to add to their routine.

6. Clean beauty

More brands are developing products free of chemical additives, artificial ingredients, and fragrance. Products will be even more gentle with effective plant-based ingredients, and many brands are becoming vegan as well. Consumers are more aware of what they put on their skin.

7. Pre-, pro-, and postbiotics

This year, inner and outer wellness brands and products will gain more popularity. For example, brands that focus on pre-, pro-, and postbiotics; microbiome-friendly skin care; and consumable supplements, which benefit both the skin and the gut.

“K-beauty will shift more towards a holistic approach, linking skin care and internal health. I take probiotic supplements for my bouts of eczema and I love using K-beauty products with fermented ingredients. I regularly use 107—it uses aged [seven- and 10-year-old] vinegar [that promotes good gut health]. Their vinegar tastes delicious with honey!”

8. Flexible minimalism

A few years back, we were oversaturated with the ‘10-step Korean skin-care routine.’ The ‘skin-care diet’ [using fewer products and steps] that followed was a pushback against that, but it was too restrictive for those who wanted more results than could be attained with just the basics.

Flexible minimalism is a focus on clean and simple product lines, which makes customizing your routine easier. There will also be a push towards pared-back lists of ingredients. Single and minimal ingredients are appealing because of their simplicity and high concentration of the hero component.

9. At-home indulgences

Skin care has a functional element—it has to work and deliver results—but I expect products that provide meditative, soothing, and spa-like moments to take off in a big way. They can transport you mentally and emotionally to another headspace.

10. Hyphenate and hybrid skin care

We’ve started seeing ‘skipcare’ as a K-beauty trend, where the focus is on a pared-down, simple, and minimalist routine. We will be seeing more efficient and effective multitasking and versatile products—what we like to call ‘hyphenates’ or ‘hybrid’ skin care.

11. Skin detoxifying and barrier strengthening

“The belief that ‘skin is a reflection of your mental state’ comes from Korea, and growing up, my mother emphasized this to me many times. We’ll see more barrier-strengthening ingredients that boost immunity, such as mushrooms, plus detoxifying herbs including mugwort and ginger. Ceramides [which form a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss and visible skin damage] will make a comeback too.”

12. A boost in body care

In Korea, many body-care rituals originate from the bathhouse culture, where milk treatments are slathered on the face and body, and baths are steeped with skin-beneficial ingredients, such as green tea and probiotics. During a difficult year, personal self-care has taken on new importance for many, so we expect to see the definition to include all of the skin, from head to toe.

VOGUE article

The Most Exciting New Makeup Releases That Arrived In February

CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner

As protective face coverings are still very much a part of our day-to-day life, the eyes will continue to be the focal point of our makeup looks. Whether you prefer a sharp cat eye or a fun graphic look, CoverGirl’s Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner is as bold as it gets. Designed with an easy-gliding felt tip for smooth, quick-drying application that lasts up to 12 hours, it comes in three shades, Black Onyx (true black), Charcoal (slate gray), and Espresso (rich brown) to pair with every look imaginable.

$8 (Shop Now)

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Ultra Glow Highlighter

Not only is the one-and-only Pat McGrath gracing the February Allure cover, but she’s also been busy behind the scenes bringing her latest Divine Rose II collection to life. Although every item, including the runway-previewed Mothership VIII Eyeshadow Palette, is sure to leave you breathless, I simply can’t wait to drench my skin in the ethereally rosy-golden Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter in Divine Rose. This gel-meets-powder illuminator practically makes your cheekbones visible from outer space — and at the very least, spices up your Zoom dates.

$48 (Shop Now)

BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge

After years of research and development (alongside John Nanos, who holds a Ph.D. in organic polymer chemistry), the BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge is finally available to the masses. Made out of just five vegan ingredients and packaged in 100 percent plantable paper, this eco-friendly beauty tool degrades within four months in a home compost setup, compared to regular makeup sponges that waste away in a landfill for over — wait for it — 50 years. It’s even embedded with a “plant me” message to remind you to do your part.

$5 (Shop Now)

Giorgio Armani Beauty Sí Intense Eau de Parfum

Originally launched in 2013, Giorgio Armani Beauty has finally launched a revamped Sí Intense Eau de Parfum that essentially feels and looks like a warm hug. Just look at that inviting, honey-like hue. Blackcurrant nectar, Isparta rose, and patchouli ramp up to the bottle’s most intense note, vanilla, making this the perfect cozy winter (or spring) scent.

$136 for 100 ml (Shop Now)

Kevyn Aucoin True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo

If you prefer to cocktail your brow routine with different formulas, Kevyn Aucoin’s True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo was made for you. Infused with mung bean and red clover extract to promote fuller-looking brows, the tinted marker is equipped with an ultra-fine brush tip to create precise, realistic-looking hairs and fill in sparse areas. On the flip side, an invisible gel fluffs up your filled-in (or naked) brows and provides flexible hold. Choose from four different shades: Ash Blonde, Warm Brunette, Brunette, and Dark Brunette.

$28 (Shop Now)

Colourpop x Animal Crossing: New Horizons Collection

Save up your bells because you’ll want to spend all of them on Colourpop’s hyped-up Animal Crossing: New Horizons Collection. Inspired by iconic characters, such as Tom Nook, Isabelle, and the Able Sisters, this latest beauty-and-video-game crossover is stacked with pink-, green-, brown-, and purple-themed eye shadow palettes in a variety of matte, matte sparkle, metallic, and pressed glitter finishes. If you’re looking for unadulterated glitz, you can choose between Balloon Pop Super Shock Shadow (a metallic pink-silver single eye shadow) and Bellionaire Glitterally Obsessed (a gold, self-sticking glitter gel) — or frankly, pick up both.

Rounding out the launch are two baby-pink and coral powder blushes reminiscent of the cosmo flowers and wildflowers found on the island. And whether you lean towards pink, coral, or caramel tones, you’re bound to find a fruit-tree-inspired Mini Lip Tint Duo that fits your mood to a T. 

$7 to 12 or $125 for the full collection (Shop Now)

Glow Recipe Blueberry Lip Pop

Glow Recipe is no stranger to reformulating its products, and the Lip Pop is the latest to undergo an upgrade of its own. Now 35 percent bigger in size (3.1 grams to 4.2 grams, to get hyper-specific) and available in a permanent blueberry-infused shade, you don’t have to worry about ordering refills as frequently. This three-in-one wonder gently exfoliates, hydrates, and adds a gorgeous berry-pink tint to your lips. Go forth, swipe, and reap the multitiered benefits.

$22 (Shop Now)

Velour Beauty Vegan Luxe Lashes

Velour Beauty Vegan Luxe Lashes is the brand’s biggest step towards going 100 percent mink-free in 2021. Swipe on a layer of adhesive glue or the Best of Beauty-winning Lash & Go Eyeliner and plop on any of the 13 new styles, like Run The World for a gradient lengthening effect or the spike-patterned She-E-O for extra drama. Just like that, you’re the proud owner of soft, fluttery lashes.

$27 (Shop Now)

One/Size Secure the Blur Makeup Magnet Primer

Patrick Starrr’s latest product, the One/Size Secure the Blur Makeup Magnet Primer, creates a mattified base that’ll grip onto your foundation for all-day hold. A powerful trio of niacinamide, witch hazel, and glycerin minimizes the appearance of large pores, evens skin tone, and controls shine, so all you’re in charge of is showing off your flawless beat.

$30 (Shop Now)

Freck Noir

As the newest addition to the faux freckle family (which also includes Freck OG and Freck XL), Freck Noir was specifically created to complement mid-to-dark skin tones. Simply stamp on a small cluster of dots, and then, quickly tap your fingers on the not-yet-dry pigment to create subtle copies wherever you’d like on your face. If you’ve been in the market for a product that’ll change up your look with minimal effort, this is it.

$28 (Shop Now)

Bésame Cosmetics The Disney Mary Poppins Collection

Although your makeup bag might not be magically bottomless, there’s definitely room for Bésame Cosmetics’ The Disney Mary Poppins Collection. Based on Mary’s signature floral design and actual lip and cheek colors used in the beloved films, the Practically Perfect Powder, Poppins Red Lipstick (rich red), and Mary’s Cream’s Rouge (dark pink rouge with a hint of coral) might just make you break out in song. 

$25 to $68 (Shop Now)

Lawless Forget The Filler Definer Liner

Formulated with a silk-like ester for a one-and-done kind of glide (no tugging involved), Lawless’s Forget The Filler Definer Liner checks off all of the boxes eco-conscious beauty lovers might have. It’s certified “Clean at Sephora,” sustainably sourced — it’s made out of FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood — and vegan. You’ll find your perfect my-lips-but-better shade in Burnish (mid-tone nude with a hint of red), Coco (cool-toned deep brown), Honey Rose (pinkish-mauve), or Pink Sand (universal neutral pink).

$21 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The Best Natural and Organic Makeup Brands That Makeup Artists Actually Use

As many of us become more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and what we’re putting our bodies through, we’re also becoming more aware of what we’re putting on our bodies. While the performance of natural makeup used to pale in comparison to products from our favorite makeup counters, there are many natural makeup brands creating products that are richly pigmented, apply beautifully, and wear as well as their more synthetic competitors. You may already be using some of them and don’t even know they’re all-natural.

But before I get into industry favourites, let’s get one thing straight: “Natural” doesn’t automatically mean a product is better or safer for you, as the FDA has nebulous criteria on just what constitutes a natural product (“natural” isn’t regulated for cosmetics, so it can be used purely as a marketing term). “There is no real definition of ‘natural’ in the U.S. beauty industry,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. “As long as the bulk of your material is natural, you can say ‘natural-based.’ There is no regulation. The true naturals have seals like COSMOS Natural or Ecocert — European organizations that allow up to 5 percent synthetics.”

The FDA does not have a definition for the term “organic,” either, as it is not defined by either the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which they use as guidelines. “‘Organic’ usually means USDA-certified food grades. There are limited numbers of products you can make to be classified as organic green,” King says.

“‘Clean beauty’ is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. “‘Non-toxic’ means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. This is better than claiming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ as they are products that perform without compromising safety. People want natural because they assume natural ingredients are safe, which is not necessarily the case. They also may not be as effective as synthetic materials.”

This brings me to another point: An ingredient might be natural or organic, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance you’ll have an adverse or allergic reaction to it, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re using and how your body responds.

Thanks to growing consumer concern and education, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in the use of the phrase “clean beauty.” Last year, for example, Sephora announced the launch of Clean at Sephora, the company’s new category that clearly establishes which of their products are formulated without controversial ingredients. Those that meet Sephora’s ingredients guidelines are deemed “clean” and receive the retailer’s Clean at Sephora seal.

Ingredients aside, one of the benefits of using natural products is that many, if not all, ingredients are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. As consumers, it’s never been more important to prioritize what we want in our makeup, and our money talks. These days there’s a clean option to switch out every product in your makeup routine, so it’s never been easier to avoid controversial ingredients.

But I also wanted to help you sort out your options. The following products have received high marks from professional makeup artists — who have seen and used it all — so you can start cleaning up your cosmetics bag.

ILIA Beauty

Ilia Beauty is focused on creating clean, pure products with organic bio-active botanicals that nourish skin as they wear. From lipstick to eye shadow and multiple base products, Ilia’s products give you a luxurious feel, look, and wear, while being some of the cleanest makeup you can use.

Puckey is a huge fan of the brand, spotlighting many of its products. “I love how smooth the Fade Into You Powder feels and how it really disappears on the skin. The Illuminators come in three shades that work for a variety of skin tones. I like that it comes in a stick form for easy application.”

“I love the Beauty Essential Shadow Palette in Prima, which has four great, neutral, everyday shades, including my favourite beige shade, and the Satin Cream Lip Crayons have a semi-matte finish and are all super easy to apply,” he adds, calling out the deep, burgundy shade 99 Balloons as a favorite.

(Shop Now)

100% Pure Beauty

100% Pure Beauty has a full collection of skin care, makeup, hair, and body products, all made with natural ingredients. The brand is serious about the way it sources its ingredients, too, using a strict methodology to determine and confirm that its products contain no synthetic ingredients. In the past, I’ve been a big fan of its Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, and I love that its foundations are available in a wide range of shades.

Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is a big fan of the brand’s lipsticks, telling Allure “100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks come in such beautiful, bold, matte shades that you forget you’re working with a natural brand.”

He calls out the shade Sonora Red as one that “really packs a punch.”

(Shop Now)

Kosas

Each Kosas product is made with active botanicals and balanced with safe synthetics, giving you luxury formulas, beautiful pigments that flatter a multitude of skin tones, and they all look as good as they feel. The beautiful face duos are available in both cream and powder formulas, each including a blush and an illuminator that complement each other and boost your face’s luminosity and glow.

The lipsticks are also not to be missed. Puckey tells Allure, “Kosas has a line of all-natural lipsticks in super chic black packaging. Rosewater (a dusky rose) and Thrillest (bright poppy red) are my favorites.”

(Shop Now)

Bite Beauty

Did you know that Bite Beauty is natural and organic? I always forget. These luxe lipsticks are made with 12 different oils, as well as while pearl, silk, red wine, and organic butters; the result is a lipstick that’s incredibly creamy and hydrating, long-wearing and even has benefits from antioxidants for a product that’s actually good for your lips.

“No one does the range of bold color options in the right creamy/waxy base the way Bite does,” makeup artist Katey Denno explains. “They also make a lot of corresponding lip liners, which, until they filled it, had been a big hole in the marketplace.”

(Shop Now)

Tower 28 Beauty

Newer to the natural scene, Tower 28 Beauty is becoming a fast favorite among makeup artists, beauty editors, and influencers alike. The whimsical packaging, quality ingredients, and vegan and cruelty-free promise are just a few of many reasons to love this L.A.-based brand, which prides itself on making products suitable for ultra-sensitive skin types. In fact, it’s tagline is #ItsOkayToBeSensitive, which is pretty clever if you ask me.

“Their products are so good for sensitive skin!” says makeup artist Robin Black, who battles rosacea. “I love their SOS Face Spray, cream blushes, and highlighters, and their cheek and lip products are getting lots of buzz for good reason. They’re so pretty on and so easy to use.”

(Shop Now)

Lilah B. 

One of the innovators of the now popular and chic swivel compact, Lilah B. is all about creating simple, multipurpose beauty products with clean formulas. Without gluten, sulfates, or parabens, and packed with aloe and botanicals, these products take to skin beautifully, feel luxurious and nourishing, and look amazing on your face and on your vanity.

(Shop Now)

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty takes special care to ensure that its ingredients are certified organic so that no toxins, pesticides, synthetics, or fertilizers make it into its products. Starting with a base of organic botanical juice (hence the name), without any petroleum fillers or added water, each product is packed with antioxidants and concentrated skin-care benefits.

Denno is especially a fan of the Juice Boost Illuminator + Bronzer Duo. “Finely micronized shimmer particles add the perfect amount of highlight, no matter what your skin tone. [It] can be used directly on all areas you highlight: cheeks, Cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, inner-eye corner, lid, clavicle, shoulders, or can be mixed into foundation to give an overall more glowy look,” she suggests.

“This stuff is unlike any other green beauty highlight product in that it dries completely (and quickly).”

(Shop Now)

Lawless

The Lawless tagline is “Clean AF,” and the brand means it. Its liquid lipsticks are formulated without carcinogenic, toxic, hormone- or endocrine-disrupting ingredients. If people ingest up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year, Lawless is trying to make sure that its products — that you put directly on your mouth and skin — are as safe as possible.

(Shop Now)

RMS Beauty

Stemming from the founder’s own need for clean-beauty products free of toxic chemicals and metals, RMS Beauty is a line of ultra-luxurious, pared-down multitaskers that have become favorites in the industry. It’s a bit like a grown-up Glossier, with rich formulas, bright colors, and twinkling shimmers that make a welcome addition to any beauty routine, no matter how simple or complex it may be.

The line’s hero product is the Living Luminizer, a highlighter in a pot, that you tap onto the high points of your face, as you do, for a glow that is equal parts natural and ethereal. It pairs well with any product you put it on top of (or under) and wears like it’s a part of you.

(Shop Now)

Milk Makeup

Since it’s inception in 2014, Milk Makeup has become a major power player in the vegan and cruelty-free beauty category. With innovative products that are as pretty and fun to use as they are effective, it’s easy to see why so many people adore the brand. Speaking of which, makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who works with stars like Kristen Bell, Julianne Moore, and Karlie Kloss — among myriad others — tells Allure it’s one of his top-favorite natural beauty brands. If you’ve yet to try anything from Milk, the Hydro Grip PrimerKush Mascara, and Glow Oils (pictured above) are all great products to start with.

(Shop Now)

Beautycounter

With a tagline like #BetterBeauty, Beautycounter strives to use only the safest ingredients possible and none of the nasties. It even has what it calls “The Never List,” which includes harsh chemicals, dangerous preservatives like formaldehyde, and synthetic flavors and fragrances. The brand offers makeup, skin-care, and bath and body products, as well as an array of kits for men, babies, and traveling. Schlip is especially partial to its eye makeup products — specifically, the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette, which is a best-seller and excellent for creating a wide range of natural, everyday looks.

(Shop Now)

Rituel De Fille

Founded by three sisters in Los Angeles, Rituel De Fille is known for its witchy aesthetic and magic-inspired formulas. “They have amazing products with minimal ingredients and really interesting colors,” says Black, who’s a huge fan of the brand. “Standouts are the Eye Soots, but the lip and skin products are also great… they hold up well on camera, too, so perfect for Zooming!”

If you love cream-based products, you can’t go wrong with any of its Inner Glow Créme Pigments or Enchanted Lip Sheers, both of which come in a variety of mesmerizing shades that suit most skin tones.

(Shop Now)

ALLURE article

Everything You Need to Know About the Pigments in Your Clean Makeup Products

The key is to get traditional color payoff, without traditional formulations.

It’s become quite clear in recent years that more and more consumers want the option of purchasing makeup products that have been formulated without potentially harmful ingredients — and retailers are listening up.

Sephora, for example offers a green seal for products that are made without over 50 controversial ingredients, while Credo Beauty only sells brands, both skincare and cosmetic, that deem themselves as clean. But long before these makeup products can reach shelves, it’s up to founders to figure out how to give consumers vibrant color payoff, all without the use of ingredients like carbon black or petroleum found in many traditional formulas.

“Color cosmetics are arguably the hardest products we create for this very reason,” Lindsay Dahl, senior vice president of social mission at Beautycounter shares with InStyle.”We are constantly working with our team to try different colorants, source new raw materials, all the while considering safety and sourcing issues that may arise.”

Yet, both Beautycounter and Róen Beauty have nailed how to make makeup products that are clean, and offer the color payoff consumers crave by using ingredients like mica and zinc stearate, which are both considered to be low risk when it comes to toxicity, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Here, an interview with Dahl and Beautycounter chief artistic officer Christy Coleman, as well as Róen Beauty CEO Tiffany Thurston Scott to answer all your questions about sourcing clean pigments.

Why Is It Important for Brands to Source Clean Pigments?

“The higher the pigment, the higher chance there is for heavy metal contamination, so it’s really important to go beyond just the Never List [Beautycounter’s list of over 1,800 potentially harmful ingredients that they do not use],” says Dahl. “We believe screening makeup for heavy metals is a practice that every beauty brand should be doing, but is not widely practiced, even among the ‘clean’ beauty industry. We screen each colorant for 23 health and environmental endpoints, in addition to testing raw materials and finished goods for heavy metals.”

As for Scott, it’s personal.

When she was in her early 20s, she shares that she became “obsessed” with understanding where her food came from in order to know exactly what she was putting into her body. This is why it became so important for her to source clean ingredients for her line.

“It was a natural transition for me to focus not only on what I was putting in my body but what I was putting on my body,” she says. “This led me to look into ingredients in my cosmetic and skincare products which was an eye-opener as to the toxic chemicals that are so prevalent.”

Is It Difficult to Find Clean Pigments That Offer Traditional Color Payoff?

Leaders from both brands admit that it was a challenge. However, after working with the right chemists, they were able to find ingredients that offered the best of both worlds.

“All of our products spend at least a year in development, which is why we have a small curated selection of products,” Scott says of Róen. “It’s important to me that we don’t launch anything that I’m not completely proud of and know is clean and high performing.”

Are There Certain Colors That Are Harder to Source Than Others?

According to Coleman, blues, greens, some rich browns, as well as certain glitters can pose a challenge.

“[They] have historically been harder to formulate safely given the high levels of heavy metals,” she explains. “In terms of mica, which gives a shimmery effect, particle size plays an important role. I have found it challenging sourcing a finer particle size which gives more of a subtle sheen, as opposed to larger particle sizes that produce a more glitter effect.”

Does Going Clean Come at a Steep Cost?

The long and short answer is yes, however, Scott believes that a clean bill of health is always worth the investment.

“[Health and glamour] can coexist and complement each other,” she says. “I think that as the clean beauty industry grows and evolves, the ingredients will become increasingly more economical as the demand continues to heighten.”

Dahl also notes that it’s not just about the money.

“We have audited 100% of our mica supply chain — a safe ingredient commonly used in makeup — that has human rights and labor concerns, like child labor,” she shares. “Taking on this important sourcing work comes at a cost, but we care about making sure people are protected all along our supply chain.”

The brand also uses some of their products to give back to areas that have been affected by labor exploitation. For example, ten percent of each purchase from the Golden Hour All-In-One Palette goes towards communities impacted by mica mining in India.

How Can You Ensure Ingredients Are Sourced Ethically?

It truly comes down to founders doing their homework, says Scott, who makes sure that the labs and suppliers she works with prioritize protecting the environment. But she’s transparent about the fact she, and the industry as a whole, can still do a better job.

“Our suppliers adhere to strict ethical guidelines in terms of sourcing materials to how the products are manufactured,” she explains. “For instance, our labs are part of the Responsible Mica Initiative that ensures our mica ethically sourced. We can always improve in this area and will always strive to continually improve wherever we can.”

INSTYLE article

What Goes Into a Clean Mascara — and What’s Left Out?

The clean beauty market has been making serious waves in the industry over the past few years, with consumers becoming increasingly more mindful of the ingredients found in product formulations.

Yet, when it comes to mascara — which is arguably one of the most commonly used beauty products in North America — options are extremely limited.

“Mascara is notoriously hard to create because it is truly a union between three things: brush, wiper, and formula,” Dianna Ruth, co-founder of Milk Makeup, tells InStyle. “Getting all three to work in harmony is a challenge in itself. Clean mascara is a specific challenge because of the need to remove synthetics or parabens.”

Despite the hurdles, Milk Makeup, along with brands like Kosas and Ilia, have all gotten their formulas down pat, and even crafted the perfect wipers and brushes — and consumers can’t get enough.

What Ingredients Go Into a Clean Mascara?

Since there are no strict FDA regulations around these cosmetic formulations, ingredients can vary from brand to brand. However, to be considered “clean,” there’s a general standard of what’s left out.

“A brand needs to prepare and share ‘free – of,’ ‘no-no’ beauty ingredient list that prohibits the use of those ingredients in your products,” says Ruth.

Milk, Ilia, and Kosas are all free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and over 50 other potentially harmful ingredients.

But it is important to note that not all clean formulas contain vegan ingredients.

Buy at Sephora $24

Why Should Certain Ingredients Specifically Be Left Out of Clean Mascara?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a list featuring a plethora of potentially toxic ingredients found in personal care products that may be linked to cancer and other serious health concerns. This is why Sheena Yaitanes, founder of Kosas, along with the other founders believe it’s incredibly important to be mindful of what goes into mascaras.

Buy at Sephora $26

“Your eye is a mucous membrane. It’s very vascular and very delicate and things can easily absorb there,” she explains. “We’ve all heard of the most popular ingredients to avoid in products, but the biggest thing that caught my eye when I was first reading the ingredient lists on my mascaras, was the liberal use of plastics and formaldehyde releasing agents like acrylates. Think of the plastic bags you get at the grocery store or acrylic nails.” (!)

How Are Clean Mascara Formulations Crafted Without Traditional Ingredients?

“We worked hand-in-hand with our formulating team to address concerns and find clean swaps for each of them,” Ilia Founder, Sasha Plavsic shares about the creation of the brand’s Limitless Lash Lengthening Mascara. “The amazing thing was that we found swaps to help maintain consumer performance expectations, but they also had other great benefits, like easy removal and less weight on the lashes.”

Buy at Sephora $26

Yaitanes, who has long loved the look of “massive, almost fake looking lashes,” adds that she wanted to ensure consumers could get an ultra-bold finish by creating a formula for The Big Clean that not only gave them unforgettable results, but also would work to nourish their lashes. Turns out it was no easy feat.

“It took our research and development team 104 iterations to get this formula right,” she explains. “We tested the formulas on different people, different eyes shapes, and during different activities. I personally did a lot of sweaty yoga, others would sleep in each formula to test the morning-after impact, and one the members of our product development team tested during her MMA training. By the way, no mascara survives MMA — but we love that she tried.”

In the end, they were able to create a product that became an instant hit, which included lash care components like castor oil, pro vitamin B5, and biotinyl tripeptide. All used at a serum concentration.

But for vegan formulations, like Milk Makeup’s KUSH High Volumizing Mascara, which don’t include key binding ingredients like beeswax, everything has to be taken up a notch.

“My team had the idea of using hemp-derived cannabis seed oil in addition to synthetic beeswax,” says Ruth. “In doing so, we found that hemp-derived cannabis seed oil was the perfect addition — plus it had conditioning benefits for hair and skin.”

INSTYLE article

This Clean Brand Wants People With Sensitive Skin to Have Fun With Makeup Too

You’ve probably seen Tower 28’s sunny, beach-inspired products on your Instagram feed. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #24 series on my blog.

After dealing with embarrassing flare-ups throughout her career, while working for some of the biggest brands in the beauty industry, Liu wanted to create makeup products that people with sensitive, compromised skin would feel good about using.

In under two years, Tower 28 has become known for its clean formulas, beach-inspired shades, colorful packaging, and accessible price points.

However, while Tower 28’s cult-favorite SOS Daily Rescue Spray has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, the brand’s products aren’t just for people with eczema or other chronic skin conditions.

“My hope is the products aren’t just for people who suffer from eczema or have problem skin like mine,” Liu tells InStyle. “It’s been fascinating because if you were to look at the people who tag us on Instagram, there’s everything from beauty guru full makeup looks to people who are more into skincare. It makes me so happy because I wanted this brand to be for everyone.”

Find out how Liu broke into the beauty industry, her thoughts on the future of the clean beauty movement, and so much more.

How did you wind up working in the beauty industry? 

My first job out of college was consulting. I didn’t feel an attachment to the work I was doing because once I was done a project somewhere I would leave. I went through what I call my quarter life crisis, and went to business school with the intention of changing careers. I don’t consider myself to be a super glam person or a beauty junkie, but the way people engage with beauty products and the psychology of beauty products has always fascinated me. Putting on makeup can be a confidence boost, and as someone who’s aging and has had compromised skin, I understand that experience. So, I went to USC for business school and did my first internship at L’Oréal with Maybelline. Then I worked at brands like Smashbox and Kate Somerville. All the while, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing but I’m quite a risk-adverse person. The idea of walking away from a job with a decent salary and raising money to start a brand was really scary. In the end, I ended up raising money from friends and family and that’s how I started Tower 28.

What is the inspiration behind Tower 28? 

I’ve had compromised, inconsistent, eczema-prone skin since I was in college. You see it addressed in skincare, but not really in makeup. I really wanted to wear makeup when I had flare-ups, but my biggest fear was making it worse by using products. I also felt self-conscious at work when I was presenting products to people and my hands had eczema on it. I’m sure part of it was in my own head because no one ever said anything to me, but it made me want to create something that could help people with compromised skin who felt guilty or bad about wearing products.

My parents immigrating to America from Taiwan is the second thing that’s inspired the brand. I was born in the U.S., grew up in California, and felt very American, but I still felt a little bit on the outside because I didn’t fit into what was considered the typical standards of beauty. That’s part of the reason why the brand has a beach theme to it. I’ve lived in Southern California near the beach for so long and you don’t just see blue eyes and blonde hair. Tower 28 is a real place on the edge of Santa Monica and Venice, and you could not find a more diverse group of people there. I wanted to tell a different story about the beach, and bring clean beauty to a larger group of people.

California just passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act. As a clean beauty brand founder, how do you think this bill will affect the industry? 

In general, as a wide statement, most businesses will not change unless there’s a real threat to their business. However, I’m happy that it’s happened and I hope it’s the tip of the iceberg. I think the consumer and the demand for clean products what will ultimately change the industry. I don’t think people think this new legislation is strict enough, especially if they’re already using clean products.

What Tower 28 product are you most proud of? 

The product I’m most proud of and personally reliant on, is our SOS Spray. We recently announced that we’re launching a jumbo size on Instagram and all of the comments were from people saying how excited they are. I’ve had this skin problem so long and started the brand not knowing I’d make something that really helps me, and then so many other people. It’s exactly all of the things I wanted to get out of creating a brand. Outside of that, I also think it’s cool that we don’t just have one hero product. We only have a few SKUs, but they’re all pretty productive.

You created Tower 28’s Clean Beauty Summer School Program to support Black-owned beauty brands. Why was this initiative important to you? 

I hope to provide access to mentorship and education at a time where so many Black founders are suddenly being seen and there’s an influx of demand. Since I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 17 years, I’m able to help people connect the dots, find mentors, and hopefully leverage this moment. A huge part of the success I’ve had in my career is due to my network and community in the industry, which in itself is a privilege.

Product Highlights:

Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

For a natural, streak-free glow, a cream bronzer is your best bet. Tower 28’s buildable formula blends like a dream, thanks to skin-conditioning ingredients like mango butter and calming green tea extract. It comes in two shades” West Coast is a medium bronze with neutral undertones, while Best Coast is a deep bronze with red undertones.

Buy on their website $20

ShineOn Lip Jelly

What do you get when you combine everything you love about your favorite lip balm and gloss? Tower 28’s ShineOn Lip Jelly. The six translucent shades (including this red) offer high shine and hydrate lips — without any stickiness.

Buy on their website $14

SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

This isn’t your average refreshing facial mist, the cult-favorite spray is formulated with hypochlorous acid, an ingredient that helps reduce bacteria and inflammation, which in turn, can soothe compromised skin and prevent acne.

Buy on their website $28

BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm

There’s no right or wrong way to use this tinted balm. Dab it on your eyelids, lips, and cheeks for a luminous, sheer wash of color. The three available shades are inspired by the warm tones of a Santa Monica sunset.

Buy on their website $20

ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly

Available in four shades inspired by alternative milks, the milky edition of ShineOn Lip Jelly is a level up from the original. It’s infused with apricot kernel and raspberry seed oils to nourish and protect lips from free radicals and environmental aggressors.

Buy on their website $14

INSTYLE article