While a lot of skincare and makeup sales still happen in retail environments, online sales are growing at a rate that stores simply can’t keep up with. Part of what facilitates these online beauty purchases is the standard marketing trifecta that most fresh-faced brands now employ: strategic press coverage, mass influencer buzz and a strong rollout of positive product reviews. If your brand is hot enough, people will talk about it without being paid to do so because they just want to be part of the conversation. (Basically, how beauty brand Glossier, now valued at $1.2 billion, built itself.) Billion-dollar beauty empires aside, here are 2 direct-to-consumer beauty brands I can’t live without.
This men’s skincare brand launched last year, starting with the Big 3 Kit that includes face wash, face lotion and body wash. It’s for the guy who wants to hit the buy button exactly once and get everything he needs. As founder and CEO Matt Mullenax explains, “We’re making the men’s care landscape digestible and relatable. From our packaging to our web copy, we try to keep things simple and straightforward.”
Huron has also eliminated the need for the consumer to do a ton of research before buying, because the brand has already done it. Mullenax hired Matt Teri as his chief development officer, and together, they’ve created formulas that are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, silicone and aluminum. “We’re bringing relatable, premium, affordable and cleaner products to consumers,” says Mullenax.
While the line is primarily sold online, it’s offered in a few specialty retailers and is also available through CrossFit subscription boxes in select markets. I’ve been using the Eye Stick, which glides on like cashmere and makes my 42-year-old eyes look more rested. As for the body wash and face moisturizer, my husband stole those, and he smells like a dapper gentleman. He likes that they are not fussy… whatever that means.
Pronounced “say,” this new clean makeup line launched last fall and is primarily available online other than the brand’s exclusive launch retailer: Goop. It’s been hailed as a disruptor in the clean beauty category because it has created luxury products that come in truly sustainably packaging at an affordable price point. To clarify, “clean” doesn’t mean organic or all-natural. A clean brand might use synthetic ingredients, but they are safe and non-toxic. Also, “organic” doesn’t mean clean. (And if it’s not “clean,” it doesn’t mean it’s dirty.)
Laney Crowell, an Estée Lauder alum, founded the brand because of a common narrative she was seeing reappear via a community that formed on Facebook from her wellness blog, The Moment. “The ethos of the brand, right down to the name, sparked from the conversations I was regularly having on my social channels about what people wanted from a clean beauty brand,” she shares. “They wanted it to work, they wanted it to be affordable, and they wanted it to be packaged in a way that was sustainable and chic so they would be excited to see it in their makeup bags.”
One my close friends, Sarah Tallman, has developed skincare, makeup and fragrance for 20 years for some of the industry’s most recognized brands, and Crowell tapped her to be the head of product development at Saie. It was a perfect fit because Tallman is a cancer survivor, and after she went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation (eventually reaching remission), she became obsessed with clean beauty.
Since the brand’s launch, I’ve become a fan of the Brow Butter. I use the medium, and it looks totally natural. My favorite new product from the lineup just landed on my cheeks a couple of weeks ago: the Dew Balm in rosy gold. I dab this highlighter above my cheekbones so that it looks like it’s catching the light. It plumps the skin near my eyes and gives me a sheen that says, I’m not wearing makeup; I just look really healthy. When the product launched, I was actually on vacation with Tallman. Her phone kept dinging all day long, and I was like, “We’re on vacation — WTF is that?” Turns out it was notifications from web sales, and the dinging just would not stop. The glow must go on.