Above all else, regularly meeting amazing women within the beauty industry is the coolest, most inspiring part of my job as one of Who What Wear's beauty editors. Whether I'm meeting fellow beauty editors from other publications, world-renowned dermatologists, celebrity hairstylists, boundary-pushing makeup artists, or brand CEOs and founders, women, without question, are kicking some serious ass right now.
It's an especially exciting time to be immersed in beauty, with new and exciting brands and products launching with what feels like a daily cadence. (It's actually a sport simply trying to keep up!) In honor of Women's Equality Day 2019, we've decided to honor 17 of Who What Wear HQ's favorite woman-made beauty brands and two spotlight products from each. Of course, our list could have been gone into the hundreds—there are just that many amazing female-driven brands right now, but we're capping it at the 16 standouts we're currently using, seeing, and admiring the most this very second. Ahead, the female-founded beauty brands we're collectively obsessed with—and what to buy from each. Keep scrolling!
Associate Beauty Editor Courtney Higgs and I are both huge fans of Nudestix—not only for the brand's ingenious products and vegan/cruelty-free beauty formulations but for the hustle and mother-sister-daughter power of the brand's three female founders—Founder and President Jenny Frankel, along with her two co-founding daughters, Taylor and Ally.
Patricia Santos and Brandy Hoffman are the inspirational masterminds behind Volition Beauty—the one and only crowd-sourced beauty brand that takes the needs and wants from the beauty community and, you guessed it, turns them into the clean, gorgeously packaged formulas of your dreams. The brand believes that beauty products would be created and dreamt up by real people with real beauty problems—a mission we love.
When I asked Courtney to name off a few of her favorite woman-made beauty brands, UOMA was one of the first out of her lips. Pronounced OMA (uh-mah) the brand's name literally means beautiful—a translation of its theory that beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. Founded by Nigerian born, L.A.- and London-based former beauty executive Sharon Chuter, UOMA is ruled by inclusivity and diversity.
With Odacité Skincare, chic French countryside meets Californian inspiration. (The name itself is a French play on the word for audacity.) Founder Valerie Grandury now lives in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Paris. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she began blending custom-made skincare for herself and private clients, the word was spread, and the brand took off. The gorgeous formulas blend luxe French skincare with California's signature green, clean way of living, and beauty editors, celebrities, and makeup artists all nuts for it.
I've personally met with Lilah b. founder Cheryl Yannotti Foland who adopted a healthier, more minimalist lifestyle (beauty and otherwise) after making the pilgrimage from New York to California. Formulated with clean ingredients, the goal of the brand is to help women achieve a stunning, minimal makeup look with fewer products. The packaging is stunning and it beautifully complements the multipurpose, high-performance elixirs they house.
Founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson created Mented Cosmetics out of the belief that every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty and not just within a handful of brands or product shades. The vision came after a conversation about how it was so hard to find the perfect nude lipstick as women of color, and since then, the brand has only expanded.
Vapour Organic Beauty
Vapour Organic Beauty is the organic, botanically steeped brainchild of Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley. Made in the gorgeous mountains of Taos, New Mexico, the brand is committed to unique and efficacious formulas that utilize only the purest, active ingredients from the earth and utmost sustainability.
Briogeo's impressive founder Nancy Twine created the brand after realizing a great dissatisfaction within the hair industry when it comes to naturally based formulas. A breath of fresh hair from other bigtime commercial haircare brands, Twine's goal is to get back to the basics of haircare (her grandmother's OG hair recipes are part of the magic!) to haircare that features pure and natural ingredients while still meeting high-performance standards for visible results shoppers will love.
A scientist, artist, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and long-time beauty lover, Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes fell in love with cosmetics at a young age via her mother who was steeped in the beauty industry. Made in Los Angeles, California, the brand melds clean, skin-improving, botanical formulas with head-turning pigments, universally flattering shade ranges, and products that are low-maintenance and effortless to apply.
I've also had the privilege of meeting Noto Botanics founder Gloria Noto in the flesh, and trust me when I tell you she's as cool as her namesake product line formulations. Natural, fluid in gender, and multi-use, Noto Organics is a cosmetic and skincare line that utilizes only the best high-performance natural and organic ingredients. The goal? To be "as minimal or as expressive as you wish."
Perhaps one of the more well-known woman-made beauty brands on our list, Tata Harper reigns supreme when it comes to all-star, organic-based skincare and makeup. When Harper couldn't find 100% natural beauty products that met her high standards of quality and efficacy, she took matters into her own hands and made them herself. According to the brand's website, if Harper doesn't' think a product is absolutely perfect, they won't launch it.
One of my personal all-time favorite skincare brands, Maya Chia is composed of clean, dreamily concocted formulas utilizing hero ingredient chia seed oil alongside countless other glow-giving natural ingredients. Founder Susanne Norwitz left her previous corporate career in order to create high-quality skincare that also gives back. The brand is the corporate sponsor of Adopt-a-Village Guatemala, a non-profit organization that helps children and families by providing education and skills training to help improve both social and economic conditions.
I will never stop talking about Lemonhead.LA and how obsessed I am with not only its captivating and whimsical formulas (they're also vegan and cruelty-free!) but the hustle and all-around coolness of the brand's founder, makeup artist Megan Dugan. Originally created for makeup artists' personal use on set for music videos and photo shoots, the brand believes in giving back to the community and is 100% handcrafted by local Los Angeles makeup artists. "The original mess-free glitter for adults," the brand's highly covetable pots of sparkle deserve a spot in your makeup and beauty collection.
Peach & Lily
After graduating from Harvard and leaving her job, founder Alicia Yoon built Peach & Lily (her Korean-inspired beauty brand) with the goal of transforming women's skin via empowerment and the best information, advice, and innovations Asia has to offer within the beauty sphere.
Olive & June
We love (and very much appreciate) Olive & June's philosophy that no matter who you are, where you live, what you do, or what you wear, you can have the perfect manicure that makes you feel like your best self. Founded in 2013 by manicure-obsessed Sarah Gibson Tuttle, the brand began with celeb-frequented nail salons in Los Angeles and has grown with new and exciting products that elevate your own at-home manicure experience.
After you get over the stunning packaging of Mara's algae-powered facial oils, you'll be just as stunned (in the best way possible) by the radiance-boosting results of the formulas themselves. Founder Allison McNamara created the line of natural, nontoxic elixirs after being consistently underwhelmed by the number of facial oils on the market that talked a big game without actually delivering in terms of results. With experience as both a beauty editor and digital influencer, she knew what it would take to create a truly game-changing product, and thus came the birth of Mara.
Brand new and the brainchild of celebrity makeup artist Nikki DeRoest, Róen Beauty has been of our favorite beauty brand launches of the year, and, um, maybe ever. (Check out our review here!) Products are luxurious, vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, and they also have the convenient perk of being absolutely gorgeous and exceptionally user-friendly. The shadows actually look best if you use your fingers!