Beauty is booming at pretty much every single retailer out there right now — just this week news broke that both Farfetch and Of a Kind were adding the category to their offerings. Target upped its beauty ante two years ago, adding brands like Vichy and Laneige to the usual drugstore suspects. And in addition to finally stocking beloved French brand Embryolisse last month, the retailer has just debuted four new and never-before-seen brands: a Target-only nail polish collection and three different bath and body ranges —one of which is unisex — for every possible bather imaginable.
What's interesting about these last three is that they're all the products of a beauty incubator called Project Underground. The incubator, whose general manager, Monica Saracino, is a former buyer at Target, is a privately held beauty company that focuses on creating innovative beauty products with a give-back philosophy. This means that each brand is partnered up with a charity. For now they're only available at Target, but they could become more widely available in the future. It's also a glimpse into the future of beauty. Indie brand ColourPop is the product of an incubator system, and this past summer WWD noted that beauty incubators are churning out new brands at a dizzying pace. While it's an admittedly sterile way to bring something to market, consumers can ultimately benefit from the fun, clever products that result.
Now, without further ado, some new bottles and potions you'll see at Target the next time you need to run in for toilet paper or SoulCycle gear.
Defy & Inspire
Defy & Inspire is Target's very first private label nail polish collection. It's a bit of a surprise to me that Target launched this, since the retailer carries a spectrum of brands at different price points and trend levels, including Elf, Sally Hansen and Essie. But the line is impressive. It's 5-free and includes 38 shades in both classic and trendy colors, and the formula is super shiny and long-wearing (kind of like Chanel's new polish revamp). The price per bottle, $7.49, sits right in the middle of Target's current offerings: Essie is $8.50 and Sally Hansen Complete Salon formula is $6.59. I tried the dark Confessional and it held up for a solid five days without a chip and garnered numerous compliments. The unique bottle shape and shade names add to the vibe; they're all inspired by reality shows. "GTL," "Fantasy Suite" and "Make It Work" are just a few. Fun fact: Target originally wanted to name a shade "Momager," but apparently Kris Jenner has a trademark on that so now it's called "Mom the Manager."
Mayfair Soap Foundry
Mayfair Soap Foundry is meant to evoke a bath drawn up for you by your ladies' maid in your posh English manor. There are five products in the range: a sugar scrub, body soufflé, body creme, bath salts and body wash, which cost $8.99 each. Right now the range is offered in two scents: Sea Lily Jasmine, a sweet floral, and Grapefruit Bergamot, a tangy citrus. (I prefer the latter.) If you hate scented products, this line is not for you, because it's definitely fragrant. The body soufflé is my favorite product in the line — it feels expensive, like the fancy clotted cream you'd put on a scone brought by your butler. (Sorry, I've obviously been watching too much "Downton Abbey.") The brand donates $0.10 for each item you buy to the Starlight Children's Foundation.
If Mayfair is girlie, Marlowe is its androgynous sibling. The line features sleek black-and-white packaging and a toned-down and more sophisticated scent profile, though it is definitely still scented, so beware if you can't deal with fragrance. The unisex range (pictured above) includes three different body lotions, a body soufflé, a body butter and a hand cream. Marlowe also offers a men's collection including facial cleanser, moisturizers, shave products and shower products like a body scrub and soap. Prices range from $4.99 for a bar of soap to $12.99 for beard oil. I've been using the men's shave gel in the shower and it's fantastic — I actually prefer the spicier scent to the more girlie Mayfair products. The brand donates $0.10 for each item you buy to Clean the World.
You Are Amazing
You Are Amazing offers tweens and teens an alternative to Bath and Body Works. This line is all about the fragrances, which range from lemon meringue to coconut. The eight scents are available in a body wash, a scrub, body mist and body lotion. The packaging is colorful and graphic and every product is only $3.99. This is actually my favorite line of all the new collections, so I'm not sure what that says about me, but it's happy and fun. The lemon meringue body wash has been perking me up in the morning. The brand donates $0.05 for each item you buy to Girl Up.