At the beginning of 2017, we put together a roundup of the buzziest new skin-care brands making waves in the industry at the time. The ones on that list — like Drunk Elephant, Dr. Barbara Sturm and The Ordinary — were relative unknowns back then, but have since more than solidified their standing in beauty aisles and in medicine cabinets. Of course, now, there's a whole new crop of skin-care cool kids people are buzzing about.
By incorporating the latest ingredient trends and innovations — and often prioritizing elements like transparency, environmental standards, efficacy and, of course, Instabait packaging — these complexion-focused up-and-comers are keeping the skin-care category interesting. Read on for 11 brands shaking up the skin category.
Why it's cool: A direct-to-consumer brand out of Australia, Crop is a "clean" beauty company with an unprecedented level of devotion to sourcing ethical, organically produced natural ingredients. Its products meet the standards for COSMOS certification, which the company describes as "the world's strictest independent cosmetic regulatory body." But despite those stringent qualifications, which include Crop's supply chain and a focus on environmentalism, the brand doesn't sacrifice on efficacy or user experience: Its formulas feature dreamy textures and potent actives — not to mention aesthetically pleasing packaging.
Why it's cool: With an ultra-streamlined range of "clean," simple-to-figure-out products — Skin Care for Dummies, if you will — Go-To is another up-and-coming Aussie brand that just made its way to the U.S. Founded four years ago by beauty editor Zoë Foster Blake (who is basically the Emily Weiss of Down Under), the company is direct-to-consumer in its native country; but when it debuted stateside this summer, it teamed up with Sephora as its sole retail partner. (Nbd.) Expect to see plenty more of the rapidly growing line, and its so-damn-cute-but-not-in-a-twee-way branding, in the near future.
Why it's cool: Another brand striving to cut down on the clutter, confusion and waste that runs rampant in the beauty industry, Circumference is positioning itself as the "future" of luxury skin care. The company employs unconventional tactics to prioritize ethical production practices and sustainable sourcing: The natural byproducts that result from its formulations, as one example, are used as fertilizer and compost. Thus, its ultra-minimalist aesthetic isn't just chic; it's also representative of the brand's deeper philosophy and driving principles.
Why it's cool: Esthetician Shani Darden is behind the always-glowy, always-enviable complexions of Chrissy Teigen, Kelly Rowland and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, among many others, so suffice it to say if there's anyone to take skin-care advice from, it's her. Her eponymous brand offers only two products so far — a potent retinol and a gentler (but still super-effective) alternative to it — and they're damn good.
Why it's cool: Biossance bills itself as a sustainable, biotechnological skin-care brand. Its range includes moisturizers, eye gel, face oil, serum, mineral sunscreen and even deodorant formulated without more than 2,000 ingredients the brand has classified as toxic. Instead, it relies mainly on the hero ingredient of squalane, a moisturizer made from fermented sugar cane that mimics skin's naturally occurring hydration. It's amassed a devoted fan base and hundreds of glowing customer reviews that favor its non-irritating approach to skin care.
Why it's cool: Now used by a reported 30-plus percent of women in its native country of Iceland, Bioeffect was founded in 2010 by Dr. Bjorn Ovar, who specializes in gene technology, specifically within the plant realm. Its products contain EGF, or epidermal growth factor, an ingredient derived from barley that stimulates cell regeneration. It boosts collagen and elastin production, enhances elasticity, tone and moisture, and even speeds up wound recovery. With a range that now includes multiple serums, micellar water, face mist, eye masks, an exfoliator and an intensive 30-day treatment, its products are no longer beloved only by Icelanders in the know; it's also been taking off like crazy in the U.S., U.K. and Australia of late.
Why it's cool: Prioritizing ingredient transparency and overall clarity (noticing a theme here?), No B.S. is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a skin-care company that doesn't let marketing shtick, buzzwords, gimmicky packaging or flashy branding get in the way of its product. Ideal for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by the staggering array of different formulas or who has felt duped by products that over-promise and under-deliver, this super accessible company sells only seven products, each with a clear-cut purpose and ingredients that are proven to be effective. Not only that, but they're accessibly priced, too: No single item retails for more than $45 — which is no easy feat, considering we're talking about retinol and vitamin C serum. (Speaking of the latter, it's a Fashionista favorite we'd wholeheartedly recommend checking out.)
Jordan Samuel Skin
Why it's cool: Created by Jordan Samuel Pacitti, a professional-dancer-turned-esthetician who had to contend with heavy stage makeup, hot lights and lots of sweaty performances in his prior career; this aesthetically pleasing range aims to create balanced, calm, clear, glow-y skin — even in the face of all those aforementioned elements. From a retinol-spiked face oil to a non-irritating cleanser, the product lineup is full of essentials for any effective skin-care routine — and nothing superfluous.
Why it's cool: This Stockholm-based brand has been around since 2013, and it's flown somewhat under the radar here in the U.S. But its range of creams, serums, masks and oils is well worth exploring, if you ask us. We were admittedly initially drawn to it for its minimalist black-and-white packaging; but the potent formulas inside — which feature the brand's own proprietary vitamin A derivative, dubbed "Retinol 8" — have kept us coming back. Verso prizes simplicity, which is evident not only in its branding, but also in its low-ingredient-count formulations free from unnecessary additives and fillers.
Peach & Lily
Why it's cool: Skin-care expert and esthetician Alicia Yoon's K-beauty e-tail and content site, Peach & Lily, has been around since 2012; its newly-released range of K-beauty products has been carefully, strategically honed in the years since. The resulting line of serums, creams, cleansers, exfoliators and so on was an instant hit; the Glass Skin Refining Serum sold out almost instantly. Given Yoon's lifetime of personal experience with the ritualistic Korean skin-care practices, it's no surprise that the formulas created to her specifications represent some of the best of what the category has to offer. And after having had a chance to try out that Glass Skin serum for ourselves, we can attest: It is indeed legit.
Youth to the People
Why it's cool: Based on the concept of bringing superfoods to skin care, Youth to the People offers up vegan products like an ashwagandha-and-reishi-spiked face cream, a kale-infused cleanser and a spirulina-laced face mask. In other words, it's basically as close as you can get to green juice for your face. Founded by two cousins with a family history rooted in the beauty industry, its products are gender-neutral, lightweight and generally pretty seamless to integrate into any daily routine.
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