Sometimes when you want something to be better, you have to take matters into your own hands. And that's exactly what these beauty industry insiders did. Here, we highlight three standout beauty brands that are going to be huge this year:
FRAGRANCE: Pour le Monde Parfums
When former fashion magazine executive Wendi Berger was pregnant with her son, she became concerned about the chemicals in the fragrances she was wearing. But when she swapped them out for natural oils, she found them heavy and too earthy compared to the light and elegant perfumes that she loved. So the self-described beauty fanatic with a discerning nose decided to create a fragrance line that could compete with her favorite luxury brands but contain only products certified 100 percent natural by the Natural Products Association. Meaning: no synthetic notes.
With such a limited palette (there are about 300 natural ingredients to choose from compared to over 8,000 in the synthetic library), many of her former industry colleagues deemed her endeavor impossible. But two "painful years" later, Pour le Monde (meaning For the World) came to fruition. It launched last year with three fragrances made from natural oils that are much more suited for the beauty counter at Barney's than the shelves of your local health food store. Plus, sales from each of the scents—a spicy lavender blend, a classic woodsy floral, and a unisex citrus—benefits a different charity that receives 10 percent of the sales. Pour le Monde is also vegan, animal cruelty free, and uses sustainable packaging.
Beautycounter carries skin and hair care, but we are particularly drawn to their makeup collection created by celebrity makeup artist Christy Coleman, who works with Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, Emmy Rossum, and Amanda Peet. Beautycounter's mission is to make sure all their products are safe and that their customers know exactly what's in them. Unlike Pour le Monde, they do use some synthetics, but they are all tested for toxic chemicals that may be harmful. As a company, they have banned more than 1,500 ingredients from their products.
Coleman, who made a commitment in 2005 to rebuild her makeup kit with only products that would protect her clients' well-being and who has been advocating for clean beauty ever since, was the perfect fit to work with Beautycounter. "I love creating color cosmetics that can be inspiring and chic, as well as safe for your health," she told Elle.com.
And after four arduous years in development, that is exactly what she's done with a collection that includes pressed powders, blush, bronzer, eyeshadow, lip sheers, eye pencils, and brushes that could compete with any major beauty brand. "I had an entire line approved a year ago, but when we went to final heavy metal testings, they all failed," says Coleman. "So we wiped the slate clean and started over. It took a long time, but we now know it's possible to achieve and it's something I am incredibly proud of."
HAIR: Society Salon
We've all been in the situation where you've just gotten your hair cut and colored, only to find that if you want a blow out too, it will cost more on top of your already exorbitant bill. Sam Divine, co-founder of the LA-based Society Salon (which will be expanding nationally this year) saw this happen all too often in her field as a high-end hairstylist. So last year, she and her business partner, Ashley De Azevedo, set out on a mission to make the salon experience luxurious and affordable—and accessible on the regular.
They opened a chic West Hollywood salon with bright lighting and high ceilings like many of the salons where Divine worked in the past. But Society is different: It's a membership-based salon where you pay a monthly fee for unlimited services. There are different packages at different price points (unlimited haircuts for $60 a month; unlimited blowouts for $80; blowouts, haircuts, single process color, highlights, and low lights for $180) but they are all affordable (even month to month) and encourage people to spend more time treating themselves at the salon. "It's sort of a throwback to the days when women had their weekly standing hair appointments," Divine told Elle.com. "There's something to be said about people feeling good about the way they look, and in turn, acting good. We plan on spreading to many major cities."
We can't wait.