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Editor's Picks

BWB Beauty Awards: The Innovative Indie Brands You Need to Know

These still-small companies have huge things to say.

Anyone who browses the Internet knows that the beauty biosphere is super saturated. But amidst the well-known juggernauts (read: brands that advertise) is a sea of groundbreaking, effective and young indie brands that are taking the industry by storm. We rounded up 12 of our favorite, lesser-known companies that deserve prime real estate in your medicine cabinet.

Fat Chance

Loss of volume becomes real as you get older, and the standard solution is to use needle-fueled filler. Thankfully, Adipeau launched a groundbreaking new skincare cream. It works by building fat in sagging crevices when applied as an overnight mask (not to be confused with their more common, collagen-boosting skincare cousins). After only four weeks, new cells are regenerated. Moreover, hollowed out orbital bones and deep laugh lines become fuller and smoother. But, use it for a year or more and you’ll be truly amazed. It even boasts a plumping effect for lips (another win for all-natural types)! If it sounds revolutionary, it’s because it is.

Plum Role

We love good ol’ vitamin C for its glowiness. But, the new antioxidant that’s here to stay is plum. Le Prunier’s Face Oil—already moving into the cult realm thanks to a shout-out from Chrissy Teigen—uses the super fruit’s byproducts to deliver antioxidants, polyphenols and fatty acids into skin (all from the brand’s fourth generation family farm). This hero ingredient surpasses mainstays like marula and argan oils in its radical fighting abilities and omegas content. As a result, the serum is the newest sought-after nutritional powerhouse for your skin.

Quality Stats

You could say that Ron Robinson, a veteran cosmetic chemist who formerly developed products for huge global brands, knows what he’s doing. Skincare junkies should put his brand BeautyStat on their immediate radar. It’s rooted in clinical research and prioritizes sourcing the very best ingredients. On the heels of the company’s obsessed-over Universal C Skin Refiner, comes the Universal Moisture Essence. This product is a face oil with sustainable squalane from plant sugars that help reverse UV damage and fade hyperpigmentation. We just added to cart.

Your Best Bud

Botanicals grown on a micro-farm in Sausalito, along with in-house made extracts and hydrosols, make Botnia’s small-batch skincare range as fresh as it gets. Founder Justine Kahn, a trained aesthetician, is passionate about clean skincare. She knows that what we put on our face also enters our body. The Wisdom Oil, which took years of research, is somewhat of a do-everything product. It calms hyperpigmentation, hydrates, and creates a softer texture in skin. Soon to be an industry favorite, it’s packed with red raspberry, rosehip seed and sea buckthorn.

A Retinol for All

Dermatologists tout retinol as a mainstay of taut skin. However, it can be a difficult product to approach due to percentage differences and the oft-complained about side effect of irritation. Dear Brightly is making it easy by connecting you to a skin doc online. The doctor tailors the formula to your specific needs. Beginners will receive a “starter strength” before working up to a higher dosage. This way, the skin learns to tolerate, despite being infused with moisturizing hyaluronic acid. Re-evaluations are encouraged with time, as skin grows accustomed to the product and will be ready for a stronger amount.

Masking It

Treat your skin how you treat your body and you will win. Golde is known for its nutrient-dense brew blends in countertop-worthy packaging. Now, the brand has launched superfood masks that shift from powder to gel with a few drops of water. Its detoxifying Clean Greens face mask boasts chlorella and spirulina, while the exfoliating Papaya Bright is packed with lucuma and sea buckthorn berry. And finally, everything is edible, making the whole experience all the more satisfying.

Mane Attraction

Thinning hair is a topic few like to speak of. It’s unsexy and tricky to treat. MONPURE London is addressing the issue with luxe, proud-to-display packaging. Moreover, their products feature a unique pumpkin seed extract that blocks an enzyme that encourages hair loss. We love their twice-a-week scalp scrub for its skin-sloughing properties, but the Follicle Boost Density Hair Serum is the one to watch (and try).

Serve and Protect

If you think that clean products are ineffective, then it will only take one bottle of True Botanicals’ acne-busting Clear Pure Radiance Oil to make you a quick convert. Loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients that the skin can easily absorb and use, the brand is committed to high-performing actives that deliver only the safe stuff. Its new Active Immunity Serum’s hero ingredient is chebula, an Ayurvedicantioxidant that is sure to become a giant in the skincare world for it’s bioactive anti-inflammatory and photostable nature. When combined with elderberry and ginger, it improves skin tone, stimulates collagen, and reduces pollution and blue light aggressors—crucial in the age of Zoom meetings. We suspect that it will be the new bestseller.

Expert Care

Finally, an aesthetician-driven brand that’s worth the hype. Bottled in swoon-worthy bottles that Instagram loves, Skin Design London’s skincare range covers every skin concern. Promising clinic-standard results at home, its powerhouse formulas are chock-full of firming retinols and complexion-brightening antioxidants. While the Alpine Rose Glow Cream is a dream product, we can’t get enough of the Acne Serum’s bacteria-busting AHA and BHAs that help quell pesky maskne.

Blue Moon

Doom scrolling is not only bad for your mental health, it’s also bad for your skin health. Blue light is frighteningly radiated from all of your screens and considered more damaging than sunlight. It breaks down the collagen that we work so hard to preserve with our nighttime routines. GoodHabit’s range of skincare uses a patented technology, which includes a protein-rich marine active extract from Greenland to help form a skin-protecting film. The new Reset Mask and Moisturizer taps into your skin’s nightly regenerative cycle (which occurs from 11:00-4:00) to detox your complexion from the harmful effects of blue light overexposure.

Red Correctly

Clean luxury lipsticks in sustainable packaging—and they’re French? Oui. La Bouche Rouge’s range of reds are epic. Choose from bright shades like “70s America” or orange-y “Regal Red.” What’s more, each is composed of a refillable case and eco-refill. With formulas that are vegan, cruelty-free and sans silicones and petroleums, it’s quite all right if you ingest it along with your steak frites.

Scent ‘Sations

7 Virtues is our latest favorite line of clean perfumes. Journalist Barb Stegemann originally launched the brand in an effort to help Afghan farmers free themselves from the illegal poppy crop. This issue has been burdening the country and subjecting young girls to becoming child brides. Stegemann then moved on to helping other nations in need like Madagascar and Rwanda with the same mission of empowerment and equality. We love the cheerfully-packaged Blackberry Lily that’s infused with fair trade vetiver from Haiti. It also contains sustainably-sourced davana oil from India and geranium from Egypt. Smell better while doing good.

Waste Not TK

As part of the newly minted “Waterless Beauty” category, Everist Haircare is zero waste and sustainable on every level. The products come in recyclable kraft paper boxes, pure aluminum tubes, and even soon-to-be biodegradable caps. What’s more, the actual product is just as socially-conscious. For example, the shampoo concentrate is packed with only clean ingredients, like aloe vera and orange peel oil. Activate the ingredients to become a creamy lather—a desirable trait that’s hard to find in clean haircare. It’s time to feel good about what you’re putting in your hair and what’s going down the drain.

Zoe Schaeffer

Zoe Schaeffer is a former Condé Nast Beauty Editor who moved to Los Angeles to develop style shows for VH1 and later, fashion trend-forecasting. After opening her own boutique, Presse, she returned to her writing roots by launching a lifestyle blog, Macaroon Original, to share travel, home and wellness obsessions. Today she consults for beauty brands and freelances for sites such as Goop and The Helm. When she’s not pouring over her 1stdibs discoveries, she’s most likely planning a trip. Zoe lives in Los Angeles with her husband, dog, and three daughters, Gemma, Rafi and Cleo. Keep up on her Instagram here!

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