THE BEST NEW BEAUTY BRANDS
Look no further than the torrent of brand new celebrity beauty brands, their sights set on emulating the success of early adopters like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Gwyneth’s Goop. With Harry Styles, Pharrell, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Tracee Ellis Ross, Victoria Beckham and Hailey Bieber – you get it – as just a handful of names throwing their hats into the ring, it’s become a minefield sorting the treasure from the quick cash grabs.
In an era where we proclaim ‘beauty can be anything’, cyclical trends have us in a chokehold, stifling innovation in favour of homogeneity when it comes to packaging, formulas and products. Marching to the beat of their own drum, a new chapter of brands has begun to emerge that are uninterested in a catch-all mentality, instead ready to focus on their fiercely dedicated beauty fanatics.
10+ meets five new companies – Unifrom, The Unseen Beauty, Youthforia, Byoma and This Hair of Mine – revolutionising within their arenas of skincare, make-up, haircare and fragrance. Ripping up the rulebook, intrigued by innovation and firmly focused on the future, let’s delve into their worlds and find out where they think beauty is headed in 2023 and beyond.
The power of a great fragrance is intoxicating. It transports you to a treasured memory or immerses you in a world that is comfortably unfamiliar. Yet, as Haisam Mohammed discovered on his journey to launching fragrance house Unifrom, innovation isn’t as welcome in the industry as you’d imagine. “It’s been a steep learning curve because I didn’t come from the fragrance industry,” he says. “It’s a very elitist, homogenised group where they don’t let anybody else in, so it was very hard to get into the nitty gritty of perfume-making.” On a mission to “distil culture through scent”, Mohammed connected with a Parisian perfumer via Facebook and began selling his early samples in clubs, before quickly being snatched up by Dover Street Parfums Market. It’s easy to see why. The brand’s portable perfume oils – housed in sleek, steel, roll-on applicators – are heady blends of plum, fig, coconut, sandalwood, myrrh and ylang ylang that draw inspiration from scents that would waft through the high rises he grew up in, in Stockholm, surrounded by other diasporic families. “One of the greatest assets is that my heritage is filled with innovations, products and stories I now put out into the world. A lot of people won’t understand it, that’s been the biggest challenge, but it’s only a matter of time. Our model is to create the most inspiring products.” Expanding its offering, the equally sleek Solid Perfume – a wax-based fragrance format that dates back to Ancient Egypt – and series of home goods bring Uniform’s aromas into your personal space. Never complacent, the founder now plans to innovate in promotion, fragrance’s most difficult arena. “It’s very hard because people will always want to smell the fragrances,” muses Mohammed. “We’re going to host more things to activate the brand and people are going to find Uniform in more places. ”Watch this space.”
THE UNSEEN BEAUTY
While you might think science and beauty make strange bedfellows, at The Unseen Beauty it’s business as usual. Frustrated by the rigid rules she encountered in the industry, founder Lauren Bowker used her background in material science to experiment and stick a middle finger up at the status quo. “I’ve had The Unseen for 12 years as a textile materials brand and it was always too far ahead for the industry,” Bowker says. “With the beauty brand, we’ve hit this sweet spot of 10 years of innovation and learnings in beauty and are using them to create self-expressive, colour-based products, which feels exciting.” Starting at the beginning with seemingly simple questions – ‘How can we create colour that’s alive with the skin?’ – rather than at the end with an idea for a product, The Unseen Beauty turns each process on its head. With years of dedicated research and development in the lab, the releases to date have to be seen to be believed. For make-up enthusiasts, Spectra, a selection of vibrant eye pigments that transform with the flash of a camera to reveal invisible reflective particles, have been instant hits. Elsewhere, their mind-bending, colour- changing science has been applied to the hair industry in a collaboration with Schwarzkopf. Colour Alchemy, with its four shades of temporary hair colour, shifts like a kaleidoscope as it responds to temperature and sunlight. It’s beauty from 3023, available in 2023. “I’m constantly surprised at the level of acceptance that we’ve had in the industry because we’re not coming from a beauty space,” says Bowker. “I don’t think they’re everyday products for everyone, but they’re fun, expressive, playful products and there is a community that seems to have adopted them.” Where is beauty going in the next millennium? “The next journey for me is to explore the questions that I want to uncover or be enthused by incredibly different minds. Whether that’s [meeting] an astrophysicist, visiting CERN [in Switzerland], or going to the rainforest and seeing the rarest colour on the planet,” says the founder. “I know what’s coming over the next five years, and it’s really pushing forward to change the industry.”
We’ve all been there, at the end of a long day, with a face full of make-up and a capital ‘CBA’ in answer to taking it off. But what if you didn’t have to? “I had the idea for Youthforia during the first week of the pandemic,” explains founder Fiona Co Chan. “I thought that make-up you could sleep in makes sense because I’m so guilty of sleeping in my make-up if I’m out late with friends.”At the intersection of skincare and make-up, Youthforia’s skin tint serum foundation is the first of its kind, tested by the founder and her husband, who slept in lab samples for 28 days and nights. The finished formula is vegan, fragrance-free and utilises adenosine for soothing, skin-smoothing properties so your make-up stays on no matter how much you toss and turn. “What I love is making these true hybrid products where we combine luxurious texturing ingredients with skincare actives at the functional level. It’s definitely more challenging to do, but it’s such an amazing feeling when our experiments go in the right direction,” says Chan. As the brand’s offering has expanded, they now offer colour-changing blush oil, setting spray and a face wash, should you choose to remove your make-up. Despite facing challenges – “I have faced so many ‘no’s’ throughout my process of developing these products” – Chan remains steadfast in her perspective as Youthforia expands. “Call it delusion or hope, but I hold out a lot of hope that my ideas can come to fruition. It’s a multi-year long process and it’s so rewarding when products come to life.”Fans of the sleep-in-your-beat offering can rest well knowing the brand’s scope is set to widen. “A full face of Youthforia products,” Chan promises in the near future.
Much like the rest of the world, Marc Elrick spent the majority of 2020 stuck at home. With extra time to luxuriate on his skincare routine, he quickly noticed the market was saturated with super-strength active ingredients that were doing consumers more harm than good. After falling down the skincare science rabbit hole, the CEO and founder emerged with the knowledge on how to save people suffering with over-exfoliated skin. “That’s how Byoma was born,” he says. “It’s barrier-boosting skincare driven by science to rebuild the skin barrier and restore natural moisture levels, ensuring skin functions at its best for every face, every day.” Simplifying science-y jargon into straightforward steps and reliable products – to banish dryness, dullness and blemishes – Byoma champions the one quality all skin types share. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to create skincare that is suitable and accessible for everyone, and as a result, we have a strong, engaged community that is continuing to grow,” says Elrick. With shelf-friendly, square, pastel packaging, the products are sustainable, too; they are both recyclable and designed to be packed and shipped efficiently. As one of the brands born from 2020’s beauty boom, Byoma’s industry-shifting mission has only just begun. “I have always said that beauty doesn’t change the world, but how it makes you feel can and will,” he concludes. “The beauty industry makes the world a better, happier place by helping people feel better, happier and more confident – that’s what makes me love it so much! I’m proud to serve it and keep pushing the future of beauty forward.”
THIS HAIR OF MINE
For many years, hairstylist Cyndia Harvey has been a leader in the fashion industry for textured hairstyles and more: her wizardry has cropped up at the likes of Louis Vuitton, Simone Rocha, Jacquemus and Wales Bonner. It came as little surprise, then, that in 2022 Harvey alchemised her experience into This Hair of Mine, a haircare brand borrowing its name from a short film the hairstylist created in 2017. “It was an ode to who I am and the people and culture that have influenced my being, work and everything I stand for,” she says. “The brand takes this same sentiment, elevating our community and putting it into products. We are dedicated to growing a collection of innovative haircare essentials that are beautifully designed with textured hair in mind.” Launched with a hero product, Scalp Serum, the brand’s signature focuses on “a firm belief in respecting the source as the cradle for good growth”. The product contains pea peptides for strength and nourishment, soothing apple stem cells and pomegranate enzyme to encourage turnover of dead skin cells. In starting with the scalp, This Hair of Mine gives you the best chance of growing luscious locks. If you’ve not yet got your hands on the brand’s debut offering, look no further than the AW23 runways, where it’s been tried and tested at Casablanca, Nensi Dojaka, Dilara Findikoglu and Ahluwalia, highlighting Harvey’s handiwork. Moving forward, the hairstylist is focused on growth, pardon the pun. A sign of what’s to come, the limited edition Ankole Pik – a one-of-a- kind keepsake created in collaboration with Ugandan artisans – was designed to be used in tandem with the Scalp Serum to elevate your haircare routine. “Ongoing research and innovation is incredibly vital and we are in the process of [engaging in] product development for some really exciting product launches,” Harvey says on the brand’s future. “The feedback from our community cements why I wanted to create This Hair of Mine in the first place and motivates me towards further brand growth.”
Taken from 10+ Issue 6 – VISIONARY, WOMEN, REVOLUTION – out now. Order your copy here.