The launches to know that were born in the pandemic
Words by KELLY ATTERTON
Despite the many challenges of this past year, California beauty has faced the moment head-on with five notable startups demonstrating the kind of innovation the state is known for. All five were launched by seasoned pros: there’s an actor and online superstar; a renowned tattoo artist favored by Drake and Miley Cyrus; a well-known pop singer; a fashion designer who’s a staple on the New York Fashion Week schedule; a renowned tattoo artist favored by Drake and Miley Cyrus; an actor and online superstar; and entrepreneurs inspired to create an innovative and timely e-commerce site in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. What’s more, they all embrace clean beauty.
LIZA KOSHY poses with the Give ’Em Face Mask artist set, $42, from her ONE OF ONE x C’EST MOI collection.
One of One
In the fall, YouTube superstar, actor and comedian Liza Koshy became a beauty-brand creator, debuting One of One, a capsule range within the larger C’est Moi brand aimed at Gen Z. Koshy says, “Our One of One skin and makeup collection focuses on multipurpose products for multidimensional people.” Bringing Koshy’s signature love of bright colors and sunny positivity, the products pop with punchy pigments, bold packaging and playful names like Resting B* Face calming mask and Give ’Em Lip (& Cheek) tinted balm. “We did the dirty work to create a clean line for you and your sweet face to enjoy. All our products are dermatologist-tested, vegan, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and EWG-verified,” notes Koshy. And One of One has teamed up with TerraCycle to make the recycling process free and easy.
In-demand tattoo artist DR. WOO. The WOO SKIN ESSENTIALS After/Care moisturizer, $25.
Woo Skin Essentials
Famed Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Dr. Woo recently put his spin on skincare, launching Woo Skin Essentials. “Our brand was created for all skin types, with a specific focus on ensuring our clean formulas had extra benefits for those with tattoos or without,” he explains. Drawing from Woo’s decades of tattoo expertise — his clients include A-listers Justin Bieber and Zoë Kravitz — the products are simple, clean and healing. The line, which is minimalist yet effective, includes coconut oil-based cleansing soap, shea butter-based moisturizer and a hydrating lip balm infused with Japanese mint, yuzu and cherry blossom essences. “We’re really excited about the path forward for this brand,” Dr. Woo shares. “We’ve just extended our line into sun protection and are working on additional skincare innovation, focused on clean, everyday usage.”
THIRTEEN LUNE is dedicated to supporting Black- and brown-owned beauty brands, stocking more than 20 labels.
Thirteen Lune, a new online beauty destination co-founded by beauty- and fashion-industry veterans Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning, is designed to inspire the discovery of Black- and brown-owned beauty brands and champion the creators behind them. Grieco, who is also the founder of Nyakio Beauty, explains, “As a Black female beauty founder who came into the game when there were very few of us, I’ve gained valuable experience and want to inspire, educate and continue on my growth journey alongside powerful entrepreneurs.” While the majority of Thirteen Lune brands are by Black and brown founders — like Gilded Body, Dehiya Beauty and AfroPick — Grieco says that they will also carry a few brands by white founders “who are speaking authentically to the Black and brown consumer.”
JASON WU BEAUTY Flora 9 eyeshadow palette in Desert Rose, $15.
Jason Wu Beauty
When Jason Wu Beauty debuted mid-January at select Target locations nationwide, the namesake founder was thrilled. “Since launching my first fragrance three years ago, I’ve wanted to expand on beauty,” Wu shares. “I am excited for a bigger audience to experience the brand.” The New York-based fashion designer is favored by Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle and Reese Witherspoon. In partnership with Toni Ko, founder of NYX Cosmetics and Bespoke Beauty Brands, Wu developed the 25-product range with an emphasis on nude tones. Nothing in the range is over $25. Focusing away from a heavily made up look, the duo embraced a cleaner aesthetic. “It’s about products that are multipurpose; revealing beauty, versus covering a lot up,” Wu explains. “I have always believed in less is more, and I love that the collection really encompasses every shade of nude under the spectrum. It is inclusive for every face and skin tone and does not represent just one type of beauty.”
ABOUT-FACE Light Lock highlighter powder, $30.
Celebrity-driven brands aren’t unusual, but Ashley Nicolette Frangipane aka Halsey’s new bold and playful color cosmetics range, About-Face, is the perfect expression of her artistic passions. Halsey’s been doing her own makeup since she started in the music business, and, like writing or performing, makeup application has always been part of her creative process. Her goal? To create the ultimate tool kit for play and fun experimentation with performance tools to design any look imaginable. About-Face debuted with a collection of unapologetically striking shades (no pastels over here) that go from daytime cute to moody. “I hope they love the products but could care less how I want them to use it,” Halsey explains. “I hope About-Face inspires people to fearlessly and wholly go with their gut and experiment, with total disregard for rules and norms. I hope they do what they want. You want to wear black lipstick to your sister’s wedding? Go for it. Chartreuse graphic liner and a bright red lip to walk the dogs around the block? Sure, why not?”
Feature Image: The ABOUT-FACE Light Lock highlighter powder is available in four shades.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of C Magazine.
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