14 of Your Favorite Beauty Brands That Are Run by Badass Women
In anticipation of International Women's Day on March 8, we're taking a look at some of our favorite beauty brands that are completely owned and run by women. There are brands from every sector of the beauty industry — from makeup to skin care and hair care — that are owned and run by women.
The women at the helm of these brands have defied the odds and created legacies of brands that are loved by beauty enthusiasts all over the world. If you're looking for female-owned beauty brands to support on International Women's Day, here are a few of our favorites.
Bloggers, founders, and She-E-Os of Summer Fridays Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland have created a brand that influencers just can't seem to get over. The brand launched just about a year ago with only one product — its now-iconic Jet Lag Mask — and has quickly become a favorite of beauty-lovers everywhere. It now has three masks that are designed to treat skin like it's a "Summer Friday," and the metallic tubes have been featured in bloggers' flatlays all over Instagram.
Its most recent launch, the R+R Mask ($52), is arguably its best one yet. It combines a luxurious blend of oils with gentle exfoliants like rose powder so you can reveal baby-soft skin after just one use. The oils remain on your skin after you rinse the physical exfoliants away to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day or night.
At this point, Beautyblender has become synonymous with "beauty sponge." The company originally became popular due to its expansive range of beauty sponges and accessories (like cleaners and soaps), but it has recently expanded into a range of foundations, which is the brand's first expansion into the color cosmetic world. Beautyblender was founded by Rea Ann Silva, who was a makeup artist prior to creating the sponge, and she still owns the brand.
If you own no other tools in your makeup kit, the Beautyblender Pro ($20) is a must have. You can use it for pretty much any part of your makeup — yes, including your eye shadow, though it takes some practice — and it effortlessly makes your makeup sit nicely on your face.
Tiffany Masterson created Drunk Elephant with her own skin health in mind — and launched a line of cult-favorite products in the process. After having no success with other skincare lines, she identified six ingredients that irritated her skin (which she calls the "Suspicious 6") and made sure that none of her products contained those. The line isn't a gentle line by any means — it has a strong retinol cream and vitamin C serum — but it does work for most, if not all, skin types. The products provide a strong foundation for the skin and help solve a lot of skin issues.
For a gentle introduction to the brand, try out the Lala Retro Whipped Cream ($60). It's a perfect daily moisturizer that can be used day or night for a ton of hydration without grease or stickiness. It layers well with other products, even though it has a blend of six different African oils in it, and it really sinks into the skin to provide lasting moisture.
Jen Atkin, founder and CEO of Ouai, set out to create luxury haircare products that were affordable and easy to use after working as a hairstylist and not seeing options like that on the market. Since the brand's launch in 2015, many products from the line have become haircare staples for both hairstylists and beauty novices alike. Atkin has created products that are easy to use, self-explanatory, and, best of all, really effective. Plus, the packaging is created with the contemporary beauty-lover in mind so the products can be featured in every #shelfie.
The Wave Spray ($26) is a great introductory product to the brand. It uses rice protein to enhance natural curls and give hair the effortless beachy vibe that looks perfectly undone. All you have to do is mist it into damp or dry hair, scrunch up the strands a bit, and you're good to go.
Few brands have made as much of an impact on the beauty industry as Glossier has. Its cult-like following speaks to the community that it has created, as well as the quality of its products. Its makeup is the definition of no-makeup makeup, and the packaging exudes the "cool girl" vibe that immediately draws you in. Plus, its skincare line makes skin care seem easy, mess-free, and simple. Founder and CEO Emily Weiss has become an icon for beauty-lovers everywhere, and she has a solid team to support her. Ali Weiss acts as senior vice president of marketing, and Emily Ferber is the editorial director of the brand's blog, Into The Gloss.
Cloud Paint ($18) is definitely the product you should get your hands on if you've never tried anything from the brand before. It's a multipurpose liquid pigment that can be used as blush, lip product, eye shadow, or anything that you really want it to be. It leaves a dewy finish that makes skin look healthy and hydrated, and the pigment fades beautifully and naturally throughout the day.
Kristin Ess Haircare
Kristin Ess founded her eponymous haircare line to make salon and luxury hair care available to every consumer (the line is available at Target). The brand combines Kristin's chic aesthetic and vast haircare knowledge and offers everything from shampoos and conditioners to heat styling tools to even temporary dyes and glosses. Though the line has only existed for less than two years, she has already made waves (pun unintended) in the beauty industry.
To introduce you to the line, you should definitely check out her Iconic Style Professional Blow Dryer ($100). It's a salon-quality hair dryer that won't totally break the bank. The dryer isn't loud, and though it dries hair quickly, it works to keep your hair healthy.
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Anastasia Soare has been a longtime force in the beauty industry, having coined the "Golden Ratio" method to shape brows. Anastasia Beverly Hills is an extension of the excellence that she brought to her brow clients, and all of her products help people achieve the best-looking brows of their life. Since its launch in 1997, the brand has expanded its range from brow products to everything from contour palettes to blinding highlighters. Soare's daughter, Claudia, is now the president of the company and runs all of its day-to-day operations, while Anastasia is still CEO.
If you're looking for a holy grail brow product, the Brow Wiz ($23) is definitely the product for you. It has a superfine point so you can really detail your brows with hair-like strokes. The spoolie brush on the other end helps diffuse the product to make the brows look more natural. It comes in 10 natural-looking colors so you can find the one that fits you best.
Tatcha is known for luxury skin care that is packed full of good-for-you ingredients straight from Japan. All of its products are formulated to help solve skin issues for people with even the most problematic or sensitive skin. Founder and CEO Vicky Tsai created the brand as a solution to her acute dermatitis, and the products absolutely do not disappoint. Vicky has dedicated her brand's mission to empowering women all over the world, and part of the proceeds of every purchase go toward Room to Read, which helps fund girls' education.
A great introduction to the brand is The Essence ($95). It's a watery liquid serum that you apply before the rest of your products to help them all work better. It works best when you apply directly after a shower or after washing your face, so your pores are still open and receptive to hydration and nutrients from the product. Speaking from experience, it actually makes a world of difference once you start using it.
From its cult-favorite Amazonian Clay line to its elaborate limited-edition holiday eye shadow palettes, Tarte never fails to make each of its launches memorable. Its company leadership entirely comprises women: founder Maureen Kelly still acts as CEO, Heather Hemsley is the CAO, Candace Craig Bulishak is the CMO, and Anna Sponaugle is head of product development.
If you're looking for one Tarte product that you absolutely need to try, its Shape Tape Concealer ($27) is definitely the one you should go for. According to the website, one of these concealers is sold every 12 seconds — and for good reason. The concealer is completely full coverage but still feels lightweight on the skin. The formula is creamy and hydrating but doesn't crease or cake up. It's as close to a perfect concealer as you can get.
Pat McGrath Labs
Pat McGrath is noted as one of the most influential makeup artists in the world — and it's clear to see why. She's a world-renowned editorial and runway makeup artist, boasting clients like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Anna Sui, Louis Vuitton, and Stella McCartney, and her supermodel clients include heavy hitters like Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, and Cara Delevingne.
In 2017, she was the first makeup artist to receive the Founders Award from the CFDA. Not only does she dream up unforgettable looks for runway shows, but she has also created what is considered one of the highest-quality makeup brands in the business. The Pat McGrath Labs brand has products for your entire face, and they all come in superluxe packaging that feels like art in your hand.
While all of her products are worth trying out, a good one to start with is the Skin Fetish Highlighter Balm Duo ($48). It gives you a dewy, runway-ready glow with just a swipe. You can use the balm or the highlighter on its own, but if you layer the highlighter on top of the balm, you get a blinding effect that will have your cheekbones beaming.
Peach & Lily
Alicia Yoon created Peach & Lily as a Korean-beauty-inspired alternative to Western beauty products because she had struggled with eczema her whole life. She loved the idea of creating skincare solutions for people who just needed a little more confidence in their skin. Though the brand started as a K-beauty retailer in 2012, it only last year launched with its own in-house products — which sold out in mere minutes.
For a hydrating face oil that makes you glow for days, try out P&L's Pure Beam Luxe Oil ($39). The oil leaves skin feeling moisturized and nourished without leaving behind a greasy residue and is full of antioxidants to help replenish and protect skin. It keeps skin balanced and works well for both day and nighttime skincare routines.
There are few things cooler than being a beauty company that started on Shark Tank, and that's exactly what Sarah Lee and Christine Chang did with Glow Recipe. They started as a K-beauty retailer that brought amazing brands to the United States, but they also have their own in-house line that is arguably one of the most Instagrammable beauty brands around. Their fun, bubbly aesthetic and colorful marketing have allowed them to make K-beauty really accessible to a wide audience. Glow Recipe also recently launched a drugstore sister brand called Sweet Chef, which is now at Target.
While all of their Watermelon Glow products are worth trying out, the newest addition, the Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist ($28), is one you should definitely check out. The product truly lives up to its name: the mist is so fine, it feels like nothing on the skin. It envelops you in a sweet (but not overpowering) watermelon scent and leaves skin looking fresh and dewy. You can use it as a finishing spray or to make powder products appear a little more intensely.
Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard
Back in 2003, when hair products for people with natural textures were few and far between at any retailer (let alone the drugstore), entrepreneur Shelley Davis changed the game. She set out to create a brand made for WOC, taking cosmetic chemistry online courses and sourcing ingredients from recipes she used while growing up in the West Indies. Enter: Kinky-Curly.
Since then, the brand has gone on to launch dozens of products that address a multitude of textured hair concerns. Her most popular? The uberhydrating Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard ($17).
Ilia Beauty Multistick
Vancouver-born Sasha Plavsic had always been interested in homeopathic remedies in the health and wellness space, but it wasn't until she read the back of a lip balm bottle that she learned most beauty products on the market were made with potentially harmful ingredients. It was then, in 2011, that she decided to create her own safe lip balm — and thus, Ilia Beauty was born.
With more than nine years on the market and one of the early pioneers in the clean beauty space, the brand has become a staple for natural enthusiasts. Its lineup of multitasking products — especially the bestselling Ilia Beauty Multistick ($34) — have become makeup artist- and editor-favorites.