Hey there, fellow beauty and skincare lovers! One of my favorite pastimes is searching for the latest in all things serums, moisturizers, primers, eyeshadow palettes, liners and more. While I love repurchasing holy grail beauty products from powerhouses like ColourPop, The Ordinary, tarte and Neutrogena, it’s always a good idea to broaden the horizons and show some love to smaller operations. Check out these 11 indie brands that are revolutionizing the skincare and beauty industries.
Tower 28 Beauty
Where it’s headquartered: Santa Monica, California
Three words to describe the brand: beachy, sun-kissed, glowing
What it’s all about: Dewy, clean fun, formulated especially for those with sensitive skin. Tower 28 Beauty is named after a lifeguard tower where the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach meet: warm, welcoming and accessible for all. It’s the only makeup brand to 100% follow the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines, meaning each product is made without known irritants like essential oils and synthetic fragrances. Tower 28 offers lip gloss, bronzer, balm, highlighter and facial spray.
See our favorite Tower 28 Beauty products
Where it’s headquartered: New York, New York
Three words to describe the brand: optimistic, space-age, celestial
What it’s all about: Staying positive about acne and finding creative, downright cute ways to combat those annoying whiteheads. Starface takes the normal pimple patch and transforms it into something full of creative expression: Hydro-Stars! They work best on their own, but putting your favorite foundation/concealer over them is totally fine. Everything is out-of-this-world adorable. Starface also offers pore strips, face wash, moisturizer, cotton rounds and exfoliating water.
Where to buy Starface products: starface.world, Target, Sephora, Credo Beauty, Superdrug
See our favorite Starface products
Where it’s headquartered: Los Angeles, California
Three words to describe the brand: bold, futuristic, striking
What it’s all about: Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines! Kosas prides itself on clean products that pack serious pigment and easily blend into your routine, whether you’re a full-faced makeup lover or just want a dab of bright gloss on the lips. Curious about shades but nervous about buying online? That’s where the “Kosas Tryouts” box comes in, a package full of samples that you can swatch on your arms to help decide which full-size products you want. It’s the Sephora experience, all from your couch.
Along with a full line of cosmetics like mascara, powder, concealer, blush and skin tint, the brand also offers body products including gel body wash, deodorant and lip balm.
See our favorite Kosas Cosmetics products
Where it’s headquartered: New York, New York
Three words to describe the brand: dependable, simple, classic
What it’s all about: Sometimes simple is best, and that’s definitely the case with Athena Club. They’re all about self-care items that are affordable, sustainable and toxin-free so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your body. The brand strives to create the best essentials for women in one easy place. Say hello to happy, healthy skin. Athena sells razors in a variety of appealing colors, shaving cream, body wash, face wipes, lotion, vitamins and a large selection of period products.
Where to buy Athena Club products: athenaclub.com
See our favorite Athena Club products
Three Ships Beauty
Where it’s headquartered: Toronto, Ontario
Three words to describe the brand: natural, nautical, youthful
What it’s all about: There’s quite a magical backstory to this next entry on our list. Legend has it the Fountain of Youth was discovered by a tiny fleet of only three ships, and while this fountain may be fictional, we know you can still change the world with limited resources – and thus, Three Ships Beauty was born. The brand dedicates itself to natural, botanical ingredients for high-powered skincare that will always be under $40.
If you’re interested in learning more, take this quiz to describe your skin and get personalized results in the form of cleansers, toners, creams, masks and lip scrubs.
See our favorite Three Ships Beauty products
Where it’s headquartered: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Three words to describe the brand: mountain magic, wild
What it’s all about: Those who live out West will most likely recognize “alpenglow,” the name for the heavenly pink light that illuminates forests and mountaintops. That’s the inspiration for Alpyn Beauty, whose skincare products are as beautiful and sunset-kissed as the Wyoming wildlife. They use a practice called wildcrafting, aka, harvesting plants directly from their natural habitat. Only the fruit, branches or flowers are removed and the living plant itself is left healthy. Alpyn offers moisturizers, masks, serums, balms, cleansers and peels.
Where to buy Alpyn products: alpynbeauty.com, Sephora, Credo Beauty, Bluemercury, Amazon
See our favorite Alpyn Beauty products
Where it’s headquartered: South Plainfield, New Jersey
Three words to describe the brand: fresh, radiant, luminous
What it’s all about: Vegan probiotics are the name of the game for glowoasis. The brand’s hero ingredient is napa cabbage gathered from the mountains of Korea, which is rich in nutrients and packs a powerful punch when used in skincare. Its founders were originally in the business of spa and at-home self-care experiences, but transitioned to an everyday line of products to give you the ultimate glow-up.
glowoasis makes cleansers, exfoliators, toners, serums and moisturizers.
Where to buy glowoasis products: glowoasis.com, Amazon
See our favorite glowoasis products
Where it’s headquartered: San Francisco, California
Three words to describe the brand: retro, inclusive, confident
What it’s all about: Exa Beauty’s name comes from the decimal unit prefix 1018, reflecting mega-big steps when it comes to inclusivity, shade range and commitment to the planet. The brand, an in-house line developed by Credo Beauty, works to make its packaging as eco-friendly as possible, from start to finish. Their products look good on everybody, no matter your skin color, age or gender. Exa offers foundation, primer and vibrant shades of liquid eyeshadow.
Where to buy Exa products: exabeauty.com, Ulta, Credo Beauty, Amazon
See our favorite Exa Beauty products
Where it’s headquartered: New York, New York
Three words to describe the brand: sustainable, ethical, eco-conscious
What it’s all about: by Humankind seeks to reduce each person’s single-use plastic footprint by 90% or more. They create simple but effective body care items that are kind to you and Mother Nature. Upon your first purchase of a product, you’ll get a refillable container and one refill, and shipping is always free. You can order one-time refills or opt for a subscription plan that always keeps your shower routine in stock. Humankind sells shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand sanitizer, deodorant, floss, toothpaste and mouthwash.
Where to buy Humankind products: byhumankind.com
See our favorite by Humankind products
Where it’s headquartered: Charleston, South Carolina
Three words to describe the brand: minimalistic, approachable, versatile
What it’s all about: Radiance, inside and out, grounded by expert knowledge of veteran makeup artist and founder Rose-Marie Swift. Each rms product is a multi-tasker that’s uncomplicated and fits like a glove into your everyday life. The brand even offers virtual consultations for a truly personalized experience, from matching your exact foundation shade to finding “clean swaps” for your makeup staples.
rms offers a large lineup including blush, foundation, concealer, body oil, mascara, eyeshadow palettes, brushes and much more.
See our favorite rms beauty products
Where it’s headquartered: Vancouver, British Columbia
Three words to describe the brand: empowering, forward-thinking, gentle
What it’s all about: Blume (not affiliated with author Judy Blume in any way, BTW) seeks to redefine skin and period care. From a young age, girls are taught to feel ashamed of their bodies, especially when it comes to menstruation. This brand opens up the floor to honest conversations about acne, puberty, periods and sex ed, aided by high-quality products that actually work. It also provides in-depth resources for educators and activists to help build a female-forward future. Blume sells face wash, deodorant, moisturizer, acne oil, cramp oil, tampons, pads and hand sanitizer.
Where to buy their products: blume.com, Ulta, Amazon
See our favorite Blume products
Tower 28 Beauty
Love Glossier’s iconic Milky Jelly Cleanser? Try Tower 28’s ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly. It’s made with nourishing apricot and raspberry seed oil, and you can choose from four versatile shades. You’ll get all the shine without the pesky stickiness.
Mascne is a very real thing, and that’s where the SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray comes in. The spray’s crown jewel is hypochlorous acid, which is naturally found in white blood cells and helps defend against bacteria and inflammation. Use day and night for maximum results.
I have used these patches many, many times and I’m always amazed at how well my whiteheads disappear, especially when I go to sleep with them on. They’re adorable and inexpensive, plus the plastic yellow container is easy to stow in an overnight bag or purse.
Space Wash is an oil-free and dermatologist-approved foaming cleanser that will leave your skin feeling fresh and calm. It doesn’t contain any harmful fragrances, artificial dyes, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and to top it all off, it’s safe to use for those who are pregnant or nursing.
Boost, fluff, tint, repeat. Air Brow is a unique moussey-gel product that has important hair care actives in it to make your brows look fire and also support their growth. We love the wide variety of shades, including hard-to-find colors like grey and auburn.
Kosas’ Sun Show Bronzer, made with shea butter and meadowfoam oil, seamlessly blends into the face without looking overly contoured. Think of it as the makeup version of Kacey Musgraves’ bop of an album “Golden Hour.”
Everything you know about shaving is about to change. Athena Club’s razors are built to last, with components including anodized aluminum (the same material as a MacBook!) and a fiberglass core. The blades have a water-activated serum, meaning shaving cream isn’t even necessary if you’re in a rush.
Speaking of shaving cream…Athena’s Cloud Shave has a sumptuous texture with notes of sage, vanilla, lime, rose and cedarwood. It’s soothing, conditioning and makes every shower more enjoyable.
Three Ships Beauty
Sugar crystals in the Piña Colada Lip Exfoliator remove pesky dry flakes while shea butter works to ensure your lips are plump and hydrated. Plus, there are no artificial colors or flavors. The jar itself is fully recyclable, but be sure to rinse it out before placing it in the recycling bin.
This brightening clay mask with French green clay and green tea extract is a satisfying way to end the day. Here’s how it works: mix one tablespoon of mask with a few drops of water until you see a thin paste. Apply onto your face (avoiding your eye area) and let dry for eight to 10 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and you’re all set! Each container provides around 15-20 uses.
The PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer is weightless and creamy with a matte finish, providing you with a makeup-ready canvas. Aloe, squalane and hyaluronic acid hydrate your skin, while vitamin C works to visibly brighten. It’s suitable for AM and PM use, but don’t forget the SPF before you start your day!
This looks good enough to eat. The Wild Huckleberry Polishing Peel has eight naturally-derived acids working hard to bring out your best skin. The huckleberry helps to brighten the face, while bamboo powder is a delicate skin-buffing ingredient, similar to a microdermabrasion-like treatment.
The No. 1 beauty rule, in my opinion, is to NEVER go to sleep with your makeup on. The makeupmelt Cleansing Balm makes that process simple, even with full-coverage foundation and stubborn waterproof mascara. Soothing ingredients include prickly pear extract, moringa seed oil and neem leaf extract.
This hydrating serum is made for those with concerns about dryness, dullness and/or aging skin. It’s an instant boost of moisture, which is especially helpful as we move into the cooler, drier months. Mix a few drops into your foundation for added hydration and glow throughout your day.
The High Fidelity Foundation has microalgae actives, soothing maqui berry and hydrating hyaluronic acid for a makeup experience like no other. It provides a natural, semi-satin finish for all-day wear. There are 42 shades to choose from – click here to input your shade range, undertone and skin tone to find the best match.
The Light Show Color Melt foil collection is super-charged with shine. It’s a blendable gel pigment with vivid, plant-powered UV filters for your eyes, face and body (seriously, it looks bomb no matter where you put it). The shade Jump Rope is a metallic smoky taupe.
Grab a Body Wash Bar to eliminate the need for any plastic at all when you’re cleansing and gearing up for another manic Monday. It’s cold-processed and extra moisturizing, with shea butter, jojoba oil and olive oil. You can choose from the lovely scents of tea tree, blood orange + bergamot, grapefruit or unscented.
The Daily Routine set is perfect for people new to Humankind. It includes natural deodorant, floss, mouthwash and toothpaste. The cool kit features notes of peppermint and eucalyptus, while the warm kit has citrus and cardamom. Yes, please.
We said above that rms is all about multi-tasking, and the lip2cheek mini palette is ideal for those who like versatility. The vibrant shades can be mixed and matched to create any number of looks, plus the tiny palette features a handy mirror and can be stowed in a purse for on-the-go application.
The “un” cover-up concealer is creamy, buildable and provides a natural finish. The lightweight formula covers up redness and dark circles without feeling too heavy. It can be easily applied with your fingers for lighter coverage or a brush for heavier coverage.
Pimples don’t stand a chance with the Meltdown Acne Oil. With rosehip, blue tansy, tamanu and black cumin seed, this powerful formula can be used on all skin types but is formulated especially for folks with sensitive skin. Use one pump for a spot treatment or mix into your daily moisturizer for more coverage.
Looking for a magical cleanser to start and end your day? Try the Daydreamer Face Wash that has a lovely lavender scent. Soothing plant extracts leave your skin soft and supple without stripping away healthy, necessary oils.