best indie beauty brands
Photography by Carlo Mendoza

The Indie Beauty Brands You Need to Know About

They may not be household names yet, but these beauty brands are setting the tone for the market at large.

In beauty circles, bigger isn’t always better. Case in point: Buyers from mega-retailers like Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Costco and Amazon now scour gatherings like the Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) for the next buzzy brand. “Indie brands hold about 5 per cent of the market, but they’re growing at 20 per cent and capturing the growth dollars,” said Nader Naeymi-Rad, co-founder of IBE, in WWD. And Jane Nugent, vice-president of merchandising at Sephora Canada, says that it’s “indies” her customers are most excited about. “Niche brands are having a major moment,” she says. “Our clients like the exclusivity of having something that not everyone knows about.” Pillars of the beauty world like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal have taken note, scooping up burgeoning brands: Too Faced and IT Cosmetics, respectively, were acquired for more than $1 billion each last year.

And now more than ever, independent beauty brands rely on social media—the ultimate platform to display their voice and vision. Not to mention that if a product’s design makes it Instagram bait, the buying public really pays attention. So what brands are among beauty’s current creative class? From a hair-care line with celeb and social cred to a skincare brand that’s built a cultish following on the virtues of one product, here is our list of power players.

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