The world of independent beauty products returned to Los Angeles’ epicentre of fashion and beauty when the Indie Beauty Expo took over the California Market in late January. Just like LA’s climate, spring was definitely in the air this year with blasts of colour and fresh ideas in skin care that demanded our attention. While we did spot a few now-familiar faces and favourite products, we also noticed a few changes. For starters, the presence of K-beauty and J-beauty products—a huge draw in past years—was muted. Product lines from New Zealand and Australia, meanwhile, had a strong showing. Other regions with products ready for their close-up included Hawai‘i, Oregon, Taiwan, Spain, and the Philippines.
The lands south of the equator emerged as definitive front-runners. From New Zealand, Te Mana products are imbued with the healing benefits of the country’s mineral rich rainforest. The Organic Skin Co., another Kiwi brand, showed show attendees how to attain that dewy, fresh look for day and evening with their mineral make-up line. Dr Roebuck’s is an Australian import making a big splash in skin care, especially with their custom formulas for individual customer. The brand’s Reverse Anti-Ageing Serum is already a best seller at top retailers. The restorative power of the macadamia nut, meanwhile, is the central ingredient for Australia’s Pure Nut, a line of deeply nourishing skin and body care.
Heading northwest, we spotted several Hawai‘ian brands drenched with island botanicals. Noteworthy were Ola Tropical Apothecary, Mālie, and Laki, the latter whom indulged weary attendees with a relaxing hand exfoliation and massage rich in exotic aromas.
European beauty companies, meanwhile, are not going anywhere, and new innovators were on hand to push old reputations into a new century. Italian-inspired brand Borghese made a splash with updated packaging and a more streamlined collection. Spain’s Sepai, across the aisle, took that further with its science-inspired packaging and displays. The collective of eco-natural compositions, fashioned from highly researched ingredients, are tailored to individual skin concerns arising from today’s stresses and pollutants. APoEM, also from the Iberian peninsula, showcased its spa and aromatherapy line suffused with herbs and botanical for a holistic mind, body, and olfactory awakening.
While it may sound more like a perfume, France’s Eau de Lait is actually an elixir skin care solution formulated with Collosol. The half-milk, half-water formula that’s already a cult favourite cleanser in France erases make-up and fatigue with unsurpassed gentleness.
To achieve that enviable Nordic radiance, Lumene has introduced Invisible Illuminator to their Valo collection, while Eleni & Chris transfer the supernatural waters of the fjords into hyper-effective skin and body care. Pure and powerful, Naturativ places Poland on the beauty map, while Moonlit Skincare yields ingredients from Bali in its powerful Midnight Shift Overnight Facial Oil. BRYT, from the UK, meanwhile, was gearing up to bring the flash and colour of the UK runways to US pharmacies with its fab packaging. However, the formulas can be mixed and matched for customers based on their age and skin care needs.
Brands that promoted the powerful properties of a single ingredient provided attendees with some food for thought. For Le Prunier, it is the multi-beneficial plum, while for Pistache it is ultra-hydrating pistachio oil. The therapeutic, glow-inducing dandelion extract permeates every product from physician-created Schique Skincare. And if you love the aroma of coffee, then Dirty Lamb will be your new fave with body scrubs and butters made from the richest Turkish coffee that will wake you up faster than the strongest espresso.
This year’s show wasn’t without a few unexpected and praise worthy surprises. For the first time ever, we saw several companies promoting sun protection as the primary defence against premature ageing. For those who loathe lathering on sunscreen lotions, Klēnskin is the only waterproof shower-on SPF-enriched with antioxidants to protect hair, face, and body that is as easy as washing your hair. Cosmetically elegant and clinically proven, Sun Whip Moisturizer from CyberDerm contains photo-stable UVA and UVB protection at a higher concentration than standard OTC products. And for added benefit from the inside out, dermatologist-made DNA Renewal has launched proprietary dietary supplement Nox and Remedy Blend to kickstart and complement your daily regimen.
Pili Ani, from the Philippines, is a stand-out not only for its lavish products, but also for its opulent Arabesque packaging. That said, US inventors had some interesting products to share with the world. The best included Clove & Hallow’s make-up, No BS (Bad Stuff) Skincare, med–spa line Jordan & Petersen, and Source Vital, another customization-focused brand allowing customers to take charge of their daily skin care routine.
Luxe grooming products for men were well represented, too, with brands like the Prohibition-era-inspired 18.21, urban sleek masculinity from Vitruvian Man and Evolution Man, and the Mediterranean herb- and mineral-filled Maapilim. We also loved the refreshing irreverence by Fatco and No BS Skincare, which added a dose of levity to the often-too-serious world of beauty products.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor, and Jody Miller, Correspondent