By Carly-May Kavanagh
YouTube challenges are nothing new, but one that’s caught my eye recently while on my endless quest to learn how to “cut my crease” and not get eyeliner all over my entire face – involves beautubers doing a full face of makeup using only women owned brands. Pretty cool, right? As women make up just over half of the world’s population and by far the majority of beauty customers, it shouldn’t be a difficult challenge, surely. However, even well known brands with a woman’s name on them like Bobbi Brown, Kat von D, Estee Lauder or Fenty by Rihanna are owned by umbrella companies headed up by a man.
Over the past decade there’s been an explosion in women starting their own makeup companies, and developing interesting and groundbreaking products. Which got me thinking: why aren’t we shouting about them more, especially the women who make sure their products are cruelty free or ethically sourced? Because there are so many cool brands out there, and by supporting them not only might you find some new favourites, but you’ll also be supporting strong, independent women.
Tiffany Masterson was a woman with a plethora of skin issues (think sensitivity, break outs, oiliness, visible pores, the lot), who couldn’t seem to find a brand that worked for her skin. So she made her own! Starting with a bar cleanser, she taught herself about skin and ingredients in cosmetics, and identified what was causing her own issues. ‘Drunk Elephant’ focus on ingredients that will actively help the skin, and contains no silicones, fragrances, or SLS. They’re also cruelty free!
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Founder Anastasia Soare moved to LA from Romania in early 1990, and it was only a few years later in 1998 that Anastasia Beverly Hills was born. She found work as an aesthetician doing facial and body waxing and realised nobody ever considered having their eyebrows done. Her boss wasn’t convinced by how much eyebrows can change someone’s face, so she left after a year and half of living in the US and started work on the brand. Opening her first salon in the mid-nineties, she was the only salon in Beverly Hills to offer eyebrow services. Her first EVER client was Cindy Crawford, followed by people like Jennifer Lopez and Michelle Pfeiffer – none of whom she’d heard of in Romania. Of course, in the nineties everyone’s eyebrows were whisper thin from plucking, so it took a long time to stress the importance of eyebrows that frame your face, but eventually we all got there.
Cashmere Nicole became a single mother at 16, had no industry connections, and yet managed to start a business in her twenties from her own home. She loved art as a child, and started businesses selling scrapbooks and jewellery boxes which had to be put on hold when her child was born, and eventually realised there was a gap in the market for hassle-free makeup that was easy to put on and take off and required minimal touch ups – something reliable. As well as having long lasting, waterproof formulas, the brand is also pretty ethical: they donate to anti-slavery campaigns in Libya and encourage people to focus on how they can help others.
Charlotte Tilbury was raised in Ibiza by a painter and a production manager, and was surrounded by creatives her entire childhood. Going to boarding school in her teens introduced her to makeup, and she quickly fell in love with making people over. She worked with Armani and MAC, Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford, practicing and learning before she went on to create her brand. The aim was to make something different that would empower women, because to her makeup is more than just paint, it’s something to instil confidence and happiness in someone.
I’ve been in love with this brand ever since I found out about them. Creator Gabriela Hernandez, who immigrated to the US from Buenos Aires at the age of 12, loved vintage beauty and watching her family members use makeup. She noticed that while her mother and grandma didn’t use many products, they could make themselves up however they wanted and look put together. Hernandez got her degree in Fine Arts (when she was older, obvs), and worked as a photographer, art director, and wrote a book, Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup. Bésame Cosmetics was launched in 2004, with a focus on recreating makeup products from the 1920s through to the 1960s, like the 1920s Brown Cake Mascara which is activated by water, or shades of sixties lipsticks worn by Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy. Complete with beautiful golden packaging, it’s easy to see why this brand is so popular.
Bésame is available from their own website – although you will need to pay for international shipping.
Who are your favourite women in makeup? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and any other women-owned makeup brands we should know about!