8 Of The Best Indie Beauty Brands
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Aroma Active Laboratories
Created by the alchemists behind beauty behemoth Aromatherapy Associates, Aroma Active is more of a niche lifestyle counterpart to its famous cousin. Describing itself as nature’s toolkit, the idea behind its Sleep, Soothe, Muscle and SOS ranges is to help you build resilience in your day-to-day life. While the lavender-laced bath Salt Soak and Pulsepoint Rollerball are excellent additions to your midnight arsenal, the form-meets-function design of products like the Stomach Massage Oil (brilliant for soothing aches and pains at all ages) and the peppermint-infused Forehead Balm are real standouts. They’re also particularly useful to have on hand if, like us, you find yourself automatically reaching for the paracetamol to soothe any ailment.
Available at Boots.com
If you’re a fan of natural skincare, it doesn’t come much greener than Biologi. Riding the wave of the obsession with the clean, laid-back aesthetic of Australian beauty, this neat skincare collection is the first in the world to contain phytonutrients from 100% plant actives only. Not only does that mean no synthetic actives, it’s also free from water. Case in point, the Bc Refresh Cleanser, a daily cleanser that uses a non-irritating, single-plant ingredient of soapberry fruit to gently purify all skin types. Another highlight is the Bqk Radiance Serum, which makes the most of the exceptionally high natural vitamin C quota of the kakadu plum to brighten and give skin a proper boost. Although the formulas are so pure you could drink them, we advise sticking to slathering them on your skin (and reaping the hefty rewards) instead.
Available at LookFantastic.com
This skin and body care brand is built around the five elements of traditional Chinese medicine (that’s wood, fire, earth, water and metal). So, whether you’re feeling the need to be nurtured or energised, the idea is you’ll be able to find something that speaks to you. While every product has been crafted to be as sensorial as it is efficacious, special mentions go to the Neroli & Damask Rose Body Wash (the perfect mix of lather and lingering scent), the intensely hydrating Nutrition Infusion Sheet Masks, and the Vital Eyes roll-on serum which helps brighten and de-puff sleep-deprived eyes – it’s even better if you keep it in the fridge.
Lots of brands are waking up to the necessity of contributing to a more sustainable beauty industry, but Fiils is one brand doing it in a cool way. At the forefront of the refill-not-landfill beauty movement, its carbon-neutral range of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand wash is housed in pouches (which can be returned and recycled for free) that you can then decant into stylish aluminium bottles in three colourways. The formulas are free of SLS and silicone,s and use essential oils to create dreamy fragrances such as pomelo and coconut. In other words, they’re good for you, your bathroom credentials and the planet. What’s not to love?
With product lines called Joy, Love, Peace and Calm, it’s little wonder new wellbeing brand Kalmar feels like an antidote we all need right now. Based on the idea of creating self-care essentials that help foster a sense of self-connection and kindness, its founder Karen Ruimy believes little acts of self-love, like lighting one of its candles, can instantly improve your mood. Highlights include the vetiver, frankincense and moss scented Peace Candle which manages to instil serenity and a sense of grounding, and the Joy Energise Body Lotion, which is as invigorating and uplifting as it sounds thanks to a silky formula infused with lemon, ginger and bergamot.
There’s a lot to love about this skincare brand, the ethos of which is based on founder Theresa Edwards’ childhood in St Lucia. As well as her belief in the power of plant medicine, which is evident in each and every small-batch potion she creates, there’s a real sense that using these natural, organic products connects you to something more than just great skin. The Humble Warrior Complete Cleansing Oil transforms your evening cleanse into a ritualistic oil pulling ceremony, inviting you to stop and breathe, while the Equilibrium Pulse Point Aromatherapy Oil is a true lifestyle essential that will steer you through the turmoil of a stressful day. Created by Theresa after the first lockdown of 2020, it’s a blend of blue tansy, fragonia, vetiver and sandalwood oils, helping instil a sense of calm that leaves you feeling grounded after just a few deep breaths. Try keeping this in your yoga bag and applying just before class to reap even more soothing benefits.
Tower 28 Beauty
It may still be small, but we predict new make-up brand Tower 28 will be big news. Each of the five products ticks all the glow-giving boxes you’d expect of a brand born out of California, but more than that, each one has been formulated to adhere to the National Eczema Association guidelines, which means they’re totally non-irritating and perfect for anyone who suffers from sensitive skin. The ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly is a nourishing blend of tinted oils that’s ideal if you hate the feel of lip gloss but love the sheen, while the BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm has a melting, velvety texture but carries enough punchy pigment to see even the most pallid complexions through winter.
Available at CultBeauty.co.uk
While the solid skincare movement isn’t exactly mainstream yet, we predict this bold brand might just be the one to change all of that. Its latest launch, the Clarifying Facial Exfoliator (out at the end of October) is a pleasing, portable bar that uses upcycled rice powder and white willow bark extract to gently refine skin’s texture, but it’s the Rejuvenating Night Balm that’s got us excited, specifically because it’s the world’s first ever retinol in a bar. As well as marrying sustainable, practical form with proven ingredients, it uses granactive retinoid to deliver the same resurfacing results as regular retinol but minus the irritation. It also contains squalane to redress hydration and restore suppleness to skin. One to watch.
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