As resilient and historically recession-proof as the beauty industry is, it wasn’t immune to the sweeping changes that unfolded during 2020. According to McKinsey, beauty sales declined as much as 30 percent in the first half of 2020, although those levels have since rebounded in 2021.
Like most industries during the pandemic, “adapt” was the name of the game. As a result, big beauty giants and emerging players alike were forced to navigate changing consumer behaviors and habits. Beauty tech, personalization, and sustainability were among the key focus areas for several companies. But despite all these changes, one fundamental truth about the beauty sector remained unchanged: its ability to make its consumers look and feel their best, inside and out.
So, if you’re looking to reinvigorate your beauty or wellness routine this fall, we’re sharing five companies that aim to improve the lives of their customers while leaving a better impact on the world.
Wherever you are, you likely want to bring along the products you know work. Whether you’re at the gym, on a weekend getaway, on vacation, or anywhere else, you want your go-to toiletries. Steph Hon, the founder and CEO of Cadence, gets this. She was frustrated with being unable to find a well-designed product that fit her needs, so she launched her own brand. Three years later, after hundreds of prototypes and being told her vision would be impossible to achieve, Cadence brings something truly unique to the market. The product — the Capsule — magnetically snaps together in a honeycomb pattern to conveniently store everything from cleansers and shampoos to jewelry, vitamins, medicines — pretty much anything you can think of (the label is fully customizable). Each capsule is made in the United States out of recycled, ocean-bound plastic to reduce environmental impact.
2. Hero Cosmetics
Everyone knows the frustration of acne, and the co-founder and CEO of Hero Cosmetics was no different. Typical acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide would leave Ju Rhyu‘s skin irritated, while concealer wouldn’t make the pimples disappear. She found a remedy in hydrocolloid patches, which she discovered in South Korea but found unavailable in the U.S. Wanting to bring such a gentle, yet effective product to the U.S. market, Hero Cosmetics was born to help people find their best skin. The company now has five “pimple patch” varieties, body care products like body wash and moisturizer, and facial products like cleansers, SPF, and spot treatments. The products have become a fan favorite, winning beauty awards from Allure consistently.
3. Twice Toothpaste
This company was born from a dental mission in co-founder Lenny Kravitz’s hometown in the Bahamas. The team’s dental experts treated patients for cleanings, root canals, whitenings, extractions, and beyond, giving the community newfound energy and a sense of confidence. It was inspiring, and Kravitz and the other co-founders, Julien and Cody Levine, left determined to make a healthy smile accessible to anyone. They committed to researching and developing a product that was cleaner and vitamin-enriched. Twice Toothpaste products check all the boxes: whitening, sensitivity relief, cavity prevention, mouth-healthy vitamins, SLS-free, 100 percent recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. The ingredients balance the microbiome of the mouth for better overall health.
4. KNOW Beauty
Founded by Vanessa Hudgens and Madison Beer, KNOW Beauty aims to make skincare simple. Growing up in the public eye, both women faced harsh and unrealistic beauty standards and had their own skincare journeys that led them to the same conclusion; it shouldn’t be trial and error. In her teens, Madison battled acne that made her self-conscious and impacted her mental health. Similarly, as Vanessa grew up in front of the camera, she knew the breakouts of her 20s would be featured on screen. The duo sought a dermatologist passionate about transforming the skincare industry and guiding the brand. They found exactly the person they were looking for in Dr. Karen Kagha, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer. Harvard-trained, Dr. Kagha is well-versed in intelligent skincare that considers internal and external factors for an individualized skincare regimen. KNOW Beauty understands that skincare is not a one-size-fits-all solution, with products that include cleansers, moisturizers, serums, masks, and more. Additionally, the brand is committed to bettering the environment with conscious formulas, recyclability, and better packaging.
5. Cake Beauty
Heather Reier launched Cake in a quest to satisfy her need for a “girlie indulgence” and her preference for natural products. The company is built on authenticity and is committed to developing great products for its customers, including shampoos, conditioners, body scrubs, lotions, and more. Each product is designed at the company’s Toronto headquarters in Canada and is manufactured responsibly in Canada and the U.K. The company never buys ingredients from supplies that test on animals. No products are ever tested on animals and the company never sells in areas that require animal testing. Each formulation is 100 percent vegan, made of high-performing naturally-based ingredients.
Learn more about the vibrant beauty industry here.