Most beauty obsessives harbor a kind of … fickleness, if you will. Because our inclination is to try everything all of the time, the products we truly commit to for the long term are sometimes overshadowed by exciting new launches that we just can’t not get our hands on. So many products, so little time.
We’ve been known to get disproportionately excited about new releases from our longtime favorite brands, but we’re always on the lookout for entirely new brands, too. As the industry-wide desire for more natural yet effective products grows, we’ve noticed indie brands popping up everywhere, and we’re not the only ones—quite a few of them have gained a cult following that rivals those of brands that have been around forever. It’s a new frontier in beauty, and we’re pretty into it.
These 15 culty new (and new-ish) lines may not have total name recognition just yet, but it’s probably in your best interest to get acquainted with them before everyone else does. Admit it: You kind of delight in discovering cool shit before it’s all over the place. (We do, too.)
A solid, well-pigmented lipstick made with all-natural ingredients is hard to find, which is exactly why Axiology is so exciting: Each and every one of the 19 shades applies so smoothly and with such true pigment, you'd hardly even know it's natural. (That's a good thing.) Worth ($28) is a gorgeous fiery red with a creamy matte finish that suits everyone.
Aster & Bay
Each product in the Aster & Bay collection is made only with raw plant ingredients and crafted in the "apothecary tradition"—by hand, in the home of founder Erin Hammond, who originated the line based on her studies in botany, plant folklore, and herbal alchemy. For a unique anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing treatment that can be mixed with a variety of liquids to create a mask or scrub, try the super gentle Dandelion Face Grains ($30).
Lake & Skye
Founded by yoga teacher, aromatherapist, and holistic nutritionist Courtney Somer, Lake & Skye uses 100-percent-pure therapeutic-grade essential oils to formulate their fragrances, oil blends, and floral waters. Perfect for the crunchy nature lover in you who also appreciates a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Try the Jasmine Floral Water ($69)—the hydrosol mist is intended to alleviate fears and anxiety while also giving you glorious glowing skin.
Roots Rose Radish
Roots Rose Radish prides itself on using sustainable, high-quality plants that contain medicinal properties, as designed by founder Christian Toscano, a clinically trained herbalist. The Rose Lip Balm ($22) has quickly made its way into our regular lip-care rotation: It's packed with rose-hip seed oil, rosewood oil, and shea butter, and imparts a light, dewy rose tint that looks great on everyone.
This Korean skin-care purveyor recently launched at Sephora, which means it's finally getting the attention it deserves (which also brings it one step closer to its actual brand mantra: "We will be the best cosmetic company!"). All of the products are formulated with ingredients that you could technically eat, though you probably won't want to regardless. The Pore Tightening Memory Sleeping Mask ($38) does pretty much everything we'd ever want a skin-care treatment to do—it hydrates, exfoliates, soothes, and encourages a "lifting" effect, and all you have to do is sleep.
Crystal Cactus, founded by the once-very-Internet-famous model and artist Audrey Kitching, isn't technically a beauty brand—really, it's a one-stop shop for any and all kitschy, cool "witchy" things you might want in your life, beauty products included. (If you're a sucker for a Tumblr tableau of geodes, you'll love this shit.) But that doesn't mean that the offerings aren't legit: We can't get enough of the Vanilla Sugar Witch Shea Butter ($18), which is formulated with pure shea butter and vanilla essential oil to make a super-comforting body salve. Not entirely certain why there's a hematite crystal in it, but sure, why not.
Each and every product in the Farmaesthetics line is 100-percent natural and exclusively utilizes certified organic herbs, flowers, oils, and grains from American family farms. The super-simple formulas are pared down to just a few ingredients, but they're all there for a purpose, so your skin is getting only what it really needs. Farmaesthetics Complexion Conserve Remedy Reserve Serum ($52) is made with just five ingredients, but the radiance-enhancing, multiuse treatment is as effective as anything you'd find in the department store—if not more.
The Good4You mission is clear: It's pure plant makeup, which is totally natural and safe for even the most sensitive skin. The brand's got shimmer balms, eyeshadows, intense lip stains, and "paints"—but we find ourselves reaching most often for the finely milled Hibiscus Blush Powder ($20), which goes on beautifully with a big, fluffy brush.
"Plant to body," indeed. All of Oxalis Apothecary's handcrafted products are 100-percent natural and formulated with ethically sourced plant-based oils, herbs, and minerals, and the packaging is so pretty you won't mind leaving it laying around on your dresser. Because one can never have too many plant-infused face mists, add the brand's Toning Mist ($18) to your lineup—the rose and neroli scent is heavenly, and aloe and witch hazel work to fight breakouts (gently!) and reduce inflammation. You can use it like a micellar water, too, for a deeper clean to rid skin of debris.
The secret is out: ILIA is among the very best in organic, sustainable makeup that doesn't sacrifice efficacy for more natural, skin-safe ingredients. The packaging is perfection, and you seriously won't find a single letdown in the entire line, which encompasses everything from lip color and silky eye shadow to mascara that's actually good—not to mention its signature Polka Dots & Moonbeams ($34) luminizer, which uses healing rose-hip oil to hydrate while it highlights.
Little Barn Apothecary
It's safe to say that we'd like to live inside said Little Barn. Founders Joshua and Brad are committed to formulating safe, pure, simple skin- and hair-care products that do exactly what they say they will. If "An Inconvenient Truth" freaked you the eff out—or even if it didn't—eschew the aerosols and give LBA's Flowers + Pink Clay Dry Shampoo ($16) a try. It smells incredible, and the rich starch and kaolin clay combo truly does keep hair looking fresh.
A lesser-known GOOP favorite, this health-and-wellness-focused company offers high-performance nontoxic oils that get their anti-aging power from chia seed. The Super Couple Ultra Luxe Face Oil Serum ($85) is the perfect lightweight anti-aging serum, and the company donates 10 percent of its profit to helping the Maya people of Central and South America.
Olio E Osso
Pared down to four simple lip balms, Olio E Osso keeps things low-key—but we swear by its No. 1, a clear, versatile balm, to fix nearly everything. Split ends? Dry patches? Eyebrows gone askew? This salve will address 'em all. For a hit of color, we're partial to No. 2 ($28), a light wash of pinkish orange that's equally as delightful in the dead of winter as it is when worn on sunny summer skin.
Plantfolk Apothecary has garnered a major cult following since its launch, and for good reason: The Vermont-based brand isn't just committed to sustainable, ethical, organic, and locally sourced ingredients, but it also has really, really chic packaging that makes even the lifelong city-dwellers among us feel like holistic earth goddesses (LOL). The Sea of Love Botanical Soaking Salts ($20) are a bathtub must-have for winter—the lemongrass, blue chamomile, and vanilla bean scent is so relaxing and just the right amount of tropical.
Leave it to California-based editorial hairdresser Garrett Markenson to create a super chic, perfectly curated hair-care and -styling line that also works like a charm—you know, not just a pretty face. We can't stress enough how cool and simple this packaging is, not to mention the fact that the collection keeps things on the safe, natural side by skipping sulfates, glycols, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, animal derivatives, T.E.A., D.E.A., synthetic colors, silicones, parabens, and glutens. (Yep, all of those things.) RAKE ($36) is a styling must for all hair types: It smells incredible and gives hair moisture, movement, and hold like nothing else.