By  on May 7, 2010

The state capital has a special, funky vibe, which it takes pains to embrace and cultivate. Despite the teeming government offices and computer maker Dell’s headquarters on the outskirts, Austin’s ambience is set by the University of Texas and the healthy indie music and movie industries. Whole Foods is also based here, with an evergrowing beauty presence in both its Whole Body annex and spas that are located in some stores. “Beauty products fared extremely well in the recession,” says Perry Fink, the company’s Whole Body coordinator for the Southwest, while admitting to seeing “some tradedown within brands and a shift to highly effective products that work within current budgets.” Best-selling lines here include Skin Organics by Ann Webb, Mineral Fusion makeup, Enfusia bath and body products and Kinky Curly hair care. “There’s a dramatic increase in early age awareness of natural products,” says Fink, “with teenagers being educated about ingredients and how they may effect their health and the environment. They’re trending towards natural makeup that allows the skin to breathe.” Of the look in Austin, he says: “Less is more. They want their natural beauty to shine.” However, notes his colleague, Traci Reazer: “We sell a lot of tattoo balm, too.”

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