When Beauty Inc sent hundreds of ballots to industry insiders asking them to vote on the top skin care products of all time, the common thread was clear: voters had strong opinions about what they put on their faces. Although the top 100 products were a hearty mix of breakout stars and legacy products, a burgeoning subset of independent brands clearly caught the attention of voters, too. Of the 15 indie brands highlighted here, most of them are newcomers — only two were founded prior to 2010 — and the majority are woman-founded. Here, in alphabetical order, the indie brands, industry insiders and executives voted on the most.
Founder: Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, American and European board-certified plastic surgeon
USP: All of 111Skin’s products are incepted by its founder based on the needs he sees in his clinic, 111 Harley Street, where the brand draws its name from.
Hero product: Y Theorem Repair Serum, $350
Founders: Craig and Julia Noik
USP: African Botanics gets its name from South Africa, where the founders have forged deep relationships with the land and people creating its ingredients.
Hero product: Pure Marula Oil, $100
Founder: Kendra Kolb Butler
USP: Alpyn Beauty’s wildcrafted ingredients are resilient botanicals that survive the climate in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where Butler lives, and are meant to inspire similar reparative processes in the skin.
Hero product: PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer, $60
USP: The brand was one of the first to bring a sugarcane-derived squalane to market.
Hero product: Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, $72
Black Girl Sunscreen
Founder: Shontay Lundy
USP: Black Girl Sunscreen offers a range of vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free and reef-safe sunscreens that don’t leave a white cast on deeper skin tones.
Hero product: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $18.99
Founders: Ndidi Obidoa and Chinelo Chidozie
USP: Bolden formulates “skin tone-friendly” products that meet the concerns of melanated skin tones with clean formulas.
Hero product: SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer with vitamin C, $28
Doctor Rogers Restore
Founder: Dr. Heather D. Rogers
USP: Dr. Rogers’ eponymous skin care line offers allergen-free alternatives to tried-and-true drugstore moisturizers.
Hero product: Doctor Rogers Restore Healing Balm, $30
Founder: Josh Rosebrook
USP: Rosebrook’s range is rooted in biomimetic and herbal science, which is why the brand prepares all of its own extracts for each batch of products.
Hero product: Daily Acid Toner, $29
Founder: Liah Yoo
USP: The YouTube star’s line offers a rebuttal to 12-step regimens with a tight edit of skin care heavyweights.
Hero product: Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, $16
Founders: Randi Christiansen and Nick Axelrod
USP: True to its name, Nécessaire takes an essentialist angle on body care, and was a pioneer of premium products in the category
Hero product: The Body Wash, $25
Founder: Nyakio Grieco
USP: Inspired by Grieco’s beauty secrets learned from family members in Africa, Nyakio is meant to bridge the gap between heirloom rituals and efficacious products.
Hero product: Maracuja & Yangu Rescue Oil, $40.49
Founder: Jenefer Palmer
USP: Each product boasts a blend of seaweed, essential oils and active botanicals.
Hero product: Undaria Algae Body Oil, $48
Sol de Janeiro
Founders: Camila Pierotti, Heela Yang and Marc Capra
USP: Inspired by the exotic locale of the same name, the brand brings Brazil’s sunny cultural point of view to hair care, body care and fragrance.
Hero product: Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, $45
Founder: Katherine Power
USP: The brainchild of L.A.-based entrepreneur Katherine Power, Versed debuted its clean lineup of products in more than 1,800 stores in 2019.
Hero product: Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream, $14.99
Founders: Divya Gugnani and Lindsay Ellingson
USP: Known for its photogenic eye masks, Wander Beauty specializes in clean, multitasking essential products in skin care and makeup.
Hero product: Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks, $25
Founder: Huda Kattan
USP: Entrepreneur/influencer Huda Kattan’s foray into skin care launched just ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, and still garnered devotees.
Hero product: Yo Glow Exfoliating Scrub, $39
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