It can be a minefield, trying to figure out which wellness and cosmetics brands work well for you. What are the ingredients? Is it animal cruelty-free? Will I have a bad reaction? Am I about to spend my whole paycheck? So to make things a little easier for you, LAMag has assembled a list of some of the best L.A-based skin, beauty, and wellness brands to check out.
- Dew Mighty
Launched on Earth Day of 2020, Dew Mighty started with a simple concept: be the best in skincare while being kind to the planet. They started with their Bloom Jelly Serum Bar, which is a small bar that includes ingredients like jojoba, coconut oil, and vitamin C.
The Dew Mighty website describes the revolutionary solid serum as a more efficient way to get the necessary nutrients to your skin while cutting out unnecessary water in the product.
“We removed the water and the complications by choosing only the purest natural-based ingredients to deliver vitamins, antioxidants, nourishing elements, and calming compounds to your skin.”
Before starting the company, Dew Mighty founder Tiffany Buzzato worked for 15 years in the skin-care industry. While she loved the work, she noticed that many of the companies she worked for were “missing the mark” regarding sustainability.
“We were trying to talk about sustainability but in a way that like was [a] bandaid. Like a company already exists, so how do we take what we’re already doing and put it into ‘the light’ of sustainability instead of truly breaking down this system that is a bit archaic and making it better?” Buzzato told us.
Buzzato’s mother is from Taiwan and instilled value for the planet in Tiffany from a young age.
“[There is] just so much consumerism here [in the U.S] that you just don’t see in other areas, so growing up, that really sat with me,” Buzzato said.
Recently, Dew Mighty launched its second product, The Lucid Enzyme Cleansing Powder, which also takes water out of the equation in their formula. The cleanser comes in powder form and, when mixed with water, creates a smooth lather to apply to the skin. You can also make a mask out of it by using less water to make a paste.
Preppi makes aesthetically-designed emergency preparedness kits right here in Los Angeles. Co-founders Lauren Tafuri and Ryan Kuhlman started the company after an earthquake in 2013.
“We realized we weren’t at all prepared, and when talking to other Californians about earthquake preparedness, we realized that very few people had adequate or any supplies at all,” Kuhlman told LA Mag.”We quickly wanted to change that and decided to start Preppi, attracting people to the preparedness conversation through good, eye-catching design.”
“We wanted preparedness to be something for everyone at every price point,” Kuhlman said.
Since its inception in 2014, Preppi has garnered devoted customers who have come to rely on their kits in cases of emergency. For example, in 2020, when the world faced a shortage of N95 respirators, Preppi users were already equipped with the sought-after PPE in their kits.
“Our kits have always come with N95 masks. When the pandemic started, thousands of Preppi customers had the masks they needed while stores were sold out for months,” Kuhlman told Los Angeles.
Preppi products can be found here.
In 2021, Urban Decay founder Wende Zomir launched a new makeup business called Caliray. While UD was still wildly popular, Zomir craved the excitement of starting a company again and wanted to replicate that buzziness with Caliray.
“When I founded Caliray, I was looking to recapture the energy of those early creative start-up days at UD, as well as to try and push innovation in sustainability for the beauty industry,” Zomir told LAMag.
At Caliray, they make sure to use post-consumer recycled materials whenever possible to reduce their carbon footprint because they value the planet first and foremost. And they hope their customers feel the same way.
“The Caliray customer is anyone who wants clean formulas that perform and cares about the environment,” Zomir said. “We preach sexy sustainability!”
Some of our favorite Caliray products include the Come Hell or High Water Mascara and the Glazed & Infused Lip Plumper. The mascara glides on effortlessly and stays on all day. Thanks to their tubing technology which encases the lashes, you don’t have to worry about flaking or “end of day panda eyes” with this makeup staple. As for the lip plumper, it’s like the shiny lipgloss of the 2000s all grownup: no stickiness, just glassy hydration.
4. O Positiv
Want to eat candy that tastes delicious and is actually good for you? Then look no farther than O Positiv. Sibling co-founders Brianna and Bobby Bitton started their endeavor into delectable wellness in 2018 when the two lived together in L.A. One day at their kitchen table, Brianna shared with Bobby just how taxing her periods were.
“Every time I’d come across that time of the month, it would be completely debilitating for me,” Brianna said.
The Bittons decided they should venture into the world of wellness to help menstruators tackle problems associated with PMS. The sibling duo then brought their mom into the conversation because she was also an inventor who had a passion for wellness. They came out with their first supplement, FLO later that year.
“FLO really came together over the family dinner table,” Bitton told us.
After FLO’s success, they realized “there was an opportunity to offer other products catering to women’s needs,” so they started producing other vitamins. They changed the name of their company from FLO Vitamins to O Positiv to make a parent company for the rest of their products. Since 2018, O Positiv has launched dozens more vitamins geared toward female bodies. Their most recent launches include MENO, a supplement the two developed with their mother to tackle menopause symptoms, and MOTO, which aids metabolism.
When Chloe Morello posted her first makeup tutorial on Youtube in 2011, she had no idea how far her beauty skills would take her. Fast forward 11 years, and she has over 2 million subscribers, 1.2 million Instagram followers, and hundreds of videos for her dedicated fans.
While many beauty brands have asked her to partner with them over the years, Chloe never had a real interest. She always wanted to create her own unique product.
“I was only interested in going and making a product that I felt like was filling a blank space in the industry. I didn’t feel like bringing something that you can already purchase or there’s already a dozen of,” Morello said.
In 2020, Morello came to her manager, Ashley Villa, and told her she wanted to create a skincare brand with her.
“It’s not as if Chloe is a stranger to innovation,” Villa recalled. “I thought that it was quite fitting that she’d have this concept.
What makes this product so unique is its use of DHA, which is the active ingredient in self-tanner. Usually, products that use DHA will have a concentration of around 4 percent. But Overnight Overhaul uses far less, at just 1 percent.
“It’s just enough [DHA] to cosmetically color correct redness very subtly, even out skin tone, and help to blur the look of mild imperfections. And in that way, it’s like a semi-permanent skin tint,” Morello told LAMag. “Because I want to be like Beyoncé and say, ‘I woke up like this.'”
Many skincare brands prey on consumers’ insecurities to increase their sales. Unfortunately, with this business tactic, most customers are left feeling let down and even more self-conscious. But not with Topicals! Founded by the self-described “Queen of Ingrown Hairs,” Olamide Olowe set out in 2020 to create a safe space for people with chronic skin conditions without judgment.
When you scroll down on Topical’s homepage, you’ll find a message that says, “People with skin conditions are 2-6 times more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Why? Because we’re taught to aim for perfection when life (and skin) is fluid and messy.”
This idea is what drives the brand. Topicals wants customers to embrace their imperfections and find community with others who deal with similar conditions.
“I grew up with chronic skin conditions. Things like boils [and] ingrown hairs and never really saw myself represented in beauty, and so I wanted to create something that made people feel like chronic skin conditions could be fun,” Olowe told LAMag.
Among their most popular products is their Like Butter Hydrating Mist, essential to quench even the driest of skin. It sprays on like a dream leaving your skin feeling hydrated and of course, soft like butter. Customers also come to Topicals for their miracle High Roller Ingrown Tonic, which exfoliates the skin, soothes razor burn, and prevents ingrown hairs. See the before and after pictures for yourself!
One of the best parts about Topicals is that it’s so much more than skincare. On their site, they provide customers with links to mental health resources and loads of advice on how to deal with chronic skin condition flareups. If you’re looking for a supportive community of “Spotty Hotties” and top-of-the-line skincare, then Topicals is the place for you.
7. Skin Gym
We work out our arms, legs, abs, hell, even our downstairs business (anyone else tried kegel weights?), so why not work out your face? With Skin Gym, it’s like having your own personal trainer for any fine lines, baggy eyes, or sagging skin right in your bathroom. Skin Gym aims to help customers firm, tone, and tighten their skin using ancient beauty techniques.
One of their most popular products is their Sculpty Heart Gua Sha Tool. Gua Sha has roots in ancient China and has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and has been praised as a miracle tool in anyone’s skincare arsenal. By gently massaging the cheekbones with the gua sha, you encourage more definition and lift while relaxing muscles in the face. Paired with their Signature Face Oil, you can give yourself a spa experience that won’t break the bank. And their packaging is absolutely gorgeous.
Do you want to feel like an “it-girl?” Are you trying to serve Euphoria realness? Then look no further than SIMIHAZE Beauty. LA-based twin sisters Simi and Haze Khadra, started the company in 2021. And according to their website, they “believe that makeup should be fun and expressive, never restrictive.”
One of their more unique products is their EYE PLAY Dance Pack which features 11 “eye stickers” to compliment your makeup or can stand alone. Complete with rhinestone, butterfly, and glitter stickers, this pack is sure to elevate any nighttime look. Applying them throws you back to the 2000s club scene. And wearing them is like decorating your flip phone with rhinestones and glitter stickers in 2007, but for your face.
Another popular item is the VELVET BLUR Matte Lip Balm. Many matte lipsticks usually leave your lips feeling dry and flakey, but by including hyaluronic acid in the formula, SIMIHAZE ensured hydration throughout the day without a greasy feel. On the website, the sisters said, “This is our dream lipstick. We wanted to create a matte lip that feels hydrating, like a lip balm and is light enough to wear every day. We don’t leave the house without it.”
9. Tower 28
Named after a lifeguard tower at Santa Monica Beach, Tower 28 strives to cultivate community among clean-beauty lovers. When starting the company, founder Amy Liu wanted to make products that were safe for people with sensitive skin like herself. When she struggled with chronic skin conditions, she noticed there wasn’t a whole lot on the market that wouldn’t irritate her skin, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I built Tower 28 to meet my own needs as someone who has suffered from chronic skin issues and wanted products that are safe and non-irritating, with good-for-you ingredients, no fillers, fragrances, or animal by-products,” she said.
Liu also preaches the importance of sustainability. When she started Tower 28, she wanted to honor the beaches of her state, California, by minimizing plastic use in their products. At the end of last year, the brand pledged to make all packaging at least 50% post-consumer recycled content. By the end of 2023, they want all packaging to be made of 100% PCR content.
“Using PCR (recycled plastic) takes the responsibility away from consumers, diverts waste from landfills, and creates demand for recycled materials. And we do everything we can to avoid waste in the beauty industry by producing minimalist, multi-use products accessible to all, that omit excess mirrors, false bottoms, pans, and paper inserts,” Liu told LAMag.
One of their staples is their BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm. It acts as a blush and lip balm all in, blending well with moisturizers and sunscreens. It’s ideal for achieving the sunburn blush Tiktok trend.
Oh, and if you want to feel like the ocean breeze is lightly kissing your face while also relieving redness and irritation, you should try the SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray. Plus, it has received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™, so you know it’s the real deal.
Wonderskin is probably best known for its Wonder Blading Peel & Reveal Lip Color Kit. If you’re into makeup, you’ve most likely seen Tiktoks featuring this product, but in case you haven’t, here’s the deal. The process starts with applying an electric blue lip mask (think of that one episode of Friends where Joey does the “Ichiban Lipstick for Men” commercial). Then, you let the mask sit on your lips for 10-45 seconds, depending on how vibrant you want the color to be. Afterward, and this is the magical part, you spray the Lip Applicator on and peel the mask away, leaving a beautiful, long-lasting lip color.
While this lip product is undeniably magical, Wonderskin’s skincare line is also a must. The 3-step Purevoc All Day Glow System regimen, which is “coverup” spelled backward, features a serum, eye cream, and face cream. The system provides the same benefits as wearing makeup by blurring fine lines, brightening the under-eye area, and disguising blemishes.
For tutorials and reviews on these products, follow us on Tiktok @LAMagtok
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