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A new generation of women entrepreneurs are transforming the beauty industry

Compiled by Savithri Rodrigo

Who said ‘beauty is just skin deep’? Pooh-pooh that notion because women around the world are taking beauty by the horns and giving it a right royal shakeup. And guess what? There’s a goldmine in there… and we don’t mean gold teeth or 24 carat gold facials.

Sales in the beauty industry reached a whopping US$ 445 billion in 2016 with women’s startups leading the charge.
Of course, The Body Shop’s Dame Anita Roddick made beauty with a cause très chic although it was a long and hard struggle to convince beauty proponents to buy the concept of ‘Go Good’! Now however, ‘doing good’ is part of the customer psyche and women entrepreneurs have charted an enviable course – they’re sharing their experiences to invent products that have appeal.

Out came Jessica Alba with her game changing nontoxic eco-friendly range of skin and makeup products, touting zero pigments and staying power from The Honest Company. Miranda Kerr introduced Kora Organics with its ‘seriously good for you’ formula – products enriched with noni juice, aloe, macadamia seed oil and olive oil.
In addition to winning innumerable acting accolades, Gwyneth Paltrow is now a makeup mogul driving a luxurious age defying, powerful and organic range of products in a collaboration between her lifestyle company Goop and organic beauty line Juice Beauty.

Nuance by Salma Hayek has added some joie de vivre to the beauty shelves with her promise of light feel heavy volume hair products. Drew Barrymore began collaborating with Walmart for her exclusive Flower branded lip glosses and makeup brushes, which married affordability and quality. And along came the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan Kylie with her brand Kylie Cosmetics incubated by LA based firm Seed Beauty.
For that wow look, try the smouldering Eva Mendes’ CIRCA range of blushes and eye wear, richly pigmented and even more richly enhanced with avocado oil. It’s sold exclusively at the US pharmacy store chain Walgreens – and at single digit prices.

And rocker David Bowie’s exotic wife Iman used her unusual skin tone to create the award-winning range of Iman Cosmetics for women of colour. Before she was BadGalRiRi, music, fashion and beauty icon Robyn Rihanna Fenty was a little girl in Barbados transfixed by her mother’s lipstick.

From the first time Rihanna wore makeup, she never looked back – it became her weapon for self-expression. Rihanna was inspired to create Fenty Beauty after years of experimenting with the best of the best in beauty, and still seeing a void for products that cater to all skin types and tones. She launched a makeup line “so that women everywhere would be included,” focusing on a wide range of traditionally hard to match skin tones.

Enough about celebrities…

Many investors have seen potential and jumped on the bandwagon of lips and eyes, blushes and brushes, and body and tone. The beauty movement received a shot in the arm with Glossier when fashion editors took the baton and decided to run with it back in 2014.

Distilled from years of having firsthand experience with beauty products, Into the Gloss founder Emily Weiss took note of her beauty blog, infused US$ 24 million and created a range of ‘fun, easy, imperfect and personal’ beauty products that celebrate real girls in real life. The multi use, cruelty and paraben free Milk Makeup is ideal for the ‘go girl’ – no rules… and good for you.

Stella & Dot has also tackled every woman’s nemesis (age) with Ever, the US$ 300 million revenue earner, by adding an ingredient sourced from the magnolia plant that promises to combat ageing while staying green.
And here’s the latest fad – personalisation.

Get it made for yourself as Function of Beauty does, with its US$ 1.5 million revenue earning eight ounce personalised magic concoctions targeting specific hair issues.

So erase those wrinkles, volumise your hair, add a must-have blush or better still kissable lips, think of the planet and take the plunge. The money is endless. Simply ask South Korean beauty company Memebox, which recently did a double take to the bank with annual sales of more than US$ 100 million and raked in 60 million dollars in funding not too long ago.

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