Approximately 27,578 beauty brands launch every year (OK, slight exaggeration, but it certainly feels that way at times) and it takes a lot to cut through the noise and generate real excitement. But that’s exactly what these local brands have done.
The natural beauty brand that A-listers love
Emma Lewisham’s natural skincare brand is everywhere. And for good reason.
If you haven’t spotted Emma Lewisham’s distinctive purple and pink product packaging on your social media feed, then you’re probably living somewhere without WiFi.
Since the New Zealand brand launched in 2019, it has enjoyed stratospheric success, with celebrities like Phoebe Tonkin, Georgia Fowler and Lara Worthington all raving about luxurious, science-backed and natural formulas.
The idea for the skincare range came about when Emma learnt that a beauty product she had been using for hyperpigmentation contained a known carcinogen. When she started looking for a natural alternative with scientific-backed results “the La Mer of natural skincare” she made a disappointing discovery: it didn’t exist. So, Emma made it herself.
It took three years to develop and launch the first product, Skin Reset Serum, which reduces hyperpigmentation, and since then, the brand has soared. “Our first year’s growth is what we forecasted over four years.”
Star performer: Skin Reset Serum, which independent biomedical research lab found to outperform leading luxury brands.
What makes it different: Emma Lewisham is completely free of any synthetic ingredients, and sustainability is key, and all ingredients are completely traceable.
The Aussie hair brand discovered by Sephora
Meet BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY the curly and textured hair brand that’s become a global hit
It was while working at a global beauty brand that Perth-born founder & CEO Maeva Heim realised the narrative around textured hair was limited. “There was an established idea around what it meant to have ‘good’ curls—glossy, defined, no curl out of place—which is not realistic for daily life, or achievable for all curl types, especially those with 4C super coiled hair like mine,” she recalls.
It was personal, too. “When I first transitioned to wearing my hair natural, I had no idea where to start,” she explains. “I just wanted to know how to wash my hair, I wanted a suite of essentials to establish the core parts of my new haircare routine.”
This is what inspired the name (“I wanted a name that could succinctly reflect this was about the essentials, the must haves—like bread!”), and Maeva’s big break came when she landed a spot in Sephora’s Accelerate program, and within a year launched in US Sephora, Cult Beauty in the UK and, most recently, Sephora Australia and New Zealand.
Looking ahead, Maeva is determined to see BREAD help women’s representation in the media. “There’s a strong beach culture here, and I never felt like I was part of that ‘salty, beachy, effortless’ hair that was considered the epitome of beauty. My drive to change the narrative around what’s considered ‘beautiful’ hair has definitely been driven by that experience growing up, and not necessarily feeling like I fit that very narrow beauty ideal.
“My hope is that one day soon, Black women with textured hair all over the world will be able to walk into a board room with bantu knots, or an afro, or whatever she wants, and not a single person will bat an eyelid.”
Star performer: Maeva’s personal pick is the Hair-Mask because “it smells like vanilla birthday cake and is the perfect amount of creamy, giving me soft curls without being greasy and heavy.”
What makes it different: “I wanted to create a brand that was community focused, with clean formulas, encased in a visual universe that felt more relevant to today’s consumer, to represent them in the way that they already present themselves, online and elsewhere, and the way they want to be seen,” she explains. The formulas also make use of native ingredients widely used in skincare, but not as much in haircare, like Kakadu plum: its antioxidant and moisturising properties are ideal for scalp health and the dryness often associated with textured hair.
The fashion-forward plastic-free make-up brand
Sustainable beauty brand FLAVEDO & ALBEDO is charting a colourful new path
The trio behind this brand—Emily Perrett (CEO), Toby Norris (creative director), Aleks Allen (partner)—logged time at creative agencies before putting their collective branding, advertising and design experience toward dreaming up a beauty brand that didn’t compromise on aesthetic or product performance. It hasn’t been easy.
“We’ve spent the last year figuring out how to get really high-performance formulations into completely plastic free packaging, and finding the right packaging solution for every formula was tricky, as they need different things,” says Aleks.
Take High Glow highlighter: it needed to be airtight, and the recycled glass jar and aluminium lid were fine, but the lid required a plastic liner to keep air out. “It took us a little while to figure out a solve for that, but we went with a disc of natural cork that can be composted before you recycle the other elements,” she says.
This thoughtfulness about external and internal also inspired the brand’s name, which comes from the technical term for the peel of a citrus fruit—the coloured outer layer is the flavedo, and the white pith on the inside is the albedo. “The combo made sense to us, as makeup should be about more than what looks good on the outside, it’s also about what’s happening on the inside, and making sure that’s good as well,” says Emily.
What makes them different: The trio have no interest in launching new products for the sake of it. Their motto is “thoughtful, small drops of new product, with considered and versatile shade ranges,” explains Aleks. “We want to be the product in your makeup bag that you reach for time and time again, no gimmicks.”