Best of beauty products for 2023

Best of beauty products for 2023

It’s been an amazing year for the beauty industry, with fairly solid growth (with only a few bumps and bruises) in most categories.  Consumer interest and engagement remain strong.  Innovative product launches continue to happen. There’s plenty to talk about.

A collection of young brands, in varying stages of development and growth, was selected for review.  They stand out for different reasons. As a marketer and product developer, I’m more focused on marketing positioning and strategy, product offering, innovation and overall story telling ability, than the P&L.

I have met all of the founders and their stories are compelling.  We could all learn from their vision, their perseverance, their courage and their commitment. As I say repeatedly:  this journey is not for the faint of heart!

Saints & Sinners ( ): An amazing, edgy hair care and hair styling brand that started in the professional category and is moving into the consumer world.  Positioned as a prestige brand, they are high performance products with captivating fragrances, irresistibly packaged.

Diana and Michael Wilson, the duo behind the cult haircare brand, epitomize the perfect harmony of personal and professional lives. Michael’s background in sales and finance meshes perfectly with Diana’s intimate knowledge of the creative process.

Dye Candy ( Moving to another sector of the hair business: Kathryn Madison, a salon professional for many years, felt the at-home hair color experience needed a makeover. She designed her own color applicator, the “Hummingbird,” creating an entirely new gesture for applying color to hair.

Kathryn wanted to put an end to the ketchup-style squirt bottle and replaced it (after many years of development, trial and error) with a user friendly, easy to handle, efficient and beautifully designed alternative.

WowCream (  Austin Nagel, founder of WowCream, found that his busy, on-the-go life style of real estate, extensive travel, husband and father took a toll on his skin health.  His search for solutions sent him on even more journeys.  He discovered the science and precision of Switzerland and connected it to the design aesthetic of Japan.

From this exploration came WowCream:  a high tech, highly efficacious skincare treatment.  Loaded with skin-loving ingredients and thoughtfully packaged to preserve them, Wow Cream is performance driven, science backed, with sophisticated aesthetics.

Clear For Me While not a physical product, this service platform is a game changer.  Sabrina Noorani, the founder, states, “Ingredients are personal. We’re revolutionizing how beauty consumers understand them: how they work, why they’re in your products, what their stories are.”

Born out of Sabrina’s own skin problems, and aided by her experience in data analytics, she began building the constantly-evolving database of over 2 million ingredients. Clear For Me empowers the beauty marketplace to make critical marketing and purchasing decisions, building trust between brands and consumers. The platform includes over 375 brands and beauty retailers.

Pure Heritage Essaouira : Created by a Franco Moroccan couple, this brand is the fruit of a passion for the natural and precious products offered in nature and more particularly, the natural cosmetics of Morocco.

Nabila and Sebastien are working closely with women’s cooperatives in Morocco to sustain a source of high quality, plant based oils and perpetuate the know-how of Moroccan Berber women in their rural areas. With several organic certifications, the company is committed to the purest product, as well as preserving the rituals and heritage of the region.

Kate McLeod Body Stone A pastry chef with dry skin, Kate tried using one of her favorite ingredients, cocoa butter, on her body. The results were transformational. But cocoa butter is rock hard in its natural state. Kate wondered if she could improve the application. She thought about her work with chocolate, went to the kitchen, melted it down and blended in luxurious oils.

After years of perfecting and fine tuning, Body Stone was born. The stone-shaped solid moisturizers contain waterless concentrates of efficacious, natural ingredients that nourish the skin.  Sustainable, plastic-free packaging was the next step.  She and her small team continue to hand pour the stones in their Hudson Valley workshop, committed to pure ingredients and zero waste. 

Lucky Chick : The brand focuses on connecting with women through color, art and shared experiences. “We celebrate one another and ourselves as we continue along the journey of beauty and self care.”

Stephanie Miklosvary’s inspiration for creating the brand was her mother, Bonnie, an artist, who was successfully treated for breast cancer. During this tenuous and uncertain time, she turned to the grounding and spiritual part of her life: her art. This was her way to soothe and center herself, finding peace and calm. Each day as she painted, her blooms blossomed with joyful colors. Bonnie’s art is featured on Lucky Chick’s website and packaging.

Enjoy exploring the brands and reading their stories. This industry is blessed with inspirational, creative people who are willing to push the boulder up the hill, no matter the weather, because they believe the sun is shining at the top!

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Before opening The Young Group in 1999, Karen was Vice President of Marketing, Advertising, Product Development and Sales Promotion for Lancôme. Prior to that, she spent seventeen years at Estée Lauder, where she held a variety of executive positions, including Executive Director of Color Cosmetics. Karen is an active board member of Fashion Group International. She is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. Karen divides her time between New York and Paris, where The Young Group also has an office. Since opening The Young Group, Karen has worked extensively in all categories of the cosmetic industry. She has developed concepts and products for RoC, Bath and Body Works, Neutrogena, e.l.f, Vichy and Oribe. Karen has worked on numerous established brands in the beauty category, including Christian Dior Beauté, Shiseido, Bumble & bumble, Dove and Paula’s Choice. Karen is an adjunct professor at The Fashion Institute of Technology, teaching Product Development in the Master's program in Cosmetic & Fragrance Marketing and Management.

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