Los Angeles has long been a place focused on youth, beauty and all things glamorous. Combine the city’s passion for aesthetics with the entrepreneurial spark of many of its inhabitants, and it’s no wonder the town is a burgeoning hotbed of successful beauty brands.
“L.A. is a very creative and innovative environment, specifically for beauty,” says Ron Robinson, owner of Ron Robinson boutiques and creator of the Apothia beauty line. “The health-conscious lifestyle that we are known for here really drives development. And in a culture where looking healthy and glowing is the end goal, it only makes sense that there’s a natural gravitation toward beauty and creating products that help with that desire.”
“L.A. is a city of extremes — beauty ideals are both fresh and casual, sophisticated and glamorous due to the red carpet culture,” says Nicky Kinnaird, owner and founder of U.K.-based beauty retailer Space NK Apothecary.
“Angelenos appreciate environmentally sound, natural and also science-based formulas with the proviso that they perform,” Kinnaird says.
Here’s the rundown on some brands that started in L.A. and its environs and are being trumpeted by retailers and makeup artists.
• Hourglass Cosmetics
Specialty: Veil Mineral Primer ($18, 0.33 ounce) is consistently the brand’s top-selling product. In addition to making foundation last longer, the primer also is designed to combat redness and makes makeup waterproof.
Back story: Launched in 2004 by Carisa Jane, a former product developer for Urban Decay, the line focuses on scientific ingredients, wearable hues and a luxurious look in its packaging and branding. Jane says she wanted to make an alternative to existing beauty brands.
Where to find it: Barneys NY, Sephora and soon the brand’s first store, set to open in Venice this fall.
Location: Hancock Park
Specialty: Kenyan Coffee Collection, which includes an exfoliating face polish ($34, 3.4 ounces) and body scrub ($55, 10.5 ounces) and was inspired by founder Nyakio Grieco’s grandmother, a coffee farmer in Kenya who applied coffee grounds and sugar cane to her skin as an exfoliant.
Back story: Grieco, a former talent agent with Creative Artists Agency, was inspired to create her line of beauty products after realizing that there was no luxury brand that celebrated African ingredients and culture and that was being marketed to all ethnicities. She drew on knowledge and experience she gained from time spent with her coffee farmer grandmother and medicine men relatives in Africa to incorporate various healing and moisturizing ingredients into what was initially a small line of products. The line has increased to include body lotion, face oils and body wash.
Where to find it: HSN and nyakio.com
Location: West Los Angeles
Specialty: Luminizing Moisture Tint ($38, 1.7 ounces) a sheer, multitasking tinted moisturizer that has long been a bestseller and beauty industry award winner.
Back story: As a former model, founder Christina Zilber spent a lot of time in a makeup chair and in 2004 created a collection of easily portable makeup products that women could combine in one compact case. The result was individual eye shadow palettes, blush and powder that could be snapped together and taken on the go.
Where to find it: Nordstrom Santa Monica, Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge.