It's hard to forget our first Indie Beauty Expo experience (probably because it was only last year). We saw more than a hundred up-and-coming brands, showcasing everything from energizing supplements to iridescent nail polishes and cleansing milks. It was love at first sample.
This year was the same deal—except on a much larger scale. More than 220 vendors piled into Skylight Clarkson Square Studios in New York City and took over three different sections of the warehouse-like space. It was overwhelming, with tables, brands, and products taking up every available inch of room. But mostly it was exciting. You can become jaded to new beauty when you’re exposed to it all the time, but the expo allows insiders and enthusiasts alike to not only discover fun, innovative, new items but, in a lot of cases, talk with the founders behind them.
We did all of that and then some this week, and, afterward, managed to whittle down the vast selection to 20 of our favorites. Check them out, ahead.
If you needed any more proof that the best skin-care products are coming out of Asia, look no further than Taiwan-based Petite Amie. Sheet masks aren’t news, but Petite Amie’s come in marble, emoji, and galaxy prints that get us excited about the category again. Also, the brand is launching a collection of eye masks in the shape of sunglasses soon that we couldn’t stop fawning over.
Petite Amie, White Marble Masque, $15, available at Petite Amie.
You’ll want to show off the boxes that B’Livinn’s vibrant nail polishes come in just as much as the actual beautiful hues.
B’Livinn, Nail Polish in Evil Eye Box, $12, available at B’Livinn.
Marketed specifically for curly guys and gals, Bouclème uses zero silicones, sulfates, parabens… name an ingredient that’s bad for your coils, and you won’t see it on their list.
Bouclème, Curl Cream, $24.36, available at Bouclème.
Suzannah Raff, founder and CEO of Cleo&Coco, created her brand only from clean ingredients. Her natural deodorant comes from coconut-derived activated charcoal, absorbing wetness without the use of harsh chemicals.
Cleo&Coco, Charcoal Deodorant Stick, $18.99, available at Cleo & Coco.
Cosmetic and skin-care brand Clove + Hallow has your clean beauty needs covered. Currently offering three different types of lip color, along with all you’ll need for your face (including a makeup melt), each product is formulated with no more than 15 ingredients. We’re looking forward to its eye and cheek launches, coming soon.
Clove + Hallow, Lip Crème, $20, available at Clove + Hallow.
DOPE Naturally is truly ingestible beauty. The plant-based superfood blend not only gives you a burst of energy but nourishes and beautifies you from the inside out. Currently, there are three blends available: Melonaid, a watermelon seed-based protein powder; Beet Force, a beet-based superfood perfect for pre- or post-workout; and Beet Bliss, a beet- and cacao-based supplement to boost your skin’s natural beauty.
DOPE Naturally, Melonaid, $45, available at DOPE Naturally.
Finally, a tattoo care brand that’s as aesthetically pleasing as our body art. Electric Ink’s range of tattoo care products includes everything from a daily moisturizer to keep your new tat fresh and nourished to a vibrancy serum to help make the colored ink pop.
Electric Ink, Daily Moisturizer, $15, available at Electric Ink.
We were initially drawn to Ellis Faas for its futuristic packaging, but we stuck around for its compact and reliable products, like this cream blush formulated with rose water, essential oils, and vitamins C and E. Its various lip products are also worth a shout-out.
Ellis Faas, Blush in Fresh Coral, $34, available at Net-A-Porter.
Unisex self-care label For Two features a chicly packaged range of products for the skin, hair, and body. At the root of the brand is its special Mud formulation, consisting of nutrient-rich algae, plankton, tree bark, and pollen.
For Two, Black Mud Hair Mask, $79, available at For Two.
Gloss Naturals’ specialty is its eco-friendly, vegan, cruelty-free nail polishes, but we’re told that its star product is actually a soy nail polish remover. Likely because, how often do you find one that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients, like acetone and acetates, but rather boasts a slew of vitamins? That’s what we thought.
Gloss Naturals, Soy Nail Polish Remover, $18, available at Gloss Naturals.
Hello Aglow was created after its founder discovered that her skin problems persisted into her late 20s. What she came up with is a line of chemical-free cleansers, toners, and creams hosted in Instagram-friendly jars and bottles.
Hello Aglow, Radiant Cleansing Nectar, $36, available at Hello Aglow.
From fragrance (with magical names like Mermaid’s Kiss and I Heart Unicorns) to skin care and hair care, A Beautiful Life has got you covered. We’re quite the fans of its honey and tangerine essential oil-based cleansing shampoo that comes in a honey bear-shaped tube.
A Beautiful Life Hair Care, Honey’do Shampoo, $16, available at A Beautiful Life Brands.
Founder Lori Fenn is not only the brains behind Lua Skincare, but she’s also responsible for its beauty, too. She created the bold prints on the bottles which aren’t the only reason why we’re fans of the plant-based brand, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
Lua Skincare, Eye Beam Oil, $20, available at Etsy.
Australia isn’t necessarily known for its beauty brands, but Red Earth is making us wonder if there are other gems hidden down under. Kakadu plum, which helps brighten, Tasmanian sea kelp, which aids in hydrating, and goat milk, which nourishes, make up the three main lines. All are worth checking out.
Red Earth, Hydrate Supercharge Serum With Tasmanian Sea Kelp, $41, available at Red Earth.
The representatives from Sabe Masson that we met during the expo told us that Georges Et Moi is the brand’s most popular solid fragrance, but they all smell and look divine stashed away in your bag or sitting pretty on your vanity. Plus, it’s alcohol- and paraben-free and made in France. And who knows the fragrance industry better than the French?
Sabe Masson, Le Soft Perfume, $25, available at Glossybox.
Luxury beauty brand Sappho offers a full range of cosmetics aimed at the ethically conscious customer. The products in the range are created with certified organic ingredients and infused with phytonutrients while steering clear of synthetic preservatives. Most of all, the brand stands by being transparent in regards to ingredients and authenticity.
Sappho, Essential Foundation, $54, available at Sappho.
Parisian brand Solinotes puts the fun back into fragrance. While their packaging alone is enough to make you want to add them to your displayed beauty essentials, each of its 15 fragrances is made to be mixed with others, so you can customize your scent however you please.
Solinotes, Rose Eau De Toilette, $15, available at Solinotes Paris.
There are a lot of products on Terra Luna's docket worth checking out, like the face polish infused with turmeric or the hair oil that you can use pre- or post-shower. But it’s the moon detox bath that we couldn’t get enough of. Eucalyptus and lavender is a combination that deserves to happen more often.
Terra Luna, Moon Detox Bath, $30, available at Terra Luna.
Vendome Beauté is a clean, cruelty-free cosmetics brand that exudes French Girl Style. Its collection of lip balms, blushes, and eyeshadows are all free of the bad stuff such as phthalates, sulfates, detergents, and so on. The star product? Its illustrated eyeshadow palettes.
Vendome Beauté, Violets De Printemps Three Well Palettes, $75, available at Vendome Beauté.
Virtue's line of hair products is based on its special form of keratin, the powerful Alpha Keratin 60ku, which heals your hair from the inside out. Its line involves everything from care and repair to styling products, ensuring that your hair is as strong as it is beautiful.
Virtue, Uplifted Volumizing Whip, $36, available at Virtue.