It’s no secret that the beauty industry is reliant on the wallets of women, but for a very long time the vast majority of product lines were founded by men—men who dictated standards of beauty, trends, and spending habits. But female beauty entrepreneurs have slowly gained ground—carving out space in an arena that’s supposed to be centered on them.
“The beauty industry has been defined, and continues to be transformed, by women-founded brands,” says Dermstore Chief Marketing Officer Patrice Varni. “So often, female entrepreneurs see or experience an unmet need in beauty and skincare and turn their empathy around that need into category-changing products that deliver better results.”
The first step to shopping consciously is making sure you’re buying from a retailer who actually cares about the products they stock. Dermstore has made it a mission to represent women in the products they stock, and almost 50 percent of their current offerings are female-founded. “In a world in which women are still paid less and underrepresented in so many facets of life—from government roles, to board rooms, to venture capital portfolio rosters—we want to contribute in any way we can to support and amplify the reach of women-led brands,” says Varni.
To get your haul started, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite products from female-founded brands we love—all available at Dermstore. Check them out below!
Nancy Twine began her career at Goldman Sachs, but she’d always had a fascination with hair care, developing at-home recipes with her grandmother when she was as young as five. Despite a career in the fast-paced world of finance, she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a gap in the clean hair space that she could fill. So she paired her home-grown recipes with the talents of some natural chemists and Briogeo was born. Not only are Briogeo’s products clean and made with sustainability in mind, but they also cater to a wide range of hair types—something that is often noticeably not top of mind with other clean hair brands.
Kate Somerville’s struggle with eczema inspired her to break into the world of beauty. She received a degree in aesthetics and began her career working alongside top dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. She opened her first Skin Health Experts Clinic in 2004 and later founded the Kate Somerville product line. Her big break came on QVC where her exfoliator, aptly named ExfoliKate, exploded with sales. Since then, her line has expanded exponentially, and she treats some of the most famous faces in Hollywood.
This new beauty brand was developed by best friends Nancy Pellegrino and Courtney Baber. Nancy is a registered nurse who owns and operates one of the top aesthetic practices in Newport Beach, CA, while Courtney is a beauty vet who has built brands for Sephora, Urban Decay, and Estee Lauder, to name a few. Together, they’ve developed products that combine high-tech ingredients in luxury packaging.
Paula Begoun struggled with acne and eczema for decades, but she turned her skincare despair into the root of her beauty empire’s success. In 1975, she was fired from her cosmetics counter job for telling clients the truth about what products could and couldn’t do for their skin, and thus began her search for better solutions. Her company has since formulated more than 75 products, many of which hold an iconic place in skincare history.
Sasha Plavsic founded Ilia Beauty in 2011, just a few years after turning 30, when she discovered that most of the “clean” products she had been using over the years weren’t actually clean. She began making lip balms and lipsticks that were natural and organic, and when they started to fly off shelves she knew she was onto something. She ventured into other makeup and skincare categories, and today some of her products are the most popular in the clean beauty space.
Tula, which is the Sanskrit word for “balance,” was founded in 2014 by practicing gastroenterologist Dr. Roshini Raj, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics co-founder Ken Landis, and tech entrepreneur Dan Reich. Dr. Raj created Tula, using the power of probiotics. Ever wonder if what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it? Dr. Raj thinks so and developed Tula as a way to focus on the relationship between gut health and skin.