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TQE’s first annual ‘Best Of’ campaign celebrates the head-turning, drool-worthy, seriously-can’t-live-without brands we obsessed over this past year. We sample a *lot* of products – this week, meet the ones that have stood out.
The Academy Awards may be regarded as the highest honors in filmmaking, but we all know the showstoppers are the beauty brands that create red carpet looks in Hollywood – and at home. We at The Quality Edit won’t shed tears or praise God but are eager to thank the non-conforming entrepreneurs who have created unique brands that make us more beautiful every day. And the nominees are…
Bread Beauty Supply
Founder Maeva Heim’s clean, uncomplicated must-haves (à la bread in the kitchen) for hair are highly functional and smell like sweet cereal milk. Leveraging an upbringing in her mom’s African braiding salon – the first in Perth, Australia – with her global business experience at L’Oreal and P&G, Heim’s nourishing necessities have made
An elegant hair-care brand rooted in ritual, Crown Affair’s clean, effective formulations and beautiful tools bestow healthy, hydrated hair. While the transformation in your hair and calming of your routine is significant, the brand has a less-is-more ethos: “My entire vision with our products is to be the no makeup makeup of hair,” says Founder Dianna Cohen. Like Academy Award Winner Gwyneth Paltrow, TQE is devoted to The Hair Oil ($40) and The Renewal Mask ($58); The Comb No.002 ($38) and The Scrunchie No.001 ($15) are also prominent in TQE editors’ routines.
Cohen’s modern luxury aesthetic has attracted collaborations, including indie perfume house D.S. & Durga and headpiece/jewelry designer Jennifer Behr. We suspect this is just the beginning.
On the merits of being developed by science experts in sustainable, refillable packaging at an affordable price, Figure 1 Beauty (aka Fig. 1) wins us over. But the efficacy – whether you are 25 or 45 – and ease of use of the 7-step skincare line seals the deal. I’m a repeat purchaser of the supercharged Vitamin-C 15% Treatment ($32) and the most gentle Retinol Night Cream No. 2 ($42) (note: Start with $38 Retinol Night Cream No. 1 if you are new to retinol). Want to know more details? Read a full review here.
For championing transparency, as much as delivering vibrant color in skincare-powered makeup, Ilia deserves much fanfare. Given the lack of clarity – and regulation – around “clean beauty” and ingredient safety, Founder Sasha Plavsic’s no compromise approach, innovation and commitment to SPF (which increases her powerful formulas’ ability to shield skin from environmental stressors by 200%) takes on even greater meaning. Balanced and fuss-free is always achievable in Ilia’s full range of makeup. Want product details? Read our full review.
A steadfast beauty pioneer, Bobbi Brown is currently accruing accolades for her fourth venture Jones Road Beauty. While TQE gravitated to the high-grade formulations and notion of less makeup for greater glow, it was the Miracle Balm ($38) – the best-selling, light-reflecting superproduct that creates luminosity without appearing too shimmery on the skin – that stole our hearts. TQE editors own at least three shades of Miracle Balm and live for the highly pigmented The Best Pencil ($22). We previously exalted the brilliant Face Pencil (aka The Everything Stick, $25) in this review, and look forward to Bobbi continuing to pave Jones Road.
We’ve been swooning since Jenna Lyons launched her false eyelash line with her former J. Crew makeup artist Troi Ollivierre. Not only has LoveSeen opened our eyes to cruelty-free, natural looking eyelashes – it’s also made playing with beauty fun again.
With eight styles priced from $20-24, ranging from natural to dramatic and in shades of black and brown, LoveSeen offers something for everyone. I have loved wearing Iris, Cate and Noor. With the help of the latex-free Duo Glue ($9) and The Lash Tool ($20), application (even as a novice) is relatively easy. As much as the brand is about fun experimentation, it’s true beauty lies in being seen for who you are.
Since raving about this botanical brand developed by Sarah Uslan, a protégé of Bobbi Brown, in our review earlier this year, I’ve continued to see a difference in my skin thanks to the LULA’s pared-back approach. The hydrating trio is a staple for me in any season, and there’s no better ritual than warming the Beyond Balm ($75) between your palms or soaking your skin in the Potion Serum ($125) for a dewy glow.
Lifestyle entrepreneur Katherine Power shines with MERIT Beauty, the minimalist makeup line that has transformed how quickly – and beautifully – we can get ready in the morning. I, like many TQE editors, amass the seven holistic products in bulk. My personal skin-loving faves include: Minimalist Sticks ($38) in several shades (there are 25 from which to choose), Flush Balm Cheek Color ($28) and Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil ($24). The latest luminary in the collection is Lip Signature ($26), a lightweight lipstick you can live in.
TQE celebrates OSEA’s long history with the water, as its heritage is what makes this clean beauty brand such an authentic force today. OSEA (aka Ocean, Sea, Earth Atmosphere) is vegan, cruelty-free, Climate Neutral Certified, and the first company to have signed the Compact for Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products.
The brand sources seaweed from all over the world, harnessing the superfood, rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, for its skincare and body care products. We habitually use the Undaria Argan oil ($38), Advanced Protection Cream ($108) and Ocean Cleansing Milk ($54) for the skincare benefits as much as the brand’s spa-like scent and ethos.
OUI The People
TQE continues to laud OUI The People founder Karen Young on breaking through the male-dominated shaving market with The Single, the exquisite single blade razor that provides a close and painless shave. The brand further delights with its recent foray in bodycare, which includes unique, nourishing products. TQE editors are partial to Sugarcoat Shave Gel to Milk ($64), Hydrating Body Gloss ($65) and Hydrating Bikini Sheet Masks ($38), all of which encourage feeling good about our bodies, rather than striving for perfection.
Founder Laney Crowell may not have been the first with the mission to develop a clean beauty brand with high-performance formulas, but she is one of the most community-driven and fan-focused, often taking inspiration from customers. Her spectacular products are both quality-made and affordable.
TQE is fervent about Sunvisor, the genius serum, oil, moisturizer, sunscreen all-in-one ($37), Glowy Super Gel ($28) and Mascara 101 ($25). With funding in part by beauty giants Unilver and clean guru Gwyneth Paltrow, we look forward to Saie’s continued success.
Snif is disrupting the fragrance category by making scent purchasing personal, rather than an arbitrary fantasy. Having been spritzed once too often in stores, founders Bryan Edwards and Phil Riportella work with a heritage fragrance house to create genderless, uncomplicated and clean scents.
A 7-Day trial allows you to explore the Snif Bundle Kit (select with one or three scents); Each kit includes a 2ml trial-size spritzer and 30ml. full-size glass bottle per scent. Send any – or all – back at no charge, or for $65/bottle (less if you keep all three) keep the fragrances you covet. No external pressure, designer labels or outrageous ad campaigns needed. Snif’s star continues to rise as the brand launched the first-ever try before you buy candles last fall.
With aging, stress and diet affecting our hair health, TQE honors Vegamour, the only brand with vegan, plant-based formulas that consistently gets rave reviews. As a testament to the brand’s safe and scientifically proven ingredients that effectively strengthen and grow hair (as well as eyelashes and eyebrows), it has become a TQE self-care staple. We also relish that the transformation to visibly fuller, stronger, thicker hair, brows and lashes is not a high maintenance one.
If you’re ready to redecorate your entire home after this makeup shelf refresh, visit us tomorrow! We’ll be back with Best of Home.