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41 Women-Founded Brands Changing the Beauty Industry


Next time you’re walking down the beauty aisle at your local drugstore, or you’re shopping for your next holy grail product online, take note of how many brands you know are founded by women in the industry. The truth is, while there are endless products marketed to women, the money behind the industry is still largely not held by women.

The influence women have in beauty—from discovering new and powerful ingredients to gaps in the market that take the beauty world by storm—is major. That’s why we’re celebrating the female founders that are redefining standards of beauty, sustainability, and inclusivity, and creating products we can’t live without.

These brands were founded by movers and shakers, by women who challenge the status quo, and who champion inclusivity in the beauty space. To sum it up, they’re inspiring. Read on to discover 41 of our favorite female-founded and -owned beauty brands to support today (and every day).


Developed by Alicia Keys and board-certified dermatologist Renée Synder, MD, KEYS SOULCARE believes in the power of serious skincare and soul-nurturing rituals because beauty is more than skin deep. The brand goes beyond just skincare to truly care for the whole self, meaning body, mind, and spirit. The radiant results, from IPSY-faves including KEYS SOULCARE Nourishing Cleansing Balm + Makeup Remover and KEYS SOULCARE Harmony Mask speak for themselves.


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ACE BEAUTÉ was founded by Niye Aniekan-Attang in 2016. The brand relies on the simple principle that makeup should help individuals embrace who they are. Makeup is a tool that allows people to love themselves and use it as a form of self-expression and identity. Their mission is to provide high-quality products (like the ACE BEAUTÉ Blushed Up Blush in Peachy and ACE BEAUTÉ Violet Sage Palette) that appeal to a wide-spectrum of individuals, so that they can freely express themselves through makeup.


A powerful story of resilience and inspiration, Cashmere Nicole founded BEAUTY BAKERIE in 2011 with the mission to be sweet and sweeten the lives of others (this BEAUTY BAKERIE Do It For The Graham Eyeshadow Palette being a perfect example!). During a challenging but successful fight with breast cancer, Cashmere became extremely health conscious and research-driven about the products we put in and on our bodies. Her brand is a direct reflection of Cashmere’s perseverance and passion for high quality, healthy ingredients that enhance the beauty in everyone every day.


THE HONEST COMPANY, founded by Jessica Alba in 2012, was born of a simple purpose: to create safe, effective products for the family. Their Honest Standard is how they make that intention a reality. It’s their set of guiding principles, and it’s the way in which they apply their values to innovation and development. “Health and wellness are a universal foundation for a life well-lived, and I believe it’s our responsibility to leave the world better than when we found it,” says Jessica on the brand’s website. In 2015, the brand expanded their offerings to include beauty (like HONEST BEAUTY Lip Crayon Demi Matte in Melon and HONEST BEAUTY Everything Cream Foundation in Cream), and HONEST BEAUTY was born.


Kristen Noel Crawley was on a trip to Japan and exploring Don Quijote in Tokyo, when a wall of lip masks caught her eye. She was instantly obsessed with the idea of perfect, kissable lips. When she discovered there were no natural lip masks on the market, the solution was obvious: she had to create her own. Two years and countless trials later, Kristen created the first all-natural, collagen-infused lip mask (like IPSY subscriber-favorite KNC BEAUTY Kiss My Lips All-Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask) that now sits on the lips of A-listers and beauty lovers everywhere. The brand now makes everything from eye masks (like KNC BEAUTY Star Eye Mask) to face masks and even lip balms to pair with their OG lip masks.


Based in sunny San Diego, KOPARI is an award-winning beauty brand that kicks coconut up a notch with high-performance actives to create efficacious, cleaner than clean products for every body. From skincare (like KOPARI BEAUTY Moisture Whipped Ceramide Cream) to bodycare (like KOPARI BEAUTY Ultra Restore Body Butter with Hyaluronic Acid), their consciously-made products have you covered from head-to-toe, formulated with the purest intentions, so you can feel good about what you put on your skin. "We built KOPARI BEAUTY to be a company that believes in creating natural beauty from the inside out with products that are as pure as possible, and transport you to paradise. And that is KOPARI in a nutshell," says co-founders Gigi Goldman and Kiana Cabell of their brand.


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KOA LIFE was founded by entrepreneurial twins Kymber and Alexis McClay (AKA the Naven Twins). After years of struggling with adult acne and psoriasis that was not only painful but also caused insecurity and dimed their glow, Kymber and Alexis set out to find a natural solution that actually worked. They decided to ditch chemical products that left harsh side effects and go green. The twins spent over a year developing natural nutrient-dense formulas (we love their KOA LIFE Vit-C Brightening Oil and KOA LIFE Niacinamide Booster) with their doctor and labs that cured their skin issues and thus developed KOA LIFE.

Kymber, a beauty guru and designer, brought her wealth of product knowledge and design to KOA LIFE. As a biohacker, Alexis infused her health hacks into creating top formulas, utilizing the medicinal power of plants to create the natural skincare brand. They are now on a mission to help women get their glow back!


Founder Jennifer Yen created PURLISSE BEAUTY after a stint in Hollywood (and the makeup chair) that left her with irritated skin and looking for a gentler option. With collections featuring ingredients like blue lotus (like PURLISSE BEAUTY Blue Lotus Balancing Moisturizer) and green tea (our members love the PURLISSE BEAUTY Matcha Green Tea Antioxidant Priming Moisturizer), the brand reinvents time-honored Asian beauty rituals into high-performing, modern products that empower individuals to embrace their beauty.


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From PURLISSE BEAUTY founder Jennifer Yen also comes YENSA BEAUTY, a brand rooted in superfood traditions and Asian rituals. Yen was inspired by her mother, who followed a 2,000-year-old practice called zuo yue zi, where a new mother takes a month’s rest after childbirth to heal her body by integrating superfoods in her routine. One of our members’ all-time faves from YENSA BEAUTY is the YENSA BEAUTY Pink Lotus Peptide Renewal Eye Cream, an anti-aging eye cream that uses antioxidant-rich pink lotus extract and firming peptides to help brighten and smooth tired skin.


SOL DE JANEIRO is all about loving your life and loving your body. They’re here to celebrate every body. “When I moved to Brazil, I was wonderfully inspired by the joyful attitude that was everywhere,” says Heela Yang, the brand’s CEO and co-founder. “There’s no judgment and no one way of looking and feeling beautiful.” Through their products, like the OG favorite SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and the SOL DE JANEIRO Coco Cabana Body Cream, they encourage you to play up and flaunt your best assets and celebrate what you’ve got.


Founded by artist, actress, activist, and glam queen Becky G, TRESLÚCE BEAUTY promises a world built on cultura, community, and color that honors the unique beauty within you, generations before you, and those to come. Treslúce Beauty creates, celebrates, and supports Latinx heritage and culture with high-performance, vegan-friendly, conscious formulations (from Bold y Atrevida Liquid Lip Tint in Daring to Lucete Highlighter Palette in Shimmer) that deliver high-impact artistry. Their cruelty-free products and packaging are infused with Latinx sourced ingredients and art and uplift and support communities by giving back in a meaningful way.

12. UOMA

Look up “trailblazer” and UOMA’s founder Sharon Chuter will be front and center (or at least she should be). She dreamed up one of the most inclusive makeup lines to date, and she didn’t stop there. Chuter pioneered the “Pull Up for Change” Movement, encouraging companies to show the level of diversity in their leadership. It created a ripple effect from the beauty industry outward, highlighting the need for better representation in influential positions. Look to Chuter for makeup that promotes self-love for all shapes, sizes, and shades—from foundations for every skin tone and type (even sensitive skin) to lipsticks like Badass Icon Matte Lipstick inspired by amazing women in history.


BEAUTYBLENDER founder Rea Ann Silva single-handedly changed how all of us apply makeup when she created the iconic Original Beautyblender Makeup Sponge. Silva has more than 20 years of experience as a makeup artist, working on hit ‘90s shows like Moesha and Girlfriends. She identified a need for better makeup application tools when TVs went high-def, and thus the BEAUTYBLENDER was born. She’s still creating products that we can’t do without, like Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation.


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Ever since GLOSSIER landed on our desks, our beauty routines have never been the same. Founded by Emily Weiss, the game-changing skincare and makeup brand has a devoted following thanks to its community-first approach to creating beauty products. GLOSSIER takes customers’ wants and needs into account when dreaming up best sellers, like their cult-fave Cloud Paint and Milky Jelly Cleanser. Look to them for fresh, innovative formulations that put the fun back into your beauty routine.


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It’s nearly impossible to scroll past one of makeup artist extraordinaire Pat McGrath’s (or Mother’s, as she’s affectionately known by her fans) vibey makeup videos. They’re mesmerizing, as are her pigment-packed eyeshadows, lipsticks, eyeliners, and more. McGrath brings years of runway and editorial experience to her line of pro-quality makeup (like her FETISHEYES™ MASCARA in Xtreme Black) that inspires you to reach for the stars, go for the bold, and flex your inner creative makeup artist. If you’re looking to stun, you’ve found your holy grail in PAT McGRATH LAB’s gorgeous products.

16. OUAI

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From Chrissy Teigen to Kim Kardashian, hairstylist Jen Atkin has styled much of Hollywood’s A-list. Her brand OUAI is loved by celebs and beauty pros for its refreshing (and effective) hair and body care that doesn’t require major skills to use. But if you ask us, it’s the delicious scent that you’ll find in almost all OUAI products that has us hooked. Seriously, wash with the brand’s Scalp & Body Scrub and wait for the compliments on how amazing you smell to roll in.

17. ILIA

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There’s a time for extra and there’s a moment for simplicity. ILIA is just that—but exceptionally beautiful. Founder Sasha Plavsic was inspired to create a clean, functional beauty line after natural homeopathic remedies helped improve her brother and business partner’s asthma symptoms. ILIA’s chic packaging is easily identifiable in our makeup kits, and the good-for-you formulas—from buttery multi-sticks to creamy concealers and mascaras—make them instant staples.


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Makeup with a side of self-love? We’ll take it. Founder Sheena Yaitanes is a Los Angeles-based artist and created KOSAS based on the philosophy of the five layers of self. Her entire line is inspired by women and weaves together her skills in art, science, and beauty to create something truly stunning and unique. KOSAS products are known for their skin-loving formulas and products that bring out your inner and outer beauty (like the Tinted Face Oil Foundation and Kosasport LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm).


This super healthy haircare line was founded by Nancy Twine and inspired by the homemade hair care products, like hair masks and conditioners, that she’d help her grandmother make when visiting Nigeria as a child. The brand’s formulas are made to detoxify, hydrate, nourish, and more—all with good-for-you ingredients that encourage hair healing and growth. BRIOGEO products are texture-specific and deliver something for every type and curl to bring out the natural beauty in your hair.


DRUNK ELEPHANT’s bright packaging is unmistakable, and the formulas are fresh and effective. Founder Tiffany Masterson created DRUNK ELEPHANT on a quest for high-performing skincare that worked without synthetic ingredients and irritants. The result is a line of unique formulas that are gentle and easy to work into your daily routines. Our pick: B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum made with pineapple ceramides to boost hydration and majorly up your glow.


Beauty influencer turned makeup mogul Huda Kattan has built a certified beauty empire with her viral makeup products—from her HUDA BEAUTY Demi Matte Cream Liquid Lipsticks to jewel-inspired eyeshadow palettes and, most recently, skincare. She’s racked up a loyal fanbase (us included) who wait on bated breath for her next big launch. If you love anything pigment-packed, HUDA BEAUTY is your go-to.


Can we get a standing ovation for Rihanna’s game-changing beauty brand FENTY BEAUTY? Her diverse foundation product line won accolades for setting new standards of inclusivity, with shades ranging from the fairest to deepest. She continues to challenge the status quo with new, never-before-seen products that cater to every skin tone and type. And now, she’s added skincare to the line-up. Like everything Riri touches, they’ll make you feel worthy of the spotlight.


Makeup artist and founder Danessa Myricks is known for bold, experimental beauty looks. Despite expressing her creativity to the max, she felt the world of makeup was (and is) more exclusive and less inclusive for all. Myricks launched her namesake brand in 2016 to deliver products for everyone—from creamy pigments to dewy balms that are like nothing we’ve seen before.


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We love GO-TO’s super fun and clever packaging as much as we love what’s inside. Founder Zoë Foster Blake is an Australian beauty editor turned beauty entrepreneur on a mission to make skincare fun and approachable. Look at a GO-TO product and you’re guaranteed to understand exactly what it does, how it does it, and why you need it—everything we want in a skincare product. Current obsession: Her Face Hero Oil is a face oil that hydrates using almond, macadamia, and jojoba oils—all of the good stuff.


Founder Charlotte Cho is known for making K-beauty accessible in a big way with e-commerce site SOKO GLAM. Her latest endeavor, skincare brand THEN I MET YOU, is based on the Korean concept of jeong—a connection that encourages empathy. With super satisfying formulas like the Calming Tide Gel Cream and buttery cleansing balms, everything from Cho’s beloved skincare line is carefully curated to make your skincare routine feel like self-care.


It’s fresh, fun, and looks so cute on your vanity—in fact, all of GLOW RECIPE’s fruit-forward formulas are guaranteed to make you smile. They’re inspired by co-founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee’s experience with K-beauty brands, which is evident in their innovative formulas and unique ingredient combos. Take their Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial that acts like a vacuum for your pores while exfoliating with BHAs and PHAs. Like all GLOW RECIPE products, it smells like a smoothie (for your face) and feels so fresh on your skin.


Founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson created MENTED COSMETICS in 2015 with melanin in mind at a time when few brands were creating for women of color. MENTED, short for pigmented, began when Miller and Johnson were searching for a perfect nude lip color for dark skin and found that almost all brands came up short. Now, the brand is a leader in innovating for women of color, with a shade-inclusive line that truly has something for every skin type and tone.


If it’s good enough for Oprah’s Favorite Things, you know it’s got to make our list. This line of luxe vegan nail polish was developed by beauty innovator Kitiya Mischo King with the goal of revolutionizing the notoriously toxic nail lacquer industry. MISCHO BEAUTY nail colors go on gorgeously and come in unbeatable high-impact shades (we can’t get over the hot pink shade Babylove and baby blue Undaunted). The best part? Knowing there isn’t a single bad ingredient in them. Oh, and it’s all cruelty-free, too.


Their tagline, “Haircare basics for not so basic hair” sums up this brand’s passion for bringing out the best in your strands. Founder Maeva spent years working for big beauty brands and noticed there was little in the way of healthy hair care for diverse hair types and textures. She launched BREAD in 2020, and the brand’s already become a favorite among curly, coiled, and textured hair beauties. Our fave: Macadamia Oil: 100% Concentrate for Hair & Body that’s a must-have to get your hair and skin gorgeous and glowing.


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Co-founders Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng were just 24 years old when they launched TOPICALS in 2020 inspired by the way folks view chronic skin conditions. They set out to banish the idea of “bad skin” and “perfection” and instead, focusing on healthy skin with stellar products. Olowe herself dealt with hyperpigmentation, pseudofolliculitis, and skin inflammation issues. Both standout hero products—Faded Brightening & Clearing Serum and Like Butter Hydrating Mask—are ultra-popular on TikTok for their bold packaging and impressive results.


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NUDESTIX is a family affair. Taylor and Ally Frankel were just teenagers when they launched their makeup brand with their mother, Jenny Frankel (who has more than two decades of experience developing beauty products). Since their launch in 2013 with multi-use color sticks for eyes, lips, and face, they’ve expanded into complexion as well as skincare backed by a Beverly Hills dermatologist. Some of our favorite products include the long-wearing Magnetic Matte Eye Color and the hydrating Lip Glace.


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Brooklyn-based co-founder and CEO Trinity Mouzon Wofford started GOLDE in 2017 with a single product—a powdered turmeric-and-coconut tonic. Wofford set out to change up the wellness industry and make it more inclusive and accessible. Since then, she’s launched even more superfood self-care products, including face masks so natural you can eat them.


Celebrity nail technician Charlotte Knight launched CIATÉ LONDON in 2009 to bring bold nail polish and editorial-style nail art kits to the masses. Now, we’re obsessed with the brand’s ultra-fun makeup (seriously, these textures can’t be matched), including Glow To Illuminating Blush and Watermelon Burst Hydrating Primer. Recently, CIATÉ has even teamed up with reality TV stars such as Christine Quinn on limited-edition collections.


Years ago, we’re talking more than a decade, makeup brushes were much more expensive than they are now. We have Simone Xavier, founder and CCO of SIGMA BEAUTY to thank for bringing high-quality tools to the masses. She and her husband have expanded the brand into makeup (including some of the best eyeshadow palettes!) but makeup brushes will always be their first love. SIGMA BEAUTY taught us we needed brushes like the E25 Blending Brush and the Mini Blending Brush E25M.


Founder Carla Oates launched the BEAUTY CHEF to help fix her own skin- and gut-health issues. Her “food as medicine” approach trickles down to the skin with products such as Glow Inner Beauty Powder, which contains bio-fermented maqui berries, queen garnet plum, pomegranate fruit peel extract, and vitamin C. You add it to smoothies or yogurt and Oates promises healthy-looking, glowy skin.


In the past decade, female estheticians such as Shani Darden have launched skincare brands to bring their expertise to more customers than just their VIP cliente. Darden kicked off SHANI DARDEN SKIN CARE in 2013 with the multi-tasking Retinol Reform to boost collagen, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, even out the skin tone, and keep skin acne-free. Hey, if it’s good enough for Kelly Rowland and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, we’re all in.


What do Demi Lovato, Lili Reinhart, and Camila Mendes all have in common? They trust their skin to esthetician Reneé Rouleau and that includes RENÉE ROULEAU SKIN CARE products. Rouleau believes there are nine different skin types and recommends products based on your unique concerns. Her products are especially popular for banishing breakouts, including the award-winning Anti Bump Solution and Post-Breakout Fading Gel.


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We’ve been following blogger Katie Sturino since she started ‘The 12ish Style’ a decade ago, watching her put together the cutest outfits and advocate for size inclusivity in the fashion industry. Sturino isn’t just a blogger anymore. She’s now a successful author and the founder of MEGABABE, a brand of body products to make you feel confident in your skin. The brand’s Thigh Rescue anti-chafing stick is a fan-favorite, along with the line of natural deodorants.


Founder and CEO Nickie Nougaisse started CURLS DYNASTY in 2014 to provide hydrating, healthy-hair products to those with textured hair—especially 4C curls like her own. Products focus on tackling dry and chemically treated hair, such as the Kalahari Smoothie Leave-In and Hello Growth Serum. Her focus is on healthy hair that doesn’t just look great but feels great, too. Because you can have both.


Makeup artist Caitlin Picou was looking for clean beauty products with zero payoff sacrifices—so she created her own. Since 2013, the Louisiana-native not only sells a line of natural cosmetics and skincare (like their Ipster-approved Buff All Natural Lip Scrub in Bright & Bubbly), but also runs a business that includes a team of artists who can teach one-on-one private makeup lessons at their brick-and-mortar store. Basically, Kismet is like having a BFF in the beauty biz—and it’s a BFF you can trust thanks to the brands’ no Facetune policy on their feed. “We keep it real because women of all ages deserve to see a realistic standard of beauty,” says Picou.


Co-founders Christina and Ann met through a network of women and femme investors in Silicon Valley. After investing in other BIPOC entrepreneurs who helm pioneering startups and bonding over self-care and cremas y aceites (aka creams and oils) for their skin, they decided to start their own line. VAMIGAS is a green beauty—Ipsters love the Rosa Mosqueta Infused Lip Oil / Aceite Labial in Valentina & Sofia—and wellness brand using simple, naturally derived botanicals from Latin America.

Want to try even more woman-founded brands? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your very own IPSY subscription. Already a member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Tiktok @IPSY.

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated February 28, 2023 12:00 AM