The Cool Girl Beauty Brands
2021 has been a busy year for beauty lovers. From new, Influencer-founded beauty lines to new product launches and rebrands, our poor skin has bared the brunt of many-a-products – some good, some bad, and some just plain ugly. With so many new brands and products to try, it can be hard to know what’s actually worth investing in. Will it break me out? Will this lipstick really last all day? All are valuable questions. Absolutely London lists our editor approved, ‘Cool Girl’ beauty brands and products that live up to the hype. From sustainable haircare to science-backed skincare and everything in between, here are our top picks.
By Layla Turner
Refy was possibly the most exciting beauty launch of 2021. Founded by top beauty and fashion influencer Jess Hunt (i.e absolute brow queen), Refy has hit the UK just in time to give us the brows we have been dreaming of. Jess herself is famous for her fluffy yet well groomed brows; now fans can recreate the look at home with ease. Each product has been created with versatility in mind, meaning you rock the sky high brow trend, or something more low key. More recently, Refy has launched their Summer Skin collection, perfect for creating pinterest worthy, dewy looks. Simply buff the vitamin enriched, Cream Bronzer (which comes in three versatile shades, FYI) into the skin with the Duo Brush to maintain a summer glow, even throughout the colder seasons.
No cool girl beauty brand round up would be complete without featuring the ultimate cool girl and our all time girl crush, Jamie Genevieve. The digital beauty creator has captured the hearts of many with her bubbly personality, weekly vlogs and, of course, her beauty tutorials. If you haven’t spent your Sunday evenings watching Friends and desperately trying to copy her smokey bronze eye looks, we can’t be friends. Luckily for us, the beauty mogul has released her own makeup range, featuring The Essential Palette – a hero product for those trying to recreate J Gen’s famous gold-hued smoky eye at home. The palette showcases seven matte shadows and three multidimensional shimmers, including a gorgeous, golden brown and an indulgent chocolate shade that’s perfect for defining your crease. Finish your look with the Nova Glow Highlighter and Skin Nova Primer for perfectly prepped, glowing skin. Of course, no Jamie G inspired look would be complete without her signature nude lip; for that, make sure to use the Modern Lip Definer and Modern Matte Lipstick, both of which come in five perfectly pretty shades for a picture ready pout.
Malin & Goetz
With the plethora of skincare products on the market, all claiming an abundance of results, it can be hard to know which brands to trust. If your twelve step routine isn’t cutting it, it might be time to strip back your routine. Malin + Goetz are the queens of uncomplicated skincare, offering a two step routine of cleansing and hydrating. Of course, for specific problems i.e acne or dryness, the brand offers targeted solutions. Our favourite is the 10% sulfur paste, a nifty, handbag sized jar perfect for zapping zits on the go. Simply dab a little of the paste on to any blemishes before heading to bed, and wake up to them noticeably reduced – it’s a miracle. The paste is a holiday must have – and best of all, it’s vegan and cruelty free. Love.
Drunk Elephant needs no introduction. Even non-beauty lovers will have most likely seen the brand at some point after it gained mass traction in 2019. The brand sent beauty lovers and influencers into a frenzy with their biocompatible, ‘less is more’ approach to beauty, which has earned the brand a devoted following. The recipe for success? High quality ingredients and genuinely good products. All DE products spanning from skincare to makeup and haircare are free of what the brand calls the ‘suspicious six’, i.e essential oils, chemical sunscreens, silicones, SLS, alcohols and fragrance. If you have products containing any of these, you should probably throw them out, tbh. The entire line up comes heavily recommended by beauty bloggers, editors and influencers, and for good reason – however, if you try just one thing from the brand, let it be the Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial, with 25% AHA and 2% BHA. As the name suggests, the mask leaves skin baby smooth and visibly brighter.
If you haven’t tried Chanel Beauty, you are seriously missing out. The products are stripped back, elegantly packaged, and timeless – as you would expect from Chanel. This summer, Chanel launched their Les Beiges Cruise Collection, featuring the iconic – and our editors favourite – Les Beiges Bronzing Cream. The cream bronzer delivers just the right amount of colour to keep you looking healthy and glowy year round, and blends seamlessly into the skin. New to the Les Beiges range are four new shades of the Rouge Coco Flash – a semi-sheer formula with conditioning agents that ensure lips stay juicy, hydrated and full of colour throughout the day. It’s a handbag staple.
Founded by Danish born makeup artist, Kjaer Weis formulates makeup products as they should be – organic and sustainable. The packaging, curated by award winning creative director Marc Atlan, is durable, stunningly bold and refillable. New for AW21 is the Im-Possible Mascara. Developed with an organic formula and nourishing ingredients, the mascara delivers ‘made you look’ volume and a glossy look that lasts all day without flaking. We love.
Herbivore is a brand that is kind to both your skin and the planet. Crafted only with high quality, raw ingredients, Herbivore believes that daily bathing should be an enjoyable experience in itself – one that pampers and rejuvenates – and we agree. The brand has a luxurious feel to it, from the lustrous packaging to the decadent scents and textures. Of course, that doesn’t compromise the quality of the products. Our top picks are the PRISM Botanical AHA + BHA Glow Facial and the PRISM AHA + BHA Glow Serum. Acids have been having a bit of a moment this year, and these two products are the best of the bunch; the Glow Facial is weekly rinse-off facial that transforms dull skin without drying, whilst the Glow Serum is formulated with vegan hyaluronic acid and is gentle enough to use daily for soothed and glowing skin.
A brand with packaging pretty enough to be on your pinterest feed is Gisou, haircare range by Negin Mirsalehi – insta babe and absolute hair goals. With so many Influencer beauty ranges having launched recently, many have been debating the quality of such products – are they worth the hype? We can definitely vouch for Gisou. The brand, and specifically, the Honey infused hair oil, went viral on Instagram late last year – and for good reason, too. For those unfamiliar with Negin, her family are a generation of beekeepers, and her mother a hairdresser; when she was a child, her mother created a concoction created by her dad’s honey on her hair, and thus, Gisou was born. The viral hair oil transforms frizzy hair, creating silky smooth tresses that smell like – you guessed it – honey. The scent isn’t overbearing, just enough for those that catch a whiff of you to say “Wow, what perfume are you wearing?!”. Be cautious, however: a little goes a long way with the Hair oil, a couple of drops is enough to transform your tresses. For first time users of the brand, we recommend the Honey Infused haircare set, featuring travel sized versions of the honey infused hair oil, hair wash, conditioner and mask. Trust us, you’ll be hooked.
Founded by Kim K’s hairstylist and BFF Jen Atkin is The Ouai, a hair, body and fragrance brand who is challenging overconsumption in the beauty industry. Instead of having a plethora of products in each category available, they have a few, genuinely amazing options available. Our top picks from the collection are the Fine shampoo and conditioner – a haircare duo that genuinely made a difference to my own thinning hair (fellow bleach bones can relate to my struggles). The set made my hair visibly more voluminous and, fyi, smells amazing. Trust us when we say that you will come addicted to the scent – which is fine, as The Ouai started producing fragrances when Instagram became obsessed with the smell of the haircare products. Our fave is North Bondi – a rich blend of florals and musk that will leave you smelling like a fresh summer’s evening all year round. Obsessed.
The cult US makeup brand has finally arrived on this side of the pond – yay! Well known for its decadent lip products (you may recall their famous Lip Lab having appeared on your Insta feed), the brand has recently branched out into other areas of the makeup world, now offering complexion, eye and brow products. Our favourite is the Daycation Whipped Blush, which has already gained mass traction in the US. Simply dab a small amount of product onto the apples of the cheeks and blend for a rosy and radiant look that lasts the entire day (we’ve tested it). Of course, you just have to try out the product that launched the brand into fame – the Power Move Soft Matte Lipstick. Available in a range of shades, the formula is matte yet non-drying – a rare find whilst searching for the perfect matte lipstick. bitebeauty.com
Subscription service HOOHAA is changing the way we shop for fragrance. Allowing customers to explore different and niche scents rather than sticking to their staple perfume, HOOHAA expertly picks scents they think you will like based on your chosen ‘edit’ – an insight into what fragrances you like and whether sweet, floral or fresh scents are your fave. Every month, HOOHAA will deliver a 10ml unisex fragrance bottle to your door – and if it just so happens yo be your new fave perfume, you can buy it directly from the HOOHAA website. Pretty handy.
Founded by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, 111SKIN have cemented their position as the ‘authorities on masking’ with their potent formulas and science-based approach to beauty. Their sheet masks in particular are loved by celebrities from Kim K to Victoria Beckham for their healing and anti ageing properties. More recently, the brand has taken a step towards becoming more sustainable with the launch of their liquid masks – a multi-use alternative to sheet masks that provide powerful and long lasting results. Those trying to achieve the viral ‘glass skin’ trend should opt for the Oxygen Express mask, an energising and refreshing formula containing active ingredients such as oxygen and hyaluronic acid complex for a poreless, ‘glass like’ finish.
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