Beauty has never been more crowded. It can feel overwhelming, it can feel fun, or it can feel like some combination of the two. With everyone stuck at home, and trends leaning towards the more “no makeup” than “makeup” the past few years, skin care remains the most booming category, with new serums, oils, cleansers, and entire new indie beauty brands popping up by the week.
That said, it was also a year when many became self-taught colorists, hair stylists, nail artists, and facialists — learning to DIY their favorite treatments (hello Gussi, an at-home keratin treatment in a box) — and in keeping with that, there’ve been a number of new labels leading the charge here, too. Even fragrance, perhaps the most traditional segment of the beauty industry, is getting reinvented for the digital, work-from-home life (enter: Snif). From your Instagram Explore page to the latest trending product on TikTok, there are simply more brands than ever to sift through. Below, discover the ones you’ll want to keep your eye on this year.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Kiramoon
Austin-based Lindsey Martin founded Kiramoon in January 2021 with a mission to make skin care cute, playful, fun, and of course efficacious. The brand has two products now (and some very fun playful merch — a heart-shaped mirror, and ice rollers!), but if you have to pick one, try the Star Jelly Magic Resurfacing Facial, a 20- to 30-minute skin renewing mask packed with 10% alpha hydroxy acids and niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and passion fruit seed oil.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Joaquina Botanica
This new skin care line launched in January 2021 with just one product, the Hydrating Glow Oil — a delicious smelling formula fortified with vitamin C and inspired by founder Giovanna Campagna’s Colombian heritage.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Layers
This new probiotic skin care (plus one supplement) brand is still only on pre-order, but it will be one to watch. Chances are you’ve heard about the importance of a healthy skin microbiome, and Layers works to help maintain that for your skin. Try the Balancing Milky Cleanser, a light but hydrating product.
New Indie Beauty Brands: TooD
This entire brand — filled with playful, colorful sustainably minded makeup — was inspired by the founder’s unibrow and her mission to embrace her natural beauty while encouraging others to do the same. The resulting Brow Color Cream comes in ten metallic shades meant for use by anyone, anywhere.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Ambari
Founder Nisha Grewal set out to create products that delivered overnight results... and she succeeded. The new brand’s first two offerings — a serum, and a peel mask, are jam-packed with buzzy, efficacious ingredients like CBD, mushrooms, AHAs, PHAs, and bakuchiol.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Ceremonia
This minimalist chic collection of hair products is inspired by founder, Babba Rivera’s Latinx heritage and utilizes ingredients sourced from Latin America, which aim to bring a feeling of ritualistic self-care to hair care.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Atolla
This high-tech startup launched with truly personalized, algorithmically designed serums — and now, they’ve expanded to create true, “skinimalist” skin care routines with the addition of a cleanser and moisturizer. Products are sold in monthly supplies and customers can test and re-test their skin, and receive formulas to match where their skin is at a precise moment.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Gussi
After a year of missing hair salons and professionals, people had to get resourceful. Enter new brands like Gussi, which makes it possible to safely DIY a keratin treatment — for $65.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Snif
Snif is on a mission to modernize the fragrance industry — with perfume sold online. To address the challenges of ordering perfume online, the brand uses a try-before-you-buy model allowing customers to try samples of fragrances and only paying for the ones you decide to keep.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Tahnyc
Tahnyc, pronounced like “tonic,” makes filler-free, ingredient-centric skin care to help customers address skin concerns with targeted, potent treatments at affordable prices. Try the water-light Serum Waters, which focus on single, active ingredients.
New Indie Beauty Brands: For Tmrw
This Afro-Latinx-founded, 10-free, clean nail polish brand was inspired by the founder, Maia Alejandro’s pregnancy which coincided with a cousin’s breast cancer diagnosis. Alejandro began to learn more about ingredients, and wound up creating this chic collection of polishes.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Kulfi Beauty
Kulfi honors South Asian traditions with its first product — a kajal eyeliner in five shades Nazar No More, a matte deep black, Tiger Queen, a matte terracotta, Rain Check, a teal blue with slight shimmer, Cheeky Chiku, a matte neutral brown, and Purply Pataka, a mauve with slight shimmer.
New Indie Beauty Brands: Common Heir
Common Heir set out to make your morning vitamin C serum more sustainable with its debut product — a totally plastic-free, biodegradable ampoule with a single serving of 10% THD ascorbate (aka a stable form of the antioxidant). The mission of brightening skin is aided by potent botanical ingredients like licorice root and marshmallow root extracts.