Every decade has a defining makeup look: There’s the blue eyeshadow of the ‘80s, the thin brows of the ‘90s, and the overly-glossed lips of the early ‘00s. Scratch that — almost every decade. Maybe it’s a consequence of actually living through the time period I’m analyzing, but I don’t think this decade can really be defined. Between the “no makeup” Glossier girls and the “kontoured” Kardashian fans, the twenty-tens is an era of experimentation; one that prioritizes individual expression over mindless adoption of trends. I enter the seven best new makeup brands of 2019 into evidence.
While this year’s beauty launches — Roén, HAUS LABORATORIES, UZ, and more — are diverse, they do have one major thing in common: They’re all mission-driven. “I love the transformative power of beauty — what I could not deal with was that beauty was very monolithic,” Sharon Chuter, the founder of Afropolitan-inspired cosmetics company UOMA Beauty, tells The Zoe Report. “For me, I felt so strongly that somebody had to do something.” It's likely a feeling the founders of the other boundary-breaking brands on this list can relate to — including Tower28 (a line designed for sensitive skin) and Squish Beauty (a company that features unretouched, blemish-boasting models in its campaigns).
Ahead, seven new makeup brands redefining what beauty looks like in 2019.
UOMA Beauty aims to fill a specific and noticeable gap in the makeup industry: Color cosmetics — beyond foundation — that suit all skin tones. “Let’s talk about women with really dark lips,” Chuter says. “Let’s talk about highlighters — highlighters that are still being made with talc as the base — that make you ashy. Let’s talk about eyeshadow that’s so poor in pigment, if you have dark skin, you have to take a really light concealer and put it on your eyelids first just so the shadow will show.” The solution to those problems? UOMA’s Badass Icon Lipstick, Double Take Contour and Highlight Stick, and Black Magic Eye Palette, respectively.
It’s easy for those with sensitive skin to feel left out of the makeup conversation. Lots of conventional ingredients can cause irritation, so product choices for the breakout-prone are limited. Enter: Tower28. The brand is “hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, non-irritating, and dermatologist tested,” clean beauty retailer Credo tells The Zoe Report in a press release. The best part? You don’t have to have sensitive skin to enjoy the glowy SuperDew Highlighter Balm or ShineOn Lip Jelly.
As a celebrity makeup artist, Nikki DeRoest wasn’t willing to compromise on results (great coverage, long wear, chic colors). She wasn’t willing to compromise on safe ingredients, either — so she launched her own makeup line, Roén, in early 2019. “As a beauty expert, it’s important to me that Róen is made with original, clean formulas that are able to pair well with all the other incredible beauty brands that fill my artistry kit,” DeRoest tells TZR via a press email. Her favorites are the Disco Eye (a powdery-cream illuminator) and the Everything Eye Brush (made from vegan bristles).
The tagline of HAUS LABORATORIES, the brand-new makeup range from Lady Gaga, says it all: “Our HAUS. Your rules.” In other words, this is makeup to play with. The initial launch includes six kits (or “ HAUS Collections”) that all include lip liner, lip gloss, and “multi-use pigment” that you can use whenever, wherever your heart desires. Would you expect anything less from Mother Monster?
Remember those viral “Unframe the Beauty” ads from February 2019? The genius behind them was later revealed to be Japanese beauty brand UZ. "Our earliest associations with makeup and beauty were completely unframed," UZ Founder Hiroshi Imamura explained in a press email. "Trying on lipstick for the first time in your life was playful and uninhibited. The company’s goal is to enable people to return to that purely joyful state." The Eye Opening Liner — in unexpected shades like purple and orange — does exactly that.
A beauty line founded by model and body-positivity champion Charli Howard is bound to be inclusive. Howard's Squish Beauty launched in August with a campaign that featured “models with real skin — girls with acne, girls with scars, girls with cellulite — but who have voices and great personalities,” Howard told Teen Vogue. The brand’s first foray into cosmetics includes Jelly Lip Gloss, which it calls “a ‘90s throwback” (minus the stickiness).
It is 2019, so don’t think there’s not a CBD beauty range on the list. That would be KINGDM, the new makeup-focused branch of Kush Queen, the popular online CBD retailer. The offshoot launched in August 2019 with a single product, the FOTO BLUR CBD Primer, but is set to release a CBD setting spray coming September. Because cannabidiol makes everything better, right?