As a beauty investor, I’m always thinking about the demands that society places on women (and increasingly men) to look good. This week, I attended the Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles, California, where beauty & personal care brands show-off to buyers, investors & influencers. Walking through a beauty convention, it’s really hard not to wonder:

Will these products make me beautiful? Am I pretty yet?

I have to force myself to take a step-back from my own experiences and ask myself, does our culture need these products? And, is this beauty business a good investment?

What I do love about beauty & personal care is that with the right founder, products and mission, brands can help individuals feel great about themselves. That’s what I get excited about in beauty & personal care. Whenever I evaluate a brand in this category, I take a step back and ask myself, does this brand build the confidence of its consumers? One tagline that’s trending right now is something along the lines of “Love the Skin You’re In”. If a brand does that, I get excited.

After two days of walking the Expo, here are my 10 takeaways and some brands that stood out!

The list below was shared first as a series of tweets here. Engage with me on Twitter.

  1. Less is more. Brands like Everyday Oil are helping people realize that they don’t need a 25-step routine.
  2. Ayurveda is in. Saw a number of brands built on ancient Indian rituals but Soma Ayurvedic was my favorite (maybe because Soma is my daughter’s name)
  3. Ingredient-first brands are out. Fewer brands are built around a single superfood or high-impact ingredient. Brand ethos is first, ingredients come second. One that did stand out was Broo, which makes beer-based shampoos for haircare (Jackie Kennedy used to wash her hair with beer. Just don’t take your partner’s IPA). CBD might be an exception to this observation…
  4. Speaking of…no one really understands CBD. I asked a few brands, what’s the pain point that CBD solves for your brand? Many couldn’t answer. I did really like @PlantPeople (mostly because I was impressed with co-founder @GabeKennedy’s knowledge of his business & customer).
  5. Influencers continue to start companies. It’s very easy to launch one product to your followers. I tried the new makeup remover by @VIKEtwins
  6. Internal beauty extends to sexual empowerment. Lots of pretty personal toys by brands like @DameProducts.
  7. People are trying to make clean color happen ASAP. No crease eyeshadow and bright lips on display i.e. by @luckychick. And, I really liked the 3-in-1 products from @RoarCosmetics.
  8. Lots of foreign brands trying to get deeper into the US market: I noticed @dalchemy_com of Poland and @roarcosmetics from Switzerland.
  9. Sustainability was top of mind. I loved the @palettebypak and the founder @KateWestad was fire. Big dreams. Killer Instinct.
  10. Last one is a personal takeaway. It’s ALWAYS possible to learn something new. Thank you to @SimrisAlg for teaching me that vegan omega-3s harvested from algae are possible.

CircleUp and its subsidiaries may be affiliated with certain companies listed above. This article and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or recommendations.

Product obsessed. People focused. Easily intrigued. Rarely impressed.

Product obsessed. People focused. Easily intrigued. Rarely impressed.