5 disruptive beauty brands shaking up the industry

In partnership with
House of Fraser
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The renegade brands changing the way we buy beauty products are not even a little bit preachy. And yet we’re fully converted…

Let’s hear it for the dissidents, the nonconformists and the kooks.

Doing things differently just got even cooler. It’s time to meet the mould-busting heroes smashing their way on to your bathroom shelves (get ready to do a spot of DIY).

The way in which beauty products have been traditionally sold to us has remained the same for the best part of a century, often capitalising on women’s insecurities. Until the internet happened, that is.

We were able to claw through the ‘sexy’ spiel and unpronounceable ingredient names to make our own, more informed choices, selecting products based on Instagram shares and recommendations made online by peers and experts we may not have had access to before. 

These are the game changers…

Smart skincare

The brand grabbing the skincare industry by the unmentionables and democratising beauty for us all? 

That’ll be The Ordinary – the word-of-mouth, no-frills skincare brand that’s pared back on unnecessary ingredients and cost (we love its beauty-editor favourite Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, £7). 

“People are more educated now and are thirsty for transparency,” says Brandon Truaxe, founder of Deciem, parent company of The Ordinary. 

“It’s why loyalty in this category is dead and why we took steps to shake things up.” 

The reason? We’re savvier than ever before. 

“Women, tired of being patronised by pseudo-science, are increasingly armed with unbiased knowledge in the form of product reviews and the well-known dermatologists they’re following on Instagram,” says Jessica Smith, a trend forecaster at The Future Laboratory.

Oh K, beauty

Reviews (and selfies) aside, social media can also be thanked for the globalization of beauty with trends such as ‘glass skin’ pinging up on our feeds and swiftly making their way into our beauty halls. 

Take Erborian, one of the first brands to bring ‘K beauty’, or Korean beauty, to our shores with ground-breaking products that, as it says, “never make big marketing promises”. Consequently, its CC Cream has gained cult status.

“Social media has impacted the way we discover products, especially when you watch a favourite blogger using a specific CC cream,” says Smith. 

Our pick? Erborian Bamboo Glow Dewy Effect Cream, £21

Smells like extreme spirit

The rise of niche fragrances shows that no marketing is often the best marketing.

Serge Lutens has been shaking up the perfume industry since the Eighties (he describes his brand’s Ambre Sultan Eau de Parfum, £160, as “Don’t expect it to fit in”) and paved the way for rebels such as Tom Ford (case in point: F***ing Fabulous Eau de Parfum, £218). 

To these niche disrupters, and radical powerhouses such as Benefit (hello, new Brow Contour Pro, £28) we say thank you and ‘Vive la différence’.

To shop all of these beauty disrupters and more, head to House of Fraser