Support the sisterhood with female-founded beauty brands

Been binge-watching Mrs. America? If you’re feeling indignant – or whether you just want to show your support for the women who’re forging a path through the beautysphere – these are a few of the Cult Conscious brands that were founded by brilliant women.

You might wonder why ‘Female Owned’ is a label that still feels significant? “Who cares who’s behind what you put on your face?” you might ask but, although women’s lib was a huge leap towards a more equal, and less patriarchal existence for many, there’s still an astonishing gap when it comes to the number of women you’ll find at the helm, in the boardroom or making the critical business decisions… not to mention the pay gap which means in the UK, a woman on average earns 17.3% less than her male counterparts.

That said, the beauty space is one of few in which female-led businesses dominate, contributing a staggering £30bn to the UK economy (more than motor manufacturing) and employing more than 600,000 people (90% of whom identify as female). Yet in the light of the ongoing global pandemic, salons and spas are among the last businesses able to open – eliciting giggles from policy-makers in Commons who scoffed over ‘waxes’ and other such ‘trivial’ treatments.

As a Female Owned Business where 80% of the workforce identify as female, supporting and fostering women in beauty is something incredibly close to our hearts. We champion brilliant women by helping to mitigate some of the obstacles faced by those striving to carve out a niche by providing a platform that celebrates burgeoning brands doing excellent things. These are a handful of names you should know…

Uma’s founder, Shrankhla Holecek grew up in India where Ayurveda was a fundamental element of health and beauty rituals but as she grew older, and became more involved in the typically fast-paced, high-pressure demands that so many of us are used to, Shrankhla became more reliant on synthetic products and over-the-counter remedies to counteract the physical and mental toll taken by long nights at the office, constant travel and exhaustion.

As, one by one, these ‘quick fixes’ stopped working, she reverted back to the practices she had grown up with – a clean diet, yoga, meditation and a beauty routine based on natural remedies. The results were visible and dramatic and, as an engineer by trade, nothing resonated more with Shrankhla than results; she realised there was a tremendous niche for high-quality skin care and wellness products combining the therapeutic benefits of pure botanicals with generations of holistic wisdom and, as her family has been in the business of farming and manufacturing organic essential oils for decades, she seized the perfect opportunity to bring these highly potent, farm-to-bottle botanicals directly to consumers.

Must try: Uma {Absolute Anti Ageing Eye Oil} and {Pure Calm Wellness Oil}

On a mission to make K-Beauty more accessible to all, {Glow Recipe} co-founders, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, began by curating a ‘hub’ celebrating the cutting-edge skin care emerging from Seoul (a.k.a. the beating heart of beauty innovation). Brimming with all of their latest and greatest discoveries, the duo began to identify gaps and decided to take matters into their own, highly capable hands – helping you to get the dewy, ‘glass skin’ glow you’d dreamed of with a range of playful products that fused fun with efficacy. Firm in their belief that skin care should be joyful, their bestselling range is cute, colourful and innovative with unexpected textures and a wealth of fruity, supercharged ingredients. Using the highest-quality natural actives, each formula works overtime for its coveted space in your ritual – ticking many boxes with a buffet of botanicals and state-of-the-art technology… not to mention Instagrammable good looks.

Must try: Glow Recipe {Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask}

The beauty world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house (try saying that five times fast…), {Sana Jardin} is blazing a revolutionary trail – and leaving sublime scent in its wake. Created by philanthropist and entrepreneur Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed as a vehicle for social change, this brand advocates the economic empowerment of women through ‘The Beyond Sustainability Movement’, aiming to empower all the women it touches – from product to consumer. Harnessing nature’s most exotic aromas and the healing power of plants, these fragrances transport, seduce and support positive change.

Must try: Sana Jardin {Berber Blonde Eau de Parfum}

Having researched her increasingly elaborate skin care regimen, the {Vintner’s Daughter} – April Gargiulo – became increasingly concerned about the high levels of ineffective (and potentially toxic) ‘fillers’ she found in her products, prompting her to fantasise about her ‘desert island’ problem solver: a multi-correctional, results-driven hero to tackle a swathe of concerns in one, super-charged step. Her experience within her family’s fine wine business inspired her to apply the same principles: exemplary quality, methodical formulation and region-specific ingredient sourcing to the development of her Holy Grail elixir and two years later, {Active Botanical Serum} was born. Packed with potent botanicals and beautifying nutrients with balancing properties, the iconic range now boasts two super sidekicks and has a sustainable approach – condensing your ritual, sourcing responsibly, using recycled and recyclable materials, testing without harm and giving back to the planet. What’s not to love?

Must try: Vintner’s Daughter {Active Botanical Serum} and {Active Treatment Essence}

The first skin care line to address the effects of our hormones – in particular declining oestrogen – on skin’s strength and resilience, {VENeffect} is the brainchild of sister act Rebecca Booth, M.D. (an acclaimed gynaeocologist) and Cecil Booth (a beauty expert with 20 years of industry experience). Together, the sisters set out to research and develop a range with a complex of 100% natural, plant-based ‘phytoestrogens’ which safely mimic the plumping, bounce-prolonging properties of oestrogen to help prolong skin’s healthy, vibrant glow. Want to know more? You can read our in-depth interview with the founders right {here}.

Must try: VENeffect {Anti-Aging Intensive Moisturizer}


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...