This story is part of Image Issue 14, “Elevation,” where we examine beauty as a state of being, a process of realization. Read the whole issue here.
These are some of the brands contributing to the thriving, creative beauty ecosystem that makes up Los Angeles. They continue to raise the city’s reputation with their fierce commitment to formula integrity and products that not only fit into our lifestyles but amplify them. You can find some of these brands at local beauty supplies or retailers in Los Angeles.
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AJ Crimson Beauty, Hi-Shine Lip Gloss, $22
This year, beauty pioneer AJ Crimson suddenly died, but his artistry lives on through his makeup line. He was known for his warmth and breadth of knowledge, which he generously shared. His moisturizing lip glosses are built for a lifestyle on the go and the red-carpet look.
Available online at AJ Crimson and AMP Beauty L.A.
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $18.99
The Black Girl Sunscreen sunscreen can be described with the same characteristics you’d describe, well, Black women: dependable and fool-proof. The formula is developed by L.A. founder Shontay Lundy, and is deeply moisturizing, lasting the entire day while leaving no white cast. The finish brings an effortless glow.
Available for purchase online at Black Girl Sunscreen and at BeautyBeez in North Hollywood.
Dr. Zenovia Skincare, 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment, $38
This is a hero product of Dr. Zenovia Gabriel, who’s built a reputation as a no-BS practitioner — and that extends to her eponymous skincare line. This clinical-grade hormonal acne spot treatment also does wonders on pimple breakouts. Your search for a zit zapper is over.
Available at Dr. Zenovia.
Oak Essentials, Balancing Mist, $44
This facial mist by L.A. native, entrepreneur and overall life curator Jenni Kayne feels like a gentle reminder to relax and breathe. It will quickly become your go-to prep before or after your skincare routine. It contains rose, aloe and a very light touch of lavender oil and cedar wood oil. Shake before spraying.
Available at Oak Essentials.
Pureology, Hydrate Sheer Shampoo & Conditioner, $63
Founded in 2001 with the tagline “Cali State of Mind,” Pureology has always been inspired by the L.A. lifestyle. This shampoo-conditioner fulfills the need to keep hair hydrated yet lightweight and soft in our dry weather. All of its products are 100% vegan and ZeroSulfate with patented Antifade Complex for colored hair.
Available at Pureology.
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Sweet Street, Wing Queen Liquid Eyeliner, $20
You can depend on “around the way” beauty brand Sweet Street for a highly pigmented black eyeliner that easily glides on. Sweet Street is founded by LaLa Romero and Natalia Durazo and celebrates their sisterhood and roots within Chicano culture.
Available at Sweet Street.
Flamingo Estate, Petrichor Mud Bath, $60
Flamingo Estate is known for its brilliance and talent to create a ritual out of all daily tasks. From food to entertainment, the brand’s approach to beauty is no exception. Add a small bit of water to the mineral-packed blend of volcanic green clay, Dead Sea salt, kelp and spirulina to exfoliate, soothe and hydrate the skin. You’ll find yourself partaking in a nourishing treatment from ancient times.
Available at Flamingo Estate.
Namesake, the Daily Moisturizer, $60
Davlyn Mosley is the daughter of renowned dermatologist Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant — and Mosley put the lessons of her childhood into Namesake. You might find her sharing her bestselling product — a deceptively lightweight, creamy facial moisturizer that helps fade hyperpigmentation — at your local artisans market.
Available at Namesake.
Klur Skincare, Symmetry Fluid, $22–$100
I’ve raved about Klur’s body oil in past guides, but its Symmetry Fluid deserves a nod for its nutrient abundance that boosts skin resilience. It’s filled with phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that create a barrier to exposure to pollutants, while maintaining a lightness on the skin. Klur is founded by L.A. native Lesley Thornton.
Available at Klur.
Rare Beauty, Bronzer Stick, $23
Everything about Selena Gomez’s makeup line feels personal and deeply thought out. The product names and launches are designed to inspire, while the brand itself is rooted in mental health advocacy. These not-too-creamy bronzer stick shades consider the undertones of melanated skin and can be used to lightly contour or simply bring out your glow.
Available at Rare Beauty.
Death Valley Nails, Crocodilia Nail Polish, $14
Created in L.A. by Jennifer Fox, Death Valley Nails is inspired by the desert region. It is made in small batches and is a 10-free polish, meaning its base is made without formaldehydes, added fragrance and other chemicals commonly found in nail polish. This deep green is perfect for these fall months going into winter — but make sure to explore the biodegradable glitter polishes.
Available at Death Valley Nails.
Ranavat, Fortifying Hair Serum, $70
Michelle Ranavat put the warmth of her own intentions and upbringing into Ranavat. Inspired by the Southeast Asian ritual of hair oiling, this serum contains three simple, organic ingredients: sunflower oil, jasmine oil and amla extract. Over time, it aids in building hair strength and extra shine.
Available at Ranavat.
SKNMUSE, Devine Body Oil, $50
Is one not always on the search for the perfect body oil? Add SKNMUSE’s body oil to the test rotation for its silky feel and sensual vibe. Made with Egyptian honey, Moroccan oil and vitamin E, it will leave your skin nourished. Apply to clean, damp skin, or let it aid in leaving your mark wherever you go as a fragrance on your wrists. Available at SKNMUSE.
Patrick Ta, Major Skin Crème Foundation & Finishing Powders, $52
Although he may not be crowned as one just yet, Patrick Ta is a beauty legend. The ingenuity of his come-up in the L.A. beauty scene is infused into his makeup line — especially this compact foundation-powder duo for the human on the go.
Available at Patrick Ta.
Dermalogica, Skin Smoothing Hydrating Moisturizer, $44
Founder Jane Wurwand moved Dermalogica to Carson, Calif., in 2005, and has been innovating from there ever since. In this formula, the Active HydraMesh Technology is on full display, offering supple, continuous hydration and moisture that protects the skin’s natural microbiome throughout the day by preventing water loss. If you want to test-drive it first, visit one of Dermalogica’s L.A. stores in Santa Monica or West Hollywood.
Available at Dermalogica.
Mary Louise Cosmetics, Turmeric & Honey Face Mask, $38
This is a moisturizing mask suitable for sensitive skin types, formulated to address acne, eczema and inflammation. Meanwhile, the honey and turmeric leave skin with a natural radiance. Akilah Mary Louise Releford started the brand, named after her maternal and paternal grandmothers, in her Howard University dorm room in 2017. The brand is now based in Los Angeles.
Available at Mary Louise Cosmetics.
Kristie Streicher, Aforé by Kristie Streicher, $45
Prep your eyebrow skin and the surrounding brow bone with soothing “pretweezing” oil by Feathered Brow eyebrow artist Kristie Streicher. With a Moroccan argan oil base, this formula contains essential oils to relax you before going in for the tweeze. This oil is a multitasker. It works as a spot treatment on dry skin after sun exposure, to soften cuticles or as a massage oil on the soles of the feet. Visit Streicher or one of her two sisters at their salon in Beverly Hills or purchase online at Striiike.
Topicals, Ingrown Body Duo, $55
Topicals, the cult fave brand that made a come-up with its Faded facial serum, continues to do what it does best but for the entire body: It soothes and smooths. The High Roller calms the skin after shaving and helps to prevent ingrown hair bumps, while the Faded Body Mist helps to fade the scars and marks we tend to accumulate from shaving, sun exposure and hyperpigmentation. Both have a light texture, absorb quickly and are made for sensitive skin.
Available at Topicals.
Rosebud Woman, Honor Everyday Balm, $90
Rosebud’s popular balm for intimate skin, such as the vulva and labia, is designed to bring relief to dryness brought on from hormonal changes, especially during menopause and pregnancy; due to medications and chemical irritants; or, quite simply, stress. Made with all-natural ingredients that support skin resilience, the thick balm quickly melts in the hand.
Available at Rosebud Women.
Buttah Skincare, Egyptian Coco Shea Body Wash, $27.99
This body wash by Dorion Renaud’s skincare brand delivers moisture in a truly luxurious fashion. It smells incredible (with notes of vanilla, rose and white musk) and feels more like a skin smoothie than a mere body wash. In addition to cocoa and shea butters, it’s infused with multivitamin extracts and the brand’s hydration complex, SP DuraQuench. Over time, your skin will feel softer. Available for purchase online at Black-owned online retailer Thirteen Lune or at Buttah Skincare.
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