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Beauty

Glossy picks: Our top buys from female-founded brands in honour of International Women's Day

March 6th 2021 / 0 comment

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This week we're celebrating female founders and the can't-live-without products they've created

From dental floss to fragrance, hand spray to candles and period care, this week we're celebrating 15 beauty buys all dreamt up by seriously impressive women. Read on ahead of International Women's Day on March 8 and prepare to feel inspired by their backstories and the products they brought to life.

Beauty Pie Absolute Orange Eau de Toilette, members pay £18.11, typical price £100

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Founder: Marcia Kilgore

Loved by: Victoria Woodhall, editorial director

“So many founders name check serial entrepreneur Marcia as an inspiration. Just this week one told me that she always creates her PowerPoints with images rather than words, ‘because that’s what Marcia does”. The Canada-born 52-year-old brought us iconic brands Bliss Spa, Fit Flop and Soap and Glory and now Beauty Pie. Who else would think, or know, how to bring us a £100 EDP for less than £20 with no compromise on ingredients? I always top up my eyeliners here for less than a fiver. You can read here how she founded Beauty Pie here and if you’re not yet a member use our code GTGSENTME for and extra £50 spend. As for this scent, you may know this citrus-meets-earthy cinnamon scent from the brand’s mega Soul Providers Re-Energizing Dry Oil Sugar Scrub, £10.87 for members – now it’s been bottled. I can imagine Marcia spritzing this for a brainstorm; it smells of fresh and bright ideas and fun times ahead.”

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Pat McGrath Labs Divine Rose Luxe Quad in Eternal Eden, £55

pat-mcgrath-labs-divine-rose-quad.jpgFounder: Pat McGrath

Loved by: Jane Druker, GTG contributor

"How many makeup artists can say they are actually a Dame? Just the one – the ultra-fabulous uber-talented Pat McGrath – Brit founder of incandescent Pat McGrath Labs – which firmly puts the punk into pretty. For that reason, she is my pick for the glossiest of glossy women on this International Women’s Day. Her makeup line has a unique 'wow' factor, one that turns this suburban mum into a vixen version of herself. Behold the sheer diversity of foundation and concealer colours (for every type and tone of skin) that bathe you in candlelight, the glittery eye confections that simply dazzle with drama and lipsticks that light up your whole face in a bejewelling instant. Today I'm focusing on this palette. The four shades of pink include matte and glittery options, from a pop of rich raspberry to shimmering berries and the most strawberry of sorbets. I know pink is seen as an eye-infection colour but these are surprisingly FAB-U-LOUS, highlighting my hazel eyes making them look alive in a cool-girl way I simply adore."

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MZ Skin Vitamin Infused Facial Treatment Mask, £70 for five

mz-skin-vitamin-infused-facial-treatment-mask-90-for-5.jpgFounder: Maryam Zamani

Loved by: Catherine Fulwood, commercial projects manager

"MZ Skin a new discovery for me, a doctor-led brand made for women by women with the aim of revealing, enhancing and protecting your skin. Dr. Maryam Zamani is a highly respected cculoplastic surgeon and leading facial aesthetics doctor and the products don’t fall short! No mask I’ve ever tried has left my skin as soft and plump as this one, with results right away and softer skin for days. There’s a fair amount of product, which is great because my face lapped it all up. My top tip would be to rub the excess into your neck. I suggest using it at night to take advantage of all the yummy ingredients and saving for those days when your skin really needs a treat."

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Cocofloss Delicious Mint, £8.40

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Founder: Dr Chrystal Cu

Loved by: Hattie Sloggett, GTG columnist

"This brand new dental brand was founded by Dr Chrystal Cu and her sister Cat, with the aim to make flossing a fun activity rather than a chore. How have they done this? By creating flavoured flosses (coconut, orange, strawberry and mint) made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, vegan wax and coconut oil. Designed as a gentle loofah for your teeth and gums, Cocofloss is woven from 500+ textured filaments which actually scrub teeth clean by picking up the plaque and debris from even the cosiest of gaps. The use of antibacterial, naturally soothing coconut oil means you are left with a squeaky clean mouth that feels loved and cared for."

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Neighbourhood Botanicals Hygiene Hand Spray, £10.50

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Founder: Micaela Nisbett

Loved by: Melanie Macleod, digital writer

"Hailing from Australia, Micaela moved over to the UK when she was 23 to forge a music career, which resulted in many late nights touring which in turn created problematic skin. She took it upon herself to create her own skincare brand Neighbourhood Botanicals to help her regain her aussie glow, blending her own raw oils and extracts to create skincare from plant-powered research. She began creating oils but now sells everything from dry shampoo to cleanser. This hand sanitiser is her latest offering. It combines 70 per cent alcohol with the scents of honeysuckle, tea tree, eucalyptus, coriander and black pepper, which make for a scent reminiscent of long, warm Australian nights. It doesn't leave your hands sticky or dry and will be a handbag essential when we're out and about again."

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MORE GLOSS: Luxury hand sanitisers you'll never want to leave home without

Ciaté London I am Woman eyeshadow palette, £39

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Founder: Charlotte Knight

Loved by: Jemma Thompson, design and social media manager

"Charlotte Knight is not just the founder of one beauty brand, but three! Yes, that's right the beauty innovator and mogul has spent her 20-year career dominating the beauty industry with brands Ciaté, Lottie London and her latest venture last year, Skin Proud, and is arguably one of Britain’s most exciting businesswomen to keep your eye on. I’m a big fan of all three and I’ve yet to find a launch that has disappointed me, from Ciaté’s Miss Piggy collection to Lottie London’s Freckle tint, but this recent launch inspired by IWD takes the cake. This 24-shade eyeshadow palette is inspired by forward-thinking and powerful women across history who have shaped the world as we know it. Each shade is named after a personal hero of Knight who inspired her to become the empowering woman she is today, with figures such as Maya Angelou to Frida Kahlo and even you! It’s a stunning palette both and one I wish I had when I was younger, I'll definitely be buying for any teens and tweens in my life."

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Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum, £32

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Founders: Rebecca and Clare Hopkins

Loved by: Victoria Woodhall, editorial director

"Sisters Rebecca and Clare are a classic story of not being able to find what you need on the market - in their case natural and organic skincare that is gentle yet effective - so why not give it a go yourself? Now 15 years on, they’ve given us so many wow products (Balance Me Gradual Tanning Drops, £30 to name an old favourite) and most recently this Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum, which launched in 2020 and is now one of their best sellers. It has one per cent bakuchiol, a retinol alternative that has the same skin-renewing properties as a one per cent retinol, yet is also calming, safe in pregnancy, doesn’t cause sensitivity, is stable enough to wear in the day (unlike many retinoids) and is just right for my unpredictable perimenopausal skin. Plus it has the silkiest texture and is a joy to use."

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Lashify Control Kit, £104.39

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Founder: Sahara Lotti

Loved by: Catherine Fulwood, commercial projects manager

"Sahara Lotti founded Lashify in 2016 after noticing a gap in the market for natural-looking false lashes. The patented tech behind these lashes allows for them to be placed on the underside creating a more natural look with minimal damage. I grew out of my false lash days a long long time ago and lash extensions have never been for me, for one I don’t think I could keep that still for that long so this is a welcome find. Having been invited to a masterclass with Lashify and celebrity makeup artist Matin Maulawizada I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and quick they were to apply, not to mention super subtle, although if bigger is better is your mantra then Lashify caters to you too. I can honestly say I would without a doubt use these lashes again and best of all if you look after them properly you can keep them on for a few days, so while the starter kit is an investment you’re really getting your money’s worth."

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BetterCup menstrual cup, £20

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Founder: Ruth Marsden

Loved by: Hattie Sloggett, GTG columnist

"Hailing from Brighton, Ruth set up BetterCup in summer 2019 to help alleviate period poverty in Zimbabwe after hearing her sister, who had recently returned from there, about the struggle of keeping teenage girls in education, with many skipping school while on their period due to lack of sanitary products. For every BetterCup purchased the brand gift one to a Zimbabwean student in need. Better Cup is one of my personal favourite menstrual cups for a multitude of reasons; I find the silicone soft and supple and doesn't bruise me (yeah, that's a thing), the stem is trimmable so you can customise it for comfortability."

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Liha Beauty Queen Idia Candle, £32

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Founders: Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan

Loved by: Jemma Thompson, design and social media manager

"Liha Beauty was founded by two best friends Abi and Liha, when they met at university in 1998, both inspired by the traditions of their West African roots and British attitude. They decided to join forces and make their own beauty products from their kitchen and built Liha into the super-luxe brand you’ll find on Net-A-Porter today. If they’re not on your radar yet, let me give you a quick lowdown, the collection is designed to share the power of “Asé”, a west African Yoruba tradition that encourages you to take a moment to slow down from the fast pace of modern life. It’s all about self-care through natural, vegan and multipurpose products. My personal favourite from the collection is the Queen Idia Candle named after the Yoruba Queen; it’s believed to be a symbol of female empowerment in ancient civilization. Made with sustainable coconut wax with notes of geranium, frankincense, lavender and soft African moss, burning this candle is a moment of peace and clarity after a long day."

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WooWoo Saddle Sore Soothing Anti-Chafing Balm, £6.99

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Founder: Lucy Anderson

Loved by: Melanie Macleod, digital writer

"Lucy created fun-loving personal-care brand WooWoo after finding that the look of these products exacerbated the age of belief that condoms, lube, feminine wash and so on, were taboo items. WooWoo broke the mould, with cheeky slogans, fun product names and formulas that are a joy to use and display, not discreetly hide in your bedside table drawer. She spent two years talking to women about the feminine care products they needed and what they should look like before WooWoo was born. The hair removal cream is a cult product but this balm is my personal choice from the brand. Aloe vera, chamomile and rosehip all come together in a silky balm that soothes chafing (ideal after a wax, or spin session) and minimises any down there discomfort."

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The Nue Co. Forest Lungs Fragrance, £80

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Founder: Jules Miller

Loved by: Victoria Woodhall, editorial director

"What did you do in lockdown? British founder and biohacker Jules Miller launched nine new wellness products into her nutritional supplement brand, which I’ve followed since its launch in 2017. She’s always one step ahead and was the first person I heard talk about prebiotics, specifically inulin and how vital it was for gut health. In the past year, she’s really changed the game with scents developed with neuroscientific research. They act almost like supplements and have ingredients proven to act on your nervous system. I bought countless bottles of her first one simply called Functional Fragrance, £20 which reminds me of Le Labo’s Santal and has proven cortisol reducing powers. I kept giving it away because people said how nice it smelled. The latest scent, Forest Lungs has clever chemistry that replicates the molecular compounds produced in forests called phytoncides that are proven to reduce stress. It's forest bathing in a bottle and smells like a woodland walk on a crisp spring morning. I can just feel my shoulders drop when I inhale it.”

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U Beauty Sculpt Arm Compound, £94

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Founder: Tina Craig

Loved by: Catherine Fulwood, commercial projects manager

"Tina Craig began her career as a fashion blogger on her site Bag Snob back in 2005 before creating U Beauty with the ethos that achieving beautiful skin doesn’t need to be complicated. U Beauty's first launch was resurfacing skincare, which she created because laser resurfacing is unpredictable on Asian skin and she wanted something to provide similar results. She's gone on to create a whole range around the idea that beauty needn't be complicated. Sculpt Arm Compound has a plethora of ingredients that we usually save for our faces including vitamin C and retinol, designed to target slightly more neglected body areas including the arms. So far so good, a little goes a long way and the skin on my arms certainly feels more nourished and appears firmer. They promise maximum improvement after six weeks of usage and two times better results when coupled with some upper body workouts, so watch out 12th April, my arms and I are going to be out-out."

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MontaMonta Lavender, Sage and Spearmint Pulse Point Roller, £14

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Founder: Montague Ashley-Craig

Loved by: Melanie Macleod, digital writer

"Montague Ashley-Craig is a Glaswegian cosmetic scientist who lives in London. She studied chemistry at Edinburgh University and cosmetic science at London College of Fashion and manufactures every single product in her East London lab. She launched her brand in 2015 after a friend asked her to create a bespoke hand wash for his cocktail bar. Her business grew from there and she now has a wealth of hand washes, balms and hand spray too. I've been rolling this uplifting scent onto my temples and wrists in times of stress for a hit of refreshment, to wake me up mid-afternoon and pep me up before virtual meetings."

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MORE GLOSS: The women in wellness who inspire us

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