Credits: @cosmeticseeds - at Riley Rose LA

Credits: @cosmeticseeds - at Riley Rose LA

Combine beauty hackers with bombs of creativity, and you get “indie brands”. Find out how these disruptors drive the beauty market today, seriously challenging the future of legacy brands.

How does one spot an indie brand? “They are hard to miss” says Leïla Rochet, founder of trends agency Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation. “Indie brands, or independent brands, are reinventing the rules of traditional cosmetics with new textures, gestures, products, as well as brand new ways of communicating.”


Beauty and society have always worked hand in hand. “Our contemporary era has led to the upsurge of the Indies. ” explains Leïla Rochet. Looking back to history, beauty has experienced three important stages throughout the last century. Back in the 20th century, consumers sought inclusion among the elites which led to the upsurge of emblematic luxury brands such as Chanel, Dior or Estée Lauder. In the 80s, the influence fashion and supermodels caused the rise of makeup artists brands (Mac in 1984 or Bobbi Brown in the 90’s), and backstage became the epicenter of style. Today, we live in a fragmented society widely shaped by social media, the explosion of indie brands is driven by a quest for disruption (Milk MakeupGlossierKate Von D or the K-star Pony Effect). “These influences have built an incredible market, more segmented, where each brand now has its legitimacy but where the rules are modified”.

“In small we trust” is the new sign of the times: consumers will more likely trust smaller brands, and have become “explorer-consumers”, eager to discover and share new talents.



In the US, 20 cosmetic brands capture 90% of the dollars going to brick-and-mortar retailers, and those same companies capture just 14% share online (Source Nielsen). This number that speaks volumes on how indie brands manage to shine online thanks to massive sales and branding strategies."A good example: the brand Glossier. Born from an online media, Into the Gloss, became immediately successful because it match with consumers’insights at at the right moment" deciphers Leïla Rochet.

Indie brands have found the perfect combination to target “Beauty Natives”. Indeed, 74% of Millennials and 80% of Instagram Gen Zers say social media impact their shopping habits (source: Yes Lifestyle Marketing Report). This generation uses Beauty as an empowerment tool for their personal branding.


The big difference with institutional brands? Indie brands dare, and they dare to create fast, especially in niche segments without interest for legacy brands. The new rules? “There are no rules, as indie brands reinvent them” explained Jennifer Ritter*. With new gestures (the wave of stone-roll-ons or Gua Sha tools), disruptive textures, avant-garde packaging (cf flower inside), they truly innovate on the market. Their small structure also allows them to grow and innovate even faster.

Moreover, their inspiration draws directly from consumers thanks to social media, like the last collab Asos X Crayola inspired by the (unsafe) beauty hacking trend of Crayola makeup. Indeed, indie brands’ innovation power is twofold: they are trend creators when they take the Web by storm with their new products. They are also trend hunters when they transform online trends into concrete products.

Just like in fooding, Indies have taken the “mono-product” trendy path. They can create their whole brand around one concept and one product only (hello faux-freckles ink by the Insta brand Freck), hacking the traditional “complete beauty line” process (100% lipstick brand like Lipstick Lobby or 100% glitters by Lemonhead.)


Whether they are LGBTQ-friendly, feminist, organic or cruelty-free, indie brands are tribe creators, with either a political claim or simply overindulging in a hedonist lifestyle. Their small size allows for more intimacy and to stand out from the big players in the industry. Transparency and authenticity are at their very core, which contributes to them creating a relationship of trust and an authentic connection with consumers, a connection amplified by the realness of their influencers-ambassadors and their hyperactive social medias.

In the “natural tribe”, it’s raining brands: the Aussie botanic Black Chicken Remedies, the pack free milk goat soap raw bars by Indie Goat Soap, or the CBD infused balms by Cannabliss Organic.

“In a nutshell, the key to the success of Indie brands truly lies in their capacity to generate much more than products. They embody, true lifestyles, and authentic connections carried by strong personalities. Friendly brands, intimate brands, with desirable products that are an invitation to sharing,” concludes Leïla Rochet.

The Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency, beauty trends hunter, presented Indie Beauty: Between Fascination and Disruption during the last Makeup In Paris event ( this article is a lighter version). The team has developed several studies for clients in this field. More about this trend? Or about the agency’s quotations and latest projects? Contact us.

* Special thanks to our US partner, Jennifer Ritter who co-hosted a session with our team on Indies in the MakeUp in Los Angeles and New York and inspired our work on Indies


Credits : Chris Nguyen

Credits : Chris Nguyen

What if innovation came from the other side of the world? Just a few years ago, model Miranda Kerr and apothecary brand Aesop already aroused the curiosity of beauty hunters. Only a hop away from us (24 hours in plane), the biggest island on Earth is invading the Beauty market with disruptive products, and scoring a perfect 10 when it comes to aiming gen X, Y and Z. What’s their special recipe for success? Here’s 4 keys to understand what is driving the new explorer-consumer towards South Pacific brands.


Naturalness is no longer a segment or an option - it is a driving force of all industries including the beauty industry. Whatever shape it may take (sustainable, local, organic, cruelty-free etc.), rising indie brands are clearly taking a stand. A challenge for legacy brands who are now joining the race for authenticity, and adapting their sourcing towards more respect. Will the market reach 100% “natural” in the near future? An ideal difficult to reach today, however aussies and kiwis brands have always carried “naturalness” in their DNA.

“What’s happening is Australian brands perfectly match consumers’ expectations, and thus just by being themselves” explains Leïla Rochet, founder of Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency. “Exceptional natural landscapes, rare ingredients, transparency, ethics, empathy…Australia simply is in tune with the trends that are shaping 2018.” True story: Aesop was already cruelty-free in 1987. Dozens of aussie brands are now strongly established in the vegan game, such as Original Mineral (O&M)Grown AlchemistSukin or the famous Bondi Sand


With their exceptional landscapes, and the great distance that separates them from Western continents, Australia and New-Zealand inspire both fantasies and phobias. Dangerous nature (hello deadly snakes), gorgeous volcanic sceneries, mirror lakes, untouched jungle (hello Tasmania), and red, black or white deserts…The narrative potential is great, and source its inspirations in an unseen and original botany. In this universe, ingredients are native and endemic, synonyms of precious rareness, and are even more fascinating as they usually come from maoris and aborigines legacies. A heritage made of pacific salts, papaya, rosehip or kiwi seed oil, manuka honey, Rotorua mud, Kaolin clay, lanolin oil (fatty acids from sheep’s wool), and many more. As Skin by Ecostore puts it: the actives in Pacific products are supposed to be the more effective in the world. Asarai, gender-neutral brand, claims to only use local products, made from the Kakadu plum, famous to fight inflammation.

Online, the Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment by Sand & Sky, a scrub enriched in the famous Australian pink clay, had more than 11000 buyers on a waiting list. In a very “Millennial Pink” style, Alya Skin also launched a pink mask made with kaolin clay, aloe vera and pomegranate.


New icon on the block, the “Australian” woman is taking the Beauty world by storm, as a wilder version of the Californian - “Crocodile Dundee” style.

Showing off golden wavy post-surf-sesh hair and a perfect all-year tan, the aussie beauty is now a must-have look during the summer season. Body is at the center of this aesthetic, always impeccably tanned and athletic, thanks to Australian outdoor sports (surf and tramping). The notion of wilderness is part of the universe, even though sophisticated urbanity is still strong thanks to iconic places like Bondi Beach.


In this context, fake-tan products are key and have boomed on international markets, thanks to new disruptive and senso-performing textures. In Australia, “tanning” is never the only goal, and most fake-tan products also carry many properties: anti-age, anti-acne, moisturising, firming, energising etc.

A “winter tan” will be achieved with cruelty free options such as the Winter Skin Moisturizer by  Eco Tan, the no makeup perfection is made with self tanners, like the perfecting toner Face Tan Water by Eco Tan (huge on Instagram), and the instant Instagram-filter effect is perfected by products such as the  Tan&Go by the very Millennial brand Selfie

Still on a “natural” note, body products claim disruptive textures, like the Skinny Tan Tan & Oil with coconut oil and guarana for toning and moisturising, a “tanning" balm” with the James Read Gradual Tan Coconut Melting Balm Face & Body, the cacao firming foam Eco Tan Cacao Firming Mousse (vegan, cruelty, organic), or the very sensorial Endota Spa Organics Lilly Pilly & Lime Gradual Tanner.

You liked this article ? The Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency deciphers the latest innovations around the Bauty world. Contact the agency, follow it on Instagram and twitter.


In a digital, selfie-ready society, reality and virtuality keep flirting with each other, each one inspiring the other. The latest #instaception hashtag (29 300 mentions) took Instagram by storm, questioning the very notions of realness in the Beauty world. 


August 2018 was the "instaception" month on Instagram, the neologism referring to Christopher Nolan famous's movie Inception, a sci-fi tale questioning reality through the overlap of dreams.

How do you #instaception? The aim is to create an optical illusion through a transformist makeup, mostly referring to Instagram, like James Charles's post (@jamescharles). The young influencer drew an Instagram post around his eye, using only makeup. The look is then photographed and posted on Instagram, creating an endless "mirror effect" (or "mise en abyme").

Other influencers have gone further using both makeup and photoshop, and thus overlapping digital and artisanal work.

"There's a constant hacking game between what is real and what is virtual", explains Leïla Rochet, founder of Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation, "both universes tend to infiltrate each other, and are a wonderful resource of creativity for consumers."

Whilst virtuality has invaded our day-to-day life, the Instaception trend shows how reality can take over Instagram, transforming the digital object (a post) into a real one (a makeup look). A trend also driven by the boom of transformist makeups and self-representation.

Is this "realness" fighting back? Or is it the natural evolution of two worlds deeply connected to each other? Good news is creativity is still going strong - IRL, and of course, on Instagram.


As part as their prospective research on trends, the Cosmetics Inpiration & Creation agency releases a monthly "Insta Book", with the latest insta-worthy hashtags and looks. Contact us for more informations, and follow @cosmeticseeds on Instagram


Wonderland Forever: how glitter, multi-chrome, & unicorn shades are drumming up some serious buzz

Sies Marjan AW18, Opening Ceremony x Disney - photo: Dean Podmore

Sies Marjan AW18, Opening Ceremony x Disney - photo: Dean Podmore


Unicorn, mermaids, glitter... are true mega-waves that continue to infuse the fashion weeks, insta-influencers and beauty looks. These new exploratory universes evoking childhood fairies but twisted with techno-futuristic are real inspiration for the beauty industry. They lead to new virtual pigments refecting light, new finishes, new claims that infuse all segments from eye colors up to personal cleansing products. 

This is highly "insta-genic" trend initiated by influencers and indie brands is now cascading to legacy brands as well. And the holographic trend seen in the latest fashion weeks at Sies Marjan, Balmain or Maryam Nassir Zadeh is here to stay as it has become also one of the hottest looks of the most iconic fashion designers.


Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup

Highlighters continue to be one of the most innovative segment in Beauty with shades now playing with light in a more futuristic yet regressive way. Strobing is made with ethereal mystical shades that shift in color and offer a mix of iridescent tones and multiple color effects as if coming out of a fairy tale. 

Too Faced launched its Festival collection with "a high-impact, out-of-this-world festival finish" and a unicorn inspiration. The unicorn holographic finish initiated in 2017 is still hot  and I-finish, "foily" way. 

In hair, the Prism Roots is making a buzz on social media (@kristinacheeseman). Fun Sexy Hair offers Mermaid Glow Getter to get glitter root. Even brush shampoo Ely Maya - Unicorn Brush Shampoo & Conditioner goes unicorn with a green and purple pastel marble aspect and glitter.



Following the trend of the Millennial Pink, light blue makes a massive come back as the new fairy color, color of serenity, fresh skies and watercolor atmosphere. Seen at the fashion week as one of the key pastel colors for Fall 2018, with a holographic twist - Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Sies Marjan - it is also one of the hit colors for highlighters.

Almay released Make Them Jelly Hi- Lite Mermaid Magic, a jelly highlighter in an iridescent blue shade.

Too Faced - Unicorn Horn

Too Faced - Unicorn Horn

Almay Mermaid Magic

Almay Mermaid Magic

Maryam Nassir Zadeh Fall 2018 Image: Imaxtree

Maryam Nassir Zadeh Fall 2018 Image: Imaxtree

At Too Faced, it is Unicorn Horn - Mystical Effects Highlighting Stick, a creamy pearlescent blue gloss finish to add a magic twist to the look. 


Glitters are not only for Coachella anymore! They continue to be hot and indispensable.  During the NYFW, a lot of sparkle highlighted the models’ eyes or face. At Marc Jacobs, pressed glitter stretched across lids; Swarovski crystals on lids and below the brows at Kate Spade; sequins to decorate the eyes at Lanyu; loose gold glitter on a black smoky eye at Carmen Marc Valvo... 

Lemonhead LA

Lemonhead LA

In beauty, brands enjoy playing with glitter, and it infuses every segment.

New indie brands such as Lemonhead LA have become sought after specialist in glitters and praised on social media.  Lemonhead.LA is a prestige, vegan and cruelty-free product line founded by make-up artist Megan Dugan. 

The glitter trend is also infusing the suncare market  with suncreens infused with sparkles - the Unicorn Snot Glitter Sunscreen.


Wonderland Forever is an extract from the What's Up MakeUp report - 01/2018 from Cosmetics Inspiration & Inspiration. This is only an extract of this trend as the full article is included in the report. Don't hesitate to contact us for information on the tarifs.

#insights. Beauty & Biodiversity: consumer's awareness is on the rise

Source: istock - PeopleImages

Source: istock - PeopleImages

On June 19, 2018, the UEBT* (Union for Ethical BioTrade) celebrated the 10th year of annual research dedicated to biodiversity awareness and sourcing with respect. Good news: according to their latest numbers, consumers’ awareness towards sustainability is on the rise.

Led in over 16 different countries since 2009 and commissioned by the UEBT, the results of the Biodiversity Barometer have contribute to have contributed to raise awareness amongst companies and organizations all around the world on the importance of biodiversity in our industries. The results of the latest 2018 Biodiversity Barometer (survey in 5 countries, 5000 consumers) speak for themselves: awareness and understanding of biodiversity are globally growing. An increase in the understanding of biodiversity over the past 10 years has been important in all countries. More significantly, consumers expect transparency, proofs and concrete actions from brands are clearly expected by a consumer that is more conscious than ever. Moreover, a massive 80% of consumers feel that "biodiversity conservation is important for their personal well-being", with a strong notion of transmission for generations to come (85%).

Moreover, respecting biodiversity is now fundamentally connected to personal well-being with a massive 80% of consumers feeling that "biodiversity conservation is important for their personal well-being" , with a strong notion of transmission for generations to come (85%).


When Personal Involvement Is at Stake

Protecting biodiversity has become important  for consumers as 80% of those surveyed say "it is important for them to personally contribute to conserving biodiversity". Protecting biodiversity has thus become a personal quest as the awareness of this mainstream subject has increased since 2009 with the highest increase occurring among youth (+ 19 points) and among lower earners (+ 13 points).


A Key Insight: the "Human Factor"

In 2009, our blog, Cosmeticseeds, (French version) underlined the importance of protecting biodiversity, "a diversity of fauna, flora and overall wild life that makes the rich complexity of our ecosystems". The fragile eco-system that needs to be protected from the excesses of our society. Human activities endanger the complex balance – but not only.

What’s at stake here? On one hand, a respectful sourcing from the industry who needs to access ressources without damaging the environment. On the other hand, a mindful sourcing of human "know-hows", which implies respecting local workers as well as their traditional knowledge and expertise. "Developing countries", rich in biodiversity and traditional knowledge, face this major twofold issue.

"Nature inspires Cosmetics thanks to its hedonism", says Leïla Rochet. "But paradoxically, Nature’s ressources are finite. Protecting nature and respecting communities involved with biodiversity are now more and more at the center of consumers’ preoccupations and brands need to get more ethically involved."

Shuttersock - Niphon Kai

Shuttersock - Niphon Kai






Words Mean Action: The "Walk the Talk" Factor

In our contemporary society, consumers are informed and conscious of the damage done to the environment. Empowered by digital tools and social conversations, consumers show unprecedented expectations towards brands. Educated with tools to detect "green washing" techniques, consumers expect actions that matter more than words. Brands are experiencing a trust crisis, especially in the area of respectful sourcing. The Biodiversity Barometer shows that only 37% of respondents think that companies pay attention to respectful sourcing, dropping to 25% in France.  Today, brands should focus on building trust as consumers expect more transparency and authenticity. 

With internet access at the palm of their hands, consumers can quickly check the brand’s credibility and love to engage with brands that they trust to "do good" . To become a "good" brand, they must behave in such ways that convinces consumers, beyond just words, and through actions.  Meaning ethically, no harm is done to animals (the new "cruelty-free" or "vegan" labels) and respecting the humans involved (fair wages, dignified working conditions, gender equality in the workplace etc.) in a sustainable way and transparent way (origin of ingredients, fair wages, etc.).

A New Collective Humanization: The "Me to We" Factor

This new "me to we", as coined by Anne Bahr Thompson, author of DO GOOD and one of the keynote speaker at the June 19 Conference, is a transition towards an aware consumer, eager to find brands which can improve both the world and global living conditions. " Customers expect brands to truly care about them, their values, and the world at large. People want to see companies engage in fair employment practices, social responsibility, and charitable giving. In addition, they want companies to advocate on their behalf and make them feel that they are part of a larger community or grander mission," explained Anne Bahr Thompson at the UEBT conference. 

The "me to we" doesn’t include sustainability only, but overall wellbeing: 74% of those surveyed say they feel good about buying products that respect people and biodiversity, and 79% feel that companies have a moral obligation to assure that they have a positive impact on people and biodiversity. Finally, a massive 57% say they buy products from companies that respect biodiversity and people.

Presentation of the UEBT Barometer by the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency

Presentation of the UEBT Barometer by the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency


Challenges for Brands, but also Opportunities

Needless to say, the Beauty industry now has to address these upcoming challenges, but this is also the main opportunity for brands to go beyond a natural positioning and become actors of change. Social media provides a unique opportunity for brands to engage with a more involved and conscious consumer and share their progress in an authentic and transparent way. 

The rise of "niche brand" who only 'do good'; as highlighted by the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency in its new trend book Freedom Beauty – Inspiration From the USA, might also undermine the position of Legacy brands who need to stay up to date by improving their status on sustainability.

Partners of the UEBT since 2009, Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation is proud to have worked with the UEBT on the 2018 Biodiversity Barometer’s website conception, interpretation and creation. 

Want to know more? Contact the agency

Discover their latest trend book Freedom Beauty – Inspiration From the USA

*UEBT (Union For Ethical BioTrade) is a non-profit association that promotes sourcing with respect. They support and verify companies’ commitments to innovation and sourcing that contribute to a world in which people and biodiversity thrive.

Their website:

#USTRENDS. When spirituality infuses cosmetics

Photo Credits: Free People Movement - Facebook

Photo Credits: Free People Movement - Facebook

Wellness is at the very core of skincare trends. Good vibes, stone rollers and crystal-infused formulas are the new anti-age. A trend coming from the wellness temple, California, and slowly cascading on the rest of the US.

A New Way of Life Infuses Beauty

Recently, the power of stones has made a major come back, with an upsurge of appetite for wellness and well-being, as the notion of physical well-being extends now towards mental well-being. 

In an hyperconnected society, the need to disconnect from devices has increased, and the desire to reconnect to oneself has never been so important. The phenomenon of disconnect-reconnect has influenced the travel industry (open air travel), brain-body training,as well as the boom of mindful activities such as yoga or meditation.   

Spirituality & Self-Focus - The New Urban Quest

The concept of spirituality continues to grow, infusing the US from the West Coast in particular, where mindful practices have always been stronger. A wave of millennial-minded meditation venues have spread all over the US, especially in big cities. Stressed-out New Yorkers can become more grounded during their lunch breaks at Be Time, the city’s first meditation bus. Retail wise, mindfulness has gained momentum with virtual reality guided meditation at the new Philosophy's WellBeing store in New Jersey, or meditation during manicure sessions at Sundays. Same goes online with Lululemon's "Mindful Podcast", featuring videos of a seven-day meditation challenge.


Photo: Lululemon New York - Pic by Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation

Photo: Lululemon New York - Pic by Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation

If mindful meditation has been widely embraced in the workplace, it is because the benefits are also instrumental. Indeed, the Buddhism-inspired technique will boost motivation, concentration, resilience and overall productivity. In California, it is not uncommon to find crystals in meeting rooms for positive energy, or collective yoga sessions on the city’s rooftops.

Photo: Facebook - Glaccebottles

Photo: Facebook - Glaccebottles

Herbivore - The Rose Quartz Roller - Facebook

Herbivore - The Rose Quartz Roller - Facebook

In a world centered around work performance, this wave of mindfulness offers other perspectives. It embraces  a new relationship with time, awareness, and self-care to heal both body and mind. Yoga coaches have become today’s new managers, and their work tools include "zen" accessories as well as cosmetics. Facial rollers made of energetic stones are everywhere, like the Facial Roller Jade by Herbivore or the Crystal Facial Workout by Skin Gym. Pure crystals are directly formulated into products such as the Crystal Aura by Hannes Dottir, a face-mask powder that mixes with water, enriched with crystals and marine extracts from Iceland. Pacifica just launched Crystal, a highly gem-infused line of cosmetics and makeup. Moreover, beauty routine turns into a full mystical ritual with the new brand Aquarian Soul that offers jade and amethyst roll ons, body oil enriched with rose quartz or moonstone, and at-home sacred fumigations thanks to herb bouquets.


"Good Vibes" Trend

This "good vibes only" outbreak shows no sign of stopping. Coming soon: the emergence of a new star ingredient, the "CBD" or cannabidiol, extracted cannabis (non-hallucinogenic) promoting wellness, tranquility and healing pain. The agency, Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation, discusses this new vision of makeup and skincare in its latest trend book, Freedom Beauty - US Makeup Trends.

Do you want to know more? Contact us

Discover our trend book Freedom Beauty - Inspiration from the USA