Slow beauty is the latest trend beauty insiders are talking about. But unlike throwaway fads, this is built to last. Slow beauty, like slow fashion, is about investing in products that have been lovingly crafted using sustainable methods and intelligently sourced ingredients. Slow beauty is about using fewer, better products to lessen unnecessary consumption and waste. Dive deeper into this trend and you can see that not only are slow beauty brands trying to encourage us to be more mindful about the way we shop for beauty, but they are often ritualistic products that inspire the user to take time away from the digital world and relax—to literally slow down.
“Lockdown has led to consumers looking for ways to elevate the everyday, and slower, more focused, rituals in beauty and skincare have enabled discovery around the products and regimes that actually work,” says Nia Pejsak, Advisory Strategist at trends intelligence company Stylus. “Over the past few years, trends such as the 10- or 12-step skincare routine have overwhelmed some consumers. This is a move towards slower and simpler regimes that work best for the individual. This more mindful approach is a form of self-care that relieves anxiety, aids sleep, and offers a sense of control in a world that seems anything but.”
“Slow beauty provides at-home escapism and luxury in today’s uncertain times—the skin has become a priority for consumers who want to invest in themselves,” says Pejsak.
So, how does one shop slow? “Consumers should look out for brands that promise results while incorporating eco-conscious practices in every step of the supply chain, from ingredient sourcing through to packaging,” advises Pejsak. “New-era ‘green’ brands with a focus on efficacy, such as Codex Beauty, promise skincare that is both good for the individual and good for the planet. Their data-driven formulations and carbon-neutral credentials offer real reassurance.”
“Those with food-grade ingredients, like LOLI Beauty, usher in a new era of [natural products] with promising results,” he says. “Over and above this, in formulations, look out for innovative sensorial textures and a renewed focus on fragrance—elements that enable a more mindful and immersive use of the product.”
Slow beauty is set to be around for the long-haul. Below, we’ve rounded up 21 beauty brands that epitomize this new beauty trend.
French brand Typology boasts The Ordinary-style serums, traditional soaps and gorgeous oil cleansers. Made in small batches using fewer ingredients, Typology is a great example of a slow beauty brand. It’s a B Corp company, meaning it has proved to be socially and environmentally responsible.
R&R Luxury is a natural, plant-based skincare brand from Africa that focuses its formulations around shea butter. The R&R Shea Butter is processed by a women’s cooperative in Ghana, giving working opportunities to the women there—plus, the products are cruelty-free, sustainable, and come in recyclable plastic. This nourishing sugar scrub will leave your skin silky smooth and beautifully scented.
Founder Maya Njie’s background is in art but the door to the fragrance world was opened when she came to experiment with the sense of smell as an artistic medium. Njie’s perfumes are inspired by her Swedish and West African cultures and are blended in-house in small batches using various essentials oils, aroma compounds, and resins. Available in the UK only (for now), the Discovery Set is a good place to start.
The brand’s slogan is “Lesse is More” and the concise line-up of products is designed to help you simplify your skincare routine and turn it into a small ritual every morning and night (very slow beauty). The unisex Ritual Serum is packed with mineral-rich algae extract, anti-inflammatory turmeric root, and nourishing oils. Subscribe to have the serum delivered every four, six, or eight weeks and save $10.
Rella Beauty launched with just three lipstick shades: Confidant (a warm-toned beige), Soul Sister (a bold berry), and Darling (an iconic red). The slender triangular shape allows you to line and fill in your lips, and the satin-matte finish is both flattering and comfortable to wear. Vegan and free from nasties, not only are these lipsticks beautiful but for every one lipstick you buy, Rella Beauty donates a lipstick to a woman in need—hence the “one for you, one for her” tagline.
Like works of art, Kindred Black’s Slow Beauty formulas are housed in hand-blown glass bottles and vials, while the oils and floral waters are sourced from around the world, dependent on where the team can find the highest quality, most ethical and sustainable version of each ingredient.
Yay For Earth
Founder Stevie Van Horn has been living a zero-waste lifestyle for five years. This sensitive lotion is an everyday face moisturizer that calms and hydrates the skin while leaving your complexion with a pretty glow. The ingredients and packaging are good for both you and the planet, too.
A Bulgarian family-run beauty brand, Alteya Organics uses the blooms from organic rose fields to create beautiful rosewater and rose oil-powered skincare products. This mist is divine.
Tandem’s aim is simple, to create skincare formulas that do more so you need fewer products. Packed with natural science-backed ingredients, this cleanser doubles as a nourishing face wash and eye makeup remover. The glass bottle is recyclable and you can reuse the pump by opting for the cheaper pump-less bottle when you re-buy.
Makeup artist Adam De Cruz knows the importance of a perfect canvas for creating stunning makeup looks. And so, he created just one hero plant-based product—the A.D.C. 01 Moisturizer that contains mineral-rich seaweed, centella asiatica, jojoba oil and more, all of which promise to nourish and prep the complexion in just one simple step.
Founders Liha and Abi blend their African roots and British attitude into products that inspire self-care and slow living. The sustainable formulas are organic and vegan, taking inspiration from West Africa’s rich botanical life and English aromatherapy disciplines. We love the oil- and shea butter-based products, but this candle with its coconut wax blend, cotton wick, notes of geranium, frankincense, and soft African moss caught our eye (and noses).
Combining Ayurvedic principles and British refinement, Mauli Rituals was born. Created by husband and wife team Anita and Bittu Kaushal, you can find products for both men and women in the thoughtful line. Hand-crafted by artisans, this polished wood tool with its copper, zinc, and tin dome can be used to massage the skin and release tension in pressure points, according to the brand. It comes with a complimentary travel size Supreme Skin Face Serum, pure muslin carry pouch, and a sacred Mauli bracelet.
Every product in the Neighbourhood Botanicals lineup is masterminded by founder Micaela Nisbet and manufactured in their lab in Leyton, East London. All formulas are 100% natural, made with ECO-CERT ingredients, and housed in recyclable packaging. Unlike many natural brands that lean towards a minimalistic aesthetic, Neighbourhood Botanicals is full of color and fun. Acid Washed is packed with lactic acid and plant botanicals meant to effectively cleanse and exfoliate the skin.
Natural beauty in the past had a reputation for wishy-washy promises, but Codex combines natural ingredients and sustainable packaging with data-driven, high performing formulas. Codex has complete control over the supply chain of every ingredient, while the products themselves are kept potent and fresh, thanks to innovative airless packaging and a “technically edible” preservation system. The packaging is made from renewable sugarcane and the brand launched with a handful of hardworking products, including cold-processed solid soaps that utilize some of the leftovers from the other products. We love the Bia Facial Oil, a light dry oil that promises to boost hydration, reduce the appearance of pores, and tackle overactive sebum production, and the Exfoliating Wash, which won a Byrdie Eco Award.
LOLI, another Byrdie Eco Award winner, stands for “Living Organic Loving Ingredients” and the products are packed with food-grade ingredients that nourish and feed the skin. The glass jars are all recyclable or reusable and the products come delivered in compostable labels, bags, and boxes. The brand is also committed to being people-free, which means that for every purchase of $75 or more, $1 is donated to organizations that make a difference. This multi-purpose serum can be used to nourish dry skin, frazzled hair, and weathered cuticles, according to the brand.
Created by Psychotherapist Charlotte Ferguson, Disciple was born from the belief that anxiety, stress, and low mood can trigger inflammatory skin issues like adult acne, eczema, and even premature aging, according to the brand. Packed with adaptogens and prebiotics, the products are meant to soothe and calm the skin. The brand also relies on linoleic acid because, interestingly, breakout sufferers have been shown to have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin surface lipids.1 The products are all vegan and cruelty-free. We love this refreshing mist packed with uplifting orange blossom water, aloe juice, and hyaluronic acid.
Sana Jardin empowers its female floral harvesters in Morocco by offering business skills training so they can develop and sell their own range of products, such as candles and orange blossom water using ingredients that are by-products of the perfume production. They receive 100% of the proceeds. Sana Jardin’s beautiful, luxury perfumes enable customers to be truly conscious consumers.
A fair-trade haircare brand, Meraki is organic, cruelty-free, and vegan. Packed with botanicals, butters, and oils, the products are hand-crafted in small batches. Not only are the formulas nourishing to strands, if you’re interested in crystals, each one is “activated with gemstones to create high vibrations,” according to the brand.
This pre-shampoo mask saturates curls and coils with moisture-rich agave root and aloe vera meant to protect the hair from shampooing and heat styling. Each bottle contains a citrine gemstone “with the intention to bring joy, prosperity, and abundance,” according to the brand.
A concise line-up of natural and organic skincare alongside pro tools, Kubra Kay is the perfect brand for those who want to meld the best of the natural and pro skincare ethoses.
This cream contains vitamin A meant to tackle signs of aging, alongside restorative vitamin E—plus, the formula is free from parabens, vegan, non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, according to the brand.
Eve & Keel
Eve & Keel (a play on the phrase “on an even keel”) is the brainchild of Jennie, whose anxiety lead her to train in psychology and then to become a clinical aromatherapist. The brand offers products that allow a moment of calm and self-care in your day. All the products are vegan and cruelty-free, the pretty packaging is either recycled and/or recyclable, while certified organic ingredients are used as much as possible. This body oil is gloriously scented with lavender and packs vitamin E, and a trio of oils (jojoba, apricot, and sunflower) that are like food for your skin.
Axiology launched with a concise line of vegan lipsticks, then crayons and now has Balmies, planet-friendly crayons that can be used on the lips, cheeks and eyelids. Boasting nourishing oils, butters, and skin-protecting antioxidants, they are 100% zero waste, according to the brand. Instead of a plastic tube and cap, they come wrapped in paper and housed in a recyclable carry case.