Welcome to the final post in my IBE (Indie Beauty Expo) 2-part blog series. The first post was an introduction to the Expo, and now I give you a peek into my tote bag to see the products I picked up while I was there. I also wanted to talk a bit about the respective brands and about the owners themselves, since I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to a few of them. Just a note, I have not yet started using any these products with the exception of the Clove + Hallow Lip Glaze, so this post is more of a traditional haul. And lastly as I touched on in my last post, most of the indies present at the Expo were all-natural & organic-cerified brands. As I go through my list I will make a note of those that do not meet these criteria so you’re aware.
KARMA HUES NAIL POLISH FROM KARMA ORGANICS SPA – Shop here
- 7-free natural & organic (free of TPHP, toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, & parabens)
- Made in the U.S.A.
This was the first booth I was attracted to mainly because they had rows and rows of beautifully colored nail polishes surrounding the whole stand. I wasn’t even in the market for nail polish but there I was picking up every other bottle and saying yes, please show me how this looks on the nails to one of the associates working the booth. I love neutrals against my pale skin tone so I settled on Planet Earth, a muted olive green, for me and Hot Cakes (pictured above), a pale, cool-toned pink, for my mom. Normally each bottle retails for $9.99, but they were offering a 3-for-$20 booth special so I also got a gel top coat. I also walked away with samples of their nail polish remover that’s formulated with soybean oil & lavender. I believe there’s two other types of removers on their site as well.
Karma Hues Nail Polish originates from Karma Organics Spa, which has 2 locations in New Jersey (Ridgewood & Englewood). You can book in to have manicures, pedicures, waxings, facials and massages. Along with selling over 100 different colors/finishes of Karma Hues, they also retail essential oils, and a few skincare items. But it’s clear that Karma Hues is their main offering based on how vast the line is. Owner Nausil Zaheer and his wife were present at the booth, and they both couldn’t have been nicer. They thanked me profusely after my purchase, which left me with a good feeling.
LUMENE SKINCARE – Main site
- Clean formulas
- Sustainable natural ingredient sourcing
- No animal testing
- Skincare products contain between 80%-99% natural ingredients
I’d only just recently heard about the Finnish brand Lumene through Inthefrow on YouTube when I spotted their stand at the Expo. I believe they are more well known for their skincare products, but they also offer a pretty extensive makeup collection consisting of everything from tinted skin serums, to eye primers, to lip glosses and mascaras, to liquid blushes and highlighters. The makeup is ‘skincare-infused’ as I was told by an associate at the stand. The liquid blushes and highlighters are what initially drew me in to the stand. The packaging was beautiful and luxe but still very understated, and this applies across the brand.
If you take one look at their website you’ll notice that Arctic spring water is the key ingredient in nearly all of their products; they claim that the water used comes from the natural springs in Lapland, the northermost, subarctic region of Finland. The Finnish or Nordic heritage of the brand plays a huge part in their story. How they formulate and source their products is all dictated by the natural landscape and resources of Finland.
I would have at least bought the liquid blush on the spot after I tried it on my hand (it felt beautiful on my skin), but it turns out they weren’t retailing at the Expo; they were just handing out samples. This was disappointing because I felt they lost out not only on my sale, but that of others. Instead the associate handed me a bunch of skincare samples, which I am keen to try. Lumene is stocked in the U.S. in Target stores and online, and in CVS stores and online. Their prices are quite affordable which is awesome. Additionally, Feelunique.com will also ship into the U.S.
ELIXIR ORGANIC FACIAL OIL FROM HONEY BELLE – Shop here
- $15.00 for mini (15 ml), or $34.00 for standard (56 ml)
- Clean, natural, organic products made in small batches in micro-factory in CA
- Their mission: “GENERATE HEALTH AND SELF-CONFIDENCE IN INDIVIDUALS BY PRODUCING CLEAN, GREEN, AND HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS. WE BELIEVE IN COMPASSION, AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY.”
- Fun fact: Honey Belle’s loofah soaps are now stocked in Ulta to rave reviews.
I was drawn into Honey Belle’s stand by the cool and sleek-looking packaging of their skincare products. Additionally I noticed an entire row of facial rollers used from different stones. Everyone seems to talk about this tool now and I was curious to hear the pitch on it. I ended up speaking with Calvin Hang, who is one-half of the team behind the brand. He was quite easy to speak with and held a lot of authority on the product line. I’ve been in the market for a good facial oil for a while now, so he sold me on the Elixir Facial Oil which I purchased in the mini size (15ml). (They were offering a 30% discount at the booth (I believe), so I only paid a little over $15.00 which included the shipping charge from CA.) It’s made with organic hempseed and grapefruit oils and it’s supposed to improve elasticity, hydrate, and enhance luster for all skin types. They only had limited quantities of each product at the booth, so they have to ship my order. Fingers crossed this won’t take too long.
Honey Belle was started by two young 20-something entrepreneurs, Iris Cherng and Calvin Hang, who saw a hole in the natural/organic skincare industry. They wanted to offer lush, organic skincare that was also affordable. The inspiration and formulation behind each product stems from a certain skin issue like eczema or psoriasis, for instance. Cherng, who developed psoriasis herself, comes from a family of holistic doctors so she has a real basis of knowledge surrounding natural products.
LIP GLAZE IN ANGELIC FROM CLOVE + HALLOW – Shop here
- $15.00 (I paid $12.00 at the booth)
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Not 100% natural or organic
- The Clean15™ Guarantee: No cheap toxic fillers or unnecessary fluff. Just the good stuff, delivered in 15 or fewer ingredients per base formula.
- Formulated without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or flavor, gluten, mineral or petroleum oil, talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, Phenoxyethanol.
Again, I was drawn into the Clove + Hallow booth by the sleek and modern-looking packaging of the products. This is primarily a cosmetics line because the founder, Sarah Biggers, is a professional makeup artist. It’s quite a small edited line of complexion, lips, and makeup removers/cleansers but you can really tell how much thought and care has been put into them. I initially swatched the concealer but I really don’t need another coverage product in my life right now, so I shifted over to the lip products. There were lipsticks, liquid lips, and lip glosses (called Lip Glaze); they all looked beautiful and the textures very nourishing. I feel like I’m getting more curious about glosses ever since trying on that Winky Lux gloss from my mini’s collection, so I swatched a few of the Lip Glazes, but ultimately settled on Angelic, a beautiful and extremely wearable medium pink. I wore this last week and it was very comfortable, shiny and lasted a surprisingly long time for a gloss. And it wasn’t sticky, hallelujah! They are formulated with olive oil, jojoba oil & shea butter.
Sarah story behind founding the brand is quite powerful. She suffered a debilitating illness years ago and as a result turned to holistic medicines and treatments to cure herself. This turned into a lifestyle mantra of removing toxic and potentially harmful substances, so as a makeup artist she craved clean yet affordable cosmetics. When she couldn’t find them, she decided to create them. You can read more about her story here. I met and spoke to Sarah for a bit at the booth. She was kind and couldn’t have been more helpful, and the same goes for the rest of the staff with her. They probably had the best customer service of all the booths I went to.
BROW SCULPT DEFINING BROW POWDER & VOLUME FROM KOKIE – Shop here
LENGTH MASCARA FROM KOKIE – Shop here
- $7.00/per product
- Not natural or organic
- Available in Rite Aid and Walmart
- Fun fact: the name of the brand derives from the Korean word for elephant, that’s why there’s a little elephant in the logo.
I had heard of Kokie through Tati (Glamlife Guru) on YouTube, but since I don’t have a Rite Aid or Walmart near me I never got the chance to try anything. I had to make 2 laps around the pier in order to play with Kokie’s products; they were swamped with people when I first passed by. They didn’t have a booth, they had a glorified end-cap full of products. The associate told me that everything was 50%, which is all I needed to hear!
I found myself in front of the brow section when I spotted the Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder. I’ve exclusively been a brow mascara girl for ages now, but that didn’t stop me from snatching this. It’s one of those products that has a thin wand or nib full of powder that you drag across your brows to fill in gaps. I’ve seen very mixed reviews on products like this, so we’ll see how this goes. I did swatch it while I was there; the powder is matte and seemed to be quite long-lasting on my hand. There’s 4 colors available and I picked up Blonde. I also grabbed their Volume & Length Mascara which the associate said was one of their best-selling items. I’m always looking for volume and length from my mascaras and the look of the wand is very promising here.
PINKALICIOUS SOLID SHAMPOO FROM ETHIQUE – Shop here
WONDERBAR SOLID CONDITIONER FROM ETHIQUE – Shop here
- Not sure if they are 100% organic
- Plastic free
- Cruelty free
- Palm oil free
Full disclosure: I stopped by Ethique’s booth towards the end of my Expo visit purely because they had commented on one of my IG photos earlier in the day. They were situated right by the front of the event space, and I noticed very quickly that all their products were bars. Nothing in bottles or squeeze tubes. That’s because the company was founded around the principle of zero-waste and ridding the (beauty) world of unnecessary plastic waste. It was started in 2012 by young female biochemist Brienne West, a native of New Zealand, who formulated the hair, face and body products out of her lab by removing water from her favorite bath and body products. You can read more about her story here. The company estimates they have now eliminated over 400k plastic bottles from ending up in landfills by making solid products. They hope to reach 1 million plastic bottles in the next few years.
Instead of full-size bars the booth was well-stocked with smaller sample sizes. I picked up Pinkalicious, a solid shampoo bar best for normal hair, and Wonderbar, a solid conditioner best for normal-oily hair. Unfortunately the samples didn’t have much detail on the front as to what products were best for what hair type. Now I wish that I had picked up The Guardian instead of Wonderbar, as it’s formulated specifically for dry/frizzy hair like mine. The bars are formulated with coconut oil and shea butter and are equivalent of 3 to 5 bottles of their liquid counterparts. I was told by an associate at the booth that these bars typically last for months.
What do you think of this haul? Would you have picked up any of these items too? I’d love to know!