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Verity Douglas
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

In an industry originally centred around women, there's still a gender imbalance in positions of power. As a female-founded business ourselves, we want to elevate others by consistently shining a spotlight on trailblazing brands with women at the helm — they've all gone through due diligence to be awarded our 'Female Founded Business' Proof Point. 

“Who cares who’s behind what you put on your face?” you might ask but like we said, there’s still an astonishing gap when it comes to the number of women in the boardroom or making critical business decisions… not to mention the pay gap which means in the UK, a woman on average earns 14.9% less than her male counterparts — and it only gets higher for older women. As of 2023, the Trades Union Congress found that women aged between 50 and 59 have the highest pay gap: 20.8%. They effectively work the equivalent of 76 days a year for free. Let that sink in. 

That’s why it’s more vital than ever to shine on spotlight on female-led brands, especially since they dominate in the beauty space, contributing a staggering £30bn to the UK economy (more than motor manufacturing) and employing more than 600,000 people (90% of whom identify as female). Yet they’re often overlooked: during the global COVID-19 pandemic, salons and spas were among the last businesses able to open — eliciting giggles from policymakers in the Commons who scoffed over ‘waxes’ and other such ‘trivial’ treatments.
collection of images from female founded brands including glow recipe and others
As a female-founded business (read up on Alexia here), supporting and fostering women in beauty is something incredibly close to our hearts. We champion brilliant women by helping to mitigate some of the obstacles faced by those striving to carve out a niche by providing a platform that celebrates burgeoning brands doing excellent things. These are a handful of names you should know… 

Uma's founder, Shrankhla Holecek grew up in India where Ayurveda was a fundamental element of health and beauty rituals but as she grew older, and became more involved in the typically fast-paced, high-pressure demands that so many of us are used to, Shrankhla became more reliant on synthetic products and over-the-counter remedies to counteract the physical and mental toll taken by long nights at the office, constant travel and exhaustion.

As, one by one, these 'quick fixes' stopped working, she reverted back to the practices she had grown up with - a clean diet, yoga, meditation and a beauty routine based on natural remedies. The results were visible and dramatic and, as an engineer by trade, nothing resonated more with Shrankhla than results; she realised there was a tremendous niche for high-quality skin care and wellness products combining the therapeutic benefits of pure botanicals with generations of holistic wisdom and, as her family has been in the business of farming and manufacturing organic essential oils for decades, she seized the perfect opportunity to bring these highly potent, farm-to-bottle botanicals directly to consumers.

Must try: Uma {Absolute Anti Ageing Eye Oil} and {Pure Calm Wellness Oil}

Glow Recipe co-founders, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, began by curating a ‘hub’ celebrating the cutting-edge skin care emerging from Seoul (a.k.a. the beating heart of beauty innovation). Brimming with all of their latest and greatest discoveries, the duo began to identify gaps and decided to take matters into their own, highly capable hands helping you to get the dewy, ‘glass skin’ glow you’d dreamed of with a range of playful products that fused fun with efficacy. Firm in their belief that skin care should be joyful, their bestselling range is cute, colourful and innovative with unexpected textures and a wealth of fruity, supercharged ingredients. Using the highest-quality natural actives, each formula works overtime for its coveted space in your ritual – ticking many boxes with a buffet of botanicals and TikTok-approved technology…  

Must try: Glow Recipe {Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops} 

The beauty world's first socially conscious luxury fragrance house (try saying that five times fast...), {Sana Jardin} is blazing a revolutionary trail - and leaving sublime scent in its wake. Created by philanthropist and entrepreneur Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed as a vehicle for social change, this brand advocates the economic empowerment of women through 'The Beyond Sustainability Movement', aiming to empower all the women it touches - from product to consumer. Harnessing nature's most exotic aromas and the healing power of plants, these fragrances transport, seduce and support positive change.

Must try: Sana Jardin {Berber Blonde Eau de Parfum}

Having researched her increasingly elaborate skin care regimen, the {Vintner’s Daughter} – April Gargiulo – became increasingly concerned about the high levels of ineffective (and potentially toxic) ‘fillers’ she found in her products, prompting her to fantasise about her ‘desert island’ problem solver: a multi-correctional, results-driven hero to tackle a swathe of concerns in one, super-charged step. Her experience within her family’s fine wine business inspired her to apply the same principles: exemplary quality, methodical formulation and region-specific ingredient sourcing to the development of her Holy Grail elixir and two years later, {Active Botanical Serum} was born. Packed with potent botanicals and beautifying nutrients with balancing properties, the iconic range now boasts two super sidekicks and has a sustainable approach – condensing your ritual, sourcing responsibly, using recycled and recyclable materials, testing without harm and giving back to the planet. What’s not to love?

Must try: Vintner's Daughter {Active Botanical Serum} and {Active Treatment Essence}

Created by the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross, Pattern is specifically tailored to kinky, curly, coily and textured tresses — proving that sometimes it takes a legend to create legendary hair care. Her line is all about empowering authentic Black beauty and “encouraging each hair texture to take up as much space as it desires”. Powered by hyper-nourishing ingredients, these effective products will bring the best out of your hair, no matter where you are on your hair journey. 

Must try: Pattern {Leave-In Conditioner} 

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...