Brisbane… home to the Story Bridge, the Brisbane River and some of the best beauty brands this side of anywhere! We’ve round up our favourite businesses that are all about makeup, skincare and everything in between so you can shop local.
This is a brand after my own heart, with a strong commitment to eco-friendly beauty. The story goes that founder Molly Dunkle had a play with creating her first lip balm at age 12 and knew she’d found her calling. Luckily, her dad was an environmental chemist and only too keen to help his little girl release a range of eco beauty products. The key to the formula of their iconic lipsticks is simplicity, using few ingredients but all extremely high quality. All their products use only plant or mineral based ingredients and a commitment to an all vegan range that’s only tested on people. The pigment in their lipsticks is strong and creamy, and has already provoked a few “OMG what lippy is that?!” from my beauty maven friends. Their range includes bold lipsticks, lush facial oils and finely milled mineral foundations, as well as synthetic brushes.
When I first heard that there was a nail polish brand selling Harry Potter-themed polishes, my heart leapt with glee and I practically screamed “TAKE ALL MY MONEY.” Then I learnt a bit more about the brand and became even more obsessed. Bottled Books is a five-free, cruelty-free nail polish brand run by two Brissie sisters, who as the name suggests take their colour inspirations from the pages of popular novels. Sarah Taviani had been running her Commas and Ampersands bookstagram (look her up, she’s kind of a big deal) for two years when her nail polish obsessed sister Emma suggested they start the business. And whenever they need a tie-break decision maker, they bring in the wisdom of their mum Jo.
While their Spellbinding range inspired by each of the Hogwarts Houses (Ambition, Courage, Loyalty and Wisdom respectively) is my favourite, they have all sorts of colours released in each “Chapter”. Fancy nails Lizzy Bennet would love? Go with the Pride and Prejudice-inspired perfect pink “Ardently”. Or fight against the patriarchy of Gilead like June with “Rebellion”, a creamy bold red from The Handmaid’s Tale. You can even get your Game of Thrones on with their "Winter" shade. And since books and beauty are pretty much my two favourite things, this gorgeous little company gets my two enthusiastic (and very well polished) thumbs up.
Glimmer and Glow Mirrors
Now, I know this technically isn’t skincare or makeup but it’s one hell of a beauty product! Beauty lovers everywhere are upping their Insta game with the use of Hollywood makeup mirrors and halo lights. And how lucky are we to have access to some of the highest quality products through Glimmer and Glow right here in Brisbane? Need to take the perfect snap with perfect lighting? Done. Need to apply makeup but only have bad overhead lighting in your house? Problem solved. Want everyone to be jealous of your stunning vanity setup? Oh don’t worry, they will be.
After getting one myself I can see why the beauty world is obsessed. These gorgeous mirrors are a must for any makeup maven’s vanity as not only do they look lush, but they ensure perfect makeup application. No more trying to do the perfect eyeshadow blend in bad lighting! They have several sizes of mirrors to fit any space from their smaller Studio Mirror right up to the glamorous large Allure Mirror. Best of all? They also do Halo Ring lights, perfect for lighting those Insta snaps evenly, creating the most flattering amount of glow for YouTube videos, or just sticking a mirror in the middle and using it to apply flawless makeup.
hop & cotton
You know when you’re looking at skin care and then get really confused by what all the things are supposed to do and end up either buying nothing, or buying everything and not using most of it? Well, hop & cotton take out all the guesswork with their simplified, customised range. Yes, you heard me, they ask you a bunch of questions about your skin then make up your very own personalised products, tailor-made for just you. Founder and principal formulator Ee Ting is both a cosmetic chemist and a molecular biologist, so she knows all the science stuff we don’t.
What’s more, she’s all about keeping it simple, so her regimen includes just three steps: a cleanser (The Foam Party), a chemical exfoliant (Smooth Operator) and an Advanced Moisturiser formulated to address your skin concerns. She’s also added new products to complement the base regimen including a sunscreen (Skinshield), a body moisturizer (The Cocoon) and a lip balm that saved my lips all through this past winter (The Lip Guard). I love this brand because of how easy it all is. You just sit back and relax while hop & cotton creates the exact ingredients your skin needs for perfect results. (Also, minimalist packaging means they make excellent Instagram photo subjects.)
When founder Kirsten Smith was diagnosed with a rare condition called IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) she was forced to take a cocktail of medication that severely dehydrated her skin. Frustrated by the lack of products available to bring her skin back to it’s hydrated, dewy and nourished state, she made the kick ass decision to create her own naming is Skin Boss. And having tried (and loved) this brand of beauty oils, I can safely say we thank her for it. This Brisbane-based boss babe is now helping thousands of people with their skin concerns right through Australia and New Zealand.
A few initial formulas were developed and when the brand launched in July 2017, the beauty community went nuts. Stock sold out within 24 hours and the waitlist for more was extensive. The range now includes beauty oils for a whole bunch of concerns: Sleep On It night face oil, Get Up And Glow day face oil; and body oils in a choice of citrus, coconut or original blends. After using the Skin Boss oils for a week, I can confirm that my skin had a soft and dewy glow I’d been missing for weeks. I highly recommend the Sleep On It oil… my skin hasn’t felt this supple in the morning since forever and the gorgeous lavender scent helped me drift off to sleep so easily. Oh heck, who am I kidding, I love them all.
I’ve been a little bit in love with the Julisa brand ever since I met the inspirational founder and self-confessed “Chief Mermaid” Juliet at a beauty event a few years ago. Determined to create eco-friendly beauty products and help detoxify the beauty cabinet of “merbabes” everywhere, Juliet has created a brand focused on quality products and mindful beauty practices. Which is SO great for someone with a wandering mind like me. Her nail polishes are cruelty free, five free and come in a mix of dreamy smooth creamy colours and mermaid-y ethereal glitters.
Julisa is also focused on the healing power of mindfully using crystals in her beauty routines. Her brand also features a Rose Quartz Crystal Roller and Gua Sha Contouring Stones. These tools are perfect to be used with the Julisa Organic Tamanu Oil, in a mindful routine to help lift facial features, de-puff eyes, assist with lymphatic drainage, release facial tension and brighten the complexion. (Check out her website for a tutorial on how to use the Gua Sha). Julisa has just had a major rebrand too, and their new packaging is to die for, with select polish colours featuring gorgeous opalite lids, and delivered in luxe velvet pouches adorned in a mermaid-y Julisa design. Insta-worthy to the max.
Fancy a little 24k gold in your skin care? Just the idea of it made me feel incredibly luxe when I was researching this Brisbane beauty brand. Created by Tracey Holland, a second-generation beauty therapist, the mohi (pronounced more-he) brand is created as a small batch artisanal line to ensure high standards. The Everlasting Facial Elixir contains gold because it “slows down collagen depletion, increases the elasticity of the skin, lightens the skin’s complexion and improves circulation,” Tracey explains. The formula also contains such plant-derived nourishing ingredients as baobab, prickly pear seed, and marula and argan oils. Also a reflexologist, Tracey developed the elixir to be complementary to her signature Japanese Cosmo Face Lifting treatments that assist with anti-aging. And since she’s one of only a few therapists trained in the unique art, we are very lucky to have her in Brisbane! I’m a big fan of using the elixir myself, and add two to three drops over a facial mist (I adore the accompanying Everlasting Facial Mist) for smooth, soft skin, reduced fine lines and a healthy glow.
About the author
Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.