Beauty from the heartland is a trend that brings the notion of global beauty rituals home, as it were. It’s all about “ingredients, brands, and the homespun wisdom [from] Rural America,” as Cosmetics Design noted in our ‘Top ten cosmetics and personal care trends for 2017’ CD Buzz video.
Here we look at just some of the “brands that boast a small town chic, products that foreground benefits proven over generations, and local ingredients that can be sourced to scale.”
Small town chic
Beauty from the heartland isn’t overwhelmingly folksy or backyard-based. The specialty beauty retail chain Ulta fits the mold: “part of Ulta’s vibe is attributable to the fact that it is a Midwestern company through and through,” wrote Cheryl Wischhover in an item on Racked.com at the start of March.
“There probably is a Midwestern sensibility, especially if you think how the store has grown up and its approachability,” Shelley Haus, Ulta’s vice president of brand marketing, tells Wischhover. “It starts here in Chicago and emanates throughout the rest of the company as we’ve grown and hired.”
And in May, Rachel Strugatz reporting on IBE Dallas for WWD declared Texas as beauty’s new epicenter. As Cosmetics Design reported, “some 20% of the exhibiting brands at IBE Dallas were local to Texas.”
Brands like American Provenance in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, and Makeup America in Washington DC (not the heartland per se) are leveraging the patriotic appeal of US-based brands.
American Provenance is a clean beauty brand selling deodorants, lip balms, soaps, skin care, body care, and men’s grooming products. The company’s founder Kyle LaFond runs the operation from what used to be his family’s dairy farm: “My grandpa was a proud, traditional dairy farmer and was a shining example of the quintessential American role model. He loved working with his hands, being a responsible steward, and taking care of his family,” explains the about page on the company site.
Color cosmetics company founder Randa Fahmy calls Makeup America “the first American branded cosmetics line.”
Speaking with Cosmetics Design at the FounderMade beauty event in June, Fahmy explained the company’s social enterprise angle: Makeup America donates $1 of every product sold toward paying down the national debt. And she hopes consumers will see the line as inclusive. “I Makeup America! You Makeup America! We Makeup America! ….[this brand is] allowing women, no matter who they are and where they come from, to confidently radiate their beauty, diversity, creativity, and independence,” explains the company site.
Small batch, wild harvested, and locally sourced are all aspects of the luxury clean beauty niche market. And they’re part and parcel of many heartland brands too.
The indie color brand Au Naturale Cosmetics, for example, not only has its own lab facilities and makes its product locally but also sources what ingredients it can from local farmers in Wisconsin where the brand is based.