Editor’s Spotlight

Indie beauty brands are fine-tuning the ingestibles market

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Dirima)
© Getty Images / (Dirima)
2018 saw a boom of beauty supplements from skin care brands and vitamin makers alike. Now, innovative startups are refining the options—formulating and marketing teas, tinctures, mix-in powders, and pills to ensure beauty-from-within outlives the trend and becomes a regular part of consumer skincare routines.

Brands exhibiting at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles, California, ran the gamut from functional beverages to topical skin care and every variant in between. Independent brand founders often innovate out or personal experience, instinct, and close conversation with consumers, a connection that helps the indie movement quickly and correctly address consumer needs and expectations.

Here Cosmetics Design looks at several brands that we met at the January IBE event, brands that are finessing and advancing the business of beauty from the inside out.    

Product pairs

Sisters Liana and Roxane Pekelharing inherited the Cleban brand, as it were. And relaunched it in 2018. Now, Cleban est.1850 specializes in product pairs: a topical matched with an ingestible.

The Electra Set, for instance comprises an energizing botanical facial mist and a tincture made from roots and leaves and mushrooms that gets added to water. The product duo promises to “restore your vitality both inside and out,” ​according to text on the secondary product packaging.

While the products can be bought individually or as a pair, the duo concept, formulating and marketing an ingestible and a topical for the same benefit, is a clever way to educate and ingratiate consumers to the benefits of beauty from within.

All things biotic

Prebiotic and probiotic beverages are bringing the benefits of gut health to the skin care space.

The plant-based supplement maker Ora Organic was showing a range of ingestibles at IBE last month. Sucha Kumar, an account manager for the San Diego, California – based brand, tells Cosmetics Design that prebiotic and probiotic products are the brand's bestsellers.

For now Ora Organics makes ingestible, plant-based products (free of common allergens) that target gut health, holistic health, fitness needs, etc. There are plans to launch “plant-based beauty capsules packed with organic B Vitamins, Algae, and Probiotics to support healthy hair and skin,” ​according the brand’s site. The capsules will be made with “Australian algae (fucoidan and astaxanthin) extremely high in antioxidants, and hard-to-find plant-based biotin and niacin from organic sprouted quinoa.”

Launching this year in the States, Imbibe is an Australian brand making prebiotic, probiotic, and collagen beverages. Founder Felicity Evans spoke with Cosmetics Design at IBE, emphasizing that “beauty starts from within”​ and that the products she’s developed “support the rest of your [skin care, hair care, and nail care] routine.”


It’s not a single sort of beauty consumer who is buying ingestible products. And specialized indie brands illustrate the breadth of the market in this space.

La Sirene is a fun, flashy beauty collagen brand with 3 different stir-in powder supplements all made with marine collagen sourced from wild-caught tilapia, La Sirene founder Anixia tells Cosmetics Design. Her products resonate with consumers looking for anti-aging benefits for skin, hair, and nails.

Catharine Arnston leads a plant-based nutrition brand called EnergyBits. At IBE LA, she spoke with Cosmetics Design about her brand’s latest launch: BEAUTYbits. The spirulina algae tablets are a cross between a snack and a supplement. As the BEAUTYbits product page explains, “Most people just swallow 30 tablets with some water. If you're brave, you can chew them as you would a handful of nuts. They go great in your morning smoothie or even a crisp salad. Whatever works for you!”

Tea is still here

Tea is a ritual beverage. And in the modern beauty space, ready-made and brewable tea drinks are still attracting consumers.  Add ins like horsetail for hair and nail benefits, or collagen, make the ready-to-drink SkinTe products appealing to beauty consumers, as co-founder and CEO Bassima Mroue tells Cosmetics Design.

While the brewable brand Teami Blends has recently expanded beyond beverages into topical skin care products formulated with herbals and teas in response to consumer requests—requests that point to a convergence of the topical and ingestible markets. Learn more about Teami’s approach to skincare in this Cosmetics Design video interview​ with founder Adi Arezzini.   



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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