If you could have a brand, would you? What would it be like?

If money was not a concern, sure, I’d probably give it a go, but my hesitation is always the huge investment that brand building requires and the steep learning curve if one goes it alone. I’d want to do something mid-end so there was enough room for it to be carried at retailers in the future while still ensuring higher quality product offerings, functional and streamlined packaging, and be able to use properly-paid labor. I’d like to create a strong, core collection of products and then edit and build out with more seasonal offerings (e.g. discontinuing a few core shades if seasonal offerings end up being huge hits or using more limited runs for on-trend things).

— Christine


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
Kira Avatar

If asked this 10-20 years ago, I would say yes, but these days there are such diverse and quality offerings that I would say no. There has been so much product development and market research that took makeup to this point, so I’m more in awe of what the brands come up with than wishing the market were different.

DVa Avatar

First off, NO!
But to discuss I don’t know if I could do anything that hasn’t already been done, tried…
I suspect now that I’m older it would be high quality products with a more mature (but not boring) target market.
Because I love luminosity I’d go in that direction with broad shade ranges in complexion products.
I like the idea of having both stick and liquid foundations, I like stick as I can purchase a darker shade for contouring.
Primers would also be focused on luminosity and hydration, because again, that’s what I look for.
Concealer, something with aged eyes in mind, creamy but not thick, my perfect product doesn’t crease and also brightens.
Super fine setting/finishing powders (matte and luminous).
I would certainly be a complexion-first company.
Packaging would be super clean and simple, but very elegant. I like solid packaging that’s also easy to travel with (meaning no rounded domes). I’d focus on the esthetic of these items and be able to pack/layout together in a perfect stack (not quite Tetris, but so that once you put together a palette, a blush, a highlight you’d have a perfect square, for example).
Shadow palettes, I’d do 8 pans and 12s but no bigger, quads don’t generally appeal to me personally, but maybe…
Neutrals and variations of neutrals with soft pops of colour (maybe the odd duochrome).
Natural/neutral blushes, which I would like both cream (satin) and powder formulas.
Highlights, nothing glittery just glowing, luminous in natural shades, likely no icy undertones or duochrome.
Lipsticks also leaning neutral in flesh tones with pinks and mauves woven in, plus a few deeper like classic reds and deep berries.
I’d leave skin-care to the skin specialists, because that’s what I do in my life, but product specific brushes would be a rabbit hole I’d end up going down for sure.

HeidiSomething Avatar

I would love a brand, but only in the sense of daydreaming about it. In reality, no.
But my dream brand would probably be geared more toward customers ages 30 and up. (Because I noticed more changes in my skin around that time.) I would not have photoshopped models nor models who look photoshopped. (I’m tired of seeing so many people on Instagram and the like with skin that looks more like plastic than skin.)
My line would be more natural, with no silicones, artificial fragrances, or chemical sunscreens. No animal testing either.
The packaging would look more natural. Maybe inspired by unpolished amethyst and other minerals.
I’d have a CC cream that would be buildable, good for skin, and come in a variety of shades.
I’d love some double-duty products like lip-cheek duos that would include sheer and super-pigmented shades.
I’d have sustainable or refillable options, like a palette you could customize, but I’d also offer combo suggestions, too. I’d encourage customers to return empty packages, and have an incentive plan: Five empties gets you a freebie. Workers would be paid fair wages.
I’m sick of glitter so there’d be none of that. I’d aim for creamy, shimmery, dewy looks.
I’d have a fun LE rollout a couple times a year. Probably with a natural theme: Winter berries, spring florals, fall flavors, something like that.
It’d probably be kind of boring but I’d want the repeat customer who says the CC cream is her ride-or-die, and she’s used up three tubes of her favorite tinted lip balm and just ordered her fourth.

Thanks for letting me daydream a minute…

Nancy T Avatar

If I could, I would! It would give me an opportunity to use all those years of art school/classes to my advantage. Especially since I see the face as my canvas instead of the usual actual canvas. It would be focused on having fun with color and different mediums, but would also have a highly inclusive skin coverage range, ie; foundation, concealer, powder, cheek products, taking into account different skin needs.

Mariia Avatar

Oh! I’d start with a core neutral quads, 3 depths and 5 undertones: warm, cool, neutral, rose and olive. These would have a castle having deep medium or light walls and different backgrounds: desert for warm undertone, winter for cool, mountains for neutral, dawn for rosy and forest for olive. Then I’d add accent palettes, Treasury with jewel tones, Alchemy Lab with multichromes, Spring Garden with pastels, Summer Garden with bright pure colours and so on. I’ve also had an idea similar to yours where they could be magnetised to each other.

I’d also love to have brushes with customisable length and weight of handles to better suit short-sighted people and anyone else who doesn’t find usual brushes comfortable enough. Maybe one handle that fits you perfectly and different bristle bundles as attachments for this handle. Easier to travel as well?

But I know this will never be true as I have neither funds nor knowledge…

Ashley Avatar

Absolutely. I’m glad you asked this question. Personally, I’ve pondered this many times, and have even jotted down ideas in my journal. As over-saturated as the market appears, there is always room for growth and improvement. A lot of products are just redundant, and there still is a lack of innovation and change within the market. You can always take something that already exists and look for ways to improve upon it, not just the product itself, but the demographic it is marketed for. Beauty products don’t last forever, and as old ones die, new ones will emerge, as needs and preferences evolve and change. As technology continues to rapidly advance, product information will become more and more accessible through innovative apps, programs, devices, etc. Remember that Chanel eyeliner applicator from The Fifth Element, that just flashed the eyeliner right on Lilo’s eyes? What if skincare were like this, you could “flash” a pimple or a wrinkle away? There will always be new beauty on the horizon, and every now and again, a reach back into the classics.

Jess Avatar

Oooh, I love this question! In reality, no; I don’t have the background or the knowledge to do this. But I know what I would want if I had unlimited time and the appropriate experience: A line for women 40+ who don’t want to start wearing boring neutrals. I LOVE color, but my aging lips and lids are starting to look Not so Good with the metallics, glitters, and brights that I adore. So I would somehow magic together formulas and shades that didn’t age the face but that still capture the drama and the whimsy and everything in between. I’d want to help women who aren’t Betsey Johnson make it work when they’re no longer in the demographic of most color-heavy brands.

I would also like to focus on foundation or skin products for those of us who are sagging and wrinkled but STILL suffering from acne and oily/enlarged pores. I know that retinol and its ilk are supposed to tackle both of those problems, but they don’t–not for me. I am still using the same stuff I used 20 years ago for acne since nothing else really works, and the richer creams that are supposed to help with aging just make me break out. So yes, I’d also magic together a miracle skin-care line for ladies like me!

kjh Avatar

Oooh, I still have your skin at 72! As Christine did, try Differin adapalene gel, for nights, first. Classically, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and AHAs are suggested. Not me (allergy to BP) The Ordinary has different formulas with Vit C and other, single or double ingredients, from water to motor oil consistency. I had success with Paula’s Choice, esp the Resist BHA. But some layers, especially moisturizer, were clogging. Switched to anti-aging/anti-acne from Cosrx. Thin and watery, nothing rich. When I contracted an inflammatory condition, I needed vast quantities of Centella. So I use a fair amount of Purito as well. My AM routine consists of 6-7 basic products AND ALL ARE NO ‘THICKER’ THAN AN ESSENCE. When light dawned on marble head (Massachusetts pun), I realized that using more layers of thin products gets the best results, gets all you want with no tacky and no cloggy. You have to know your reactivities and the magnitude of them (high/low on the list). Research tells you a lot. Use Cosdna, Incidecoder, EWG, Paula’s ingredients dictionary. Read up until your brain hurts. You can get there! This strange skin diet…who uses zero creams at age 72?…works for me.

Jess Avatar

Thank you so much for this! I have read so much over the years that yes, my head hurts, and I can’t keep it all straight. I currently use Paula’s Choice acne line with plain old Clearasil for breakouts. Neutrogena oil-free moisturizers. I have tried a lot of what you’ve suggested (the Ordinary, Cosrx) in the past and found that it just didn’t work. I do use Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial once a week (I have built up a high tolerance to acids over the years), and when I can afford it, Sunday Riley Good Genes on occasion. Those seem to help some. The idea of layering thinner products is intriguing…I shall investigate some more! Thank again for taking the time to help.

Kitty Avatar

Agree with kjh about using Differin. Also I’ve found that alternating Differin with The Ordinary’s Niacinimide 10%/zinc 1% serum seems to help for large pores and ensuring skin isn’t too dried out from the Differin. Just stumbled on the Niacinimide serum but surprised it works for this.

Jess Avatar

I tried Differin when it first came out over the counter. Maybe I didn’t stick with it long enough? And I have used TO niacinimide which didn’t do much for me, though they have that new powder version that is intriguing.

Thank you for helping out! My quest continues. 😊

kjh Avatar

Got psyched about the n/z, but niacinamide is just one of the >~100 heavy reactions I got from the inverse psoriasis. N is notorious for flushing for most, whether in vitamin or topical. Aloe also provokes me, which shows how nuts and hopefully transient the reactions are. Recent reactions to fragrant essential oils and Benzyl salicylate (my version of Nancy’s saccharine) were cranked for a couple to three days. Like a chemical burn with a blebby rash, plus exhaustion. That’s a aspect of IP, a gift that keeps on giving. Agree with low pH and avoidance of scent. You see linalool and limonene in almost everything. Natural extracts, but highly sensitizing. With many ingredients, the sensitization is over time and cumulative. With that crazy routine, the response from a BWH rheum/derm was Your skin looks great! In no way does that MD get the whole picture. The take away from that is get help if you wish. own your skin, get your analysis on it, believe in what you learn. You are not only your best advocate, you are your best judge. I am in no way rec’ing what I do for my face. No one here has a temp drop to 93 from chem sunscreens. No one’s skin adds or loses reactions weekly. My point is to do your research and know your issues. I’ve been intolerant of AHAs for 2 years and benzoyl peroxide for >50 years. That’s why differin works and proactiv would not. Learn and track. Many readers use spreadsheets, organized and efficient.

Genevieve Avatar

Well that’s an interesting question. If I had a brand – what would it be – I would choose Sleek in England. Around about 5 or more years ago, they were coming out with some pretty good products at a reasonable price. If I were in the leadership team, I would build on their reputation for having cruelty free products and do a major overhaul of the company.
I would make sure that my makeup appealed to those from diverse backgrounds and age groups.
I would start off, like UD did, with neutrals – for cool, warm and absolutely neutral
I would then introduce a rose gold. with rose silver theme. Then onto purples and so on.
The quality would be like SG – but in curated palettes and singles.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!