Disruptive beauty brands

The evolving retail world is opening up opportunities for disruptive beauty brands to thrive in the changing market. Whether it’s through an innovative online presence, creating retail theatre, offering a more personalised experience, product or challenging the public perspective of ‘normal’ beauty, there are really exciting brands out there that have caught our attention.

Beyond have an extensive list of beauty clients, from start-ups to industry-leading brands – it’s all about standing out from the competition, shaking up the market and offering an exceptional experience that goes above and beyond.

Diverse range of make up foundation by Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty

We’ll start with Fenty Beauty.  Rhianna’s brand has stormed to the top of everyone’s must-buy lists and attracted the media attention due to its core mission to represent all women with an extensive and diverse colour range of base products. The notion of a ‘shade for everyone’, shouldn’t be a ground-breaking idea, but with countless women experiencing the constant struggle to find a shade that works for their complexion it is still an issue. Fenty’s offering of 40 shades has blown out of the water the many brands that historically have failed to fully represent different skin colours and triggered other brands to follow suit and expand their offering.

Fenty has also received attention for their affiliation with the VR model name Shudu. Created by London-based photographer Cameron-James Wilson, Shudu has her own online presence and mammoth following and has been reposted on the Fenty Instagram wearing their lipsticks.

Diverse range of make up foundation by Fenty Beauty


The ultimate digital-first beauty brand developed from Emily Weiss’s ‘Into the Gloss’ blog, that has paved the way for online brands that want to take the leap from clicks to bricks and have demonstrated the evolution of what brick and mortar stores can be.

Glossier stands out in a time of overly contoured beauty routines and strips it back to celebrating a fresh face with a natural glow. The brand was created for the gap in the market where Weiss felt her, and her followers’ needs weren’t being met. Starting out primarily with skincare and building the collection with a range of make-up, the brand only has around 40 products but a fierce cult following.

Glossier started with engaging content and continues to grow with this at the heart. From their deliciously Instagramable showroom and packaging, tips and tricks for their dedicated followers, a substantial online presence and following, Glossier have self-professed that what makes them stand out from other brands is that they are not in any way confused about who their customer is, and it is these passionately dedicated customers that power the brand.

Disruptive beauty brands like glossier shaking up the market with its cloud paint makeup


In recent years sassy digital-first make-up brand ICONIC London has become an Instagram force of nature. Born in the bedroom of make-up artist Jade Elliot in 2015, ICONIC has established itself as the go-to for trend-led high-quality products. Jade has built a loyal following of ‘ICONIC Baes’, growing her business on Instagram to an astonishing 1.2 million. Through nurturing her cult following of professional make-up artists, beauty editors and bloggers, celebrities and iconic baes alike, the products have been developed directly for the women that use them.

ICONIC has been working with Beyond in 2019 to continue to grow and develop its touch points across all digital and physical aspects. Establishing the brand identity and tone of voice, carrying this across into packaging and through art direction for digital content, ICONIC continues to take over the beauty market as they create their ‘fun, rebellious and damn right iconic’ products.

digital first disruptive beauty brand Iconic's packaging
digital first disruptive beauty brand Iconic's packaging

Gender inclusivity brands

Gen Z is considered the most gender-diverse generation, prompting beauty brands to wake up to the fact that the previously limited option of who buys and wears make-up, is changing. With brands such as Milk, Panacea, Jecca Makeup and Fluide being forefront in this inclusive movement, using language that speaks to everyone, offering online spaces and communities for everyone. Jecca Makeup and Illamasqua both hold make-up classes aimed at transitioning clients, offering tips and tricks on how to apply their make-up, contour and cover stubble. We need to see more disruptive beauty brands, challenging the norm and adapting to the needs of future generations.

Pat McGrath Labs shaking things up with the largest ever popup at Selfridges London

Pat McGrath Labs

Pat McGrath Labs has grown to be a worldwide beauty favourite since the British makeup artist Pat McGrath launched her first collection in 2015. A force to be reckoned with, the brand has recently collaborated with luxury department store Selfridges, London on its biggest ever retail takeover.

Occupying 155sq meters of the shop floor and 24 of Selfridges 27 shopfront windows, the brand achieved its highest ever cosmetic turnover in its first month on sale at Selfridges, more than any other brand in the department stores history.

Pat McGrath Labs defies conventional beauty practice with its digital-first business model.  Focusing on building a social media following, debuting new unreleased products live and backstage at fashion week shows worldwide before launching in stores. The ground-breaking 3-month Selfridges popup combined beauty and retail experience all in one shopping environment. The brand is due to become a permanent fixture in the luxury department store.

Pat McGrath Labs shaking things up with the largest ever popup at Selfridges London

Floral Street

With the environment and sustainability becoming increasingly a priority for a lot of consumers, we’re finding more brands working hard to up their sustainability game. One of our clients here at Beyond have been recognised for their efforts in creating vegan perfumes using sustainably sourced ingredients.

Floral Street’s beautiful scents, bold graphics and biodegradable packaging have led to their success and an array of awards including Best New Innovation at the 2019 CORPA UK Awards, Retailer of the Year at the 2019 Fragrance Foundation UK Awards and Winner of Cosmopolitan 2018 Beauty Awards. They even hold events at their Covent Garden flagship store, where you can take a class at their ‘Scent School’, learning all about the different colours, moods and smells that go into creating their products, along with a demonstration of their ground-breaking biodegradable pulp and sugar cane packaging.

Floral Street's sustainable and biodegradable packaging
Floral Street in-store units designed by Beyond London retail design team

Beauty Pie

Marcia Kilgore, the beauty brain behind brands such as Soap and Glory and Soaper Duper is disrupting the beauty market with her latest venture, Beauty Pie. The first ever beauty ‘buyers’ club’ has created a community of members through their offer of luxury products from the industry leading labs, but at a fraction of the price as they cut out the middle man and retailer mark-ups.

This membership model of a beauty delivery service plays on consumers desire for products to come straight to their front door, with an opportunity to try top quality products that are perhaps often out of their budget, creating a more inclusive and accessible offer for everyone. Described as the ‘Netflix of beauty’, this is an exciting concept to shake up the market.

packaging by disruptive beauty brand Beauty Pie

The Ordinary

Perhaps at the top of every disruptive beauty brands list, skincare brand The Ordinary. A digital-first brand that sold out everywhere when they moved to brick and mortar. The range has caused mass excitement due to its high concentration of active ingredients, no fluff, medical style aesthetics and incredibly low-price formulas.

Here’s a beauty company that has stripped away a lot of the glitz and glamour of mainstream brands and built a reputation as a science-driven, trustworthy brand with integrity. Offering effective formulas, their science-lab style packaging and monochrome labels have established The Ordinary as a go-to range for professionals and skincare newbies alike.

disruptive beauty brands and skincare range The ordinary with scientific, minimal packaging
disruptive beauty brands and skincare range The ordinary with scientific, minimal packaging

Function of Beauty

As progressive retailers look to offer a personalised experience for their customers, beauty companies are following suit. Rather than being told what product you need; Function of Beauty is one of a few brands that are encouraging consumers to customise products that are unique for them. Through taking their online quiz, selecting your hair type, hair aims, and personalising the colour, fragrance and even adding a message or name to the bottle, Function of Beauty is leading the way in bespoke haircare.

Important to many in this environmentally-conscious generation, the product offering is all vegan, cruelty-free and without parabens. A clever up-sell feature that Function of Beauty has included in the process of creating your unique hair care product is a repeat automatic delivery system, so your personalised bottles can arrive in the post whenever suits your needs. We expect to see more brands experimenting like this with ways of offering a seamless, personal journey for their shoppers.

disruptive beauty brands letting you personalise products - Function of beauty haircare brand

All of these disruptive beauty brands are shaking up the market and staying ahead of the competition in their own ways. Through seamless experiences, intuitive online content creation, building of tight-knit communities and loyal followings, products that are inclusive for everyone in a far too often exclusive and unattainable industry. There are lots of exciting brands out there and different ways of making your mark, if you are willing to think outside of the box.