Take Note: These 6 Brands Are Revolutionizing the Beauty Industry

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3ina cream eyeshadow swatches
Photo: Courtesy of @3ina

A disruptive business model is one that upends the traditional status quo, bringing an entirely new perspective to bear on “the way things have always been done”.  In the case of the beauty industry, that means changing the time-honored tradition of honing one’s brand identity according to celebrity endorsements, consumer research, focus groups, and other factors.

This narrow point of view tends to ignore the most basic desire of the consumer: to buy high-quality and authentic products at reasonable prices. Furthermore, the way people research and shop for beauty products has changed rapidly with the onset of internet message boards, product-recommendation sites, beauty blogs, and other sharing mediums like Instagram and Facebook.

Changing consumer demand is leading a new wave of beauty businesses that are disrupting the way the current model works. For example, Beauty Pie, a self-described “buyer’s club for beauty addicts” charges users $10 per month for access to a huge range of products that are sold at transparent factory prices. That means a $35 face serum in most beauty stores costs $4 on Beauty Pie. There’s a whole host of emerging companies and retail websites that are paving the way for a new consumer experience, and the six most impressive brands currently on our radar are detailed below.



The department-store fragrance counter used to be a huge point of sale for beauty and fashion brands alike. However, with a global decline in department-store sales, the fragrance industry has suffered setbacks and been forced to reevaluate how to attract consumers with short attention spans. Enter: Phlur, an independent brand designed by Eric Korman – formerly of Ralph Lauren – that “reimagines” fragrance.

Phlur’s business model offers the ability for shoppers to pay $15 for a set of three 2ml bottles of fragrance and, if you like any of them enough to buy a full-size bottle, the $15 you paid is applied towards that sale. The brand offers something that the fragrance counter never could: a myriad of scent combinations and buying options. Not only are Phlur’s prices affordable and its packaging unfussy yet alluring, but the scents are also unisex, good for your skin, and environmentally friendly.



Sue Y. Nabi is a legendary veteran of the beauty industry, having served as President of Lancôme globally. Nabi is so influential that she is the reason Lancôme became the number one luxury beauty company in the world. However, when she left in 2013, she decided to stick to an uncompromising ethos and launch her own brand according to rigorous personal principles – despite the desperate courtship of dozens of major beauty brands.

Nabi takes issue with many of the current beauty-industry practices. For instance, she rejects the idea of focus groups, pushy marketing strategies, and celebrity co-signs. Additionally, while working with factories and labs, she noticed that the product-feature developers were most concerned about texture, leaving the active ingredients as practically an afterthought. This meant that they only added trace amounts of the active ingredients in order to maintain a specific texture.

With the launch of her new brand Orveda – a blend of “or” as in “origin” and “veda” in reference to Ayurvedic holistic practices – Nabi refuses to compromise on her ingredients. Her concentration of active ingredients is so high that “even the most advanced skincare laboratories were challenged to deliver,” according to the Financial Times. Furthermore, Orveda is green, clean, and vegan – a first for the realm of luxury beauty. It launched earlier this year at Harvey Nichols and you can find it online here.

Orveda store display
Photo: Courtesy of @IAmOrveda


Brandless is another innovative company that’s really delivering big on important consumer tenants like affordable pricing, transparent business practices, non-GMO products, and more. It has a broad range of categories, from food and baby care to household supplies. The beauty products here are scientifically effective, extremely well priced, and never tested on animals.

In fact, you can buy an eight-product range of Brandless ‘Beauty Basics’ that include toothpaste, hand lotion, face cream, and cotton rounds for less than AED 90/SAR 92. For affordable, well-made beauty without the flashy product packaging or campaigns, log on to Brandless.com.


3ina Cosmetics

3ina, pronounced “mina”, has quickly become a cult cosmetics company in the beauty world. By offering luxurious European-made products at extremely affordable prices, 3ina has earned a reputation as one of the most sought-after emerging brands. In fact, it is expanding rapidly, with over 300 store openings planned in the next few years.

The motto here is “democratic beauty with an inclusive spirit”. Everything made by 3ina is paraben- and cruelty-free, and over 450 products can be found stacked across six categories. Beauty addicts love these products because they’re densely pigmented and long-wearing, while 3ina’s social-media engagement on platforms like Instagram only adds to its appeal.

3ina cosmetics
Photo: Courtesy of @3ina

The Ordinary

There is a lot of buzz going around the beauty industry about The Ordinary right now, and for good reason. Its business model is so forward-thinking that it makes other brands look downright archaic in their practices. The Ordinary’s approach is simple: offer heaping doses of active ingredients in simple packaging, and keep the prices low and transparent. This means most of its products are less than AED 40/SAR 41. Have you ever heard of a 2% retinol for that price? Neither have we.

People are going crazy for its advanced skin treatments, mainly because they actually work! If you explore The Ordinary’s website, you’ll notice it offers a handy chart that breaks down when each product should be worn and what combinations are most effective for a variety of skin issues. The integrity of its formulations is the company’s biggest draw and, honestly, we love the idea of getting the priciest items in our skincare regimen at guaranteed superior qualities for minuscule price points.


Function of Beauty

Function of Beauty celebrates the uniqueness of everyone’s specific hair type, texture, and needs by creating shampoos specifically formulated to tick every box for each individual person. Its vast array of formulations results in nearly 12 billion possible combinations, which means the shampoo and conditioner you buy may even end up being one of a kind.

After filling out a detailed survey on the site – which enables you to select hair type, hair structure, scalp moisture, hair goals, color, fragrance strength, and more – Function of Beauty sets you up with a customized formula that does everything you ever wished your shampoo and conditioner could do. You can even get your name or the name of your formula printed right on the bottle. Genius, right?

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