What makes something luxurious is not simply its price tag. Luxury is about that je ne sais quoi feeling when we spritz on perfume or apply a serum to our cheeks. Stroll onto the first floor of any high-end department store in the world and you will find thousands of luxury beauty items to purchase from the brands we all know and trust such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurant. These beauty brands have been around for a long time and don’t seem to be leaving any time soon. Even the new breed luxury lines with shocking price tags like Crème De La Mer, which sells their coveted signature product for $1,900, is pretty much a household name, at least among beauty aficionados.
Some of the best luxury brands aren’t marketed to the masses, even the masses with money to spend. There are many established niche beauty brands whose products, quite frankly, feel more luxurious because they aren’t widely advertised or marketed. This is because there is a limited supply of ingredients. A lot of the ingredients from these ten luxury beauty brands you might not have heard of need to be grown, hand blended or even mined. All of the lines discussed below offer very different products from one another, the common element is boundless attention to ingredients and formulations. Many of these companies are still run by the individuals and families who founded them to create products they wanted for themselves. While none of these brands are truly household names yet, all of these products are easily accessible for purchase. Several of these lines including Hourglass, Jurlique, and Amore Pacific are available at Sephora, most of the brands can be found at upscale department stores including Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. To reveal another secret about these companies, all of the products are available to order online.
All of Kai’s products come in one fresh, delicious scent which they describe as “a blend of gardenia wrapped in white exotics.” If I were to describe their philosophy, it would be a blend of luxury wrapped in simplicity. Kai is a natural, American made product line that is paraben, sulfate, phthalate and phosphate free.
For $52, you can luxuriate your skin like Oprah with Kai Body Butter, which was one of her “favorite things.” It has a smooth, whipped consistency. For fresh, relaxing fun, try Kai’s Bubble Bath for just $29. They also offer candles, body wash and even a fine linen wash, so even your clothes can smell fresh and fabulous.
Hourglass was founded and is still run by Carisa James, who was only 29 when she recognized that Hollywood needed her expertise in formulating a product that makes problematic skin look stunning. While Hourglass offers a full range of makeup, the company is best known for offering one of the finest foundations on the market. The famed Veil Fluid Foundation has a blend of 28 essential oils, plant oils, and vitamins. Do you need proof of its power in Hollywood? Mineral Veil graced Angelina Jolie’s gorgeous face in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. While this product probably won’t score you Brad Pitt, it will balance out problem skin and help you turn heads. Madonna is also a fan of the line. You can veil yourself in this luxurious makeup for $60.
Jurlique is a natural skincare and body care line from Australia. Many of the herbs and plants used in the formulations of the products are grown biodynamically on the company’s farm. The quality of the ingredients is extraordinarily high and the products are made without pesticides or parabens.
Staying one neck ahead of other brands in terms of age defying products, one of Jurlique’s most interesting items is the Herbal Recovery Neck Serum for $80. The neck not only shows tell-tale signs of aging, it is also an area likely to be neglected. Another great product, while not the most expensive product they make, is the Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator. Fruit enzymes exfoliate the skin like a natural chemical peel. At only $47.50, it’s an affordable luxury.
7. Malin + Goetz
Malin + Goetz is a family owned and operated apothecary and lab based in New York City. Matthew Malin created the line to formulate products for his own sensitive skin. While their packaging suggest simplicity, their products embody luxury.
The unisex line consists of skincare, body care, fragrance and candles. However, just because it’s simple, doesn’t meant it’s cheap. At $82, their Vitamin E Face Moisturizer is both hydrating and oil free. Malin + Goetz also has interesting fragrance offerings including Dark Rum Eau De Toilette for $150. Fragrance lovers will also fawn over their candles, which are available in untraditional and perhaps slightly controversial scents including Cannabis and Tobacco for $52.
Luxurious? Natural? Makeup that actually improves your skin? Chantecaille incorporates all of these qualities in all of their products. Like several other of the brands mentioned on this list, Chantecaille is family run. The formulations of the products are botanically based and designed to fight inflammation and ageing. In fact, Chantecaille was one of the first companies used to plant stem cells in their products. The colors and textures of their makeup line emphasizes a natural look.
If you like your skincare like your jewelry, their Nano Gold line contains, you guessed it, gold! Chantecaille says their Nano Gold Line uses “nano technology to deliver gold at a cellular level.” You can gild yourself with the Energizing Eye Cream for $265.
Elemis makes highly luxurious face and body products which are only sold at exclusive spas and salons, including their own in Miami, London and Bangkok. Founded in 1989 by Linda Steiner in London, she wanted to create a line as close to nature as possible, while sparing no expense. Since Elemis is not sold in department stores, there’s a good chance you had no idea this line existed.
Elemis’ Spa at Home products have a texture, feel and scent unlike anything else out there. The Lime and Ginger Salt Glow is one of the signature products of the line. At $62, it is one of the most refreshing body scrubs you can exfoliate with. The entire Spa At Home Line can really make you feel like you are at a spa in the privacy of your own bathroom.
4. Jo Malone
Jo Malone was founded in London in 1994 and since then these extremely unique unisex colognes have had a cult-like following, especially among celebrities. Freida Pinto, Faith Hill, Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, Kristin Chenoweth and Sienna Miller are all fans of this line. Candles, hair products, soaps, lotions and many other body care items are also available. Lime Basil and Mandarin Cologne is the company’s signature scent, which they call “a modern classic,” wafting a mix of peppery basil, white thyme and lime. At only $115, it’s only half the price of the Dark Amber and Ginger Lilly Cologne, which is their most expensive offering.
3. Amore Pacific
Although Amore Pacific is one of the top beauty companies worldwide, founded in 1945 in South Korea, you still might not know about them. Known for their luxury formulations, Amore Pacific makes a wide range of facial products including cleansers, exfoliators, toners, moisturizers and serums, etc. Some of the priciest products they make include the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum for $525 and the Time Response Skin Renewal Crème for $400. The texture and consistency of their products, especially their moisturizers and eye products is unparalleled, as is their natural, fresh scent. Amore Pacific has extremely high standards when it comes to sourcing their ingredients, even growing the green tea used in many of their products themselves.
No other perfumer can claim they smell of old money quite the way Creed can. One of the world’s oldest fragrance companies, Creed was founded in 1760 by James Creed. Creed originally supplied custom clothing, scented gloves and custom scents to the English Court. If you enjoy smelling like royalty, you can wear one of the first fragrances they made, Fleurs de Bulgarie which was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1845. Up until 1970 when Creed became available to the public, their perfumes could only be purchased by the rich and famous who personally commissioned them, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Audrey Hephburn and Grace Kelly.
As you can imagine, smelling like royalty isn’t cheap. Most bottles cost between $400 and $676. If you want a customized bottle fit for a King or Queen, you can order the Les Royales Exclusives Gilden Edition bottle for $5,000. There is a choice of several scents that come in a hand blown Pochet Glass bottle, which is then dipped in gold and blocked with the purchaser’s initials.
1. Bond No 9
If you love New York and you love rich, luxurious scents and stunning packaging, Bond No 9 will be your number one. Founded in 2003 by Laurice Rahme, the company’s namesake comes from its 9 Bond Street address in the NoHo neighborhood of New York. Subsequently, all the fragrances are named for New York neighborhoods and landmarks, including Coney Island, Chinatown, Central Park, The Highline and Astor place, just to name a few. All of the bottles are made in the same shape, but each is incredibly unique and intricately designed. There is even an Andy Warhol designed bottle for the Lexington Avenue perfume. Most scents cost between $200 and $400 per 100ml. However, a limited edition 42oz Swarovski Fountain filed with the scent of your choice will set you back $7,500.
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