Updated: Sep 25, 2018
THE BIRTH OF ELYSIAN COSMETICS
Michael and I have a combined experience of over a decade in the beauty industry. We've practically grown up applying lipstick on fabulous women and curating beauty regimens for those too intimidated to venture into it on their own. We've essentially come to eat, breath and dream beauty (just ask anyone of our friends or family who can't go more than 20 minutes with us without a conversation swaying into beauty territory).
Over the years, we've been privileged to cultivate a loyal following of clientele who appreciate the kind of complexion artistry that we've fine-tuned into a signature look. While color cosmetics has its fair share of fun, a perfectly understated and healthy complexion is always the goal. As most professional makeup artists will attest to, once the skin looks flawless, the rest comes together rather easily. Doing makeup in New York City, there are always rigorous expectations, such as being well-informed on current beauty trends, providing elevated services with artisanal techniques, and having the ability to navigate the vast expansion of beauty products while only stocking your kit with the highest-performing pieces on the market.
Michael and I have always striven to ascend above those demands to provide an experience that can only be perfectly described as "elysian". It wasn't enough to know all of the trends or to follow the masses by stocking what mainstream dubbed the "best in beauty". During the most recent couple of years, we've really come to ask ourselves, "what should best in beauty really mean?" The reality of today is that so many of the lauded brand launches and best-sellers are simply not good for your skin.
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A huge buzzword that's been gaining traction not only amongst indie brands, but also amongst the industry behemoths, is "transparency". But what's transparent about marketing a foundation with 24hr-wear while not explaining that it's the denatured alcohol (or alcohol denat, SD alcohol, etc.) listed as the second or third ingredient that's causing the lengthy wear-time because it's drying out your skin so severely? To then top it off with skincare benefit claims is almost a literal smack to the face of every client spending their hard-earned dollars on something they're anticipating will help make their lives better.
How does using products that dry out your skin, irritate you, and break down your collagen make your life any better? Skincare and beauty is such a deeply personal ritual that it requires a great level of trust between you and the brands you choose to put your dollar behind to support. In turn, those brands should be supporting you in your journey to greater skin health and achieving your own personal sense of beauty. Unfortunately, in 2018, this still is not the case.
Michael and I have heard the frustrations from our clients first-hand, while working in stores and have even experienced the same frustrations ourselves. A particular conversation that will always stay with me was with a beautifully mature woman who was in complete disarray over the state of her skin. She explained to me that in her day, she used to model and now can't even bear to look at herself in the mirror anymore. After trying every traditional heritage brand from drugstore to luxury, she had switched over to all-natural due to an increase in popularity and demand for the category, only to find her condition worsening.
In the middle of our consultation, the woman pulled out a jar of moisturizer from a notable luxury brand and told me that she couldn't afford it, so she had taken out a credit card to purchase the $300 cream. She told me that the woman who had sold it to her had promised that it was the key to solving all of her skin ailments and nothing else on the market would provide results that rivaled it. Oh, and also that it was "all-natural". For a skin connoisseur, it only took a quick scan of the ingredients list to understand that these claims (including the all-natural one) were frivolous and the purchase was a waste of her money. Not only was there nothing in it that was substantial enough to help her problems, but there was an irritating mix of ingredients added into the formula that would only exacerbate them.
I tried my very best to find her a substitute product that would do the things she needed without the ingredients she didn't, but it was a loss. There wasn't a single product in the entire store that was a 100% ideal choice. Either the product had an achilles heel to its formula or it was housed in something that wouldn't keep the active ingredients stable long enough to do their job. When we finally thought we found something viable, it turned out that the brand tested on animals (an understandable no-go for her and so many others in this day and age). We wish we could say this was an isolated incident, but over the years its become an increasing conversation on sales floors.
At that moment, we knew our lives were about to change. We went home that very night and began to conceive of a smarter solution. As an idea-turned infant company, our values were rooted in the ideas that:
1. Spending exorbitant amounts of money on products that are aging your skin faster and breaking you out is not smart nor is it luxurious.
2. Your chosen self-care products don't have to be "all-natural" in order for them to be safe and effective (quite the contrary, many times).
3. Maintaining efficacy and skin compatibility are more important than incorporating irritants purely for sensorial pleasure.
4. The world deserves a better luxury self-care experience.
We're not interested in following the trends or creating products that offer immediate benefits at the cost of your skin's long-term health. We're creating core products that become timeless staples in beauty wardrobes of all ages, genders, skin tones and skin types. Elysian Cosmetics is the next-generation of luxury cosmetics and we will always strive to be the quintessential smarter skin solution.
I invite you back on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 at 12PM EST to experience our very first Elysian creation.