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Beauty & Balance

This Artist's "Oat Milk Nails" Are the Most 2020 Manicure Idea Ever

Sometimes, all you want and need in a manicure is buffed and well-shaped nails in their bare state. Other times, you're in the mood to have long nails — and not all of us were blessed with natural length or strength. For the nail minimalists out there that weren't, nail artist Fariha Ali (@nailjob) has a solution she's dubbed "oat milk nails."

As shown on her Instagram on October 18, oat milk nails look just like real, bare nails — right down the milky, off-white tips — except they're made from gel extensions. As Ali tells Allure, oat milk nails are an upgraded take on a similar manicure she created for a client a while back. "My client wanted something super natural-looking for her nails while adding some length, so we decided to mimic natural nails with gel instead of doing clear extensions," she recalls. "I had done a sheer white nail look a couple of years ago that I named almond milk nails and it had been quite a hit, so we decided that this was the 2020 version of those, and hence: oat milk rather than almond milk."

Ali likens the concept of oat milk nails to no-makeup makeup: they were created simply to enhance what's already there. Consider them a new alternative to the classic pink and white French manicure. The process of creating the look, as Ali describes, is just as simple as a classic French, if not more so. "The process is quite similar to creating any hard gel set, but instead of creating clear extensions, I tried to mimic her natural free edge color using an off-white hard gel."

So if you take a photo of these oat milk nails to your go-to nail artist, they should have no trouble recreating the look as long as they have a gel that mimics your natural nail color. The best part? According to Ali, you can paint over these with regular polish and remove it at any time, just like your real nails — plus, "the grow out would be close to invisible."

In 2020, anything low-effort and low-key is wholly welcomed, so we'll take bets now on oat milk nails becoming a trend (and a big one). 

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Inside the CEW 2020 Women’s Leadership Awards

Cosmetic Executive Women brought its 2020 Women’s Leadership Awards online in a two-day, virtual extravaganza.

Staggered between Wednesday, Oct. 21, and Thursday, Oct. 22, the event kicked off with opening remarks from Jill Scalamandre, CEW chairwoman, and president of Buxom and BareMinerals. “Never has there been a better time to support a vital business asset: female talent,” Scalamandre said. “CEW is committed to women’s advancement to see what’s here and build what’s next,” she said.

“We will continue to find new ways to support the community, by shifting events to virtual, reducing the price of membership, offering opportunities for networking, and providing new access to information,” Scalamandre said.

True to the times, CEW is also shapeshifting to meet the needs of an industry hit by the coronavirus pandemic and social upheaval. The women who were honored seem to be embracing the shifts — many spoke of the importance of women in leadership roles, women supporting other women and the importance of diversity in leadership. There were even a few mentions of late feminist icon and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The event kicked off with a major topic in the beauty sphere — racial injustice that women of color, especially Black women, have faced in the beauty industry.

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“It reminds me of a couple of years ago when there was a big awareness around gender, when everyone was saying, ‘Wait, we have a problem,’ and women said, ‘Yeah, we know,’” said Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital, in conversation with Scalamandre. “It’s better late than never, and there have been so many amazing initiatives to elevate the voices and brands of Black women in beauty and fashion. It’s not that these women haven’t been there, there just hasn’t been enough attention or money paid for what they bring to the table.”

“The gender and racial biases Black women face in business illustrate just how uneven the playing field is,” Scalamandre said, introducing the organization’s Indie26, a group of Black female founders who are “extraordinary and at the top of their game,” she said.

Scalamandre and Kunst addressed the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on the beauty industry, but also delved into fundraising.

“VC is a numbers game. If you’re seeing traction and have followers on social media or stock your product at a couple of stores with strong repeat rates, then you have something people want to buy,” Kunst said.

Indie26

The resurgence of the civil rights movement remained a topic of conversation throughout the event.

Taraji P. Henson, founder and chief executive officer of TPH by Taraji; Melissa Butler, founder and chief executive officer of the Lip Bar; and Mahisha Dellinger, founder and chief executive officer of Curls Beauty Brand — all members of CEW’s Indie26 — joined Andrea Nagel, vice president of content at CEW, for a conversation around beauty products made for Black women.

“This just makes me feel so good as a Black woman,” said Henson. “I remember a time when we didn’t have these options. When you talk about Black beauty, we come in so many shades and so many different hair textures. There isn’t one brand that can cater to one type of hair. All of a sudden, you see this explosion of options, and that’s what warms my heart,” she added.

With the burgeoning market for Black-owned beauty products came unprecedented success for the Lip Bar, Butler said. “In June, we had our biggest month ever in Lip Bar’s history. We had a lot of people being introduced to us for the first time, and I wanted to build long-term connections with our customers, not just accept charity dollars. We’ve grown 80 percent,” she said.

Dellinger, too, saw success, but noted that efforts of big beauty brands to appeal to Black consumers can easily fall flat.

“Brands are coming out of the woodwork. They talk to the Black women in a focus group, put a label on a bottle, and market it to her,” Dellinger said. “No one is a fool to that premise. People can see who’s creating for us. It’s for us, by us. All the other brands you walk in Target and see, we get the consumer because we are them.”

CEW Achiever Award Honorees

CEW’s Achiever Awards’ first installment, with four of the six honorees, also dominated the afternoon. Honorees shared personal stories of storied careers, including pre-COVID-19 career pivots and selling companies.

First up was Maly Bernstein, vice president of beauty and personal care at CVS, interviewed by Helena Foulkes.

Bernstein, who worked for consulting firm McKinsey & Co. on clients in Russia and South Africa, comes from an international background — she was born in Cambodia. She credited her success with tapping into local cultures in the places she worked. “Because I didn’t know the regions well, I had to learn about the consumers and what was going to make a quick impact. At McKinsey, I learned how to look at the data and bold decisions. From the locals, I learned how to look with courage and care,” she said.

As for Bernstein’s approach to retail in the era of the coronavirus, tapping into brand values are key. “We’re focused on being clear on what we stand for: health of the mind, body, and spirit to promote overall health,” she said.

Erica Culpepper, general manager of L’Oréal Multicultural Beauty, celebrated her award with a conversation with Nagel. “Growing up, were you always this hardworking of a leader?” Nagel asked.

“In my own head, I was a very fabulous child, and that energy always pushed me,” Culpepper responded.

Culpepper’s vigor, she said, is a huge part of what brought her through the challenges of 2020. “One of the biggest lessons is you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice,” she said. “We were trying to figure out how as a brand we show up, how do we speak up for issues that are resonating within the community, and where do we find our place,” she said. “The injustice has put a fire in my belly to go harder and fight for what our consumers—and the beauty industry—deserve.”

Next on the docket was honoree Elana Drell-Szyfer, chief executive officer of RéVive Skincare, interviewed by Richard Gersten, managing partner of True Beauty Capital. Drell-Szyfer, an alumna of the Estée Lauder Companies, left her dream position to pursue working at smaller companies. “I had always been working towards running a marketing department, but I wanted to try my hand at leading a company and having an ownership stake in something I was involved with,” Drell-Szyfer told Gersten.

“I lost the support of the company you work for and the title you hold. I had to define myself by my own achievements, and not the logo on my business card,” she continued.

Drell-Szyfer also underscored the importance of putting women in leadership positions, which she didn’t see at larger companies or across boards. “We are an industry where the majority of our consumers are women, and I think if you want to serve your consumers well, you need that equal representation in our leadership ranks,” she said. “That’s everybody’s responsibility: give people a chance, give people development opportunities, the support they need, roll the dice, and see what happens.”

Closing out the awards honorees on the first day were Lilli Gordon, founder and chief executive officer of First Aid Beauty, interviewed by Janet Gurwitch.

Gordon herself, who left her time in finance to bring “hardworking products—the Eucerins, the Aquaphors, the CeraVes—to prestige,” as she put it, took the leap to launch her business when she identified a gap in the market. When she sold First Aid Beauty to P&G in 2018, Gordon said selling the brand was part of her endgame since the business’ launch.

“The first step was our private equity investment, which started with taking personal financial risk off the table, and then working with a private equity group to build a company,” Gordon said. “We knew we had had growth in the United States and saw it coming overseas, and we knew we needed a partner to take us to the next level.”

Although she had several potential buyers for the brand, Gordon likened her choice to dating. “I’m single, and I date. For those of us who date, we know it’s all about chemistry. P&G shared my passion and the passion of my colleagues for First Aid Beauty, which was so critical to me,” she said.

The event’s first day ended with a networking session and a talk from Fran Hauser, author of ‘The Myth of the Nice Girl,’ and start-up investor at Hauser Ventures, LLC. “I’ve embraced leading with kindness and strength,” Hauser said, “and I’ve learned that I don’t need to choose between the two.” Hauser’s top takeaways include creating safe emotional environments, giving direct feedback, connecting as humans with colleagues, speaking up, and setting boundaries.

The event’s second day started with remarks from broadcast journalist Mika Brzezinski, followed with the honoring of Jenny B. Fine, executive editor, beauty at WWD and Beauty Inc. Fine took home the Beauty Industry Champion award, a separate honor from the event’s Achiever Awards.

In an interview with Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, Fine outlined her optimistic view of the future. “Beauty is so reflective of the social forces and cultural trends happening today, that that is a key part of how we cover it,” Fine said. “We’re all feeling worry, anxiety and turmoil right now, but when I look at everything that’s happened this year, I’m an optimist. When I look at how resilient and agile the beauty industry is, it makes me excited for the future.”

Fine closed out her remarks with gratitude for the industry. “I feel incredibly honored and incredibly lucky that I get to do what I love every day. All of these women being honored today and yesterday, I was, of course, crying as if we were in the ballroom, and what an incredible group of people. How lucky are we to do this,” she said.

Honoree Jane Lauder, executive vice president, enterprise marketing and chief data officer at Lauder also echoed that industry gratitude. Lauder left the family business to work in advertising, only to come back and rejoin the company.

“I realized that I love the business side of beauty,” she said, finding her footing in data. “The magic happens when you combine data with creativity,” Lauder continued. “It’s about taking the data to mine for the aspirational intelligence, all to figure out what [consumers] would want in the future. It started with Estée, one on one, listening to women, mining that data and figuring out.”

Lauder was interviewed by sister Aerin, of both Aerin and ELC. “She’s my younger sister, but I’ve always looked up to her,” Aerin Lauder said.

Recounting memories of her grandmother, Estée Lauder, Jane Lauder characterized her by her “determination and generosity,” remembering being regaled with fruit baskets during her freshman year at college.

Alexandra Papazian, president of Laura Mercier, also spoke of channeling founder spirit.

“The first priority is to make sure everyone understands the founder’s vision. When we have difficult decisions to make, Laura and I discuss them, and we filter things through three aspects: is this the right thing to do for the brand, is it for the business, and is it for the team? Above anything, what’s important is to have very clear roles,” Papazian said in conversation with Jackie Fields, senior style and beauty editor at People about navigating a founder’s vision.

Papazian characterized the brand as a classic brand, but still had plenty of plans for its evolution. “We will continue to expand the brand into new markets and new categories,” she said. “We see color as a big opportunity for us, as is skin care, being such an expert of complexion.”

CEW Top Talent Award Honorees

The Top Talent honorees — as Scalamandre called them, “women with next generational leadership” — shared many personal stories of some of their formative beauty experiences, and stressed the importance of diversity and equality in the industry moving forward.

“I would ask my mom why she wore so much makeup, and she would say, ‘it’s part of my routine,’” said Vivianna Blanch, vice president, integrated consumer communications at L’Oréal Paris. “Now, I know that it was her armor.”

Blanch, who has prioritized diversity throughout her career, also said that paving the way for others was crucial to her philosophy. “I want to make that path as wide as possible to fit as many women as possible, specifically diverse women,” she said.

Ophelia Ceradini, vice president of digital technology and innovation, also vocalized a familial connection to the beauty world. “I grew up in Brooklyn with a twin brother and immigrant parents. I would not be accepting this award without my mother, and I’d like to share two of the most important lessons she has taught me: first, having the support to achieve your dreams, and second, how beauty and presentation can have an impact,” she said.

“My mother grew up in a culture where women were not treated equally. She was an amazing mother and worked tirelessly for me, so I could pursue my career,” Ceradini said.

Erum Chaudhry, vice president, marketing of beauty and skin care at Christian Dior Parfums, remembered being given a chance by Achiever Award honoree Jane Lauder. “She has inspired me to pay it forward in this industry,” she said. “As members of this beauty community, and as women, we have the distinct privilege of shaping this industry, and with vision and fortitude, I hope we can foster a diverse community for those who are just making their way,” Chaudhry said.

Maris Croswell, senior director of Pantene North America at P&G Beauty, discussed the recent birth of her second child while receiving her honoring. “As I’ve watched my daughter approach life with a zest for possibilities, my belief that every problem we encounter is a possibility has transformed the way I lead my teams and the way I parent my two daughters,” she said. “Luckily, there’s never a shortage of possibilities dressed up as problems in either area.”

Looking back on her career, Chopin Rabin, vice president of global integrated communications at Nars Cosmetics, recounted her own trajectory to beauty. “I came to New York and answered an anonymous ad for a beauty role. When I saw this world out in front of me, I knew it was meant for me and what my career was meant to be focused on. I have never, ever looked back,” Rabin said. “It’s been an endless pursuit of knowledge and being the absolute best at whatever I was asked to do.”

Maria Salcedo, vice president, merchandising and strategy at Ulta Beauty, also said her career has not followed a traditional trajectory, but credits the forces in her work for her success. “As I reflect back, aside from personality traits and support from my husband, continued mentorship and the incredible teams I’ve had, sponsorship has been a defining element in my path,” Salcedo said. “Women tend to be overmentored and undersponsored. Sponsors are advocates, they fight for us when we do not have a voice,” Salcedo said.

For Usha Vijay, vice president of marketing, consumer fragrance at Symrise, Vijay highlighted the gravity of her position. “We have the responsibility to unlock innovation in beauty to enhance the health and wellness of people in societies, to be supportive of business, especially those owned by women,” she said. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg would’ve been very proud of us: women leaning in, supporting and honoring fellow professional women for their achievements.”

The Awards’ final recipient was selected by peer vote, and according to Jacobson, overwhelmingly so. Janet Chan, vice president of brand at Nügg Beauty, told her parents she wanted to be a makeup artist, and finally took the leap to Revlon after a career in finance. “I spent every Sunday at Sephora,” Chan said. “To all the young women, I would encourage you to take the leap, to follow your passion and pursue your path, even if it means starting over. It is worth it to do what you love every day.”

The two-day event ended with a send-off from Jacobson and a talk from Kristy Click, senior client officer of Ipsos, who spoke on the shifting impact of gender. “No longer is the conversation about two genders, it’s about the unbundling of gender, sex and identity,” she said. “It’s about how everyone can define themselves for themselves,” adding that social media has amplified the conversation around varying gender identities.

“I encourage each of you to envision a gender-inclusive world, where employers don’t judge new talent, societal norms won’t be an issue five years for our daughters,” said Click. “As the revered Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, ‘real change, encouraging change, happens one step at a time.’”

The event’s sponsors include Meredith Corporation, Harris Williams, 24 Seven, Anisa, DermStore, Nordstrom, P&G Beauty, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, Badger & Winters, WWD, Beauty Inc, Symrise, Moss, Ulta Beauty, Drunk Elephant, Beauty at Amazon, Olaplex, Birchbox, Marina Maher Communications, Goodkind Company, New World Natural Brands, CEI Collective, Kaplow Communications, and Consultancy Media.

10 Key Takeaways

  1. CEW continues to engage members with online events and lower membership costs during the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Black women have often been overlooked by the industry.
  3. When targeting Black beauty consumers, authenticity cannot be faked.
  4. Thinking long term is key to success.
  5. 2020 showed just how resilient and agile the beauty industry can be.
  6. Marrying data and creativity is imperative to delighting consumers.
  7. Beauty industry executives have a responsibility to support women of diverse backgrounds.
  8. Think of problems as possibility in disguise.
  9. Follow your passion.
  10. Pay attention to the shifting landscape around gender—it will play an inevitable role in consumer identity and subsequently, marketing practices.

For more from WWD.com, see:

Top Talent Honored for CEW Achiever Awards

Giuliana Rancic Returns for CEW, QVC HSN Beauty With Benefits

CEW Unveils Fight for Female Founders Initiative

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Decorté Makes Push for North America, Signs Brie Larson as Muse

Decorté is betting on North America.

The Kosé-owned Japanese beauty brand is celebrating its 50th year with a handful of initiatives aimed at expanding its North American presence. Decorté launched in the U.S. in 2016 with Saks Fifth Avenue. It found a spokesperson in Kate Moss, who created a kit of her favorite makeup products, available exclusively at Saks. In 2019, the brand held a press event with Moss in New York City to drum up excitement Stateside.

Decorté is now widening its approach: It has signed Brie Larson as its muse to promote the launch of its fragrance category in North America.

In a statement, Kazutoshi Kobayashi, president and chief executive officer of Kosé Corp., said Larson embodies Decorté values “with her intelligence, dignity and beauty with honor.”

“We look forward to Decorté’s next 50 years, and to bringing consumers all over the world the best of Japanese beauty that balances art and science as well as tradition and innovation,” he said.

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In a statement, Larson said she was “amazed” upon learning the history of Decorté’s Moisture Liposome, which launched in 1992.

“As nerdy as this sounds, it’s given me a real appreciation and understanding of how artistry, innovation and technology are all key ingredients to the success of a high-quality beauty product,” Larson said. “It’s not dissimilar to filmmaking, in that way.”

Though it has yet to find its footing in the North American market, Decorté has done $1 billion in retail sales globally, according to industry sources. The company was founded by Kosé founder Kozaburo Kobayashi in 1970 with a focus on skin care that incorporates antiaging technology and proprietary delivery systems. Its hero products include the Moisture Liposome Serum, $95; Prime Latte, $45; Vita de Reve, $45, and the Guasha Plate, $30, which has sold out twice during the pandemic.

Del Valle declined to comment on Decorté’s to-date sales. She said North America accounts for a “small percentage” of the overall business, adding the company is “looking to have aggressive growth.”

Decorté has seen triple-digit growth during COVID-19 on its direct-to-consumer and other channels, according to del Valle.

“Our brick-and-mortar was affected [by the coronavirus pandemic], but we pivoted to focus on our e-commerce,” she said. “As a luxury brand, we’ve always been focused on delivering bespoke experiences in-store. We’ve been redesigning our customer engagement techniques so it’s irrespective of choice of channel. We’ve accelerated our digital capabilities, which includes technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, big data, all with the end of making sure we can better communicate our brand story, as well as offer more fulfilling brand experiences for our customers.”

Decorté’s 50th anniversary Baccarat collection includes a crystal stand designed by Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders. Courtesy of Decorté

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Decorté is rolling out a global digital initiative, Virtual Voyage, meant to familiarize users with its brand story, ingredients, technologies and Japanese heritage. It will also unveil a partnership with Baccarat for its AQ Meliority Intensive Cream, which retails for $1,000. The Baccarat Edition includes two creams, a spatula made of resin and a Baccarat crystal stand designed by Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders. Each cream in the limited-edition collection comes with a serial number.

Additionally, Decorté will release a 50th anniversary edition of its Liposome Serum, which has been its best-selling serum for more than 25 years.

“Decorté is one of the best-kept secrets in Japan,” del Valle said. “It is well-known for embodying the best of Japanese beauty, but it elevates it because of its balance of art and science, as well as tradition and innovation. The selection and agreement of [Larson] partnering with the brand is underscoring the commitment that Kosé has to developing the North American market with Decorté in particular.”

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Morphe Parent Buys Lipstick Queen

Alicia Keys’ ‘Keys Soulcare’ Headed to Ulta

Sue Nabi Makes Hires at Coty, Edgar Huber to Exit the Business

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This New Cushion Is for People Who Hate Wearing Foundation

Michelle Phan's Em Cosmetics just took a big step in the beauty game. On October 20, the brand launched its very first complexion product, the Daydream Cushion. 

"After cushion launched in the Western world, it didn't really take off, which was unfortunate. It died off and everyone went back to [their regular] foundation," Phan tells Allure over Zoom. But these days, with so many people homebound due to COVID-19 restrictions, she's seeing people embrace a more natural look. "People are wearing less foundation," she explains. "They're wearing masks, they're staying at home more. They don't really feel there's a need to do a full beat makeup look."

The $48 Daydream Cushion foundation gives you a light amount of coverage and some skin-care benefits to boot. The range boasts only six hues, but given the product's sheer-but-buildable nature and skinlike finish, it doesn't necessarily have to be spot-on. (Though we do hope in the future more shades become available.) As Phan tells us, her brand is small so it's a little harder for her to create super robust shade options. "But, if we do six shades, we're going to make sure that it has an incredible range," she assures. And to be completely fair — even though it is just six shades, the difference between the lightest and the darkest is quite substantial, which hasn't been the case with a few brands. It doesn't go from porcelain to beige — the darket hue is a rich, deep brown.

The foundation formula contains SPF 50, which, I am happy to report, doesn't leave an ashy cast on my medium-dark skin tone. I used the Tan/Dark hue and as I blended it in, the color just melted in with my complexion and provided a decent amount of coverage to the dark spots on the side of my face. But what I noticed most is that the overall effect just looked like my own skin. 

I typically don't wear foundation, preferring to just apply concealer underneath my eyes and over whichever spots on my face aren't looking the way I'd like. What I don't love about foundation is that it typically does not look like my skin, but I don't have that problem with Em's Daydream Cushion. It truly gives you that coveted "your skin but better" look, and with the added benefit of SPF, it's really making a case for me to wear foundation again — even if I'm not really venturing out in public very much these days.

To learn more about Em Cosmetics' newest products, I chatted with Phan, who told me why she chose this particular kind of foundation, how she likes to use it, and how she got that sunscreen to work just right, even on deeper complexions.

ALLURE: What made you choose a cushion foundation as opposed to the more traditional liquid in a bottle?

MICHELLE PHAN: It's actually a personal choice. I stopped using foundation four years ago — completely stopped, cold turkey. I wanted to focus more on skin care and if I just needed any touch-ups or cover-up, I would use concealer. That taught me to fall in love with and accept my natural skin texture. 

For so long, I lived in this filtered world where I believed that everyone's skin should look airbrushed like FaceTune. At one point, I developed face dysmorphia, I didn't feel like I looked like myself without foundation. And I just knew — that's so unhealthy. So, I ditched foundation years ago, went foundation-free, and never looked back. 

But there are days where I wish I had more coverage than just concealer. This is why I believe cushion is such a great compromise for those who don't really want a full-coverage foundation, but want something more than just a tinted moisturizer. 

Cushion has been around in Korea [for a while]. When Amorepacific launched it with Iope, I was one of the first to use it, too because I just love everything Iope creates. I instantly fell in love with the format. And I'm a huge fan of refreshing my SPF every four hours. It's something that I feel a lot of people don't even know that they should be doing if they're out in the sun. 

Cushion is something you can carry with you. It's your touch-up and it's compact, it's portable and the sponge, is antimicrobial. 

People are taking care of their skin more, and so cushion is an incredible compromise because it has a lot of skin-care benefits. Ours, in particular, has niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and of course, sunscreen. I'm hoping now maybe the timing is better to launch a cushion.

ALLURE: It's interesting that you mentioned COVID because I was thinking a lot about how in the States, our makeup culture is very full beat, full coverage. COVID has made it so that we don't really have many places to go with so much makeup on, and when you add the mask factor — it can get messy. I really feel like we're moving to more natural-looking skin.

MP: That's true. And we have filters now that can give you a full face of foundation if you want. That being said, I don't think [a heavy beat is] going to go away. I still sometimes will indulge — you can't do a full glam eye without a beat face. It just doesn't look right. But, I think for day-to-day, and that's something that Em Cosmetics we focus mostly on is, we're creating products that are essentials that you reach for daily, that you can wear comfortably.

I think maybe with COVID, there is this reset button with a lot of people with their routines. It doesn't have to be in regards to makeup — it's life in general. They're taking a step back, like Marie Kondo, getting rid of a lot of things they don't need and keeping the things that bring them joy. 

ALLURE: All of these products have a sunscreen component. I know sometimes when you're infusing sunscreen into a complexion product, it can get a little tricky for darker shades to get the tone right without making the product look ashy. How did you guys approach that, so that the darker shades wouldn't leave a gray cast?

MP: We did a combination of both physical and chemical [sunscreens]. I actually like them both. I know some people, especially those with sensitive skin, can't use chemical, which is unfortunate. It's actually the physical sunscreen that [tends to] give that purple, white, ashy after-effect on deeper complexions. We were pretty adamant about creating a sunscreen that looked invisible. We did extensive testing on multiple shades and undertones. We just had to make sure that even though it's sheer and buildable, each shade can stretch.

That was really important because we didn't launch 50 shades. I mean, we can't because I'm a small brand. I can't launch 50 shades because I bootstrapped this whole brand myself. But, if we do six shades, we're going to make sure that it has an incredible range. And it's a beautiful gradient from light to deep. That was something I was really adamant about — our team taking up that challenge.

ALLURE: What's your favorite way to use the Daydream Cushion? I know everyone has their own little techniques for application.

MP: When people get products, the first thing they do is throw away their sponge. This is something you do not do with Daydream Cushion or most cushions in general. But, especially for our cushion, do not throw away the sponge. You get two [anti-microbial] sponges that you can wash in a Ziploc bag. You put dishwasher soap or makeup remover in the bag and then swish it around before you let it air-dry. 

What I like to do is insert my three fingers [between the loop and the pad]. That way, I can push down with my middle finger and I can use the pointed edge to get into the crevices of my face. I start around any areas where you need most of the coverage. I have a lot of redness around my cheeks. Then, whatever's left over on the tip, I use it around my nose in the crevices and then also under my eyes and the rest on my chin.

I leave my forehead untouched because it's your forehead, unless you actually need coverage, you can just leave it as is. After that, if you need powder, powder away, but this has a more of a natural skin-like finish. But, that's how I use it! The best part is because it's refillable, all you have to do is pop it from the back. So, in here you just press and it comes right out and then you have the refill, it pops back in.

Em Cosmetics' Daydream Foundation is available now for $48 at emcosmetics.com.

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Wellness Watch: Generation Sexual Wellness

Grandma’s Vagisil isn’t cutting it for Generation Z.

For the youngest consumer set, products in the intimate- and feminine-care categories are nothing to be brown-bagged or whispered about—they’re simply one piece of a total wellness routine. But the drugstore brands that Millennials and Gen Xers have been surreptitiously purchasing since puberty don’t resonate with the TikTok generation, who are more informed, open-minded and unself-conscious about sexuality than any previous generation.

“Gen Z in general is a much more progressive demographic and much more progressive around gender identity,” said Cecilia Gates, founder of Gates Creative. “Brands have to approach [sex-related product] through the lens of inclusivity and diversity. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. And it’s not just about a package or product looking cool, they want products that are multipurpose, clean ingredients, sustainable and they want affordable.”

For brands in the sexual-wellness and feminine-care categories, Gen Z represents a significant growth opportunity. According to Mintel, Gen Z women overindex in use of sexual enhancement products, such as vibrators and lubricants, while young women ages 18 to 34 are driving growth in feminine hygiene. At retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Revolve, the latest entrants to the wellness vertical are biodegradable vibrators and herbal PMS supplements.

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“[Gen Z is] invested in the concept of health and wellness and sex falls in there,” said Catharine Dockery, founding partner of Vice Ventures, a seed stage venture capital fund that has invested in sexual wellness company Maude and inclusive underwear brand Parade.

“Sex sells now much more than ever, specifically for Gen Z — they’re very open about their body and what they stand for,” she adds. “They’re not scared to buy a vibrator and use it and rate it online. If you asked my mother-in-law, she’d never tell me that she bought a vibrator and she’d definitely never go rate it online.”

For Gen Z, talking about sex is not taboo. They get sexual health advice from dancing gynecologists on TikTok (yes, it’s really a thing), and see underwear selfies not as vulgar or pornographic, but as empowering and coming from a place of wanting to support a brand that aligns with their values. Dockery notes that after Parade’s launch earlier this spring, about 1 in 5 customers — primarily in the Gen Z age range — posted an underwear selfie to Instagram.

“I posted a photo [of myself to social media] in Fenty by Rihanna because it’s size-inclusive,” said Maia Ervin, chief of staff at JUV consulting. “My mom would be like, ‘That’s too provocative,’ but why is me showing off this brand standing up for plus-sized women provocative?”

“They’ve eliminated the stigma around sex and they are more open,” added Gates. “We have to think about sexual wellness as more for yourself than having to live up to ideals about what the media has put forth around gender roles — that feels outdated to them.”

Mitch Orkis, cofounder and chief marketing officer of sexual wellness brand Cake, was inspired to start a line of lubricants after seeing a a wave of lube launches aimed at Millennials enter the market over the past few years. Gen Z has become a “big audience” for Cake since its launch earlier in the summer.

Cake’s lubricants are tailored to gender and sexual preferences. For example, Tush Cush, $22, is a water-based jelly for “beginners butt stuff” while Motion Lotion, also $22, is described as “a moisturizing cream for men’s me time play.”

“A lot of brands in the past five years wanted to be all-inclusive and I think that all-inclusive to them meant, ‘Let’s not say who we are, let’s not address it so we can say we’re inclusive,’ and we’ve found the opposite is true for [Gen Z],” said Orkis, who noted that many of the brand’s customers identify as queer or sexually fluid and want something tailored in a hyper specific way to their own identify and preferences.

What’s been key for reaching Gen Z is having an optimized mobile shopping experience, he adds. “Ninety-one percent of our traffic is on mobile,” said Orkis. Having everything designed and the ability to be purchased with one swipe or click is like — you have to do it. Long funnels, which I think companies still have, don’t work at all.”

As niche sexual-wellness and feminine-care brands tailored to Gen Z continue to launch, legacy drugstore brands have struggled to remain relevant to young consumers. Product preferences are also changing, as young consumers prioritize sustainability and natural ingredients. Mintel reports that 10 percent of Gen Z are using period cups instead of pads or tampons, the largest group of any other consumer set.

Several legacy labels have embarked on ambitious re-branding initiatives aimed at young consumers, from Vagisil to Playtex to Summers Eve. Vagisil recently launched a line of intimate-care products aimed at teens called OMV!.

Midol, the 109-year-old brand known for its period symptom pills, launched its re-brand in April, complete with new branding, packaging social media presence, content and a tweaked distribution strategy focusing on online purchase.

“We were struggling with recognition and brand awareness with younger women. Women in their forties grew up with Midol, but we need to appeal to a younger woman and talk to her differently as well,” said Lisa Perez, marketing director, Bayer Aspirin and Women’s Health.

Before the re-brand, Midol’s social strategy was “fairly nonexistent” said Perez. Now, the brand has a YouTube channel and works with microinfluencers.

Midol’s new branding is bold yellow and hot pink and features a graphic new font, a far cry from its previous Nineties-era, pharmaceutical-chic pack.

“[Gen Z] is very focused on Instagram,” said Dockery, a Millennial who called out Queen V, a feminine wellness line sold at Target and Walmart that is known for its graphic neon look, as an ideal brand made for Gen Z Instagram. “I can guarantee you Queen V has been Instagrammed a ton of times. My generation isn’t like, Instagramming Vagisil.”

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Standard Dose Lays Down Roots in the U.K., Starting With John Lewis

LONDON — It’s high time Britons understood the benefits of CBD and plant-based wellness, and Standard Dose founder Anthony Saniger is ready to deliver that message to as broad an audience as possible, online and in-store.

Saniger is expanding internationally, planting the Standard Dose flag in Britain with a local web site and an exclusive distribution deal with John Lewis, which operates more than 40 department stores across the U.K.

Standard Dose sells its own products as well as premium brands including Moon Juice, Costa Brazil and Herbivore Botanical via a slick web site and a shop in Manhattan. The platform was founded in 2019 and also offers classes in meditation and mindfulness.

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CBD products generate about 40 percent of the Standard Dose business and demand — unsurprisingly — has increased since the emergence of COVID-19, especially in the stress and anxiety ranges, the brand said.

In the U.K., Standard Dose is launching with a collection of ingestible and topical plant-based remedies for anxiety, pain, inflammation, sleep issues, gut health, immunity, sexual health and skin concerns.

Standard Dose offers 800 product stockkeeping units and will initially launch a total of 150 in the U.K. via its own web site, with 100 selling at John Lewis. That assortment is set to grow.

Sleeping tablets with valerian root, one of Standard Dose’s top products. Image Courtesy of Standard Dose

Saniger, who was used to splitting his time between New York and London before lockdown, said opening here “has been a goal of mine since the launch of Standard Dose. I used to live in London, and have watched closely as the wellness market has grown in the U.K. More people are looking for access to plant ingredients and self-healing practices, and we want to continue to be that point of education and trust.”

He said the brand’s long-term vision “is to provide an open and informed conversation around the power of plants, and to empower consumers to elevate their mind-body wellness through vetted products and wellness experiences.”

CBD and plant-based products are not mainstream in the U.K., and their availability is spotty.

Boots, the high-end web site Cult Beauty, and vaping shops are among the few retailers that stock CBD products in the U.K., but there are not a lot of options and there is no dedicated, multibrand platform such as Standard Dose.

John Lewis was an unusual choice for such a launch: The chain is beloved of middle-class Britons seeking products ranging from dishwashers and tumble dryers to children’s school uniforms, baby strollers, TVs and computers. The store also offers men’s and women’s fashion and beauty, and its offer is practical and comforting, rather than cutting edge.

Asked why he chose the retailer for the launch, Saniger said not only is he a John Lewis customer, but “my goal is to reach as many people as possible and John Lewis was, and is, a trusted retailer. And it has a broad reach.”

Saniger said he looked at a lot of different partners in the U.K., but no one could beat John Lewis. “It’s the go-to store for so many people. I want people to be able to swing by John Lewis or know they can order our products online. I don’t want wellness to be a luxury item. Beauty and accessibility can go hand-in-hand, as can luxury and accessibility,” he said.

He believes that the U.K. could soon be generating 25 to 30 percent of Standard Dose’s revenue between John Lewis and the brand’s own e-commerce site.

Amelia Kendrick, beauty buyer at John Lewis, said the tie-up with Standard Dose “builds on our plan to modernize our brand, and to provide our customers with products and services they really want and need. We understand that CBD and the product category is growing in awareness and interest with our consumers.”

She added that the new partnership “allows us to unlock Standard Dose’s expertise and authority within the wellness space and to introduce them to the U.K. market. The beauty world is evolving and customers no longer seek one single product, but instead view beauty as a holistic lifestyle, including everything from gut health to beauty tech tools for DIY at-home treatments.”

She said the new online concept will sit within beauty on Johnlewis.com alongside makeup and skin care and the newly launched beauty tech category.

A hemp-based patch from The Good Patch, one of Standard Dose’s hero products. Image Courtesy of Standard Dose

Overall, the Standard Dose products to be sold in U.K. include healing botanicals from adaptogens such as ashwagandha and reishi, as well as cannabinoids such as CBD. CBD is derived from hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant that works by regulating the body’s endocannabinoid system. That system is responsible for stress and anxiety levels, memory, sleep patterns, pain and inflammation.

Standard Dose prides itself on its vetting process: The company said it screens each product for “efficacy, feel and experience.” Brands are also required to provide lab test results, while all products are sampled by the Standard Dose team, and sent out for independent, third-party lab trials to validate product claims.

As part of the U.K. launch, Standard Dose will also be introducing a meditation series called “Transformative Healing: A Series on Emotional Wellbeing.” The virtual, interactive workshops will look to explore topics such as sleep issues, stress and intimacy.

Britain is just the beginning of Standard Dose’s international expansion plans. Saniger is also eyeing Spain, France and Germany as potential new markets.

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11 Major Amazon Prime Day Sales to Shop From Competitors

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 is in full swing, but that doesn't mean the deals are limited to the giant e-retailer. Quite the opposite, as other retailers are getting in on the action and offering Prime Day-adjacent deals that are just as attractive as the former's. If your favorite beauty brands aren't available on Amazon (or aren't discounted for Prime Day), you're especially in luck. A lot of the brands listed below aren't shipped and sold on Amazon, so get ready to fill up your virtual cart.

Get your skin-care and hair-care fixes with Target's Deal Days, Ulta's Gorgeous Hair Event, and Sephora's bountiful sale section, then hop on over to Etsy to gift yourself (or a dear friend) a spa-themed box of goodies. The bottom line: Divide your time however you like, but just make sure to give these Amazon Prime Day competitor deals a shot while you're chasing those Amazon lightning deals. You won't regret it.

Target

Target's answer to Prime day, Deal Days, includes 25 percent off beauty and personal care items, 30 percent off select hair tools, and up to 40 percent off select dental and shave products. That's all to say, you have a lot to choose from. Just add your products of choice to your virtual cart and the discount will be automatically applied. 

In terms of can't-miss deals, you have to scoop up the Best of Beauty-winning Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patches, which form hydrocolloid barriers around your pesky, maskne-induced breakouts and speed up the healing process. Crest's 3D Whitestrips are also discounted at the popular retailer, so you can remove deep teeth stains in a matter of an hour. Each kit comes with seven enamel-safe treatments, so you can dutifully keep up the whitening effects.

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original

Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Express Teeth Whitening Kit

Walmart

Walmart is hosting a big savings event on just about everything across electronics, toys, home, clothing, and of course, beauty. It's safe to say the retailer is pulling out all of the stops to attract some deal-hungry shoppers. We all know there's no better time than fall to slather yourself in all things pumpkin, and Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Face Mask will do wonders for your dull, congested complexion in terms of exfoliation — hello, softer and smoother skin. The best-selling Revlon One-Step is also on sale at Walmart at a steep 50 percent off, so blow-drying and styling your hair has quite literally never been so easy (on the wallet).

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Face Mask

Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush

Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty's beloved Gorgeous Hair Event is in full swing until October 24 with daily deals that can save you a sweet 50 percent off on shampoos, conditioners, color kits, leave-in treatment, and blow-dryers. Today's deals include Eva NYC's Spectrum Far-Infrared 1'' Styling Iron for easy, Zoom-ready waves, and Pravana's coconut oil-infused Perfect Blonde Masque to keep brassiness at bay.

Eva NYC Spectrum Far-Infrared 1'' Styling Iron

Pravana The Perfect Blonde Masque

Dermstore

Dermstore is serving up a two-day Beauty Discovery Event with up to 20 percent off fan-favorite brands such as Harry Josh Pro Tools, EltaMD, Dr. Dennis Gross, Allies of Skin, and First Aid Beauty. All you have to do is enter code OHJOY at checkout to take advantage of the discount. 

Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen shows up invisible and white-cast-free on all skin tones, thanks to its weightless, colorless, scentless, and oil-free formula. It leaves a velvety finish that's the perfect makeup gripper as well. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant frequently sells out when it's on sale. Why? Its star ingredient, two percent salicylic acid, removes excess oil and dissolves dead skin cells and blackheads clogging your pores, so pimples and other signs of aggravated acne are less likely to bubble up to the skin's surface. 

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

Sephora

Ahead of Sephora's major Holiday Savings Event, the popular beauty retailer is serving up countless deals on skin-care, makeup, and hair-care items. Its sale section is full of gems that you might miss if you don't look closely enough. For example, Pat McGrath's Mini Eye Ecstasy: Eyeshadow Palette is a great way to try out the luxe beauty brand's offerings at a major discount. It comes with five beautiful, shimmery shades inspired by Mother's backstage kits. And just a head's up: a trio of her pink LuxeTrance Lipsticks are also on sale for delicious color that hugs your lips comfortably.

Ole Henriksen's 3 Little Wonders Set includes Truth Serum, Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer, and Invigorating Night Transformation Gel in convenient, 30-milliliter sizes. This quaint but powerful trio delivers potent ingredients like vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acids, licorice, and more. Use all three for a smoother, brighter complexion day and night.

Pat McGrath Mini Eye Ecstasy Eyeshadow Palette

Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders

Tatcha

Tatcha's Friends & Family Sale is still going on, reaching its end at 11:59 p.m. PT on October 15, so you still have time to shop coveted skin-care products for 20 percent off. Everything besides gifts sets and gift cards is fair game for the discount. Scoop up 2020 Allure Best of Beauty-winning The Essence for brightening and plumping effects powered by Japanese green tea, algae, and rice. Or pick up The Water Cream for super lightweight moisture that doesn't clog pores or feel heavy. Our readers love it so much that they gave it a Readers' Choice Award this year.

Tatcha The Essence

Tatcha The Water Cream

Soko Glam

Select skin-care products have been marked down 20 percent at one of our favorite K-beauty destinations, Soko Glam. A few standouts include the Good Skin Days Prime Time Cleansing Toner, which rings in at a pH of 4.5 and deeply hydrates complexions with maple and rose waters. It also has pumpkin and papaya enzymes for gentle, naturally-occurring exfoliation. And our other pick is the Mediheal x BTS Hydration Care Special Set because, just like BTS's latest chart-topping single, it's dynamite. In addition to five N.M.F. Aquaring Ampoule Mask and five Tea Tree Care Solution Masks, it comes with 14 limited-edition photocards of the global superstars. (Sheet masks may be temporary, but BTS' impact is forever.)

And in case that's not enough savings for you, Soko Glam's Best of K-Beauty sale is still going on through October 18, which means you can score 15 percent off all of the winners, like the Allure-editor-favorite Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm, with the code ELITE15.

Good Skin Days Prime Time Cleansing Toner

Mediheal x BTS Hydration Care Special Set

Nordstrom

Nordstrom's clearance section almost always has treasures that are worth adding to cart. Through October 14, you can score an additional 25 percent off clearance beauty products from Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani, and more — bringing your total discount up to as high as 75 percent off. We love Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfect Liquid Highlighter because it gives you a glorious glow that'll outshine the longest Zoom meetings in work-from-home history.

That's not the only way you can save, though. On October 15, the mega retailer is also kicking off a week-long Beauty Trend Event filled with virtual events and big discounts. On Thursday, you can get 30 percent off selected complexion favorites from Lancôme, Bobbi Brown, MAC, and Beauty Bakerie. Friday offers 25 percent off selected "smart beauty" items from NuFACE, BeautyStat, and Dr. Barbara Sturm. And hair-care lovers can't miss up to 30 percent off on brands like Drybar, BeautyBio, Briogeo, and dpHUE on Saturday.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that Briogeo's Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Mask will be among the discounts on Saturday because this 2020 Best of Beauty winner nourishes dry, dull hair with a concentrated dose of avocado oil, kiwi fruit extract, and biotin.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Mask

Fenty Beauty

It's not really a (beauty sale) party without RiRi. Fenty Beauty's Friends and Family Sale kicks off on October 16 with 25 percent off sitewide (no code needed), but right at this moment, the makeup (and skin-care) queen is doling up irresistible deals on her contour sticks, lipsticks, lip balms, and even the gorgeously-packaged Stunna Lunar New Year set. 

We're eyeing Fenty Beauty's Match Stix Trio, which is the perfect set for contouring and highlighting to your precise preferences. The Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks are a known Allure editor fave (we even gave the coral Dragon Mami shade a Best of Beauty Award) for bold, long-lasting, and never-drying color. P.S. If your favorite shade is sold out on Fenty's website, the same deal is happening over at sephora.com. 

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Trio

Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Matte Lipstick

Etsy

We should be showing lots of love for small business owners out there, now and forever. The fine sellers over at Etsy made it even easier to support them by treating us to markdowns of their own. What can you get, you ask? Well, only one-of-a-kind pieces, like birthstone necklaces, personalized duffle bags, and spa gift boxes that you (or a loved one) will treasure for a very long time.

MignonandMignon Birthstone Necklace

GiftBoxLoveCo Spa Box

Brooklinen

If you've been waiting for the right opportunity to introduce a silk pillowcase or silk scrunchie into your life, now's the time. Mulberry silk will be a lot easier on your hair than traditional cotton pillowcases, so you wake up with smoother, frizz-free hair. Same goes for the silk scrunchies, which won't tug at your hair or leave any dents. Brooklinen is offering 15 percent off its extra-soft, never-want-to-leave-home products. The discount is automatically taken off at checkout (no code needed), but Spaces products are excluded from the discount.

Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

Brooklinen Small Silk Scrunchies

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Bluegem Capital Partners Acquires Panzeri Diffusion

PARIS – Bluegem Capital Partners has acquired Panzeri Diffusion, an Italian company trading in the professional hair-care category.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bluegem, a European mid-market fund based in London with a focus on consumer brands, made the purchase through its Pool Service subsidiary, which was created in September 2019 after Bluegem acquired Pool Service/Medavita group. The aim with that transaction was to create an aggregator platform in the professional hair-care category.

That beauty segment, estimated at 14 billion euros globally, has been especially challenging over the past few years, so industry executives have been innovating to try and increase footfall into professional hair salons and in some instances consolidate activities to build critical mass to help in manufacturing operations and negotiating distribution deals.

Panzeri, which was founded in 1999 by Ivano Panzeri in Malnate, Italy, owns professional hair-product brands that include Z.one Concept, Milk_Shake, No Inhibition, Simply Zen, Depot and Urban Tribe. The group’s products are available domestically and in international markets, including the U.S.

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Last year Panzeri generated sales of about 49 million euros. The group employs 130 people.

“In October 2020, the acquisition of Panzeri Diffusion marks the first important step for Pool Service/Medavita for the consolidation of the field that offers significant operational synergies,” said Bluegem in a statement released Monday. “Medavita will also be able to leverage Panzeri’s successful experience in the U.S. market to develop its presence in North America.”

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Once the two groups are merged, the new entity is to be named BeautyNova. It will be the third-largest group operating in the professional hair-care market in Italy – worth an estimated 540 million euros annually – with estimated aggregate pro-forma sales of about 90 million euros. Sales abroad should comprise more than 60 percent of revenues in over 70 countries, including China and Latin America, as well as the U.S.

The merged company will have more than 300 employees, a portfolio of over 12,000 proprietary formulations and an in-house research-and-development department.

The current chief executive officer of Panzeri, Stefano Banfo, will lead the group’s development for the next few years, according to Bluegem.

Panzieri said he wanted to ensure continuity and ongoing development for the company he founded, especially as the professional hair-care market becomes ever more competitive.

He explained that’s “why I have chosen a group that has ambitious development plans and which will give added value to the extraordinary results achieved by my company up until now.”

“Together, we are sharing the extraordinary synergies that could exist and the advantages that, thanks to this transaction, we can gain for global growth, a virtuous union between the two companies,” said Panzieri. “The opportunity to remain in the province of Varese, both to safeguard the security of the collaborators and continue to be an economic value for Varesotto [the area surrounding the city of Varese] was an important consideration in my decision.”

“The deal fits perfectly into the investment strategy of the Bluegem III fund, which is focused on stable consumer brands (consumer staples) with a strong cash generation that have demonstrated resilience during the delicate phase of COVID-19,” said Emilio Di Spiezio Sardo, cofounder of Bluegem Capital Partners, in the statement. “Furthermore, this transaction confirms Bluegem’s attention to Italy, a market which we believe in and aim to accelerate the performance of some of the most promising entrepreneurial entities in the country.”

Deloitte Financial Advisory served as Bluegem’s financial adviser. Latham & Watkins and Studio Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli and Partners were the legal and tax advisers, respectively, for Bluegem.

Panzieri’s financial adviser was Milano Global Advisors, and Studio Barberi & Volpi Associati served as its legal adviser.

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Meet My New Favorite Face Mask for Calming Red Irritated Skin

There are seldom experiences I resent more than waking up to red, angry skin that feels devoid of moisture — and yet, that's my reality more days than not when winter weather starts rolling in. Luckily though, thanks to skin care, I've found some lovely treatments that help bring my skin back into balance almost instantly (take it from someone with extremely finicky skin: hydration goes a long way). Lately, my favorite product for this has been the Antipodes's Aura Manuka Honey Mask, albeit based on how much I've been loving it so far, something tells me it's going to be a longtime staple in my skin-care routine.

The first time I used this mask, my skin was in full-on freak-out mode after a night spent drinking one too many glasses of wine and not getting nearly enough sleep. My splotchy, sandpapery skin craved hydration like I crave a breakfast sandwich when I'm hungover, so I trudged to the bathroom to search for something that would come through on the moisture front. Lo and behold, this guy was the first product I saw as I'd just gotten it in the mail and had added it to the "Things to Try" section of my cabinet. And so I slathered on a quarter-sized dollop of the creamy formula and hoped for the best.

Twenty minutes and a mean cup of coffee later, I went back to the bathroom and gently removed the excess product with warm water. To my surprise (and delight), I didn't feel like I immediately had to follow up with a thick moisturizer, which is usually what I always do — even after masking with a hydrating formula.

After looking at the ingredients (and the name of the mask), I understood why my skin felt so good: It's made with manuka honey, which is famous for its healing properties, as well as glycerin, vitamin E, and sunflower seed oil, all of which help to soothe and hydrate.

It's been a mere few weeks since I first tried this manuka-infused mask, and I've used it, oh, I don't know, almost every single day since? That just goes to show how much I adore it.

Suffice it to say, if your skin is easily thrown off by the changing seasons (i.e. dryer, colder weather), I'd definitely suggest trying this treatment out. If interested, you can shop it now on amazon.com for $28.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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California First U.S. State to Ban Harmful Cosmetics Ingredients, Already Forbidden in the EU

California is the first state in the nation to ban 24 toxic ingredients from being used in cosmetics, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, on Wednesday. The law will take effect starting on Jan. 1, 2025.

The harmful ingredients, which are connected to a number of major health-related issues, birth defects and diseases including cancer, are already forbidden from beauty and personal-care products sold in 40 countries, including the European Union.

“Children, communities of color and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these ingredients, which are not actively regulated by the federal government,” Newsom said in a statement.

Authored by Assembly members Al Muratsuchi, Bill Quirk and Buffy Wicks, the list of banned chemicals includes PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), mercury, formaldehyde, along with endocrine-disrupting phthalates and long-chain parabens, which are preservatives used in skin-care products.

“For more than 80 years, Congress has neglected to increase the scope of the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over cosmetics, limiting the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of cosmetic products,” noted a statement from the Environmental Working Group, which cosponsored the legislation alongside Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and the California Public Interest Research Group. The organizations work to protect consumers and public health.

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