Where do we start with a review of 2021? It was a year of phenomenal activity for our graduates, students and their indie beauty brands despite being a difficult time for many. It was a year of the ongoing pandemic bringing with it both personal and business costs, and a period of heightened awareness about the toll of climate change.
But, throughout this difficult year Formula Botanica graduates more than proved their worth building and growing beauty businesses and doing so with sustainability goals embedded in their core philosophies.
In 2021, they demonstrated just how innovation, resilience, creativity and determination pay off. We have seen some 60 graduates and students win over 130 beauty awards for their brands and natural cosmetic products and we may not have caught news of all winners on our radar. We added a further 100 beauty brands to our graduate gallery.
It truly was a year in which Formula Botanica graduates made their mark as indie beauty founders who mean business. More than ever, 2021, with the COP 26 UN conference on climate change, the beauty industry spotlight focused on the naturals’ sector. The debate was often controversial, as the topics of many of our Green Beauty Conversations podcast reflected. But, the year saw, we feel, a real coming of age of natural, organic indie beauty brands.
With the brief scene setting done, we proudly showcase some of the many Formula Botanica graduate brands that made waves and won awards in 2021. We have chosen those that are new and noteworthy or won in the major categories of leading industry awards. We include also some exciting mainstream media coverage and PR our alumni brands, both newcomers and established, gained over the year.
Do visit our graduate gallery where we present all Formula Botanica graduate and student brands that we know of. We predict 2022 will be an even busier year and just as successful for Formula Botanica alumni.Learn to formulate and launch your own indie beauty brand. Be inspired by the over 60 @FormulaBotanica graduate brands that won over 130 top beauty awards in 2021. #naturalformulation #beautyawards #indiebeauty Click To Tweet
Graduate brands in the news
2021 might have been a year we were still at home more than going to events, but this was not the case for our graduate and student beauty brands which were very much out and about getting noticed. We are excited to share just some of the mainstream media PR and news coverage we picked up on. From being mentioned alongside celebrities of the stage and sport, to winning an entrepreneur award and featuring on prime time TV, our alumni and their brands have been consistently in the media. Below, we highlight some of the most memorable PR mentions of 2021.
BYBI Founders Dominika Minorovic and Elsie Rutterford are not newcomers to the spotlight having early on in their business careers won investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin StartUp Fund. Several rounds of venture capital later and now established in the US market in major retailers like Target, BYBI found itself in the US beauty news with red carpet mentions of the beauty regimes of actors Billie Eilish and Megan Fox, and also Olympian Simone Biles.”Still pinching ourselves that the stunning Simone Biles wore C-Caf Cream & Bright Eyed Eye Cream in her June @glamourmag cover shoot,” said the founders on their Facebook page.
New York-based Sandra Velasquez launched her Mexican-heritage brand Nopalera in late 2020 and it is incredible how fast and how far she has grown her brand in 2021. Now stocked in Nordstrom stores and available across the US, Nopalera, whose ranges are based on cactus extracts, caught the mainstream media eye for other reasons than its speed to market. The Today show interviewed Sandra in a feature on the growth of Latino businesses and for her role as a champion of the quality and worth of Latino-inspired and -made goods. Sandra and Nopalera also featured on The Drew Barrymore Show, and in Beauty Independent where she was heralded as ‘The Mexican Martha Stewart’, in 365 Days, 365 Women, a project and blog giving voice to the remarkable, everyday stories of women and a host of other big name media outlets.
Rena Rifaee, the founder of skincare brand Natugee, has shown us just how empowering natural formulation can be. Based in Malaysia, Rena won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award run by the country’s early-stage startup influencer Cradle Fund with Proficeo Consultants. Natugee focuses on the niche of smart-ageing (pro-age) but Rena gained recognition too for her role as an advocate for women’s empowerment and mental health. Rena’s achievement both with her brand and as a leading voice for women’s growth is inspirational and shows how beauty entrepreneurship can foster a diversity of paths in life.
Another newcomer that made media waves in 2021 is D’Still. Launched in early 2021 by graduate Ula Blocksage, D’Still was immediately in the spotlight and won the ‘Brand to Watch’ category of the 2021 Beauty Shortlist Awards. Ula also garnered the Shortlist’s Best Serum – dry skin award – and editors’ choice awards for her cleansing balm. D’Still’s high-profile media mentions over the year include an interview with Jo Fairley of The Beauty Bible.
CosmEthically Active certification
With new certification schemes arriving all the time, we were particularly interested to learn of CosmEthically Active, the first certification evaluating the active ingredients in cosmetics against strict scientific criteria. We were proud to see the first of our graduate brands gain CosmEthically Active certification; Flower & Spice, and Matinata both gained its certification and are trailblazing for naturals by having evidence-based efficacy claims for their formulations independently verified. Flower & Spice founder Karmen Novak explained to our online classroom the benefits of commissioning efficacy testing and Matinata’s Ivanka Cosic-Prizmic promoted a collection of her products in a special ‘Cosmethically Active’ box.
Cosmopolitan UK: 16 Vegan Brands
Four graduate brands were featured in a Cosmopolitan UK article listing 16 vegan brands to look out for. BYBI, the Glowcery, Neighbourhood Botanicals and Monday Muse were given plaudits for their 100% vegan formulations, efficacy and competitive price points as well as their hip, cool, interesting and colourful packaging.
Formula Botanica Graduate Award Winners 2021
With Formula Botanica graduate and student brands winning over 130 awards across categories from the major award bodies over the past year, it is impossible to list and reflect every winner here. Below, we have compiled a ‘best-of’ list of the top award categories. Many more of our alumni’s brilliant products and brands were awarded silver or bronze, were voted editors’ and readers’ choices or were finalists in various categories.
|Brand||Awards||Category / Product|
|D'still||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BRAND TO WATCH: 2021|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST SERUM – dry skin|
|Evolve||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST NATURAL/ORGANIC SKINCARE BRAND|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST SKINCARE BRAND (Age 30+)|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST EYE & LIP PRODUCT MULTI-TASKER|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST CLEANSER Age 30+|
|Adarci||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST MOISTURISER|
|Osco||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||ANTI-POLLUTION - Pollution Defence Serum – joint winner|
|Creation Skin Sanctuary||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST SKINCARE PRODUCT (Age 30+)|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST OVERNIGHT BALM|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST SERUM (to prevent and/or calm breakouts) – joint winner|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST EYE CREAM – intense therapy/mature skin|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST CLEANSING BALM|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST NIGHT BALM - Joint Winner|
|Omayma||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST FACIAL ELIXIR|
|Okoko Cosmetiques||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST CORRECTIVE SERUM|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST MULTPURPOSE CLEANSER|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST BEAUTY BALM|
|Flower & Spice||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST EXFOLIATOR - Finalist|
|Catarina Barbosa||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST FACE MASK – gel-to-milk|
|Kyushi||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST CLEANSER for all skin types (oil)|
|Lamia Biocosmetica||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST CLEANSER for sensitive skin|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||EDITOR’S CHOICE - Revitalising Serum|
|Vitruvian Man||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST EYE CREAM - Men's Category|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST||BEST ALL-DAY MOISTURISER - Men's Category – joint winner|
|Kiss Kiss Goodnight||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST NATURAL BABY BRAND 2021 – USA - Finalist|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST BABY BALM|
|Edible Beauty||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST MULTI-TASKING PRODUCT FOR MUM & BABY|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST BABY BOTTOM BUTTER|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST HEALTH & WELLBEING SUPPLEMENT (PREGNANCY/NEW MUM)|
|SKN-RG||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST TIME-SAVING & MULTI-TASKING BEAUTY PRODUCT|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST PLANT RETINOL PRODUCT|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST CLEANSER|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST INTENSIVE THERAPEUTIC HAND CREAM|
|The Rose Tree||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST BATH OIL|
|THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST MAMA & BABY AWARDS||BEST BEAUTY BALM|
|Huna||THE BEAUTY SHORTLIST WELLBEING AWARDS||BEST HAND SANITISER SPRAY|
|Bowe Organics||THE FREE FROM SKINCARE AWARDS||LIP CARE - Gold|
|The Rose Tree||GREEN PARENT AWARDS UK - NATURAL BEAUTY AWARDS||HAND CREAM - Gold|
|Happy Carrot Skincare||GREEN PARENT AWARDS UK - NATURAL BEAUTY AWARDS||BEST BUYS MAKEUP|
|Huna||12TH ANNUAL EARTH DAY BEAUTY AWARDS - 2021 Healing Lifestyles||BODY - BEST HAND SANITIZER|
|12TH ANNUAL EARTH DAY BEAUTY AWARDS - 2021 Healing Lifestyles||BODY - BEST HEALING OIL|
|Okoko Cosmetiques||12TH ANNUAL EARTH DAY BEAUTY AWARDS - 2021 Healing Lifestyles||FACE - BEST EYE SERUM|
|Edible Beauty||12TH ANNUAL EARTH DAY BEAUTY AWARDS - 2021 Healing Lifestyles||MAKE-UP - BEST EYE LINER|
|Edible Beauty||LUX LIFE - HEALTH, BEAUTY & WELLNESS AWARDS||MOST ECO-CONSCIOUS BEAUTY BRAND 2021 - Australia|
|Happy Carrot Skincare||LUX LIFE - HEALTH, BEAUTY & WELLNESS AWARDS||BEST ORGANIC PLANT-BASED SKINCARE COMPANY - UK|
|Inner Senses||LUX LIFE - HEALTH, BEAUTY & WELLNESS AWARDS||BEST ARTISAN CRAFTED BEAUTY COMPANY - North West England|
|Wild Fox||LUX LIFE - HEALTH, BEAUTY & WELLNESS AWARDS||MOST INCLUSIVE ORGANIC SKINCARE COMPANY 2021 - Australia|
|Morina||AFRICA SPA AWARDS||NATURAL PRODUCT OF THE YEAR|
If you are a Formula Botanica graduate or student brand owner and would like to be featured in our Graduate Gallery, do contact us.
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Liz is Formula Botanica’s Content Coordinator and joined our team in August 2020. Liz worked as a professional blogger, journalist and site developer for many years and was also part of the Formula Botanica student community. Read more about the Formula Botanica Team.