Maybe it’s because of how easy it’s become, but does anyone else feel like their online beauty discovery has hit a rut? There are so many places to shop, and so many brands… unless it goes viral, it’s hard to stumble upon a find. Your algorithm might know you, but it probably doesn’t know that super cool, under-the-radar indie brand you really want to hear about. For that, you need some real-life people in the know.
Thirteen Lune is a beauty e-tailer that feels like a tightly curated neighborhood beauty store. Actually, it’s kind of like Violet Grey, if Violet Grey’s mission were to amplify the market presence of BIPOC beauty founders. Co-founder Nyakio Grieco and her team started by testing tons of up-and-coming brands owned by people of color. Her goal was to find products that were really, really great, but that hadn’t yet benefitted from a large platform—the original 13 brands the site carried at launch were sold just direct-to-consumer or in small retail spaces before Thirteen Lune scooped them up. They took the charge even further with their “vanguard list.” It’s basically a network of over 60 expert contributors (like makeup artist Sir John, doula Erica Chidi, and aesthetician Shani Darden, to name a few) committed to spreading the word about the gems they find. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a giant game of beauty recommendation telephone?
A year later, Thirteen Lune carries nearly 70 unique brands. Not every product from every brand, you’ll notice—the products are carefully chosen to work together, not cannibalize each other. Grieco maintained a strict 90-10 rule as the offering expanded: 90-percent of brands carried by the site have BIPOC founders, while the remaining 10-percent have shown consistent inclusivity in their products and messaging. (“Ally brands,” they’re called.) Both initiatives make it kind of hard to go wrong, even when trying something new-to-you.
Within their 70-brand inventory, ITG has some favorites. Starting with the cleansers lies two on opposite ends of the spectrum. Visha’s technically-head-to-toe wash is a minty morning wakeup call to your skin, while Ranavat’s cream cleanser that doesn’t look or feel like a cleanser at all dissolves makeup on the spot when you apply it ahead of water, and smells like a bouquet of roses while you get clean. It’s practically the cashmere sweater of cleansers. You might follow that with Annie, which is not a person but an acid-packed toner from Luxcey. They make small-batch French skincare—just about the chicest way to deal with acne (if you have to deal with it at all). From the chemist behind Beautystat’s vitamin C serum (which Ali swears is the best on the market) comes a can’t-go-wrong facial oil—pure squalane, good for oily and dry skin alike. Or, you might consider moisturizing with the Liquid Lift mask from The Things We Do. It’s a clear, refreshing gel that hydrates and tightens like someone threw a glass of ice water at your face. Exactly the fridge-friendly cooling treatment you’ve been looking for all summer.
Something that feels extra special when you look at Thirteen Lune’s stock is that the products are good, yes, but the products are also beautiful. Gilded Body’s body brush, outfitted in looks-good-in-your-bathroom pink marble, is pretty enough to let even a dry brush skeptic give it a go. And Holy Curls, a line of curl quenching creams, shampoos, and conditioners squeezed into amber bottles, is as hydrating as the bottles are eye-catching; there will be two reasons you’ll be sad when you’ve finished your supply.
The makeup section looks like candy. So many bright, beautiful colors! Shiny finishes! Bite-sized packaging! Mora’s lip-to-cheek sticks are like a candlelit glow that follows you around, even in daytime. But if you’re going to click on just one tab at Thirteen Lune, better make it “Lips.” Because there you’re in for a treat. Is it a gloss? Is it a balm? Jury’s still out on this one from Glosshood, which straddles both worlds in delivering a layer of shine that sinks into lips just enough so that they get a dose of moisturizing coconut, jojoba, and avocado oil. It just feels good. Marie Hunter’s Luxe Goddess Gloss gets high marks as well, with just the right amount of shimmer before reaching frosted territory. A few clicks over you’ll land on Ami Colé’s Lip Oil—you already know Ashley is obsessed.
Photos via ITG