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Cool Girl Beauty Brands Are Taking Over Instagram — So I Tested The Hype

This piece has been syndicated from Her Campus at Boston University. You can join a chapter at your school (or start your own!).

Makeup is not just about covering flaws. It also gives anyone the powerful opportunity to express themselves in any way they want, from a thick cat eyeliner and heavy contour to a simple swipe of mascara and a dot of blush. Now more than ever before, brands are focusing on highlighting the person who wears their makeup rather than creating products meant to hide whoever lies beneath layers of caked-on foundation. Here are five cool girl makeup lines that need to be on your shopping radar! 

1. Glossier

Glossier to the beauty world is like Saoirse Ronan to the film industry. She’s young, cool, fashionable, and generates a ton of buzz anytime she announces a new project. Like Ronan, Glossier was also an overnight sensation. The brand’s minimalist pink packaging and fuss-free ad campaigns featuring “no-makeup-makeup” on models who look like the cool, stylish, yet undeniably real girls from school, define Glossier as the ultimate “cult-beauty brand” for millennials. One look at their site, and you’ll be sold. But, before you buy EVERYTHING (guilty as charged), let me tell you which products are worth breaking out the big bucks for.

Their “boy brow” pomade is arguably the product that put Glossier on the map, so add that to your cart for sure. While you’re at it, throw in some Lidstar (eyeshadow), Cloud Paint (blush), Haloscope (highlighter), and some Balm Dotcom (glorified Vaseline, I mean lip balm, but really though, it’s worth it). My favorite is the Milky Jelly Cleanser, to wash away all that makeup. Once your hefty order arrives, you’ll be toting a little pink pouch just like all of the other cool girls!

2. Kosas 

Kosås is another common sighting on any slightly messy yet aesthetically pleasing cool girl’s vanity. It is lipstick from the beautifully designed, all-natural brand. These products replace typical highly processed ingredients, like mineral oil, with user-friendly and organic ingredients like castor seed and other plant-based oils. Buh-bye, toxins!

Unlike most lipsticks, Kosås has perfected the art of long-lasting lip wear that doesn’t turn your pout into a puckering desert. Their hydrating lip products come in 8 gorgeous shades that range from a dusty rose to a rich burgundy. The company recently branched out into the world of powder blush and foundation, but since I have not personally tested it out yet, I’ll leave that up to you all to go and do some field work.

3. Flesh Beauty 

Flesh Beauty is the brain-child of Linda Wells, Founder of Flesh. Wells wanted to create an all-inclusive beauty line that breaks down the idea of “flesh-tone,” which usually brings to mind the “nude” crayon you used to use to color in the skin of your stick-figure masterpieces back in the old elementary school days.

The brand has a whopping collection of forty flattering foundation shades along with eleven other products meant to enhance, not cover up, your natural beauty. The Fleshpot Eye and Cheek Gloss is a fan-favorite peachy gloss flecked with a bit of gold, and will finally help you achieve that glossy-eyeshadow trend IRL sans mess due to its lack of sticky grossness. Much obliged, Flesh. 

4. Milk Makeup

If you like bright colors, sleek packaging, and like to rock a wild 80’s inspired look now and then, Milk Makeup Is the brand for you. Milk Makeup was started by a photography studio based out of LA and NY, so that means every product this company rolls out is meant to look good photographed (hello matte skin, goodbye oily skin flash fails).

Milk is all about inclusivity, so they make products for those who like to go all out with the glossy, blue lids and holographic highlighter, and also for the people who prefer a fresh-faced “I woke up like this” look. Every product formula is top notch, but my personal favorites are definitely their pore-blurring matte primer and their multi-purpose, moisturizing Hero Salve. After using any Milk product, you’ll definitely be ready for your close-up.  

5. RMS Makeup 

RMS is like that cool aunt of yours who always dresses to the nines without looking like she’s trying too hard. Every product is made with organic ingredients and is packaged with the thought of your overall health and well-being in mind. This extreme attention to detail marks the products on the pricier side, but I promise that they’re worth every penny spent. These products are designed to combat the signs of aging and keep your skin looking fresh and rejuvenated 24/7.

Like a lot of the brands I mentioned above, RMS also is committed to creating products that highlight your features, so a lot of their products are branded as “uncovering” your best skin. Their “un” cover-up concealer does just that with its hydrating and lightweight formula, which practically melts into your skin. I’m also a big fan of their incredibly creamy eye polishes, which come in the prettiest, glowing metallic shades, and double as an eye cream. Who doesn’t love a multi-tasking product? RMS isn’t just a cool girl brand. It’s a cool girl BOSS brand.

While many brands out there are still committed to giving you full-coverage products which leave behind no trace of you, the new age of makeup is ushering in a revolution of revealing the skin you live in, enhancing its best features, all while having a bit of fun with some color and sparkle.

Emma is a senior at BU studying Journalism and Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Communications. She's originally from sunny Los Angeles, California. She is an avid fan of local bakeries and making oddly specific Spotify playlists.
Rachel is the Senior Editor at Her Campus. She graduated from Elon University in 2015 where she wrote for Her Campus's Elon chapter as well as the national LGBTQ+ section, and has since held editorial positions at Hello Giggles and Brit + Co along with running social media for several publishers. Her work has been published in Teen Vogue, Glamour, StyleCaster, and SELF, and she can be found in North Carolina smearing face masks on in the name of content. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @RachelCharleneL.