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During founder Vicky Tsai's second year at Harvard Business School, she had a layover in Japan, where she met a geisha who inspired her to start a business based on the traditional skincare rituals. Tsai took what she learned and built her skincare brand Tatcha, which is not only luxurious but charitable: Each full-size product purchase funds a day of school for a girl through Room to Read.
Buy It! Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, $95; sephora.com, Tatcha Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer, $68; sephora.com and Tatcha The Essence Plumping Skin Softener, $95; sephora.com
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Briogeo’s founder Nancy Twine ditched her VP position at Goldman Sachs to pursue her dream of starting a haircare brand of high-performance, naturally-made products. And it paid off! Since then, she became the youngest African-American woman to ever launch a line at Sephora.
Buy It! Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo, $24; sephora.com, Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Conditioner, $24; sephora.com and Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, $36; sephora.com
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From a few edgy lipsticks she made in the mid-'90s, Wende Zomnir catapulted Urban Decay into one of the most beloved beauty brands around, with its iconic Naked eye shadow palettes as a stand-out favorites. "I have always wanted Urban Decay to be a brand that empowers the women and men who use our products, fosters self-expression and defies defined notions or standards of beauty," she wrote in an essay for Time. "On the one hand, the products we make help women to look and feel their best. On the other, we foster the notion that without outward beauty, people may not notice inner beauty."
Buy It! Urban Decay Naked Skin Highlighting Fluid, $28; sephora.com, Urban Decay Naked3 Palette, $54; sephora.com and Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick, $18; sephora.com
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Sisters Sam and Nicola Chapman (who launched Pixiwoo in 2008) were pioneers of transforming their early YouTube fame into a successful business. They knew good makeup started with good tools, so in 2011, the duo launched their affordable line of brushes, Real Techniques.
Buy It! Real Techniques Blush Brush, $8.09; target.com, Real Techniques Powder Brush, $7.19; target.com and Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponges, $9.89; target.com
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BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS
Although at the end of 2016 Bobbi Brown announced she would be stepping away from her namesake brand that she spent 25 years building, she's the inspiration for a whole new generation of women ready to turn their passion projects into global brands.
Buy It! Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder, $48; nordstrom.com, Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color, $35; nordstrom.com and Bobbi Brown Blush, $28; nordstrom.com