Creation myth: While working at Barneys New York, Carney was mixing her own nail polish colors at home. When customers started asking about her manicures, she realized she’d found a market. In 2009 she debuted RGB in 10 classic colors and followed up with seasonal collections. Toast (right), from 2009, is still a best-seller.
Key ingredients: The products are known for what they don’t contain: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.
Recent developments: A nail- care collection, including acetone- and acetate-free soy-based color-removal pads, and an ongoing collaboration with green celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp.
Creation myth: Plavsic, a Vancouver native who grew up with a holistic-oriented mother, wanted to make an organic version of her beloved cherry-tinted Labello lip balm. In 2011, she launched Ilia Pure Lip Care, six 85 percent certified-organic lip conditioners in a range of shades, from nude to rich burgundy—all encased in recycled-aluminum packaging.
Key ingredients: Jojoba oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E.
Recent developments: Plavsic has expanded with six lip glosses (right), two illuminators, and four mascaras, which contain a synthetic preservative—but Plavsic is working on creating a sugar-and-salt-based alternative.
Creation myth: This veteran makeup artist used to mix up batches of a homemade illuminating body moisturizer, which she would then tote to her photo shoots in Tupperware containers. When renowned trainer Tracy Anderson discovered the product, she persuaded Karlyn to go public with it. Her vegan skin-tightening lotion (left, top and center) is available in four shades—the glow comes from natural minerals—as well as a colorless option. After Rihanna fell in love with the moisturizer, Karlyn came out with a darker shade.
Key ingredients: Avocado butter, grapefruit wax, jojoba gel, green tea extract, rosemary extract, arnica, and natural minerals among others. It’s all 100 percent vegan, 95 percent raw, and fragrance-, dye- and paraben-free.
Recent developments: Karlyn is testing a nonchemical SPF version of the lotion.
Where to buy: Joyus (joyus.com); OpenSky (opensky.com)