I Speed-Dated Hundreds of Indie Beauty Products—Here Are the 17 I Loved Most

Roughly one month ago, I got the opportunity of a lifetime and attended Cosmoprof North America (CPNA), the single largest business-to-business beauty trade show in all the Americas. The show spans a full three days, is held annually in Las Vegas's Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and this year alone hosted an incredible 40,000 attendees and a record-breaking 1415 exhibitors from 56 different countries. Never before have I squeezed in so many steps in so little time—the show floor space is 311,150 square feet, after all—or so many cups of coffee. (Sky-high caffeine levels are key for survival.) Essentially, I speed-dated hundreds of the most promising indie beauty brands in the industry—and discovered twice as many products—from hair and skincare to makeup and nail polish. 

By far, CPNA was one of the most memorable experiences I've had as an editor in the industry thus far, and I returned to L.A. with just short of a gazillion new brands and products swirling around in my head—exciting, yes, but also a bit overwhelming. So many products, so little time to test and try! Because honestly, I had enough to bid me a lifetime's worth of experimentation. Obviously, I wanted to share everything as soon as possible, but to be honest, there was a lot of sifting to do before I could report on the brands and products I truly felt most excited about. So hundreds (and I mean that literally, not dramatically) of products and testing hours later, I've finally come up with a list of my ride-or-dies—the fresh, under-the-radar items that go above and beyond in packaging, innovation, whimsy, experience, and results. Curious for a glimpse? Keep reading for the 17 best new indie beauty products I discovered at Cosmoprof this year.