by Malka Nebro November 30, 2020

There’s nothing quite so precious as an insider beauty tip. Stumbling upon a new not-yet-cult-favorite serum or toner via word of mouth feels a bit like getting the early tip off to a trust-me-she’s-gonna-be-huge-one-day artist named Lizzo. But there’s a reason these recommendations feel so exclusive—they’re hard to come by. 

Enter curated beauty retailers, which elevate under-the-radar brands from a diverse group of founders you might not necessarily be able to find at more mainstream beauty behemoths. To share our wisdom, we rounded up the best curated beauty retailers that focus on clean beauty and supporting brands on a mission. Happy browsing. 

Shen Beauty

Shen Beauty opened in Brooklyn when indie beauty was still indie. Over the years, the “curator of cool” has built a sterling reputation as the place to go for yet undiscovered natural and organic beauty brands. Expect to find prestige brands like Westman Atelier, RÖEN and SkinCeuticals, plus under-the-radar gems like Venn and Pai. 

Come for the pretty cadre of face oils; stay for the massive selection of clean color cosmetics. 


Dr. Kristian Henderson founded natural beauty retailer BLK + GRN to make sure Black women had a seat at the table in the green beauty movement. Every product sold on the site is not only all-natural, but made by a Black-owned brand, making conscious consumption as easy as washing your face.

Come for the thoughtful selection of hair products; stay for the wide range of home goods and postpartum products.

Goop Clean Beauty Shop 

Goop may have a controversial track-record with wellness advice, but their clean beauty shop is the stuff of cult obsession. In addition to the full Goop Beauty product line, the site is also home to justifiable splurges like Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum and Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum. 

Come for the skincare; stay for the fancy body products and bath soaks. 

Violet Gray 

Violet Gray is the original “where the beauty insiders shop” shop. If you want luxury, look no further than the brand’s exclusives collection where you’ll find a Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum by Victoria Beckham and an Italian-crafted Yves Durif brush. 

Come for the splurges like Augustinus Bader; stay for the surprising steals like Nécessarie. 

Marjani Beauty 

The “brown girl beauty authority” serves up a deep selection of Black-owned brands selected by a team of curators who “recognize and respect melanin.” That means “nude” lipsticks and foundations thatactually cater to a wide range of deep skin tones and richly-pigmented shadows designed to pop on darker skin. 

Come for the wide array of makeup options; stay for the intriguing collection of skincare picks like turmeric and carrot honey soap. 

Soko Glam 

Soko Glam brought K-beauty stateside, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude. As is the hallmark of the beauty phenomenon, you can expect to find an endless selection of skin-care products here to pad out your maximalist 15-step daily routine. 

Come for a deep bench of serums, essences and balms; stay for the delightfully unexpected range of sun protection. 

The Detox Market

If you want to focus on sustainability, The Detox Market has you covered with a full range of skincare, makeup, hair and body, and wellness products. 

Come for the big brands like Moon Juice and Osea; stay for the up and coming brands you don’t want to sleep on like Lili Lolo and Ursa Major.  

Ayla Beauty 

Ayla Beauty places a heavy emphasis on personal recommendations via a team of beauty guides. Every product on the site was hand selected by the brand’s founder and the team is standing by to make specific recommendations or send personalized samples. 

Come for the nontoxic ethos; stay for the impressive collection of powerful serums.   

Credo Beauty

Credo Beauty is the largest clean beauty store on the planet, but that doesn’t mean it feels overwhelming. Yes, you could spend hours browsing (no judgement), but you’ll still find an expertly curated selection of tools (like Skin Gym’s line of facial rollers), skincare products (like Tata Harper’s cult cleanser), clean makeup (like Kosas), and fragrance (like Ellis Brooklyn’s very Instagrammable Salt Eau de Parfum). 

Come for the deep shelves; stay for the  clean beauty crash course

C. O. Bigelow

Known as “the oldest apothecary in America,” C.O. Bigelow was founded in 1838 in Greenwich Village, New York City. They’re not stuck in the past, though! They’ve updated some of their original formulas throughout the decades all while releasing new favorites. In their store, if you’re local, or on their e-commerce experience, you’ll find products created from simple, powerful ingredients that have stood the test of time, but also skincare, makeup, body products, and homeopathic remedies from friends of the brand, too  (like yours truly!)

Come for the cult classics; stay for the modern curation with an apothecary lens.

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