Before I moved to New York City, my mom bestowed a bit of wisdom on me. She said every tool in my kitchen should have more than one use, which means no panini presses or avocado slicers. Counter space is a precious commodity in my tiny, 2-bedroom apartment, and the same can be said about my vanity space and my beauty products. I must think strategically about the makeup products I bring into my home, and if they don’t serve more than one purpose, it’s only going to add more clutter to my space—and anyone who knows me knows I hate clutter.
Undone Beauty is aiming to minimize the mess with clean-lined products that serve more than one use, from the Lip to Cheek Palette, which provides three opacities in one pan, to the Lip Life Balm, a tinted balm that includes an exfoliating tip. The subtle hues of each product enhance natural beauty rather than cover it up, and even their website highlights the au naturel with un-retouched images.
Keep reading to find out how Undone Beauty founder Ann Somma and her team are undoing maximalist beauty.
On starting the brand
We started Undone about a year and a half ago. There are so many brands that offer so much and at so many different price points. For us, the opportunity that we saw, even though there's so much out there, was to create something very minimal, very simple, very clean, that was appealing to a broad range of people.
We have such a diverse group of people working with us and at the end of the day, we have very simple things in common—we’re busy. We want something that's affordable, we want something that works well, and we want something that can freshen our look or enhance our look, but isn't necessarily super made up.
Our first assortment was really a wish list of things that we couldn't find out there at the price point and with the quality that we wanted, and also showcasing innovation that we knew was truly new and different.
On her team
This is very much a team. I felt this way throughout my whole career. You can’t build a brand without having the support and passion of your team. It's definitely not just about my opinion and what works for me. I look to the people that work with me and to the consumers to understand what is the right direction for the brand and what's the next product and shade.
On their products (available in upcoming rewards!)
Our Lip to Cheek palette is three different opacities in one pan. We knew there was nothing else out there like it and that it was both very simple and very special. This is what we wanted to put out there in the world to represent the brand because the first impression is so important.
The Light on Lip lipstick is another wish list product that we all had in the office where we were like, why doesn't this exist? It's a sheer lipstick-balm hybrid. It goes on really smooth, it feels moisturizing, and it also has enough pigment to make an impact and to freshen up a look, but it's not so much pigment that you need to get out a lip liner, get out a mirror and use a lip brush. The really special thing about it from a formula standpoint is it has really fine reflective pigment. When you think about more traditional shimmery lipstick, it's really shimmery. It has little pieces in it that you can see, it's very impactful. This is very subtle, it’s almost like a lip gloss. It creates dimension on your lips, but it doesn't have that overly glossy look.
The Water Bronzer is a really special formula. If you want a natural looking tan without using a self-tanner, this is something that's sheer and doesn't have shimmer. We were really excited that we found a formula that you could use for contouring, use for bronzing, layer to be richer toned if you wanted and created this very natural bronze look. The easiest use of it is to use it as your first layer of color. The other thing that's amazing about it is if you apply the bronzer, you don't need as much foundation and you can just use concealer to touch up certain areas that are bothering you. It has the effect of evening out your skin tone and creating this beautiful glow.
The Lip Life Balm is another wish list dream we came up with. A lot of times when you put on a balm or a gloss, you immediately see the condition of your lips. If there's dryness or flakiness, it doesn't look good. The balm has a gentle exfoliating tip. The first thing you do is rub the tip on your lips to gently exfoliate. It's like that old trick people would say of putting Vaseline on and using a toothbrush to get the dead skin off—it’s like the elevated version of that. Then you just apply the balm afterward. It's really a two in one and the formula is a balm-gloss hybrid. It's not sticky, it's very moisturizing, and depending on the shade you use it adds a little bit of color.
On not retouching their models
Our first campaign, all of our initial photography was with people that we knew and loved, like real, genuine mom friends of mine and some other women that we either knew from various industries or who were influencers. Even though they have different looks and different ages, they have beautiful spirits. It just didn't seem right to alter that in any way, and when you’re doing those creative campaigns you look at the raw images to make your choices before you would send them to a retoucher. We just looked at everything and we were like, these women look stunning. There's no need to change anything about their skin texture or darkness under their eyes or anything like that, because it's real and the makeup is doing its job, which is to bring out their best but not cover up too much. It just was a natural choice.
On reducing packaging waste
One of the things that's super important to us is moving towards completely clean formulas. Going forward, everything is paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, and we're adhering to the industry-standard clean list, which is really exciting. We're very open to people asking questions about why we're using certain ingredients and there's definitely no hesitation to dig in and answer those questions. Also when we started shipping direct to consumers, we had a lot of packaging. That's part of shipping things—making sure they stay safe and they don't come broken, especially with pallets. We have spent the past several months working on redoing all of the packagings so we can remove an entire aspect of the outer packaging. There's a whole plastic bag that we're getting rid of. It's not necessarily easy to do that, but it's definitely the right thing to do and we're continuing to look for ways to do that because I think minimalism is more than just a beauty look, it's an approach and it's a great opportunity for us to walk-the-walk in terms of the choices that we're making for our products and the way that we package and ship them.
Are you looking to pair down your makeup routine to just the essentials? Check back for an Undone Beauty reward drop tonight at 7PM EST.