Bobbi Brown, Jerrod Blandino, Rose-Marie Swift—the founders of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Too Faced and RMS Beauty, respectively—all have a common pedigree: each founder was a celebrated makeup artist before building a beauty brand.
Who will be the next name to join this list of makeup artists-turned-brand powerhouses? Our money is on Riese Lauriat, the brain (and hands) behind Detroit-based Whip Hand Cosmetics.
One glance at Whip Hand’s site you sense there’s something special about Lauriat’s beauty line. It’s punchy, irreverent, modern and visually stunning. From the rosewater tonics to the gorgeous eyeshadow cremes, Whip Hand delivers vibrant color with multi-functional impact. (See Poshly’s giveaway for Whip Hand’s eyeshadows here!)
Lauriat explained to Poshly the brand name’s inspiration. “The ‘whip hand’ is what keeps the horse in line when someone’s riding it,” says Lauriat. “Our interpretation is someone who is using her control in a positive way.”
That’s why the tagline of Whip Hand Cosmetics is a strong and empowering one: “The Art of Control.” The visual branding of Whip Hand—based on the iconic look of pulp novels from the 1940s and 50s—also stands out, conveying strength and style.
Lauriat got her start in the world of cosmetics in 1989. In her home state of Hawaii, she joined a behind-the-scenes team at a prominent photo studio after finishing cosmetology school. Lauriat’s work on photo shoots impressed upon her the strength that makeup can provide.
“Every campaign and every photo shoot has a story,” says Lauriat “With makeup, it’s learning how to have full creative control over what you do… It’s powerful and positive.”
From there, Lauriat’s career was expansive, touching almost every part of the makeup industry value chain. Lauriat even studied salon management and oversaw large teams of beauty talent before “coming to my senses,” the artist says. After a few years in the industry, Lauriat realized that her managerial role made it hard for her to immerse herself in her true passion—she wanted to interface with her clients directly and do the creative work herself, full-time. So, she jumped back to makeup artistry in full force. Her work took her around the US, and Lauriat eventually found herself settling down in Michigan. Her new home base fit Lauriat’s aesthetic: “The people are diverse, it’s an up-and-coming place, and there’s a huge arts community.”
Lauriat was known at photoshoots to mix her own colors, landing her the nickname “The Chemist.” She created pigments, polishes, and more from everyday cosmetics, blending them together to create new colors and textures.
It didn’t take long before Lauriat found a cosmetics developer who could turn her pigment ideas into a full-color cosmetics line that is safe to wear. Lauriat’s vision, finally, found a larger scale beyond her personal palette. After working on product prototypes for two years, Whip Hand officially launched in May 2012 at New York City’s The Makeup Show, a premiere conference for makeup professionals.
Lauriat’s new-found broader distribution did not however deter her from her focus on quality. Makeup craftsmanship persists at Whip Hand today: products are all hand-poured to ensure attention to detail and they’re made in small batches for optimum shelf life.
Whip Hand manufactures its products in Michigan, with skincare products produced in Grand Rapids and color done in Detroit. Whip Hand’s mission, beyond creating quality cosmetics, is to contribute to jobs in the Detroit community and allow the locale to be recognized for its creative talent pool.
Today, Lauriat’s line boasts an array of multi-functional products. Eyeshadows from Whip Hand, for example, can also serve as a base, or as an eyeliner. Whip Hand’s skincare also offers multiple benefits. Whip Hand’s cleansing oil is one of Lauriat’s faves.
“You can use the cleansing oil in the morning, and at night it even gets waterproof mascara off!” Lauriat says. Developing the brand’s cleansing oil—rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids and enzymes from rice bran oil—was particularly personal for Lauriat.
“I had oily skin and acne scarring from when I was a teen. I’ve had to battle with my skin, and most cleansers tend to over-dry the face.” Lauriat says. Typically, cleansers strip moisture from the face, causing the skin to overcompensate and pump out more oil. The key to healthy skin is balancing the skin’s moisture.
“Our cleanser takes away the bad oil and leaves the good behind. Since using it, my skin isn’t as oily because our product is hydrating,” Lauriat says.
Since Whip Hand’s launch earlier this year, it has made waves among makeup artists and consumers. Good Morning America’s makeup artists have even put Whip Hand’s tonics on re-order for some of its celeb anchors who have fallen in love with the products.
Between Whip Hand’s branding, the energy of its founder and its stellar products, it’s undeniable that Whip Hand will be riding up the list of hot beauty brands to know and love. Snap up some products online, and stay tuned for more giveaways on Poshly for Whip Hand’s products!