Founder, makeup artist, and cool-girl Gloria Noto reveals how she’s setting new beauty standards with her minimalist-inspired, unisex cosmetic range (and the face oil that’s all over Instagram).
What does a modern beauty company look like today? A lot like NOTO Botanics, which checks off everything we want in a self-care brand these days. First, the Los Angeles-based company takes a gender-fluid approach to their lineup of skin and makeup products, producing high-quality items like highlighters and face elixirs that can be used — and thoroughly enjoyed — by all sexes. It almost goes without saying that everything is made using organic, natural ingredients, and that the results are both vegan and cruelty-free. Then there’s the woman behind it all: Gloria Noto, a veteran natural makeup artist and founder of the conceptual art magazine, The Work Mag, who dabbles in painting and poetry on the side. Here, we chatted with Noto to learn more about how she’s bottling the products everyone is talking about and breaking boundaries in the beauty industry.
When and what inspired you to launch NOTO?
I get asked this question a lot in interviews! NOTO officially launched just over two years ago. The idea came from necessity and a deep growth period in my life. I felt that I wasn’t contributing to society in a way that felt I was making any positive change, except through aesthetics. I wanted to be a part of something that I felt was a reflection of things that needed growth — like the ideas of beauty standards. I wanted to be a part of changing and growing them by showing different facets of beauty and identity. Also, I started NOTO at a time in my life when I was questioning what mattered most to me. My sister was diagnosed with stage-four cancer, and it send me down a path of asking myself what mattered, whose life was I living, and what was I giving back.
How did you translate all this into a beauty line, and one that would stand out in today’s crowded market?
I think that in a lot of ways what makes us stand out is in our branding. We collaborate with many artists and features on different types of people that are within and out of the wellness or beauty world. Our branding pulls aesthetics of broad gender spectrums as well as influences of designers that have shifted my personal aesthetic. Also, it is created by an industry makeup artist (me :) that has been in the game for over a decade.
How does being gender-fluid as a company influence your products?
It more so influences how I present the product. For example, I created Agender Oil not only because I wanted a dense body and hair oil, but I wanted to create a product specifically for giving back and specifically shinning on our gender fluidity message. One hundred percent of sales from this oil goes toward rotating organizations that are geared toward social or environmental causes. We have also done events that aid in this as well. Some organizations have been Planned Parenthood, The LGBT Center in LA, the Women’s Center for Creative Work, and Akasa. It’s important to me to make an environmentally and socially conscious product that’s the highest quality with a solid pay off when using my products. But it doesn’t end there — for me it needed to go farther and actually support causes and help make change.
What products have been most popular?
Our products have equally been successful because each one does something a bit different than the other, but that most find to be a “need” in their routine. Overall, our Deep Serum has been huge as it is an everyday and night serum that is so exceptional on mostly everyone who uses it. Also our Hydra Highlighter and our color stains have been huge for us because of their versatility and purity.
Do men and women need different skincare products? Or is unisex skincare the wave of the future?
Truth be told, men and woman do have differences in hormones. But overall, skin needs a lot of the same things. Our products are very pure and simple. They aren’t loaded with a bunch of crazy ingredients that the skin may get confused about. Simplicity is magic and works well with everyone, I believe. I do think that the binary is becoming less and less, and openness to be more fluid is building.
What feedback do you hear — from both male and female clients — about how your makeup formulas wear on the skin?
The feedback has been quite amazing across the board. Our colors give the ability to wear very sheer or build up to a more opaque finish. The beauty is that it is about individual self expression …one can wear it however they choose and dress it up or down. Which translates to all genders. If you are interested in a kiss of color to look a bit more refreshed, we got you. If you are ready to be full-faced, we got you again.
What’s your favorite application trick for your Golden Glow Stick?
Interestingly enough, I was playing with my stick and used it in my hair to calm some frizz down, and add some glow to my hair. It worked in making my greys golden and almost like a hair pomade for texture. That was fun. You can do the same with the Hydra Highlighter, too! I also love using it on my eyelids for a glossy lid. Cici, who works at NOTO and is my right hand woman, uses the highlighter under her eyes and an eye treatment.
Do you have any personal beauty goals for yourself this year?
Yes! To get stronger again. I used to be much stronger than I am now, and do a lot of muay thai boxing. I am slowing getting back into building my body back up from some serious adrenal fatigue. For me, being strong and feeling energized is top priority when it comes to beauty goals.
+ What do you think about NOTO? Share your thoughts below and shop the products here!