Divya Gugnani, entrepreneur and mother of two, and Lindsay Ellingson, model (and former Victoria's Secret angel, nbd) had totally different lifestyles when they met at a party years ago, yet they bonded over a shared love of beauty and travel. "She had a purse that was literally the size of my hand, and she always does," says Gugnani, "and I couldn’t figure out how she takes all her beauty with her with all that traveling on planes, trains, and automobiles."
They were both time starved and always on the go, and their beauty tools weren't made for their lives in motion. "Together we reached out to a lot of other women to get pinpoints in their beauty routine, and there was a big unmet need for beauty where people live, work, and play," says Gugnani. They wanted to make a line for people who do their makeup in the back of an uber, who do their skincare at the gym, or touch up their hair at work. "Women are doing beauty in lots of places other than the bathroom," she says, "and we really felt like there was no brand speaking to this need."
So they launched Wander Beauty in April 2015 with the On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator, a two sided, multi-use product that is also a 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Award winner (we can also attest to the greatness of this product). Their products have since won over a dozen beauty awards, and you may recognize their Mile High Club Mascara from your February Allure Beauty Box. You know, the one with the genius squeezable tube. Pretty exciting stuff for a brand that will only be turning four years old in May.
Read our interview with the co-founders below.
The On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator
On their first product:
Lindsay: We launched our brand with just one product. The On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator is the ultimate multitasker, it's what every woman needs to have her beauty bag. Everything we created is a beauty essential, so one side is a lip and cheek formula, and on the other side is a highlighter. You can use one product at least twelve different ways. You can put it on your body, your décolleté, you can mix it with your foundation to give yourself a subtle glow, or your moisturizer. The lip and cheek can also be worn on your eyes. You can even mix the two together to create a luminous blush.
On downsizing your makeup bag:
Divya: All of our products are focused around this concept of fewer, better, beauty essentials. Fewer because they’re multitaskers, On-The-Glow is double sided, the Lipsetter is double sided, most of the formulas are multitasking and multi-use. So they're giving you performance in terms of color but they’re also rich in skin-loving ingredients that work with your skin, not against it. Better because it's free of all the nasties, free of phthalates, free of synthetic fragrance. We really feel strongly that this should be the standard, not the exception. And then beauty essentials, things that you literally reach for every day. Some heroes from our brand are our Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks which help to brighten, depuff, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, they have aloe leaf juice, which soothes and cools your eyes. Everything is gonna have a multi purpose, multi benefit, and really do more for you in less time.
On their skincare essentials for air travel:
Lindsay: When I'm flying, I immediately take off all my makeup or I show up to the flight with no makeup on because I don’t want anything on my skin that can clog my pores. Then I go into my skincare routine, and depending on the length of the flight, I repeat it every four hours. Next week I’m going to Qatar and it will be like a fourteen hour flight, so I'll be repeating it a few times.
So I cleanse, but I make sure to always bring micellar water on the plane just to cleanse really easily and then I always travel with our Glow Getter Mist, which has glacier water from Iceland. It’s so soothing and calming and it’s a blend of twenty five oils in the formula so it’s super hydrating is a great way to give your skin a little boost of moisture throughout the flight. I also love to travel with our Extended Stay Hydrated Mask them and that has a blend of fruit and flower extracts and oils, so it’s really hydrating and just locks in moisture and protects your skin because that recirculated air is so dry and damaging.
Divya: I have four products and I cannot live without them, I take them on every plane. Like Lindsay said, I either get on the plane no makeup or I go into the bathroom and wash my face with the Drift Away Cleanser, I’m obsessed with it, it’s a double cleanse and it doesn't strip your face. It has no sulfates but it foams and it gives you the gratification of getting all the oil, dirt and sebum off your face. I then go in with the Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks because I love to use those on a flight and then everyone around me asks for them, so I make sure I bring extra for them. The person sitting next to me, or the flight attendant will be like, "what’s that?" I'm flying out tomorrow to a conference in Key West and I’m gonna bring those with me and I’ll be sharing.
My last step is our Glow Ahead Face Oil, I have really dry skin. This oil is so special because you can travel with it, it’s in a laminate tube, it’s powered with bradbury seed oil. It helps stimulate collagen in your skin, which is so important. And then also lastly, I put Beach Balm in Siesta, which is clear, all over my lips because they just dry out and on a flight they get even worse. Lips don’t have any sweat glands, so they dry out even faster than other areas of your skin.
On thinking of their clients as "skin-tellectuals":
Divya: We live in the age of information, and we call our client a skin-tellectual. I think transparency is key when you're thinking about connecting with them and building a community around your brand. So I think for us, it’s important to have more educational content on our ingredients, do blog posts, share knowledge, do consumer-use studies and show data around performance.
And video content is super important, we’ve been seeing lots of user generated videos of people sharing their own personal experiences, and we're taking those experiences and weaving it into the narrative of the brand.
Their new Fast Lane Instant Facial
On their newest product:
Lindsay: Just today we launched a product called Fast Lane, we call it an instant facial because it really is a game changer when it comes to the texture and glow of your skin. What we're really obsessed with right now are acids, but ones that are really gentle on your skin but really effective. So Fast Lane has a mix of glycolic and lactic acid at a level of 10%, so you will see results but you're not gonna feel that burn or that redness.
We added meadowfoam seed oil as well, so you leave it on for about twenty minutes, it’s a chemical exfoliating mask, and when you take it off your skin is actually gonna feel more plump and really bouncy because of that meadowfoam seed oil. We’re really into products that perform well and give you immediate results.
On their daily skincare routines:
Lindsay: I use a lot of all-natural organic skin care. One of my favorites that I always talk about on my social media is Ildi Pekar, she’s actually my facialist and she has a serum called Tissue Repair Serum and it’s enriched with CBD oil.
I had rosacea last winter and it was crazy I've never had it before, my skin was so red and I had these tiny bumps everywhere. So she told me to put that on overnight and literally I woke up the next day and I had no more redness. It’s just been something I use every day and I layer on top of that. I use the Wander Dive In Moisturizer, it’s incredible because it has this ingredient called pentavitin, which is an all natural ingredient and it provides seventy two hours of hydration, it really locks in the moisture. So that’s really how I keep my skin looking gorgeous and glowing. I also lover Josh Rosebrook, he has an SPF that I love, it’s called Nutrient Day Cream, it’s SPF thirty and packed with lots of skincare ingredients.
Divya: I love tools, I love to microneedle, I love making small, superficial injuries on my skin and stimulating my skin to regenerate and turn over cells more quickly. And I’ve been jade rolling recently, it’s just a daily activity. It feels so good, I don’t know what it’s doing for me, I haven't 100% bought in to what it does but my mom is really into facial yoga and she’s always telling me that doing downward dog and getting all that circulation into your face is actually really great for your skin. It’s a mix of all those things, lots of tools and techniques.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Watch some reviews of Wander Beauty products by the SG community below!