Cle Cosmetics: Making Minimalist Beauty Look Totally EffortlessVasilis Stergiou
Photo by Danny Lane
Inspired by the innovation of Korean beauty technology & trends, CLE celebrates the natural beauty & simplicity of WOMAN & all her perfect imperfections.
For CLE founder Lauren Jin, everything is about maintaining balance. Her company is California-based but the products are manufactured in Korea. Their beauty technologies are advanced but the packaging and ingredients remain uncomplicated. CLE’s customer is a woman who appreciates self-care but doesn’t want to spend all morning in front of the mirror. She strives for balance between being minimalistic and complex, much like the line itself.
Jin created the Korean-inspired beauty line for the modern woman: someone who doesn’t want to mask imperfections but instead embrace a more natural beauty look. “The CLE customer is sophisticated, a bit older,” says Jin. “She’s not a beginner with makeup. She has a set of routines and embraces herself but is kind of like the girl next door. She’s very real.”
Melting Lip Powder Photo by Emily Ashcroft
While the ethos of CLE is minimalistic, the products are anything but simple. K-beauty technology is the backbone of the brand, featuring seemingly magical products like their Oxygen Foaming Cleanser and Melting Lip Powder. Deceivingly named, the Oxygen Foaming Cleanser is actually a gel that begins to foam once applied onto dry skin. Yes, dry. Their Melting Lip Powder also deceives: packaged like a typical gloss with a wand applicator, it’s actually a powder that transforms into a long-lasting stain after application.
“I love that K-beauty has so many different technologies and a willingness to venture new ways of advancing that technology,” says Jin. In 2018, CLE furthered its own products by revising its CCC Cream and launching five new shades. “Our original shades are neutral in tone and we realized that many women have warm undertones. We decided to create warm palettes that address shades beyond medium toned women. I think that was one thing that K-beauty was unable to execute well—the notion that skin tone is varied and the range is far beyond two shades of beige.”
“SHE’S NOT A BEGINNER WITH MAKEUP. SHE HAS A SET OF ROUTINES AND EMBRACES HERSELF BUT IS KIND OF LIKE THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. SHE’S
Tomomie Ogowa Portrait by
But CLE is not a K-beauty line. They have combined Korean product innovation with American marketing innovation. Their clean, minimalist packaging panders to Instagram-friendly marketing. Their enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology is matched by their insistence on not compromising and using cruelty-free ingredients like bamboo extract to strengthen, a Japanese fermented soybean called Natto to soften, purifying Snow Lotus flower extract, and hydrating coconut oil. They do not preach a 12-step routine. They don’t even offer 12 products. The curated, concise collection is the ultimate modification of K-beauty: low-maintenance and high quality.
Photo by Lola Wang