The ecosystem in the beauty industry now is unique. It is being driven by consumers, mostly women, who are curious about new, independent brands and who want to try numerous products before buying. They are spending a lot of time in stores like Sephora, Ulta and other retailers who are providing a great environment for new product experimentation. Beauty is one of the few channels right now where multi-brand retailers are still successful.

Selfies and constant picture-taking cause consumers to need to look their best all the time and that’s one of the factors encouraging beauty industry growth. Another important source of support for growth are the acquisitions that major beauty companies are making. They are buying relatively large numbers of small brands at values that attract entrepreneurs to sell. Other entrepreneurs see those deals and are motivated to create yet more new beauty companies. There’s no other consumer sector like this right now with such a steady flow of growth, innovation, consumer interest and acquisition activity.

Industry leaders looked at a large number of startups and picked out 12 that they think are the most innovative and awarded them their Spotlight Award. To read which companies were the winners read the rest of the article.