Winky Lux has proven that beauty and skin care can be as playful as it is effective.
When Winky Lux founder, Natalie Mackey, set off into the “real world” post-schooling, she found herself in the not-so-colorful finance industry. Quickly, though, she pivoted to fashion, which ultimately led her down a path of beauty collaborations and, finally, to the founding of her unapologetically fun beauty brand.
The Winky Lux philosophy says that adulthood doesn’t have to be monotonous and always buttoned up. You can paint your walls hot pink, clip rhinestone accessories into your hair, and rock a bold eyeliner during your next Zoom meeting.
To that end, the Winky Lux products are intentionally extra. Think flower-shaped blushes, confetti-filled lip balms, and cat-shaped pimple patches. The goal of Winky Lux is to make statements, leave impressions, push boundaries, and infuse a little sass into your world—including every single product sitting on your vanity.
To dive more into the Winky way of life, we spoke to Mackey about how she went from finance to beauty, challenges she’s experienced along the way, and what’s in store for the brand.
How did you get into the beauty industry?
I started my career in finance and then quickly went into the fashion industry in a marketing role. During that time, I worked on several beauty collaborations and instantly fell in love with the industry. I am first and foremost a product junkie. I was constantly searching for products with better ingredients and more beautiful packaging. It was during my first few visits to innovation labs that I became completely and totally hooked.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
Originally, my business partner and I wanted to start a marketplace that would curate makeup products for customers and the brand was a bit of an afterthought. This turned out to be a gift because the design was completely fearless since we didn’t think it would be the primary business.
One of the best things we did was survey lots of potential customers on the functionality of the marketplace. Many people were underwhelmed by an algorithm that would
choose makeup for you. However, they were really excited about this brand idea called Winky Lux that promised clean makeup and skin care with a lens of being unapologetically fun.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced as a founder?
In the beginning, fundraising was painfully hard. Beauty was historically seen as a bit of a “fluffy” industry, and most venture capitalists weren’t interested. As Winky Lux has grown, and the industry has produced extraordinary value, it has become much easier.
Put us in your shoes. What does an average day in your life look like?
One of my favorite things about my job is that no day is ever the same. Today I had a product development meeting to walk through Google trends. After that, I had a call with our team at Ulta, then I looked at a site design for our new brick and mortar store. I’m answering the Soko Glam questions right now, and after this I’ll be prepping for a board meeting that’s later in the week. Tonight, I’m looking forward to baby dance class with my daughter, who’s almost one.
What are some of your favorite beauty products at the moment?
I’m really loving bakuchiol as a key ingredient. I have very sensitive skin and our In the Clouds Retinol Alternative Serum ($30) has completely changed my routine. This is the first time I’ve been able to use a retinol alternative every day.
Some of my favorite products from other brands right now are Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc ($270) perfume because it reminds me of summer; Briogeo’s Curl Charisma ($22) which has helped me reduce my blow drys by half; and the Living Cleansing Balm ($38) from Then I Met You, which is so powerful it removes eyelash glue without harsh rubbing.
Can you fill us in on what’s next for Winky Lux?
I’m excited for more skin care hybrids. I think color products with active ingredients are the future of makeup, so be on the lookout for some amazing new Winky Lux products. Also, our Nashville store has given us a template for brick and mortar, and we will be building four more stores over the next 24 months. We are really excited to meet more of our customers in person!
Intrigued by this colorful, fun-filled way of life? Here are some of Winky Lux’s most popular products:
1. Flower Balm Lip Stain ($16)
Why swipe a simple lip balm when you could use something as fun as Winky Lux’s hydrating Flower Balm? This OG product from the brand’s lineup goes on clear and transforms into a uniquely you shade based on your skin’s pH.
2. In The Clouds Retinol Alternative Cream Oil ($30)
If retinol has ever felt like a bit too much for your skin, you’ll definitely want to give bakuchiol a try. This natural alternative boasts the same anti-aging benefits. In The Clouds also features vegan collagen, kakadu plum, cloudberry, and raspberry to support a bright, even-toned complexion.
3. Orange You Bright Exfoliator ($28)
This exfoliator awakens the senses with the smell of fresh-squeezed citrus leaving skin fresh, radiant, and nourished. Formulated with 3 forms of vitamin C plus lactic acid, this dual action exfoliator polishes, sloughs away dead skin, and helps to resurface for a baby-soft glowing complexion.
4. Barely There Tinted Lip Oil ($18)
Packed with a super-blend of nourishing oils, this tinted lip oil gives an effortless no-makeup look with a sheer color payoff. The skin-loving formula will leave lips hydrated, smooth and perfectly poutable.
Which products from Winky Lux are you adding to cart? Shop the Female Founder collection on Soko Glam below!