THEY are now some of the biggest names in the beauty industry - but it wasn't always that way.

Some of the leading products that fill our bathroom cabinets and make-up bags started as niche brands across the pond many years ago.

"Beauty isn't about looking perfect. It's about celebrating our individuality."

Those are the words of New York make-up artist turned brand leader Bobbi Brown, who turned everything she knew about make-up into a simple range of products that are flattering and wearable.

Famed for her range of nude shades, collections update regularly with limited edition formulations and colours.

New on counter at House of Fraser, Glasgow, is the Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Nude on Nude Palette, £48, with 12 shades to create looks that will take you from day to night with ease.

Benefit's humorous take on the business of beauty was the brainchild of twins Jean and Jane Ford, two Indiana farm girls turned models and make-up artists who set up their own brand in San Francisco.

Their mantra is "make-up doesn't have to be serious to look good" and nearly 30 years later they still stand by those words.

The new Benefit They're Real! Push Up Eyeliner, £18.50, has made a dramatic impact on the market, the first gel liner draws a line under panda eyes for good.

The same sassy attitude runs through the Bliss range. Set up in 1996, the first Bliss spa in New York City's SoHo ignited a spa revolution by combining a clever menu of super-effective services and a fun, no-attitude atmosphere.

With trademark touches such as rhythm and blues tunes, as opposed to wailing whale music and South American pan pipes, it spread worldwide and launched a range of products with tongue-in-cheek names such as Firm, Baby, Firm and Peeling Groovy.

Best seller by far is the award-winning Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, £42, a fast-acting foamy face mask that brightens, tightens and revives dull, sallow skin.

Leslie Blodget is the visionary creator of bareMinerals, the worldwide leading mineral and skincare brand that is much copied but never bettered. She launched the pioneering line of 100% pure bareMinerals products in 1995 and its HQ is still in San Francisco.

The Original SPF15 Foundation with its swirl, tap and buff technique has been winning awards for years.

Latest addition to the range is the bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow, £17, a genius eye colour that works as a primer and a brightener, smoothing lines and wrinkles and lasting all day.

Haircare brand Bumble and bumble was born in a salon in New York's Hairdresser's Row when founder Michael Gordon was frustrated by the products the available.

Now a global brand, it wins accolades for its expert range of products. The new Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil collection includes sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner as well as Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer, £19. Comb through damp hair to protect against breakage, heat-styling and UV damage.

Forward-thinking green brand Aveda hails from the US but its roots are in traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine.

Combining botanical ingredients with aromatherapy and pharmacology, the plant formulas are unbeatable.

Try the Aveda Stress Fix Crème, £36, the latest addition to the Stress Fix range with the unique aroma of lavender, lavadin and clary sage working together to relieve feelings of stress and tension.

A recent study showed that 86% of women say that they use beauty products and treatments as a way to de-stress and this rich and nourishing crème helps to do that and also moisturises skin for up to 24 hours.

Another New York favourite which has found a place in the heart of many Glaswegians is Kiehl's, with its recently opened flagship store in Buchanan Street.

Kiehl's was founded as an old-world apothecary in New York's East Village more than 150 years ago and there is still a wonderful old fashioned pharmacy feel today, though it is combined with the latest research and technology.

Try Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, £23, to refine the texture of the skin. Clinical tests show results in four weeks, with improvement to pores, smoothness and tone.

Beauty buzz

REVIVE skin and remove make-up in one single swipe with Good Things Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipes £3.49. Unlike other face wipes that quickly dry out, these are thicker, softer and loaded with more cleansing formula for a gentle yet thorough cleanse. Infused with raspberry and cranberry to promote radiance and added soothing aloe vera and vitamin E, they are ideal for even the most sensitive skins.


Cream cleansersS

Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, £17

RemoveD make-up at the end of the day without leaving skin feeling dry or tight. Beautiful texture with no added chemicals or fragrance.

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser, £26.90

Lovely gel/cream that soothed dry and red sensitive skin. Super-light, it lifted off make-up effortlessly and left skin feeling smooth and supple.

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Scrupulous Cleanser, £30

I found this cleanser very gentle for removing all make up and left my skin soft and refreshed. Definitely feel my skin looks a lot brighter after use.