In the age of internet trends dominating consumerism, products make their way through stores like a never-ending revolving door for shopaholics every week. In turn, it makes it difficult for makeup moguls and beauty enthusiasts to know which items will be staples for the rest of the year. One brand that’s etched out its place as one of 2021 and 2022’s shining stars is Glisten Cosmetics. A small start-up to help cover bills as a teacher has now become an empire for founder Natalie Chapple.

Read more: 5 beauty products taking over #AltBeautyTikTok

You’ve probably seen the brand all across TikTok and Instagram for its viral wet liners that offer bright, bold looks that became a comfort to many fighting off the pandemic blues. Though not an entirely new concept, wet liners have certainly given other brands a run for their money. As we edged away from the dull beige, over-lined lips and warm brown eyeshadow trends of 2016, Chapple's brand employs the creativity that was the beating heart of the beauty industry in the '90s. We sat down with Chapple to discuss how she built her brand from a tiny U.K. operation into a massive success.

Glisten Cosmetics has slowly grown into a mini-empire of your own. These days I feel like I can’t scroll through my IG feed without seeing the amazing looks your products create! Starting out in 2017 as a side hustle, did you ever anticipate you’d have such success? 

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. I suppose I knew it could happen; I had seen brands of a similar size blow up overnight, but I didn't think it would happen to me at all. I'm over five years into running this business, and each year takes me by surprise. Never a dull day.

Prior to your viral eyeliners, I know you’d released matte eyeshadow palettes and glosses too. Where did the wet liners idea come from, and how did you go about the production process?

I had always been a massive lover of colored eyeliner. I used to wear these little NYX cosmetics ones that were interesting. They would crack quite easily and dry up in the pots after a few uses. But I loved them nonetheless as there was nothing like it on the market. You could get these water-activated liners in the States quite easily, but apart from stage makeup, there wasn't anything about here. I started with neon colors. I found a reputable manufacturer that made them to the quality I wanted, and we did the first four colors.

Finding a good manufacturer is like finding a needle in the haystack, but I've been extremely lucky to have built such a wonderful relationship with mine, and we are always working together to bring out new stuff for everyone. There may be some cool paints and mascaras coming soon.

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

There have been so many iconic looks using your liners. Any favorites that spring to mind? 

Oh, there are too many... But let me break down a few of my fave influencers, and you can see some of the beautiful looks they create! @maytahmi is a liner queen — she has steadier hands than the world's greatest neurosurgeon. @wendysworld_xox is a fine artist turned MUA and create bold colorful looks using random object to create them, always a joy to follow! @aoifeartist is an artist you could imagine straight off the catwalk, easy looks you could see on the runway! @fairy.freak is another liner queen, creating amazing looks in just one swoop. The list really can go on!

I’d heard of you before but became very familiar with you when your wet liners, and split liners, went viral on TikTok. Was there any recipe to going viral on there, or did it just happen by chance? 

Not so much of a recipe, but I've always done influencer marketing, and it's really helped build my business. I only need one of the influencers I work with to go viral, and then the shop goes mad. I have now over 400 affiliates — each of them could go viral using our products at any time. It's about building a community around the brand and making sure you pay them fairly!

Your brand was founded in 2017, a time when makeup trends were very rigid — dip brow eyebrows, brown monotone shadow, nude lips. Your brand entirely juxtaposes that. Is artistic creativity and taking risks something the makeup industry needs to embrace a little more? 

Oh, 100%. It was a very boring time. Color cosmetics were just coming up as we started, and we managed to jump on the graphic liner train just at the right time. I now think makeup is a huge part of how people express themselves with color, and especially now we're all Zoom meeting everywhere, having a pop of color on the eyes can make the world of difference on a screen. Compliments all round!

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

Your products have also been praised for how well they suit all skin tones and skin textures. How much do you factor this into your production process? A lot of brands seem to let this go over their head when it's very important.

This is hugely important. We try super hard to make sure our colors work great on everyone. It shouldn't be a second thought for brands — it should be the first thing that crosses their mind. There has been a lot of performative activism in the community, and we're not going to be another brand like that. I will continue to work tirelessly to make sure the makeup community has a range of products for everyone.

Aside from viral liners, you have other products in your wheelhouse. Is there anything you’ve yet to do that you’d really love to do? 

I would love to do our own foundation and a range of face makeup products. This is a two-year goal, though. There will be a lot of work in formulation and making sure the shade range is on point. We're currently working on some cosmetic paints and mascaras, which I'm super excited about as they have been a long time in the making!

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

Also, is there any product people might skip on in your collection that you think is underrated? 

I think Shape Shifter is an underrated palette, for sure. It's had quite a bit of love, but whenever anyone buys one, the compliments come running in. I just know if people knew about it more, it would be a staple in most kits.

Many of your products have been inspired by eras. I loved the Disco Dynamite one. Is there any era you've yet to do?

Disco Dynamite was my baby, my first-ever palette. I do look at it now though and think, "Wow, look how far I've come." Well, there is a bit of a psychedelic pastel palette in the making. I've always wanted to do something with a bit of a '70s psychedelic feel to it.

Finally, we like to end our pieces by asking for products that suit the perfect life moment. Below are some moments in a person's life. Which of your products do you think best suit these occasions?

"Hanging out with ur gal pals!"
Custom palette. I love it when me and my friends get together and just paint. So I like to think a custom palette would be great for those creative girls' nights. Processo pouring, dance routines and a bit of graphic liner.

"Date night with bae"
Cola liner to do that fierce black wing, siren eye style!

"Movie night snuggled up with your pets"
Well, we have some lashes that we have named after our team's pets, so it will have to be the lashes in style Rylie and Tillie, as they're my parents' border terriers.

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]

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[Photo via Glisten Cosmetics]