By Tara Young
Gloria Noto is a professional makeup artist and founder of inclusive, minimalist skincare line NOTO Botanics. Tara Young dives a little deeper into the world of Noto; how it came to be, the emphasis on cultivating community and social awareness, plus their ultimate LA hot spots to add to your list for your next trip.
What is your background in the beauty industry and how long have you been in the biz?
I have been in the beauty biz for over 17 years now. Starting out pretty young, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career. When I was a full-time makeup artist, I mainly focused on runway shows, celebrity makeup, editorial, and beauty writing.
What inspires you creatively?
I think having the space to even have time to think creatively is what inspires me the most. Cultivating some down time where I can wake up and have no agenda is important, often times difficult to do, but I can feel it inside when I know its time to take a breather so I can focus on creative inspiration, and let it flow however it may.
Do you have a beauty philosophy?
Yes, that there are zero rules, and to be authentic to yourself. Self curiosity through expression.
Where did the idea for NOTO stem from, how did it all begin?
I got the idea really early on in my career but I didn't feel like I was quite an "expert" until about 10 years in. It was important for me to feel like I paid my dues in the industry and could come at it with true knowledge and experience.
At the time, no other brands were doing what NOTO is doing today. And it's only been 7 years. Clean beauty was a newer concept, and zero brands were focusing on inclusivity and giving back, or storytelling. I felt that there was a massive hole in the market and felt authentic to that vision due to my own experiences as a queer, first-generation person.
What I love about NOTO is the synergy between the products you offer and the community that you have built around the brand - to me, they are equally as important. What does community mean to you?
Community really is everything NOTO is about - through the conduit of radical self-care and beauty products. I could never put something out there that was only skin deep, it has to have a deeper meaning for me to feel engaged and want to keep going. There are so many stories out there of those who find joy in the little things, true discussions on mental health, and what it means to feel connected to the world. I wanted to be a platform for that type of conversation, and hope that it still comes across with that.
Can you tell us about Agender Oil? It seems like a special product for your brand in more ways than one.
Agender Oil was a very important product to launch. Not only because of the name and concept of celebrating wherever you choose to grow hair but also because it is our giveback product. Since its inception, it's always been a champion to uplift minority-driven organizations. Often times brands find inspiration from these types of communities but never give back or uplift them. That is my goal with this product. And it's also a product I want anyone to feel amazing using, be it if you've just gotten top surgery and want to use it on your scars, or choose to grow your armpit or leg hair out, or simply just like how it feels on your skin and hair.
How does social awareness play a role within the company?
At the end of the day, yes we are trying to sell a product that brings you joy and makes you look amazing, but more deeply it's about radical self-care. The concept of taking care of yourself first so you can be present in this world however you choose to move in it. To me, that is the cornerstone of social awareness. Giving back to one another to try to make this place more enjoyable for all.
What are your shower shelf essentials?
HAIR: Agender Oil and The Wash.
BEAUTY: Deep Serum, NOTO's RE/SET eye patches, Resurface Scrub, Ilia tinted SPF, Multi-Bene Stick in Fluxus and Chanel Lip balm.
Gloria’s best of LA:
EAT: Botanica in Silverlake, Cookbook in Highland park, Cafe Triste in Chinatown (they use our Wash in their bathrooms :), and old-school fave Figaro Bistro
EXPERIENCE: Getting a coffee and walking along the LA river in Frogtown, it's super weird because it's not what you'd think of when you think of a river, and it's also a bit sketchy in some parts - but I love it.
SHOP: I love shopping at the smaller spots up the street from our flagship store in Highland Park. There are a bunch of cute shops on Figueroa and 50-56 ave.
NIGHT OUT: There is this place called The Gold Fish in Highland Park that serves Thai food and natural wine, but my partner and I like going there because you can play pool or video games. Something really fun to do together.
#TBT – Have you ever had a haircut that still makes you cringe to this day?
Never, and I have had them all. I loved experimenting with my hair. I loved my V bangs and shaved undercut days.
What’s next in the world of NOTO, are there any new products we should keep an eye out for?
Downsizing and slowing down a bit. I think the concept of extreme growth is becoming an outdated one for brands like me who don't want to be like everyone else, constantly pumping out new products (which isn't sustainable btw) and focusing on loyalists and newcomers of the brand, to try to give a real and honest experience together.
As far as new products, I love putting out a new color once a year, and have something in mind. We also just launched our reusable eye masks that help plump and hydrate the under-eye area that I am obsessed with!