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The Interview: Laney Crowell on how she created clean beauty brand Saie

Kelle Salle
28 April 2023

Saie is a beauty brand that prides itself on high-performance formulas, sustainable packaging and practices, inspired design and clean, good-for-you ingredients. Launched in 2019 by Laney Crowell, Saie creates products that are formulated by experts, backed by industry secrets and made for beauty fans everywhere.

Crowell’s background has always been in storytelling. Her mother was in the foreign services so she spent much of her childhood living in different countries. By the time she was in middle school, she lived in Paris and became enchanted by the effortless beauty of French women, which is when her love of beauty and fashion began. Crowell started her career working in fashion print editorial before moving over to the beauty industry. She went in-house at Estée Lauder and helped the brand start their digital communications department. “I’ve always loved connection, community and fostering platforms to tell important stories. To me, that’s what storytelling is about,” she says.

After working for one of the biggest beauty companies in the world, Crowell had a big idea around beauty being better. She didn’t know what this would look like, but she loved the idea of improving an industry that she loved. To get the conversation going, she started a blog. “From day one, brands started to send me products to review and I quickly realised that luxurious, chic and high-performing, clean formulas were hard to come by. I asked my community on Instagram some questions about what they would want out of a clean beauty brand, and that was when Saie was born. It’s also where our name comes from: You Saie It, we Create it,” she explains.

After going clean in so many other areas of her life, Crowell wanted to launch a makeup brand that was made with ingredients that were not only safe for her, but the planet as well. All of the products she tried lacked a certain ‘wow’ factor, which is what prompted her to reach out to her online community in the first place. “Everyone felt the same way. They wanted clean products that were thoughtfully designed and felt chic, elevated and performed just as well as the traditional brands they’d always used,” she says.

Crowell used her experience working for one of the biggest beauty brands in the world to prepare for Saie’s launch. “I have a really strong background in beauty and know what it takes to succeed. I knew I needed a strong influencer strategy and a best-in-class public relations team to build the buzz needed to attract a key retailer for a strong omni-channel presence,” she says.

When Saie first launched, the brand was targeting people who love feeling good and taking care of themselves. Its mission was to formulate products that helped consumers feel their best with minimal effort whilst also infusing them with nourishing, skin-loving ingredients so that they double up as daily skincare. “All of the products we create are meant to be quick and easy to use. We want everyone who uses Saie to achieve our signature SaieGlow™ all day long,” Crowell says.

Saie Laney Crowell

From the moment the brand launched, Saie has been well received by consumers. “It turns out people want makeup that is good for skin in addition to looking good,” Crowell says. The brand’s bestsellers are the Glowy Super Gel, Slip Tint, Dew Blush and Sun Melt. The brand is known for its signature SaieGlow™ – an effortless and healthy no-makeup makeup look that beauty enthusiasts everywhere can’t get enough of. “Glowy Super Gel gives an incredible lit-from-within glow that makes skin look bright and dewy. I wear the shade Starglow daily and I mix our other shade Sunglow into Slip Tint (another one of our bestsellers) for the most gorgeous, healthy and radiant skin,” Crowell says. Slip Tint, a dewy tinted moisturiser with SPF 35, blends right into skin and leaves a sheer, seamless finish with just the right amount of tinted coverage. Dew Blush is a creamy blush that delivers a perfect, just-pinched flush of colour and Sun Melt is a cream-balm bronzer that gives a faux-holiday glow. “Whenever I apply Dew Blush or Sun Melt, I instantly look radiant, healthy and ready to go,” Crowell says.

Saie’s latest launch is the Glowy Super Skin Weightless Hydrobounce™ Serum Foundation. “It’s a game changer when it comes to foundation,” Crowell says. “It’s super skin-like and hydrates with a proprietary complex called Hydrobounce™. It has a serum formula that is so weightless and hydrating that you’ll forget you’re wearing any foundation at all. I’ve personally always struggled with foundation because I’ve never liked how it feels on my skin but this one changed it all for me.”

Everything Saie makes is inspired by (and even partially created by) their community. To make beauty effective and accessible for all, they started the Clean Beauty Crew to help it create, develop and test formulas and shade ranges that are inclusive to all skin types and skin tones.

“The foundation of all our products is skincare and many of our formulas are clinically tested by third parties to ensure they perform. We work to maintain an accessible price point and design products that are easy to use, no matter where you are in your beauty journey,” Crowell says.

Saie is more than clean makeup. The brand is on a mission to create positive change for people and the planet, which means customers get high-quality, safe products that are formulated to make them look and feel great while supporting a female-founded company that puts sustainability and forward-thinking business ethics at the forefront of everything they do. To ensure it keeps its promise, the brand stays in touch with its Clean Beauty Crew and the Saie community to receive feedback and fresh ideas on how it can keep making clean beauty better. “We want to ensure our makeup not only performs but improves your skin while you wear it,” Crowell says.

Crowell’s hopes for the future of the beauty industry is that it will become increasingly focused on waste, the climate crisis and how we can collectively make a positive impact. “As an industry, we need to re-evaluate how we produce, distribute and dispose of products in order to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills and waterways,” she said. Her top tip for anyone who wants to get into the beauty industry? “Have fun and lead with your heart.”

As for what the future holds, Saie has some exciting new launches coming to Cult Beauty and it will also be launching Saie Science, where it will give its community a sneak peek inside its lab to reveal the magic behind their formulations.

For more information about Saie, visit the brand’s website.

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