Urban Decay Founder Wende Zomnir Launches New Brand Caliray — Interview

If you know basically anything about makeup, you know Urban Decay, and if you know Urban Decay, you know Wende Zomnir — if not by name then by her work with the brand. She cofounded the company in 1996 and has since helped it become a beauty blockbuster. Now, after more than two decades with Urban Decay, Zomnir and business partner Jenna Dover are launching a new makeup brainchild: Caliray

We know what you’re thinking: Why create a new beauty brand when you’ve already got one of the most well-known out there? Simply put: Zomnir likes a challenge. “I don’t write, I don’t paint — well, I do all those things, but not well — but I do beauty well,” she explains. “And I just felt like Urban had become such a big thing. There were so many people involved in it.”

Having so many collaborators at once, Zomnir elaborates, makes it difficult to have complete creative control over a project, and that’s what she was really looking for… a fresh start, if you will. “I like things kind of scrappy,” she laughs. “I always loved the resourcefulness play.” 

The first two products hitting Caliray’s virtual shelves on October 19 are the Come Hell or High Water Mascara ($24) and the Surfproof Easy Glider Eye Definer Waterproof Pencil ($20). Both are cruelty-free and formulated within the brand’s own clean standards, which Zomnir explains are mostly based on that of Sephora. “I feel like that’s a really good industry standard, and I made a few tweaks to that, then really challenged all of the formulators I’m working with to even make [the formulas] as good as they could,” she tells Allure

(For a sense of what ingredients are banned from Caliray’s products, you can see Sephora’s full list of ingredient no-nos here  — they include formaldehyde, lead, mercury, mineral oil, parabens, and phthalates, among plenty others. Allure has its own comparative clean standards, by the way, which you can learn about here.)

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