Beauty Photographer Courtney Dailey’s New Brand Coco Ensoleille Is A Real Looker

Beauty photographer Courtney Dailey, who counts Jouer, Too Faced, Revlon, Kopari, Laura Mercier and Milani among her clients, has emerged from behind the camera to launch visually-intoxicating brand Coco Ensoleille.

From the vibrant hues of its contents and components to the weight of its packaging, the skincare newcomer is designed to pop on social media and deliver differentiated products that generate buzz. Instead of a lotion, serum and standard soapy face wash, Coco Ensoleille, which is shortened to Coco E, features shimmery oil Face Magnifique, hydrosol spray Face Aperitif and two balm cleansers: Makeup Assassin and Blossom Balm. Prices range from $35 to $45.

“In my business, I shoot so much white and gray. The products are very clean. I love color, and I hope other people do, too,” says Dailey. “I’m definitely not marketing to millennials. If you look at a lot of the popular millennial lines, they’re stark and minimal with color here and there. I feel we appeal more to women in their 30s and 40s.”

Coco Ensoleille

Coco Ensoleille caters to customers who don’t take beauty too seriously. They enjoy skincare, but they’re not down for a million steps. Dailey strives to give them multipurpose, efficient products that don’t make caring for skin an arduous task.

“I have worked with really beautiful lines, but many of them are for women with time for complicated rituals. That sounds fabulous, but it’s not my life. I talk to my friends, and it’s not their lives either,” she says. “If I’m in the bath, my cat’s tail is the water with me.”

Coco E’s bright color palette and name underpin the brand’s levity. The name combines a nickname Dailey’s mom calls her and the French word for sunny. “When someone asks me my favorite things, I say cats, tacos and sunshine, but I couldn’t name my cosmetics line cats, tacos and sunshine,” she jokes. The Coco E exteriors are awash in fuchsia, coral, red and purple. The insides aren’t dull either. For example, there’s an orangey tone to Blossom Balm’s hydrating formula.

Coco Ensoleille
Courtney Dailey

“Little details matter. When my cleansing balms were formulated in the lab, they were an ivory color. I called the lab to ask for a slight tint. When you smear two ivory products together, they’ll be boring. I want things that you’re not going to throw away,” says Dailey. “I’m so visual and, when someone squeezes a bunch of white products on my hand, all the white stuff isn’t interesting. I thought, ‘How could I make it interesting?’”

She was also very specific about the Face Aperitif bottles. “I think about how something is going to photograph. I wanted glass bottles for our hydrosols, and I shopped around and found ones that would photograph well because they’re heavier at the base,” says Dailey. “When there’s more glass at the bottom of a bottle, there’s a highlight that comes off of it that instantly makes it beautiful.”

The investment to develop Coco E has exceeded $45,000. Dailey projects that amount will be recouped by June. Makeup Assassin has received the strongest early response. The product passed Dailey’s Britney Spears test. After she attended the singer’s concert in Las Vegas with a face full of Marc Jacobs and Kat Von D products, Makeup Assassin easily erased the makeup at the end of the night. “There were no raccoon eyes left,” reports Dailey. “That’s when I knew I was onto something.”

Coco Ensoleille

The trickiest product to perfect was Face Magnifique. It took a year to nail down the right concoction. “Highlighters are a dime a dozen at this point, but I wanted a creamy luxe oil with shimmering benefits. There’s argan oil and vitamin E in it. It feels like a cream, but sheers out to a very thin veil of shimmer,” describes Dailey. The product is available in two shades: a bronzy crème brulee and lighter champagne. Dailey says, “I made crème brulee because I feel no one makes a highlighter that works really on dark skin, and that hurts my heart. This shade gives dark skin a beautiful glow.”

Coco Ensoleille aims for high-end distribution, and Dailey identifies Nordstrom, Sephora and Neiman Marcus as goal retailers. She envisions adding color cosmetics with skincare attributes to the merchandise mix, but she’s not looking to bloat the brand’s assortment. “I don’t want the line to have 300 SKUs. Lines like can be overwhelming,” says Dailey. “I rather have fewer SKUs that are really fabulous.”