Few beauty entrepreneurs can claim artists Giorgio Morandi, Robert Ryman, and Piero Manzoni as their patron saints, but then again, Care.e.on, Madison Headrick’s new travel-centric brand, was built to eschew beauty industry norms. Indeed, the three essentialists not only coated the mood board for Care.e.on’s first campaign, but do truly act as exemplars of its ethos, emphasizing transparent and monastic devotion to mastering one’s craft (which in Care.e.on’s case is careful chemistry). “All three artists obviously have such different objectives, peers, and references,” the supermodel says. “But, in my opinion, what connects them is not only minimalism, but also purity.”
“For Morandi, it's the compositional balance, harmony, tonality, and color,” Headrick continues. “For Ryman, it's the light, space, and textures he used, and with Manzoni, it was his radical and innovative materials and pigments. When I look at their paintings, I know exactly what the paint feels like. I could pick up a cup by Morandi and know exactly how that clay texture would touch my hand. This was a really important aesthetic principle I wanted Care.e.on to have.” Because of this, the new brand’s imagery is improbably visceral. It wants you to know what you are getting and to make you feel something. It does it better than the normal fare of jelly smeared cheeks and bedewed faces.
Care.e.on’s minimalist motif permeates every thoughtful layer, including its first offering; an En Route Essentials kit that dropped last fall. It is a mesh bag replete with hand sanitizer, facial moisturizer soaked pads (for minimized hand contact), a facial mist, and an overnight-appropriate squalane mask. The conciseness and ease of the case, like any minimalist masterpiece, conceals years of incubation and labor. Headrick, as a career supermodel, has spent the last decade traveling at a pace most people can’t, on top of the added expectation of showing up everywhere she lands camera ready. This experience not only led Headrick to launch Care.e.on, but also fueled the entrepreneur’s passion for art and therefore her introduction to Ryman et al.
Art was a coping mechanism, a travel tip, a lifestyle Headrick picked up on the road. Since being discovered at 14, Headrick spent her teenage and first years of college toggling herself between her studies (first at high school in Charleston and then at NYU) and the far-flung adventures major brand campaigns and fashion weeks offered. Stuck upholding the demands of two full lives of profession and academia, Headrick found time to unwind while exploring the international cities through their art museums. These institutions provided room for meditative thought that was not usually afforded in the tight confines of Headrick’s hectic calendar. Over the years, the quick visits turned into long-term relationships.
Today, Headrick is a collector who regularly sneaks off from Care.e.on HQ to see shows. Her current obsession is the Met Museum’s exquisite exhibition, “Cubism and the Trompe l’Oeil Tradition,” which plays directly into the kind of innovation she prioritizes in her brand. “It’s my favorite kind of show, the feeling of looking at something and wondering, Oh my God, is that real? I could touch it,” She says. “The show reflects what I’m hoping to achieve with Care.e.on.” She also name checks her partner Joseph Nahmad’s recent Alexander Calder exhibition, curated by Kelly Taxter, who paired creatures from the legend’s archive with work by young artists. As a collector, Headrick is drawn to the same kind of works—abstract, subtle, effulgent—that inform Care.e.on. Her latest purchase is a painting by the late German-French artist Hans Hartung, who often swiped contrasting colors in ways that could, in the right light, be seen as akin to makeup swatches.
Art and life are always collapsing into one for Headrick, and that’s the way she likes it. Care.e.on is the embodiment of this ethos, combined, of course, with Headrick’s deep expertise in the beauty industry, honed while sitting in the chairs of the most influential makeup artists, listening and collecting their wisdom. These two roots, beauty and art, come together to form a skincare line that honors both by prioritizing high-quality formulas above marketing.
With Headrick’s characteristic thoughtfulness at the forefront, Care.eon’s launch has been a slow but brilliant burn, with clients coming back for seconds and thirds, a voracious whisper campaign unfurling on social. Headrick doesn’t pay influencers or bots; that budget, instead, goes toward research for better ingredients. Her already diehard fans’ fervor makes up the difference. The future is still locked under an NDA, but Headrick promises more is coming soon. After users discovered that Care.e.on’s facial mist doubles as a setting spray, the doors opened for its founder to continue experimenting and innovating, now with customer feedback at the center. Care.e.on’s next collection will weave in all those references and observations, coming together to form a drop so delicious you’ll want to reach out and touch it.