Free Shipping on US Orders | We Ship From California
Free Shipping on US Orders | We Ship From California

Meet Dana Rae Ashburn, Founder of ABLE Cosmetics

By Stephanie Jade Wong

woman applying no messcara mascaraSource: ABLE Cosmetics

How many times have you wiped off your liquid eyeliner because you messed up? Can you apply mascara without getting it on your eyelids? Putting on makeup shouldn’t be difficult, but for many of us, that’s a reality. 

The reason we fell in love with ABLE products is because they’re a cosmetic brand that creates user-friendly tools to ensure you’ll easily be able to apply your own makeup. 

Dana Rae Ashburn, the founder of ABLE, created the brand to be solution-oriented, and to enABLE you to create effortless makeup looks on your own.

We got to chat with Dana Rae about her business and her beauty routine.

Meet Dana Rae

Dana Rae Ashburn portraitSource: ABLE Cosmetics

LIB: Tell us about yourself and why you started your business.

DRA: I’ve been a freelance makeup artist in NYC since 2009. I first began my makeup career at 12 years old. I landed my first cover at 13, and went on to incorporate beauty into every stage of my life. 

New Jersey Life magazine cover ABLE Cosmetics Dana Rae Ashburn first cover

In 2015 I launched ABLE with the idea that the world could use an innovative brand that was high quality and educational.

LIB: Describe ABLE in 3 words.

DRA: Quality. Innovative. Educational.

LIB: What does “indie beauty” mean to you?

DRA: To me "indie beauty" means "independently owned." Even though a lot of people may think of "indie beauty" as more of a rebellious movement in the industry, trying new things and living on the edge with interesting models and minimal retouching. 

It's important to note that while all of these things are great and progressive, a lot of these "small" and "indie" brands are actually owned by giants like Estee Lauder and L'Oreal. So technically they aren't independent at all. 

Like a lot of terms in beauty, I think the meaning of "indie beauty" has become a little blurry.

LIB: What’s your favorite part of owning an indie beauty brand?

DRA: My favorite part about owning an indie beauty brand is that I have the final say about creative and anything visual. I also love product development and anything design related.

LIB: What’s the hardest part of starting and growing your business?

DRA: The hardest part about starting and growing your own beauty business is being small and trying to make waves in such a big, saturated ocean. Sometimes it’s really hard to be heard when classic PR practices have been monopolized into "pay to play," and it takes a lot of money to do pretty much anything, which is something I learned along the way.

LIB: Tell us something about your business we don’t see on social media?

DRA: How small my team is!

LIB: How big is your team?

DRA: Ha! Funny you should ask. Myself, a freelance sales consultant (my husband who I pay in hugs), an awesome PR consultant, and a savvy copy editor. Four!

LIB: What product from your range do you use every day?

DRA: Cat Eye 101. Even though it was recently discontinued, I’m lucky to have a little back stock and sample formulas. I love, love, love that formula. 

Cat Eye 101 was my first baby and it evolved since our soft launch in 2015. Over time, the design became more sleek and the formula a better quality. After Cat Eye 101 sold out on January 6th, I decided to discontinue the design as we now know it and give the concept some time to breathe. 

I want to make sure everything I create is as perfect as it can be, and Cat Eye 101 could still use a few tweaks. I’m sure you’ll see Cat Eye 101 again. I own a patent on the idea and I know the design works. It really all comes down to COGs (cost of goods sold), which is something I have been working on for a long time. 

I also use No Mess'cara. It truly is the only mascara formula that doesn't run on me. 

LIB: What’s your daily beauty routine like?

DRA: My daily beauty routine:

  1. Morning skincare
  2. Concealer (Wander or Clé De Peau)
  3. Brows (Benefit)
  4. Cat Eye 101
  5. No Mess'Cara
  6. Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate
  7. A lip product to use as a lip/cheek

LIB: What else do you want the Love, Indie B. community to know about you and ABLE? 

DRA: I have spent most of my 31 years on this earth applying makeup, learning about the history of beauty, testing products, learning about how products are made and the integrity behind brands. 

When I launched ABLE I really wanted to put out a quality product and I didn't spare any cost. I went to the best of the best and really stretched what I had to make these products happen. Each formula was carefully chosen or formulated and each tool has great purpose. I also wanted to make sure these products were as conscious as they could be without sacrificing pigment payoff or wearability. Luckily, I was able to choose or create formulas that are vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free.

LIB: Do you believe in beauty from the inside out? 

DRA: Absolutely. I believe that your gut health should be your #1 priority. I feel strongly about this because I have experienced it myself. If I eat dairy you can see it on my skin right away. If I drink water and take the right supplements I not only feel great but my skin glows. But, a few French fries won't kill you. Everything in moderation.

LIB: Do you wash your face every night before bed?

DRA: Of course! Skincare is very important to me. I have about 5 products that I am religious about at night. In the morning, I use two.

LIB: What's your favorite beauty brand (aside from yours of course)?

DRA: My favorite skincare brand is Strange Bird and my favorite beauty brand (if I had to pick...oy...) It's a tie between Clé De Peau and MAC. I know they are VERY different, but Clé De Peau has beautiful quality products and MAC has great pigments and variety.

LIB: When you’re not working on ABLE, what are you up to?

DRA: When I'm not working on ABLE I’m most likely freelancing as a makeup artist. If not, I might be creating a floral arrangement, baking, or daydreaming about opening a bed and breakfast.

LIB: What’s your top self-care tip?

DRA: Find what works for you and stick to it. Skincare is not an overnight solution. It can take a few weeks for your skin to get used to something and show real results. Once you find a few products that agree with your skin, make it a routine. You may need to switch a few products depending on the season, otherwise stick to the script.

LIB: What inspires you?

DRA: I am inspired by women, my friends, and family, more specifically my mom. 

I am inspired by art, fashion, and design in general. I see inspiration everywhere: the subway, a restaurant bathroom, an aisle at staples, a vintage store, a floral shop, a cool jacket with impeccable craftsmanship, you name it!

LIB: What’s next for ABLE? 

DRA: Who knows! The sky's the limit.

Be an EnABLEr

model applying cat eye 101 eyeliner in mirror
Source: ABLE Cosmetics

We love using ABLE’s No Mess’Cara and Cat Eye 101 for learning to perfect our technique as well as when we’re running late and need to rush a makeup look without worrying about making a mess.

Whether you’re a makeup newbie or a seasoned pro, you’re able to take your skills to another level with ABLE products.

Follow ABLE on Instagram @ablecosmetics, give them a like on Facebook here, and follow Dana Rae on Instagram @bydanarae.


Shop Able Cosmetics Now


About the Author: 

Stephanie Jade Wong is a NY-based freelance writer. She likes long walks to coffee shops, trying new beauty products, and petting strangers’ dogs.

Instagram  |  LinkedIn  |  Facebook
Stay up to date on the latest from Love, Indie B. — join our newsletter.

Leave a comment