Shark Tank Beauty Pitches That Didn't Get A Deal & Still Saw Success

Watching "Shark Tank" is an excellent way to learn what's new in the beauty and wellness realm. The ABC show, which features a famous cohort of venture capitalists and angel investors, is where to find the most exciting and unheard-of pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs around the world. From makeup you can sleep in to AI-powered personalized skincare formulas, there's no shortage of memorable beauty pitches on "Shark Tank" — whether outstanding or lacking a good grasp on reality. If your idea is worth its weight in dollars, pitching it to the right shark is all you need to do to get it off to a flying start.

Throughout 15 seasons, over 300 episodes of "Shark Tank" have aired with over 1,000 pitches presented to savvy sharks. Many homegrown brands that have appeared on "Shark Tank" got the once-in-a-lifetime investment they sought and went on to become great successes; these include Range Beauty, Youthforia, Nopalera, and Kinfield. Many startups, on the other hand, walk away without a deal. Nonetheless, just because a pitch doesn't get bitten on camera does not mean it's not the real deal IRL. You'll be surprised to find that many startup founders who walked away without the financial investment they sought have gone on to find their place in the sun afterwards.

Let's check out some notable examples of beauty startups that managed to turn their "Shark Tank" rejections into rebirths.


PROVEN, a data-powered skincare company founded in 2017, appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2020. This personalized skincare line uses AI technology to tailor a person's skincare system to their skin concerns via an exhaustive quiz which requires customers to answer questions regarding their lifestyle, skincare routine, and skin concerns — whether acne, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or skin sensitivity. Based on the results, customers receive a personalized set of cleanser, day moisturizer with SPF, and night cream specific to their skin concerns and lifestyles.

On her "Shark Tank" episode, PROVEN founder Ming Zhao sought an investment of $500,000 in exchange for 5% ownership in PROVEN on a $10 million valuation. Before founding PROVEN alongside Amy Yuan, a Stanford University computational physicist, Zhao, an immigrant from China and a Harvard University MBA holder, had established a successful career in private equity. Despite their impressive pitch, Zhao and Yuan left without a deal.

While an investment from investing big-wigs would've been helpful, it turns out that viewer support is the ultimate ingredient for a startup's success. After the taping, PROVEN continued experiencing enormous success, as the idea of personalized skincare resonates with swathes of skincare enthusiasts. In a 2021 interview with Global Cosmetic Industry, Zhao shared, "We grew more than 2,000% our first year in the market, and now have $24 million in revenue run-rate in less than two years of launch and have built a customer base of over 100,000 paying customers."

The Lip Bar

The Lip Bar founders Melissa Butler and Roscoe Spears faced a stinging rejection on "Shark Tank," but that didn't stop them from going on to become a success. Butler's dissatisfaction with the numerous chemicals added to lip cosmetics, in addition to the limited selection of lipstick shades, led to the creation of The Lip Bar, a vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, inclusivity-minded makeup brand with a vivid selection of pigment-popping lip products. Butler and Spears appeared on the show in 2015 asking for $125,000 in return for 20% equity in the business. Ultimately, the sharks turned down the pitch.

However, The Lip Bar's TV debut was not all for naught. This Black-owned brand saw a surge in sales shortly after the airing of the episode and made headlines when its "Crown Me" lip color was worn by "Empire" actress Taraji P. Henson to the 2016 American Music Awards. Butler tells Fast Company, "We didn't get a deal, but we did get a lot of exposure that helped us grow. [The night our episode aired] our website got 30,000 hits. It brought us new customers, too—we received 500 orders in one night. Retailers like Nasty Gal and Frends Beauty picked us up. 'Shark Tank' was not a defeat. It was actually the ultimate win." As of 2018, The Lip Bar was worth nearly $500,000.

Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe was not turned down on "Shark Tank." Rather, it was the one that got away. 

In 2014, best friends Christine Chang and Sarah Lee founded the K-beauty-inspired skincare brand Glow Recipe, its concept revolving around fruit-forward, clean formulations intended to provide clinical results and physical self-care at the same time. In 2015, Chang and Lee took their brand to "Shark Tank." Valuing their company at $4.2 million, they entered the negotiation asking for $425,000 for 10% of the business. Robert Herjavec offered the startup a $425,000 investment for 25% of the company, but the founders turned down the offer.

However, the "Shark Tank" effect gave Glow Recipe a tremendous boost of nationwide exposure. With the K-beauty philosophy catching on in a big way, Glow Recipe continued reaping resounding success in the U.S. skincare industry. In 2017, Glow Recipe's watermelon sleeping masks became one of Sephora's best-performing products after selling out twice in a week. In 2018, Glow Recipe made the 2018 CNBC Upstart 100 list. As of 2021, the brand had a market cap of $100 million.

The pair credits the brand's success to their appreciation for their heritage. "We're incredibly blessed to have our work tie closely to our [Korean] heritage," Chang tells CNBC. "To see K-beauty trickle down into every single medicine cabinet and beauty bag has been amazing, and where we always thought it should go."

SW&G Essentials

In 2008, Lydia Evans, a medical aesthetician and businesswoman who had long struggled with eczema, founded loofah soap company Soaps, Washes & Grooming Essentials, also known as SW&G Essentials. At the time, Evans operated out of her two-bedroom apartment, making organic, three-in-one face soaps that cleanse, exfoliate, and disinfect men's skin to reduce post-shaving razor burns and ingrown hair. Evans requested $125,000 in exchange for 20% equity of her company, but most sharks felt that SW&G Essentials' line of grooming products was too rudimentary for a major investment. Evans left the show without a deal (apart from valuable advice and shark Daymond John's phone number).

As a result of the nationwide exposure following the episode's airing, SW&G Essentials' sales figures increased more than six times over. To promote her brand in a sustainable direction, the Houston entrepreneur heeded the sharks' advice, which included redesigning her website and expanding her product line to target women and those with acne. Evans also managed to move SW&G's production to a 3,000-square-foot facility and scored collaboration deals with big names in the pharmaceutical world such as Rite Aid and CVS. Her products are now distributed through a variety of online retailers including Amazon and Alrossa. In a June 2022 interview with Inc. Magazine, Evans said SW&G Essentials was worth $2 million before the pandemic.

Hammer & Nails

Hammer & Nails, a luxury grooming brand for men founded in 2013, is doing quite well regardless of its initial rejection on "Shark Tank." Despite going to regular nail salons for his manicures and pedicures, Michael Elliot was not a fan of their gender-based environment, so he created a unique salon for guys. As part of his pitch, Elliot points out that a majority of nail salons have a stereotypically feminine aesthetic and atmosphere that doesn't resonate with the feelings and preferences of men. Hammer & Nails, a "Man Cave Nirvana" in Elliot's own words, wanted to change the game.

The former screenwriter came to "Shark Tank" in 2014 seeking an investment of $200,000 in exchange for 20% equity in his business, which he hoped to expand globally. At the time of the pitch, Hammer & Nails was breaking even. Although the sharks liked the concept, they did not offer Elliot a deal. In a twist of events, Elliot struck a deal with the viewers of the show instead.

Following the original broadcast, not only did Hammer & Nails' sales increase, but eight viewers, two of whom were angel investors, offered him a $200,000 investment. In 2021, the company's profits increased by 270%. As of April 2023, 47 Hammer & Nails locations exist across the U.S., with total revenue amounting to $25 million per annum.