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Alternative Makeup Brands: A Guide to Indie Cosmetics

Alisha Adkins is an author of horror and speculative fiction. A self-described "aging goth," she has a strong interest in creative makeup.

A motley assortment of indie makeup

A motley assortment of indie makeup

Indie Cosmetics

"Indie" or independent makeup brands are mom-and-pop cosmetic companies—small-scale outfits often run by just a single individual.

In fact, many of the more trendy, popular indie brands of today started out that small— Lime Crime, Sugarpill, and Melt were all started by only one or two people.

Products that can commonly be found from independent sellers include mineral eyeshadows, face products such as blush and contour powders, lipsticks (although smaller brands may package them in chapstick tubes), lip glosses, and with increasing frequency, liquid lipsticks.

Here's a sneak peek of what you'll find in this article:

  • The benefits and downsides of buying from indie brands
  • A list of indie makeup brands I've personally tried
  • A full list of all of the brands I know of

The Perks of Buying Indie Brands

  • You can expect far more individualized service, with personalized touches such as handwritten notes on packing invoices.
  • <any companies offer sample sizes as an inexpensive way to try their products. For instance, while a full-size jar of mineral eyeshadow at Shiro Cosmetics typically costs $6.00, you can purchase a sample baggie of the same product for just $1. And, besides, as you can see from this example if you're looking for moderate prices, indie brands tend to be less expensive in general.
  • Indie products also tend to be quite unique and quirky. From them, you can expect the unusually colored lipsticks and vibrant eyeshadows that big-name brands tend to shy away from. On top of that, a number of indie companies offer makeup collections dedicated to pop culture favorites such as Harry Potter, Hannibal Lector, and Doctor Who. This is makeup with all of the fun and glitter that will fulfill your inner nerd.
  • Many companies often include swag—in other words, freebies. Whether it's a free sticker, a sample of an extra eyeshadow, or some candy, going above and beyond tends to be a trademark of indie brands.
  • These brands frequently offer more cruelty-free and vegan options than corporate brands.

Indie Makeup: The Downside

Of course, there are some negatives associated with purchasing from indie cosmetic brands as well.

  • There is the average "TAT" (Turn Around Time). Processing time can be excessive when purchasing from smaller cosmetic companies, often running weeks before your order makes its way to the top of the queue. In the same vein, sometimes a shop may close for a week or two while the shop owner takes a break. Remember, these businesses are often run by single individuals, and they go on vacations and have family emergencies just like everyone else.
  • You're dealing with individuals. While that is often a benefit, in some cases it also has the potential to be unfortunate. Let's face it, not all personalities are suited to customer service, and there have also been a few cases of outright unscrupulous companies that should be avoided.

A Rundown of the Indie Brands I've Tried So Far

Here's a rundown, in alphabetical order, of the indie makeup brands I've tried so far.

BH Cosmetics

BH Cosmetics, a privately owned online-only brand, is a true success story. Capitalizing on the use of social media, its owner has built the brand to fortune 500 company status while offering a healthy range of modestly priced products. The BH Cosmetics website runs constant sales and boasts cosmetic lines with lots of interesting, vibrantly colored products.

Of particular interest here are BH Cosmetics' extensive offerings of large low-cost eyeshadow palettes.

Darling Girl Cosmetics' Queens of Horror Collection

Darling Girl Cosmetics

Darling Girl Cosmetics has a large cult following, and for good reason. This brand offers mineral eyeshadows, face products, lip balms, and liquid lipsticks (called "pucker paints") that are grouped into fun and fanciful themes such as mythical creatures, popular TV shows of decades past, 80's pop songs, and "Queens of Horror" (B-movie scream queens).

Eyeshadows are available in sample sizes. Orders ship with an extra sample.

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics Review

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics is an indie brand that offers dazzling eyeshadows at incredibly affordable prices. Full sized jars are only $4.00 and sample baggies can be purchased for just $.75 apiece.

Dawn Eyes provides superb customer support and ships orders with additional free samples.

Fyrinnae & Impulse Cosmetics

Fyrinnae

A long-established indie brand, Fyrinnae is well regarded within the underground makeup community for its beautiful multidimensional mineral eyeshadows and striking lip lustres as well as their cult favorite, the "pixie epoxy" sparkle adhesive.

Most products are available in full and "mini" sizes. Orders are shipped with a personal "thank you" from the owner and an extra eyeshadow sample.

Gloss Effect Lipsticks: As They Arrived

alternative-makeup-brands-the-benefits-of-buying-indie-cosmetics

Gloss Effect Cosmetics

Gloss Effects Cosmeticsis an Etsy brand that offers lipsticks in a huge range of colors. These lipsticks are exceptionally affordable (the ones I bought were just $3 apiece), but mine did arrive melty with instructions to refrigerate them. This seemed odd, especially considering that it was winter at the time.

The colors are quite vibrant, but unfortunately, once removed from refrigeration, the lipsticks returned to a semi-soft state. This brand seems to still be working out some of the kinks...

Illamasqua Makeup Haul

Illamasqua

Illamasqua is a high-end cutting edge, avant garde European makeup brand that offers a full spectrum of cosmetic products including powder and cream eyeshadows, foundations and blushes, lipsticks and glosses, nail polish, and perfume (their signature scent is called "Freak").

Illamasqua does ship internationally and offers free standard shipping on orders to the U.S. of $75 or more.

Impulse Cosmetics Lipsticks

alternative-makeup-brands-the-benefits-of-buying-indie-cosmetics

Impulse Cosmetics

Impulse Cosmeticsis a cult indie brand that offers a huge array of lipstick and liquid lipstick colors. Other products include both pressed and loose eyeshadows, cosmetic glitters, foundation, and nail polish.

Most products are available for purchase in sample sizes.

LA Splash's Day of the Dead Liquid Lipstick Collection

LA Splash

LA Splash is one of the break-through indie brands that has "made it," at least in terms of YouTube buzz, and not without reason. LA Splash's liquid lipsticks are extremely pigmented and long-lasting and are available in a huge variety of shades.

The company has recently branched out into other cosmetics -- eyeliner and body paint -- with more diverse products slated for release soon.

Makeup Monsters G.I. Jane Liquid Lipstick Review

Makeup Monsters

Makeup Monsters Cosmetics is an undeniably cute brand. The company's logo is an adorable little green monster girl (and a sticker of her ships with every order).

Makeup Monsters offers long-lasting, highly pigmented liquid lipsticks that are universally loved across the YouTube community. In fact, demand is so high that the company recently had to shut down for a couple of weeks in order to catch up on its orders!

Biohazardous Beauty: Medusa's Makeup Review

Medusa's Makeup

Medusa's Makeup is an indie brand that offers products such as both pressed and loose eyeshadows, blushes and highlighters, gel eyeliners, and lipstick and lip gloss -- all in vibrant colors.

If you sign up for the company's e-mails, you'll be alerted to regular sales on the website.

Melt Cosmetics Lipsticks

Melt Cosmetics

Melt Cosmetics is one of the hottest brands around at the moment. This indie makeup company was created by two women with a vision for high quality, unusually colored lipsticks.

Melt Cosmetics offers their unique "ultra matte" lipsticks for $19.00 each. Eyeshadow stacks are also available.

Orders ship with a color-coordinated lip sticker and, frequently, a Melt lipstick keychain.

My Beauty Addiction: First Impressions

My Beauty Addiction

My Beauty Addiction offers loose eyeshadows, cosmetic glitter, blush, and vibrantly colored lipsticks in an enormous range of colors.

Customers can buy clamshell samples of eyeshadows, blushes, highlighters, and lipsticks or lip glosses.

Shiro Cosmetics First Impressions

Shiro Cosmetics

Shiro Cosmetics advertises itself as "hand-crafted makeup and geekery." All of its products -- eyeshadows, face products, lipsticks (called "joysticks"), etc. -- are grouped into collections based around themes and fandoms such as Harry Potter and The Hobbit. Nerd girls, rejoice!

Shiro Cosmetics' orders ship with an extra sample, a company business card, and a piece of candy.

Sugarpill

Sugarpill Cosmetics is a popular indie brand known for its highly pigmented pressed eyeshadows and loose pigments.

While customers must spend $100 to obtain free shipping on the Sugarpill website, be aware that most products are available on Amazon for the same price with free shipping for Prime members.

Tater Rounds Beauty - Mansinthe Lipstick Review

Tater Rounds Beauty

Tater Rounds Beauty is an Etsy shop whose main claim to fame is its collaboration with goth YouTube personality Drac Makens to produce a line of Marilyn Manson-inspired lipsticks.

Lipsticks ship in chapstick packaging. Be aware that pigmentation does seem to vary from batch to batch.

First Impressions: Virus Insanity Eyeshadows

Virus Insanity

Virus Insanity is an edgy indie brand that sells regular and duochrome loose eyeshadows as well as lip glosses.

Clamshell samples are available for purchase.




Now Here Comes the Full List...

Below, please find the full list of indie makeup brands, each with corresponding website. This table includes the brands featured above along with many, many more that I have not yet tested!

Highlight, right-click, and "go to" if you wish to visit any of the sites (sorry for the inconvenience -- Google penalizes articles with lots of active commercial links).

Indie Makeup Brands

Brand Namewebsite 

Addictive Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AddictiveCosmetics

 

Amphigory

http://www.amphigory.com/cosmetics.html

 

Apocalyptic Beauty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ApocalypticBeauty

 

Aromaleigh Cosmetics

http://aromaleighcosmetics.com/

 

Back to the Earth

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Back2theEarth

 

Bad Bitch Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BadBitchCosmetics

 

Baroque Cosmetics

http://baroquecosmetics.com/

 

Beautifully Addictive

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeautifullyAddictive

 

Beauty Bar Baby

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeautyBarBaby

 

BFTE Cosmetics

http://www.bftecosmetics.com/

 

BH Cosmetics

http://www.bhcosmetics.com/

 

Bitter Lace Beauty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BitterLaceBeauty

 

Blackbird Cosmetics

http://blackbirdcosmetics.com/

 

Black Moon Cosmetics

http://www.blackmooncosmetics.com/

 

Black Rose Minerals

http://brm.storenvy.com/

 

Black Widow Balm

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackWidowBalm

 

Brazen Cosmetics

http://shop.brazencosmetics.com/

 

Brija Cosmetics

http://www.brijacosmetics.com/

 

Carina Dolci Mineral Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CarinaDolci

 

Chameleon Eye Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChameleonEyeCosmetic

 

Chaos Cosmetics

http://www.bonanza.com/booths/ChaosCosmetics

 

Chequered Lily Apothecary

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheChequeredLily

 

Chinovi Cosmetics

http://www.chinovicosmetics.com/

 

Chirp Cosmetics

http://www.chirpcosmeticscompany.com/

 

Coloured Raine

https://www.colouredraine.com/

 

ColourPop

https://colourpop.com/

 

Concrete Minerals

http://www.concreteminerals.com/

 

Corvus Cosmetics

http://www.corvuscosmetics.com/

 

Crush Cosmetics

http://www.crushcosmetics.com.au/

 

Daily Lovelies

http://www.dailylovelies.com/

 

Dark Matter Makeup

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DarkMatterMakeup

 

Darling Girl Cosmetics

http://shopdarlinggirl.com/

 

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics

http://www.dawneyescosmetics.com/

 

DDM Cosmetics

http://www.ddm-cosmetics.com/

 

Devinah Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DevinahCosmetics

 

Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics

http://www.dirty-little-secret.com/

 

DNA Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DNACosmetics

 

Dollipop Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DollipopCosmetics

 

Dose of Colors

http://www.doseofcolors.com/

 

Dream World Hermetica

http://dreamworldminerals.net/

 

Dusk Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DuskCosmetics

 

Eccentric Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EccentricCosmetics

 

Eight Bit Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EightBitCosmetics

 

Elixery Cosmetic House

http://www.elixery.com/

 

Espionage Cosmetics

https://espionagecosmetics.com/makeup.html

 

Eyescream Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/eyeScreamCosmetics

 

Fabled Fragrances

http://www.fabledfragrances.com/

 

Feather River Body

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FeatherRiverBody

 

Femme Fatale Cosmetics

http://femmefatalecosmetics.com.au/

 

Fierce Magenta

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FierceMagenta

 

Fyrinnae

http://fyrinnae.com/

 

Gallany Cosmetics

https://gallanycosmetics.com/

 

Geek Chic Cosmetics

http://www.geekchiccosmetics.com/

 

Give Me Glow

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GiveMeGlow

 

Glamour Doll Eyes

http://glamourdolleyes.com/

 

Glitter Elixirs

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GlitterElixirs

 

Gloss Effect Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GlossEffectCosmetics

 

Hello Waffle Cosmetics

http://hellowafflecosmetics.com/

 

House of Beauty

http://www.houseofbeauty.co/

 

Howl Cosmetics

http://howlcosmetics.com/

 

Illamasqua

http://www.illamasqua.com/

 

Impulse Cosmetics

http://www.impulsecosmetics.com/

 

Innocent & Twisted Alchemy

http://innocenttwisted.storenvy.com/

 

Inspiring Love Inside

https://www.etsy.com/shop/InspiringLoveInside

 

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

http://www.jeffreestarcosmetics.com/

 

JDGlow Cosmetics

http://www.jdglowcosmetics.com/

 

Ka'oir

http://kaoir.com/

 

Kismet Cosmetics

http://www.kismetcosmetics.com/

 

Kiss My Sass Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/KissMySassCosmetics

 

LA Splash

http://lasplashcosmetics.com/

 

Life's Entropy

https://lifesentropy.com/

 

Lip Bar

https://thelipbar.com/

 

Lipland

http://www.lipland.com/

 

LipScape

http://yourlipscape.com/

 

Lonely Planet Co

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LonelyPlanetCo

 

Looxi Beauty

http://www.looxibeauty.com/

 

Love Luxe Beauty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LoveLuxeBeauty

 

Lunatick Cosmetic Labs

http://www.lunaticklabs.com/

 

Mad Lab Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadLabCosmetics

 

Makeup Geek

https://www.makeupgeek.com/

 

Makeup Monsters

http://www.makeupmonsters.net/

 

Mazzie Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MazzieCosmetics

 

Medusa's Makeup

http://www.medusasmakeup.com/

 

Melt Cosmetics

http://www.meltcosmetics.com/

 

Meow Cosmetics

http://www.meowcosmetics.com/

 

Micki Song Cosmetics

http://www.mickisongcosmetics.com/

 

MONSTA Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MonstaCosmetics

 

Morgana Cryptoria

https://morganacryptoria.com/

 

Morphe Brushes

http://www.morphebrushes.com/

 

My Beauty Addiction

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MyBeautyAddiction

 

My Pretty Zombie Cosmetics

http://www.pretty-zombie.com/

 

Necromancy Cosmetica

http://www.necromancycosmetica.com/

 

Nero Cosmetics

http://nerocosmetics.com/

 

Nicolet Beauty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/NicoletBeauty

 

Notoriously Morbid

http://notoriouslymorbid.com/

 

Opale-Essence

https://www.etsy.com/shop/OpaleEssence

 

Phee's Makeup Shop

http://pheesmakeupshop.com/

 

Pili Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PiliCosmetics

 

Indie Makeup Brands continued

Brand namewebsite 

Portland Black Lipstick Co.

http://portlandblacklipstickco.com/

 

Potions Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PotionsCosmetics

 

Preen Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PreenCosmetics

 

Pretty Addictions Cosmetics

http://www.prettyaddictions.com/

 

Pretty Serious

http://www.pretty-serious.com/

 

Pretty Zombie Cosmetics

http://www.prettyzombiecosmetics.com/

 

Pumpkin and Poppy Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/pumpkinandpoppy

 

Rascal Cosmetics

http://rascalcosmetics.storenvy.com/

 

Rituel de Fille

http://ritueldefille.com/

 

Saucebox

http://sauceboxcosmetics.com/

 

Sarah's Naturals

https://www.etsy.com/shop/smerchant

 

Scaredy Cat Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScaredyCatCosmetics

 

Shiro Cosmetics

https://shirocosmetics.com/

 

Sigil Cosmetica

https://www.etsy.com/shop/sigilcosmetica

 

Sigil Inspired

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Sigilinspired

 

Silk Naturals

http://www.silknaturals.com/store/

 

Sobe Botanicals Cosmetics, Bath & Body

http://sobebotanicals.com/en/

 

Spectrum Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SpectrumCosmetic

 

Star Crushed Minerals

http://www.starcrushedminerals.com/

 

Strobe Cosmetics

http://strobecosmetics.com/

 

Sugarpill

http://www.sugarpillshop.com/

 

SweetPea and Fay

http://www.sweetpeaandfay.com/

 

Tater Rounds Beauty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TaterRoundsBeauty

 

Ten Three Labs

http://tenthreelabs.com/

 

TheBodyNeeds (TBN) Cosmetics

http://www.thebodyneeds2.com/default.asp

 

ThirtyOneWest

https://www.etsy.com/shop/thirtyonewest

 

Tooth + Nail Cosmetics

http://www.toothnailcosmetics.bigcartel.com/products

 

Tick Tock Cosmetics

http://ticktockcosmetics.storenvy.com/

 

Ultimo Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ultimocosmetics

 

U-Notyce Cosmetics

http://unotyce.storenvy.com/

 

Uponaworld Cosmetics

http://www.uponaworld.com/

 

Venomous Cosmetics

http://venomouscosmetics.com/

 

Victorian Disco Cosmetics

https://www.storenvy.com/stores/64481-victorian-disco-cosmetics

 

Virus Insanity

http://www.virusinsanity.com/

 

Vivid Addiction

http://www.vividaddiction.com/

 

Wonderland Beauty Cosmetics

https://www.etsy.com/shop/WonderlandBeautyCosm

 

Zodiac Killer Cosmetics

/https://www.etsy.com/shop/ZodiacKillerCosmos

 

An Ever-Growing List

Of course, this list is not static; I will continue to add to it as I learn of new brands (and will remove defunct companies as necessary). If you are aware of other indie makeup brands, please leave a comment below and let me know so I can update to reflect that information!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I am trying to purchase some lipstick from Beauty Undead. Where can I buy her lipsticks?

Answer: Unfortunately, Beauty Undead recently went out of business.

Comments

Marcy on July 28, 2018:

Most of the links to non etsy sites don't work. They redirect you to ad sites or I get a warning via chrome that says the page isn't secure. Even when googling some of these brands, the same thing happens. I wouldn't trust those brands with 15 foot pole.

Jessica on November 05, 2017:

Wow this is such an in depth article! I really appreciate all the information. I've heard of some of these brands but their are soooo many that I am unfamiliar with! I recently came across a new company: http://kuvitbeauty.com! They have such beautiful, pigmented shadows and AMAZING customer service!

Jennifer on September 22, 2017:

I also was taken to a virus when I went to brazen cosmetics website.

Nicole on April 10, 2017:

I just started working with a new Indie brand, Glogirlcosmetics.com

They launched sometime last year, check it out and let me know what you think! @bluefox_partners

Odalys on April 09, 2017:

Love him, love the list. Although there are many other indie brands that I think should update already: kylie and others who have mentioned you in the comments

maria on January 15, 2017:

there is an indie brand named nomad cosmetics which is not in the list

Alisha Adkins (author) from New Orleans on October 07, 2016:

Jessica,

I just saw your comment about Brazen Cosmetics. That is very strange, as I have ordered from Brazen's site before.

Rebecca on October 07, 2016:

You should check out rebelqueen.ca. We are a 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free indie makeup/clothing company. Currently located in Ontario, Canada, specializing in extremely opaque colors for women of every color. Every item is made to order and each order comes with a sample and lollipop.

jessica on July 31, 2016:

hi, i found some more that you may want to add:

VAULT: http://www.vaultcosmetic.com/

SHEEQ: http://www.sheeqcosmetics.com/

MDM FLOW: http://www.mdmflow.com/

DALYNN COSMETICS:http://dalynncosmetics.com/

SPECTRUM: https://www.spectrumcollections.com/

REVEL: http://www.revelbyjl.com/

JAY JILL: http://www.jay-jillcosmetics.com/

BEAUTIE BROWNIE:http://www.beautiebrownie.net/?m=1

KOMPLEXX:http://komplexxblends.com/

VAULT: http://www.vaultcosmetic.com

BLACKUP: http://www.blackupcosmetics.com

AJ CRIMSON: http://ajcrimson.com

Alisha Adkins (author) from New Orleans on May 18, 2016:

Thanks! I'll go through the article and update soon. Indie companies tend to change sites fairly frequently. I know Love Luxe Beauty has also moved to its own site as well.

jessica on May 18, 2016:

this give me glow company has changed sites: http://www.givemeglowcosmetics.com/store/c1/Featur...

jessica on May 18, 2016:

this link doesn't work either: http://www.chinovicosmetics.com/

Jasmeet Kaur from India on May 02, 2016:

Nice collection!!

Alisha Adkins (author) from New Orleans on March 18, 2016:

Thank you!

CherryBlossomTree on February 29, 2016:

Like this post, i will check out some of the products listed. I am new to hubpages and could use some traffic and feedback, please check out my 2 first posts

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