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Alternative Makeup Brands: A Guide to Indie Cosmetics

Updated on February 13, 2017
Alisha Adkins profile image

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

LunaFaye Beauty: Indie Brand Haul

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, which is the latest sensation in the lipstick market, 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.


Phyrra Nyx: 10 Reason to Try Indie Beauty

The Perks of Buying Indie Brands

There are a number of perks to buying from indie brands.

First, you can expect far more individualized service, with personalized touches such as handwritten notes on packing invoices.

One of the major perks of buying indie brands is that many 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 fufill your inner nerd.

Many indie 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.

And, finally, these brands frequently offer more cruelty free and vegan options than corporate brands.

Drew Disaster: "Lime Crime Is Toxic?"

Indie Makeup: The Downside

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

First, 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.

Second, again, 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. If you aren't sure what I mean, just google "Doe Deere" of Lime Crime... or perhaps just watch Drew Disaster's YouTube video (above).

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. Please bookmark this article and check back often, as I will be updating this list with new information frequently!

BH Cosmetics' Pop Art Palette Review

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

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

Source

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 Name
website
 
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 name
website
 
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!

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    • CherryBlossomTree profile image

      CherryBlossomTree 14 months ago

      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

    • Alisha Adkins profile image
      Author

      Alisha Adkins 14 months ago from New Orleans

      Thank you!

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 12 months ago from India

      Nice collection!!

    • profile image

      jessica 12 months ago

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

    • profile image

      jessica 12 months ago

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

    • Alisha Adkins profile image
      Author

      Alisha Adkins 12 months ago from New Orleans

      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.

    • profile image

      jessica 9 months ago

    • profile image

      RACHEL BOESE 8 months ago

      You should include http://belladonnascupboard.com. We are an independent cosmetics company that was founded in Kansas City, Missouri and is now based out of Los Angeles. We specialize in highly pigmented and long wearing makeup for performers and special effects artists. All of our products are 100% Vegan, Cruelty Free, Gluten and Paraben Free. We believe in and encourage self expression. Many haunted houses around the country use our makeup on their actors and our makeup is worn by performers such as Kimberly Freeman (One Eyed Doll), Dan Sperry (The Illusionists), and international tattoo model and fire performer, Shelly D'Inferno. We have the blackest black pigment we have found anywhere on the market and we openly challenge anyone to bring us a darker one.

    • profile image

      jessica 7 months ago

      very important update.

      this site takes you to a virus!!! VERY DANGEROUS and needs to be removed asap!!!

      Brazen Cosmetics

      http://shop.brazencosmetics.com/

    • profile image

      Rebecca 7 months ago

      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.

    • Alisha Adkins profile image
      Author

      Alisha Adkins 7 months ago from New Orleans

      Jessica,

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

    • profile image

      maria 4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Odalys 6 weeks ago

      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

    • profile image

      Nicole 5 weeks ago

      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

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