Monday, December 5th, 2011

By Courtney, Indie & Mineral Makeup Expert

Courtney is the amazing talent behind Phyrra.net, which showcases a veritable treasure trove of looks and reviews, often focusing on indie brands and mineral makeup. She’s my go-to for all things in those areas! I reached out to Courtney to help me and readers like me understand more about indie brands–how can we make sure we’re buying from good companies and getting quality products (and not just repackaged ones)?  You can also check out Courtney’s own tried and true list of brands she buys from.

When she isn’t blogging, you can find her with her much loved standard poodle (Phaedra) and pug (Maximus), gaming, or writing (about non-makeup, that is)!  She’s not afraid to experiment with color, whether it’s her hair, lips, or on the eyes.


Mineral Makeup: What to Look For When Buying

I first got into mineral makeup in April of 2008. I didn’t know much about it at the time, so I started to try and find as much information as possible. Surprisingly, I didn’t find too many reviews (though some of the best ones I could find came from The Shades of U). This led me to decide to start a blog and write about my experiences with indie cosmetics. Through my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned a lot! I’ve interviewed company owners and experimented on my own. From my experiences over the past three years, I’ve compiled a list of tips to share on how to discern good products.

When you stumble across an indie company that you’re just dying to order from, before you hit that buy button, there are a few things you should do…

Look at the Type of Products Sold

While some great indie and mineral makeup companies only offer eye shadows, so do a lot of companies that merely repackage product. If you’re unsure of what repackaged products are, it’s where a company will buy products wholesale, mark it up 400% and put it into tiny containers to resell it to unsuspecting consumers as a handmade product.
I’ve got no problems with companies that sell unblended shades that are clearly denoted as such, but I often feel it’s duplicitous when a company sells unblended shades at a crazy markup and claims those are handmade when they don’t even add a base to the product. A lot of the great indie (independent) makeup companies out there sell not only eye shadow, but also blush, mixing mediums (Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, anyone?), foundation, and lip products. Lip products and foundations are usually a very positive sign of a legitimate company, because many people find creating both of those product lines to be labor intensive, so someone looking to make a quick buck isn’t likely to make either.

Do Your Research First!

First, Google the company name with the word review after it and see what people have to say. Sometimes, I’ve found a neutral or negative review on a product or customer service to be a deciding factor for if I will purchase. Positive reviews, as well as product swatches, are very helpful in deciding if the product is something I want to purchase, too. It  is also helpful to see how an indie company handled a problem, like if someone had an item missing from an order, or to see how promptly a company responds to inquiries.

Next, Google the company name with the word repackaged after it. If nothing comes up, that’s usually a good sign. If repackaged links come up, see what people say. Some companies, as mentioned before, do sell some unblended colors. This means that they’re a stock shade, usually with a base added to it to make it a finished product. The most common colors to see that are repackaged are the Pops mica. Many companies have sold these shades.

If you’ve found a company that you’re interested in and they have some colors repackaged but others that are not, chances are they carry the repackaged colors due to customer request. Additionally, if the repackaged shades are a finished product, meaning they have a base added, they should be a good product to purchase and wear. Just be wary if a repackaged color doesn’t have any base ingredients listed!

Check out more tips to help you buy from reputable, quality indie brands and learn what ingredients to look for/avoid!  Continue reading →

Sunday, September 14th, 2008


Purple, Pink, Delightful, Mermaid, Blue, Teal

Reader Edda recently started selling her own cosmetics line, EO Cosmetics, on Etsy, and she asked me to review some of the mineral eyeshadows. I told her to send me colors she thought she liked, and she excelled at that! The five sample colors she sent are all bold and vibrant, and they’re definitely colors I’d use in a look. My favorite was Mermaid, which is a pastel-ish like teal with a slightly golden shimmer. Mineral eyeshadows work best wet, in my experience, because otherwise they just fall out everywhere since they’re loose. I pretty much treat them like MAC pigments, though EO’s are very finely milled, so they almost feel wet when you use them. Each color I tried was incredibly pigmented, which is a huge plus.  Pink is a shade I’ve always wanted, but I haven’t found this shade as pigmented as EO’s.

How do you feel about mineral eyeshadows? Do you use them? Have you ever tried them?

Check out swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Prescriptives’ All Skins Mineral Makeup SPF15 ($32.50) is described as a weightless, long-wearing mineral makeup foundation. It is supposed to be filled with “good-for-you” ingredients. I’ve yet to fall head over heels in love with any mineral foundation; I feel like I get more on my bathroom counter and my shirt (and somehow, I am always wearing black when I try a mineral foundation!) than my face. I also find that loose powders, in general, settle more into the lines and pores of my face, making my skin seem rougher. Prescriptives’ mineral makeup does not share this common trait; I find that it doesn’t settle in the lines around my lips (those pesky smile wrinkles), which is a huge plus for me. So the fact that it doesn’t settle into fine lines makes this a supreme choice for those of us who are experiencing those telltale signs of aging and want to minimize–or at least not emphasize (!)–them.

Any downsides?

Continue reading →

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Jane Iredale is a full-line of mineral-based cosmetics. It first was introduced back in 1994, which makes it one of the more established mineral makeup brands available today.

Some products I enjoyed:

Amazing Base SPF 20 ($42.00) is one of Jane Iredale’s signature and best-selling products. It is a loose mineral foundation that gives a good amount of coverage without having oil, talc, dyes, or parabens. It is considered a water-resistant formula. I like that it has a lot of range in the colors it offers, which is always ideal so customers can choose the appropriate tone for themselves. If you’re not so keen on loose powder, think about trying Liquid Minerals ($46.00), which definitely caught my eye (and I hope to try sometime!).

In Touch Cream Blush ($26.00) comes in five shades, all equally gorgeous. I really enjoyed Charisma for its subtle raspberry color. These mineral cream blushes come in a stick form, which makes application incredibly easy, even on the go.

Active Light ($25.00) is an undereye concealer that comes in liquid form–which I think is great. I find that powder concealers never work quite as well as liquid does for me, though I couldn’t really tell you why. I also like that it comes in the form of a pen, which makes it even easier to apply and really get into the areas I need.

Other products you may be interested in: Jane Iredale Sample Kit ($28.00), Moonglow Bronzer ($46.00), 24K Gold Dust Powder ($34.00), Eye Gloss ($15.00), and LipColour SPF 18 ($19.00).

What could they improve on? Their prices seem a bit all over the map–their foundations are $40 or higher, while they have several lip products and staples under $20. I do feel the foundation seems a bit pricey, but I do like Jane Iredale’s overall quality and feel it may be worth it to those who can afford.

Learn more about the brand at www.janeiredale.com.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

gloMinerals was founded by Robin silver-McGee, and their mission is to develop mineral makeup using the best quality pharmaceutical-grade ingredients to create excellent makeup that’s good for the skin. gloMinerals is a full line of mineral makeup, from basics to blush to shadows, to even their own skincare range.

Some products I enjoyed:

gloPressed base ($39.00) comes in a bunch of different skin tones, which makes it great for those who need variety and really want to get a good match. This particular product is one of their bestsellers, as it is a pressed foundation with a matte finish. You can also use the gloMatte finishing powder ($33.50) for longer lasting matte coverage or touch-ups.

gloPerfecting Powder ($33.50) is a translucent powder that acts to absorb oil buildup to keep your finish looking matte, rather than shiny or oily throughout the day. Again, it is a pressed powder, which makes it a convenient tool to carry around with you.

gloShimmer brick ($31.50) is a compact that has four different colors that can easily be used individually or together. What I like about the Shimmer brick is that there is a low level of shimmer, so you get more of a subtle sheen than a glitter mess when used to highlight or add depth to cheeks.

Other products you may be interested in: gloBlemish Stick ($18.00), gloLoose base ($37.00), gloFace Primer ($23.00), gloProtective Liquid Foundation ($30.50), gloDust 24K ($36.50), and gloMoist Lip Treatment ($16.00).

What could they improve on? Their prices are steeper than other popular mineral makeup brands, though they do offer a lot of pressed variations in their mineral makeup line. They also do not seem to have any sample kits available, which can make it difficult to purchase online.

Learn more about the brand at www.glominerals.com.

Have you ever used gloMinerals? What did you think of the brand?

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

pur minerals is a mineral makeup brand with both loose and pressed mineral makeup, which makes it a more versatile brand. In addition to the traditional mineral makeup ingredients, they have added shea butter and Vitamin E to help bind their ingredients together. They do not use talc or oil or fillers in their products, either. In addition to their full range of mineral makeup, they also have skincare products available, which I don’t usually see from mineral makeup brands.

Some products I enjoyed:

4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation with SPF 15 ($24.50) is, according to purminerals, the brand’s “claim to fame.” What I like about the pressed mineral compact is that it allows you to have the benefits of mineral makeup, but without the mess. I have always found that whenever I use a loose mineral powder, more often than not, it gets all over me and the bathroom countertop. There is a good range of colors within the product’s range, but if you are concerned, they also have a split pan version, where you get two shades instead of one (which is especially good for those who change skintones over summer!).

Universal Marble Mineral Powder & Bronzer (Bronze & Brighten) ($21.50) is this gorgeous swirled bronzer that acts to highlight and brighten skin. It is universal, which means it runs lighter and sheerer than super dark or pigmented, but it is buildable, which is what matters in a sheerer product. There is also a Marble Mineral Powder in Pink, which looks incredibly pretty. Aside from bronzer, Pur Radiance Mineral Powder ($21.50) is a great pressed mineral highlighter/blush that gives you that just flushed, glowy complexion.

pur truly has a full line of mineral makeup based cosmetics–not just powders and face products, but lipsticks, glosses, and even lip tints. The Mineral Lip Tint SPF 15 ($16.50) comes in several fun shades, and they’re great for just a hint of color. The Lip Tints come in a sleek, silver tube with twist up color. Don’t forget about their Mineral Eye Defining Pencil with Smudger ($16.50) for waterproof, smudge-proof eye liner that’s mineral based.

Other products you may be interested in: 4-in-1 Loose Mineral Makeup Foundation ($23.50), Mineral Eye Prep ($17.00), Pur-ly Abundant ($16.50), Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow Singles ($12.00),

What could they improve on? There aren’t many loose powder options, which may make some traditional mineral makeup wearers wary or even pass them over. I like pressed mineral makeup, because it’s not as messy and it’s more travel-friendly, but I do think loose mineral makeup is part of the allure of mineral makeup in general. I do not think this is so much a con, as something that differentiates pur from other brands.

Learn more about the brand at www.purminerals.com.

Have you tried this brand?  What was your experience?