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 →