If you could launch your own beauty brand, what would it be like?

Something fairly edited, maybe five to ten formulations in the beginning with an emphasis on quality, minimal (but functional/sturdy) packaging, mid-end in price, focus on creating really good formulas with core shades/finishes and then slowly building out to fill in gaps elsewhere in the industry/respond to what customers want (or don’t want).

— Christine


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Nancy T Avatar

This would be a dream-come-true, but also an enormous undertaking, I would assume! I would put the emphasis on quality, cruelty-free formulations that also were as hypoallergenic/sensitive skin (and eyes!) friendly as possible at a mid-end price point. As for colors, I am a bit of a risk taker, but one who also sees the wisdom in offering some core shades in a range that suits everyone, especially when it comes to our melting pot of skintones and shades.

Clio Avatar

I would have a line of lipsticks named after historical women (maybe branching out to historical men as time went on) called “Timeless Beauty.” I fantasize about this.

Lulle Avatar

My brand would be very much like yours Christine, but with a strong emphasis on lipstick. Because I love lipstick 🙂
I would start with a very limited number of items, but each one would be something I could feel proud of in terms of quality. Probably just a couple of eyeshadow quads, blushes and highlighters, a liner that works well on the waterline, a curling mascara, and then the lipsticks and glosses. I’m not sure I’d try to get into base makeup from the beginning, I feel like it’s something that’s not easy to do well. I’d probably keep that for later when the brand has grown a bit – except maybe for a good loose face powder.

Katherine T. Avatar

I would like a makeup line with products that fill a need in the industry, like cool- toned neutral shadow palettes, cool- toned contours, cool- toned highlighters, blue and purple shadow kits that are A rated, products that re-create shades that were very popular but discontinued too quickly (Chanel Notorious, MAC Whisper of Guilt, Guerlain Wu Long, etc. )

Laura Avatar

I would start an OUTSTANDING brush line that is game changing,

1) Top notch with all kinds of hairs and fibers
2) Relatable and relevant names (not just numbers or “contour brush”)
3) Completely accessible education for everyone on how to use them: less than 4 minutes vlogs, quick snapchats, consumer forum etc. The education would be about filling a confusing void in people’s mind about how to approach brushes
4) No hawking or promoting in any fake way by celebs or vloggers.

I think Wayne Goss has started to do this, but push it into synthetics, different price points, and really make woman understand/use brushes, as that has been my hardest thing to learn.

Sarah Avatar

Probably a niche brand, similar to Bite, where I focus on a few formulation of one item. I would focus on extremely high quality and excellent customer service to build my brand and reputation. I would make packaging extremely functional but beautiful (i.e. Givenchy lipstick packaging- the heft and the way it locks closed is hands down my favorite- with a bullet shaped head ala Charlotte Tilbury). If possible I would keep the prices below $23 per to start and then incrementally raise cost as my profit margin increases and I introduce new items into my line. And I would never stop improving quality.

I think the problem with most new brands is that they want it all, but in their launches quality is always wanting in at least half their products. If my name were on it and it was my baby, I would be embarrassed to sell anything that didn’t get an A rating on Temptalia and a cult following in the industry.

Obviously I’ve thought a lot about this. Lol.

Leslie Avatar

First of all, there would be no loud, garish shades, like blue or yellow lipstick…no neon blue eyeshadow lol. I would try to create flattering, unique shades that are a combination of two colors (gray- green, taupe-purple, etc.) and there would be a true emerald green that doesn’t pull red or brown when you apply it. A little sparkle but not over the top glitter. I find alot of shades are too warm so I would do many cool colors. Lipsticks would be medium rose, true deep luminous reds, berries, plums. No nudes. I’m sick of nude lipstick. Sorry, but it doesn’t look good on anyone. You either look washed out or like a porn star lol. 😛 Blush would be the same….flattering roses, plums and reds. I love my makeup to light up my face, not just add color. Packaging would be understated, elegant, classy, and sturdy….and not overpriced.

Nicole Avatar

I like the sound of that Christine and I think you should do it! You Have the knowledge of what we want. I would be camping out to buy your stuff for sure! Well, I guess that doesn’t happen anymore. I would be stalking the internet to buy your stuff!
If I made a line, I think honestly, I would love to get into skincare a bit more. I would like to make a simplified line for different different skin types/concerns at mid/high range with packaging that is not cheap ,but simple and elegant..totally girly. I think the $ should go to what’s going into the product and research. I love makeup too though. So maybe,once I hit the jackpot, I could add a makeup line. A girl can dream right?

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

Yes I would make a line with bridal and cosplayers in mind!

Now before you say these two are nothing alike, Cosplay is what I call extreme bridal makeup. It’s has to last a 16+ hour day, look good in personal, on stage and in film/video. It’s a freaking tall order.

Core products like foundation, concealer, correctors, and primer that have skin like quality and lasts…..

Eye primer, glitter glue, gel & acrylic eyeliners and gel colour bases. Again to LAST!

Satin liquid lipsticks, gel lipliners and 1 clear dry gown gloss

Again choosing products first that can last a long hot day would be at the core.

Fran Avatar

Christine, I think your answer is just about perfect! So we won’t be in competition, I think I’ll do try to perfect products for niche markets. One: science-based skin care and makeup for various sensitive skin types — this is a real challenge, because there are lots of different sensitivities and people can be allergic to so many different things; perhaps difficult to do profitably, it would take a lot of research and have to be very well thought-out. Two: makeup for people with cool undertones, from fairest fair to deepest deep. It’s actually a sad commentary on mainstream cosmetics companies that I even think such a thing is necessary and viable. Cool is not always pink! Some people might argue that a similar line for olive skin tones would be worthwhile.

Fran Avatar

I forgot — packaging: simple, elegant, durable. Something that looks beautiful but that a guy would not feel awkward buying/using; guys need skin care and sun protection, too, and not a few use concealer and other makeup items. Price: realistic for the quality of ingredients and formulation; I know people won’t buy something if they think it’s too “cheap”, but I want people to be able to afford high-quality, effective skincare. Marketing: focused on skin care education with an elegant and fun twist.

I think it’s interesting that several people have mentioned a need for cooler tones to be available in makeup!

Christine Avatar

It’s really, really expensive to start a line, and it’s heavy on the risk (I am pretty risk adverse). I think it may take awhile to reach profitability, too, because of costs of expansion and carrying inventory costs. In my dream world, a larger conglomerate with the resources and expertise would reach out and want to create a new brand vs. starting from ground zero on my own. Plus, I think I would have to give up blogging (there’s certainly an ethical question about having your own products and reviewing other brands’ products simultaneously, which is really all I do).

Sarah Avatar

Paula Begoun has her whole beautypedia thing going (although I automatically question anything she reviews, sadly, because of the conflict). I understand. That being said, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that you are probably the most trustworthy and reliable reviewer in existence. We love you!

It’s what Sephora does. They either build up fledgling brands by buying them out (Fresh, Becca) and financing their development or just creates in-house labels (Marc Jacobs).

Eriu Avatar

Paula’s Choice does exactly that with their Beautypedia site. I think the ethics question would resolve itself if transparency was maintained and your blog provides that, especially as customers could comment and rate too, not too different from what this community already does. Reviews based on solid criteria where you avoid hawking your own products as an alternative within the review itself would provide that separation between the blogger and the seller.

Christine Avatar

It can definitely be done, and disclosure is always key, but even so, there are quite a few who question the credibility of Beautypedia for exactly that connection (even though they’re not hiding it). To a lesser extent, it’s the same with press samples or affiliate links – some have no issue as long as it is disclosed, others don’t trust them at all. I’d have to do some real soul-searching to really see where I stand on it and whether I could walk that very, very fine line!

Sarah Avatar

I myself question many of her reviews mostly because several products she slams are holy grails for me, but milage varies with skincare. And the top ratings she gives her own products are much higher than what I would rate. I’m simply not impressed with her skincare. So the differing opinion, plus the obvious conflict of interest is what makes me look elsewhere for reviews before I resort to Beautypedia.

I think what makes makeup vastly different than skincare is that there’s less room for variables when measuring a product’s efficacy. It’s universal! I suppose one way to avoid it altogether, in a Temptalia fantasy universe where you have your own line, is to simply not review your own products. Even Charlotte Tilbury raves about and has done tutorials using other products (TF, WG, etc).

Aline Avatar

My line would focus on women with oily skin. Foundations that don’t breakdown in two hours, cream products for cheeks that last and primers and setting sprays that control oil. For the color range, I’d love palettes that are similar to Dior’s colors, but with A ratings. Purples would be abundant. Lots of lipsticks, because that’s my favorite thing to splurge on. I’d like to make colors that work on women who typically go for nude lips. I love both Nars and Guerlain’s packaging, so I don’t know how I’d blend them, but something minimal but luxurious.

Aline Avatar

I forgot to add that I’d love to have a sunscreen that you can spray over your makeup so that you can refresh your sun protection during the day while refreshing/mattifying your makeup. I never understood how I’m supposed to keep reapplying sunscreen when I have a full face of makeup on.

Katherine T. Avatar

Nancy, there are several SPF sprays on the market that can be applied over makeup but….the Supergoop and Coola ones have alcohol as first ingredient, and my skin can’t take it. The best one I’ve heard of is Bioderma Hydrabio Eau Soin SPF 30 (no bad alcohols or fragrance) and it got rave reviews from many bloggers , but it’s only sold in France right now, and I keep praying Beautylish will eventually carry it, as they carry other Bioderma stuff

rhapsodii Avatar

Definitely an indie line of highly pigmented eyeshadows and iridescent pressed highlighters — themed into collections inspired by favorite books & movies. I so want to have eyeshadows named “Slartibartfast” and “Oh, no, not again…”

…I’m a total indie makeup geek. 🙂

Joy Avatar

I’d prefer collaborating with an already established one.

IF:It’s such a huge process I’d focus on only one product. Looking at what’s missing most I’d go with a custom creation foundation line to fill in all paler than pales an deeper than deeps. Any type formula with skincare needs to suit individuals skin needs. Creamy liquid only. One formula BUT You choose what you want based on core ingredients good for your skin type and color and undertones Matched by us. Price determined by cost of ingredients, labor, packaging. Meaning it can be all over. Everyone finally wins. ? for those who want foundation.

Other: A non makeup industry where money goes to fund re-teaching of classic beauty. Enhancing self. No baking 12 step face routine. Bare minimum. Youth looks too old Depends on trends. Value of skin and care prior to social media misconception must come back! Bring health into it instead of more makeup. I’m more likely choose this option Because people want to see others when look in mirror Can’t see their own beauty. Something needs done. More simple beginnings. Imho it’s out of hand. I feel fortunate not to grow up like this My mom and her Mom did not either. Pressure screws heads thoughts. Makeup is great fun! I do not disagree. Makeup needs applied best. Skin optimal. True beauty upped. No comparisons. Once learned, healthy skin healthy mind has perfect foundation to play. And healthier reason.
Add: I buy YouTube give can to “gurus.” Bye. Worship of others is so unhealthy! It is mostly BS with hidden commercials from people wanting discovered. Sad to me. Comments are much like school with cliques. Very negative. Obsession. Bad slang. Encourage terrible traits. Cheer on false filter and lights and affiliation. No. I work in holistic health though. I view from minority. See how it is affecting beauty industry. Needs separated fast imho.

Tova J Avatar

Ohh I’ve been dreaming a lot about this lately. It’s very important to me that it would be cruelty-free and vegan, and in the affordable to mid-end price range! I would focus on cheek, eye and perhaps lip colours. Some staple neutrals but more unique shades as well, and brights because I personally love it!! Packaging would be simple but cute, think ColourPop, easy to store and travel with.

Rachel R. Avatar

I would love to start a line that catered to skin tones that usually get ignored in most lines: Very fair, very dark, neutral undertones, olive undertones, orange undertones, etc. I’d do lots of foundation and concealer shades. I’d like a color cosmetic with colorways that suit the different skin tones. Cruelty free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic.

Lisa Avatar

Growing up with acne as a teenager and now dealing with rosacea, I would have a makeup line focused only on base makeup. Primers, tinted moisturizers, foundation (liquid and powder), concealors, loose and pressed powders, body concealors, etc. A variety of formulations to cater to different skin needs is key. As saturated as the market is with new foundation launches and formulations, there are many in between shades/ undertones that are lacking. Or foundations that cover really well are often cakey on the skin.

I would make it my mission to educate the public and my staff about not only how to choose the right foundation, but also embrace the majority of clientele that don’t have perfect skin to also educate them how to best conceal problem areas. I can’t count how many times I’ve been matched to the wrong shade by someone inexperienced. I strongly feel that makeup does more than make you look pretty, it’s a tool that anyone can use to give them confidence to face the world literally when we sometimes just don’t have the strength to because of our personal skin struggles.

I would devote a significant part of the business into research and development and create innovative products and formulations. I feel a few key tools like foundation brushes or sponges would be nice too.

As for packaging, I haven’t thought much about it except that I don’t think glass or bulky packaging would fit into the concept. I would down the road add maybe a few highlighters but I would like to remain true to the core of the brand and focus on just skin.

Phew! Is that a lot to ask? A girl can dream…


First and foremost, I’d make sure that it’s for EVERY SKIN TONE and EVERY SKIN TYPE! No one would be left out. It would be affordable, excellent quality and quantity, pretty packaging, easy to open and apply, and excellent formula. My brand would have everything you can think of, and I’d have a very catchy name.

Erin Avatar

Cruelty free, specific colors to fit different undertones plus a wide selection of neutral shades with neutral undertones. My brand would involve skincare as well as color. I’m envisioning something between Sunday Riley, NARS, and Chanel. Innovation of course would be key. Simple but luxe packaging. I think color can be restorative too like skincare so I’d like to make sure there is an emphasis on the marriage of the two.

Genevieve Avatar

It would definitely be cruelty free, silicon free and fragrance free – focusing on gaps in the market. Cool toned eye palettes for sure – focusing on quality over quantity. It would be mid range in price and subject to international shipping.
The lipsticks (no lip glosses) would be about bold lips with a glossy finish.
A couple of really good mascaras in a few colours: black, brown, navy and green.
Blush mosaics in peach, coral, pink available in lighter and darker shades
Highlighters that suit a variety of complexions.
Brow pencils and gels.
A huge undertaking for sure.

Gwen Davis @ipaintflesh Avatar

I would create an entire line of realistic faux tattoo airbrush stencils that look real when applied, and a line of realistic fx tattoo airbrush ink…. Oh YEAH! I DID It! It only took 5 years, 10,000 hours and 1000s of prototypes. Launching a cosmetics brand is not an easy thing. ESPECIALLY when there are hundreds upon hundreds of highly intricate designs to make into products. But when it’s done, you realize then that you can do anything. This baby is getting ready to fly this Spring. See you at all the beauty expos soon! Look for us! Faux Tattoo Stencils is about to launch pure awesomeness. 😀

Fitz Avatar

I don’t have a dream line, just a dream product.
Lip Balm/Primer with high SPF but it doesn’t leave a white cast on your lips. It prevents bleeding without the hard edges of a lip liner and increases longevity of your lip color without changing the formula of whatever lip product you use.

Jeanette Avatar

Cruelty free and Vegan. Having pretty packaging. Such as those rose petal blushes I have seen pictures of online. Sorry can’t remember the name of the brand. Price wise it would be low-mid range prices. If Colourpop can do those great prices then I hope I could too even with nice packaging.

Alicia Johnson Morris Avatar

Oooh, I daydream about this a lot!! One of the things I really like about Charlotte Tilbury (and recently, Urban Decay also), are the “recreate the look” sets. The problem with both, you practically have to win the lottery to afford them. I’d like to create a line that focuses on women (young and old) who are just getting into makeup. The line would teach them how to do everything from simple, everyday looks to more exotic looks with a complete “kit” approach that includes quality brushes and step by step instructions. The products would have to be good quality, but not break the bank. They could buy a pre-made “kit” of eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and blush or build their set slowly. Foundations would be purchased outside the kit, because those are more specialized based on so many factors. I am not sure I am making any sense, but I hope you get the idea!

Vanessa Avatar

I’d creat something that would be like a mix between UD and KVD, with a touch of Too Faced. It would also be cruelty-free at a mid-end price range with quality over quantity. Packaging wise, I’d want and edgy yet practical design. The overall key words for my line would be quality, longlasting, oily skin approved, highly pigmented, and last but not least, colorful. For foundations & concealers, It would be oil-free, matte, longlasting, and won’t emphasize fines lines or crease. Also, have a very wide range of shades, including undertones. For eyeshadows & liners, I want to emphasize a lot of bright, unique colors in various finishes. For lips, unconventional colors would be the star. Long wearing, yet hydrating, metallic liquid lipsticks would be awesome. First I’d start out with these areas, then move on to creating other products like primers, blushes, highlighters, contours powders, setting sprays and brushes. I think style wise, there needs to be more brands like UD and KVD in mainstream shopping stores. Don’t get me wrong I adore neutrals, but a girl needs bright colors! ?

Pasheeda Morris Avatar

My beauty brand would be focused more on the kind of makeup I like to wear. It would consist of matte lipsticks,
matte eye shadows, cream eye shadows, felt-tip liquid eyeliners, lip pencils, and mascara so voluminous you don’t need false lashes. Also, I would include eye shadow primer, lash primer, and lip balm you can apply on your lips before you line and color your lips. I would call it Vintage by HoneyBelle due to my love of traditional matte lipstick which is very flat in texture, rich and full in color. I can’t stand the new wave of matte lipsticks that are in the market now.

Kayle Avatar

I would want something budget-friendly, cruelty-free/vegan, and catered mainly towards people of color. I wouldn’t try to do everything, but I’d do foundation/concealer, lipstick, and eyeshadow for sure! A weird mix but also the hardest to find for people on the medium/dark end of things. I know I’d give to find a foundation that matches me perfectly, but most companies think in absolutes and either make things way too yellow or way too pink/orange, so I’d try to fix that!

Pteetsa Avatar

I would base it on the seasonal color analysis – remember when your mom was an autumn or a summer? – and each season would have a eyeshadow trio, blush, lipstick, mascara, and foundation/concealer duos and finishing powders in a range of skin tones. (The different seasons would cover skin undertones.) Maybe it would eventually expand to the sub-seasons (soft autumn, clear winter, etc.) and other products like highlighters and bronzers.

You could buy the whole season as a set a la Charlotte Tilbury (Light Autumn, Medium Autumn, etc.) or individual items. They’d be magnetized like the Inglot Freedom System, and I would offer the palettes to put them in for free. Packaging would be easy to open and flat so you can stack it or organize it easily.

Definitely cruelty-free, free of any nasty chemicals, and that weird silicone-y stuff that is in a lot of “blurring” products. Pricing would be Sephora-brand or Inglot range.

Kuávsui Avatar

It would be very much base-oriented and as cutting edge as possible without going for prohibitively high prices (i’m thinking mid range). Wearable formulations for both dry and oily skin types and a shade range from very pale to deep black. Limited but well-curated shade ranges in permanent blushes, eye products and lippies plus a few seasonal palettes/sets to add to those.

CourtneyK Avatar

I would want to do bold colored products for sensitive skin. I love eye makeup, but a lot of times the products can irritate my eyes, especially as a contact lens wearer. My lips also get dry, so if I could create a matte lipstick that actually nourishes my lips, that would be amazing.

Laura Avatar

While I tend to prefer mid-to-high end companies, I think that the low-to-mid end arena is really lacking in consistently good quality, cruelty-free brands. Most that exist focus on a “natural” marketing scheme, or have misleading claims about the benefits of their products. I think one of the only exceptions is NYX.

In the tradition of brands like Paula’s Choice, I would want a comprehensive range of honest, well-researched products, almost all of which would contain SPF and involve no animal testing or animal-derived ingredients.

My personal interest tends to be in good coverage but natural-looking foundations and concealers, and wearable natural tones for eyes, lips, and cheeks. I think a lot of nude lip shades are poorly formulated or unflattering, and the drugstore could use some work in that department. More skin tones need to be catered to, as well. And I’d also like to see more and better formulated waterproof mascaras and cool-toned contouring shades!

Laura Avatar

Oh, and better formulated shades of foundation and concealer! Brands like Almay and Physician’s Formula, some of the few cruelty-free low-end ranges available (in Canada, at least), tend to have only 3 to 4 shades in each range, maybe 5 or 6, and they are often way too orange or pink. Plus we need to see more high coverage products with SPF, as often the only products that offer sun protection are tinted moisturizers/BB creams.

Lisa Avatar

Yes to the waterproof mascara! A lot of the high end brands have a small variety of mascaras, but not all of them come in a waterproof version. I’d love to try the MAC gigablack mascara for the wand, but it’s not waterproof. “Long wearing ” or “smudge proof” is not the same thing!

Zovesta Avatar

I do dream of this! High drugstore in price (think $15 for a palette, $5 for a lipstick), with a huge focus on cutesy retro/vintage packaging, and classic colours with good formulas. I’d be most interested in a line of lipsticks that evoke a certain period (cherry scented dark red for the ’20s, berry red for the ’30s, classic blue based red for the ’40s, pink for the ’50s) and small eyeshadow palettes built around a cute theme. Basically, a Besame/theBalm mix while still keeping it seriously affordable and a heavy emphasis on ’50s pin ups and romantic themes. =P I’m quite capable of doing the art, it’s just everything else that I’d have to study and study… *sigh* But I can dream. =(

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