Rant & Rave: Makeup Geek

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Makeup Geek

I like that they have a lot of budget-friendly products in their range, but I don’t like seeing some of their pricing on new products creep toward mid-end in price point – I feel like that goes against why they started.

— Christine

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Same here! I really enjoy their blushes but when I saw the price for the highlighters, I was turned off immediately. Shame because they are getting good grades and surely they would be worth the price, but just the fact that it’s so different to what I am used to from them makes me not want to buy them. I understand if it’s a little price jump but wowza…

What I like about MUG is their concept: You can get everything individually and buy exactly what you want and need. It’s very individualized. Also their costumer service is good and shipping costs aren’t crazy expensive.
What I don’t like is what you basically said: They market themselfs as cost friendly but aren’t actually. If you buy like 4 singe eye shadows you’re already at roughly 32$. Inexpensive is different.. So please stop marketing yourself as cheap etc.
Other than that I feel like they are getting too many products out in a very short amount of time. It’s almost impossible to have an overview of their products because they change so quickly. Innovation is good and appreciated but ut can break your neck when it’s too much.

Haha this sounds probably veeery negativ, but I think MUG is a nice brand! I have ordered a couple of times from them in the past. Although I have to admit that I haven’t been interested in them in the last 12-18 months…

I’ve never actually tried any MUG products largely because they have to be ordered online and I can’t try them in store, so that is my first complaint about the brand. And I’ve seen, from the independent online reviews (here, Makeupalley, etc.) that prices have indeed started inching up and also the quality of the products -which seemed to be absolutely top notch at first – has become a bit more “iffy” in the past year or so. Kudos to Marlena for all she’s achieved (and especially for coming out, originally, with really first rate quality products at reasonable prices).

Where I live, MakeUp Geek is not considered a budget brand :/ I’m aware that they do deliver quality, but it would be great if their prices were consistent… The official seller here always raises the prices up a notch every month.

Yeah I live in Canada and MUG is *not* budget once you add in shipping, exchange, duty fees…I hate that online stores market themselves as “internationally friendly” but in practice are really only affordable for Americans.

By the time that I was ready to dip my foot into that brand, the quality had gone and become rather iffy and very inconsistent, especially as regards new products and shades. And so I still haven’t. I am very unhappy about Marlena overhauling her entire blush line. Oddly, the price going midrange on the highlighters isn’t getting to me because the quality is solid. Those I am planning on getting 2-3 of.

I currently have my first Makeup Greek order on it’s way, It’s currently in Canada. So I’ll be getting it any day now!!
But my rant is, shipping wasn’t too bad (Pointed glare at colourpop for making me pay $10/$15 shipping!!!) but it was still almost $10 for me, and I only ordered 3 things. Also, I guess it’s because they are so popular, but my order was processing for about 5 business days. And it’s been about 14 business days for it to arrive in Canada and be screened.

So I’m not too impressed with the shipping and stuff so far. But who knows, the two blushes I ordered could knock my socks off!!

I want to order a small Zpallet and 9 of their shadows, but that is just. SO much money. It’s between $40 and $60, once the conversions have been done I’m pretty sure!

I’m looking forward to trying the blushes though!! After reading your reviews, Christine, I’m excited!!

My blushes and Z pallet was delivered at 8:30 pm tonight !!! 😛

So far, I have put everything I wanted into the Z pallet, and it’s PERFECT! So I’m looking forward to traveling this weekend to see how it goes!!

Also I swatches the blushes, romance is the most beautiful shimmery orangey coral ever!! And I love the tone of soulmate!! It’s a beautiful plum on me so far!! I can’t wait to wear one of these blushes tomorrow!!!

I appreciate how they swatch all of their products on different skin tones, including porcelain, which is something I really like seeing if I can’t swatch in person. I like how their website is also a community of different looks you can browse through, and re-create on your own using their products. I feel like they offer a lot of freedom in customization, they fill a nice niche in the makeup world of relatively affordable single pans in a ton of colors and finishes.
Rant: their latest highlighter launch. So many great colors, but the price point keeps me from snatching them up (and the bundles they created don’t appeal to me- the porcelain bundle is all cool-tones).

I have a bunch of MUG eyeshadows and I like them all but I don’t like that they seem to have inconsistent forumlas. I have to read your reviews before purchasing to make sure I don’t get a dud.

Although you could probably say the same thing about all brands! This is just one that I actually purchase from a lot so I really notice it.

I love their products, so far I own quite a few shadows and some blushes and the quality is good and consistent. Even the products that don’t finger-swatch so well, or those that are dustier in the pan are still easily picked up by brush and they blend well, last long and look good, which is what matters. They are one of the few brands that offer affordable shipping to Africa, which I appreciate.
My problem with them is that their products are actually not that affordable. Their foiled shadows are $10 a piece, the mattes are $6, and building even the smallest palette will cost you at least $54. Add in the actual palette and you’re up to $70. You can buy a decent high end palette with that money. I was especially disappointed by the price of the highlighters, and the fact that they’re not even available in $10 pans at all, which is an option they offered for their blushes and contour powders . For a brand that prides itself on offering “highend makeup at affordable prices”, I was surprised to see their highlighters priced at $20 considering that Urban Decay sells very similar looking highlighters for $26. Thats not a lot lf savings. The prices are definitely discouraging, and if the upcoming lip products are priced similarly, I will probably not be buying a lot.

Another Canadian here. My main beef with this, and also with Colorpop and Kiko is there is nowhere to at least see the products for me. I most often buy online, but like to swatch in person as my colouring is a bit funky and things can look drastically different on me. If I want something, the shipping and exchange are just part of the price which in turn is part of my purchase decision.

I honestly haven’t tried them before. It takes me a while to try a new company especially if they have items I already purchase. They’d need to offer something I don’t have or a better version of something I don’t have before I try them unfortunately. It’s the way I save money and not impulse buy.

I’m the same; it takes me a while to incorporate new brands and there has to be a reason to branch out into trying it. I’d rather buy fewer things overall no pay more per item than risk duds for the sake of trying something new. When I do adds new brand, it’s usually from trying in-person. Inglot is a good example for me; I’d known about it for a while, but it wasn’t until I was in Las Vegas and able to see and touch the products that I purchased. It’s not about buying affordable – that window closed a long time ago – it’s about buying solid products that work well for me.

So true it’s about buying solid products. I like Inglot too and Kiko Cosmetics…didn’t see them in a store but took a chance and got their lipstick on ebay because they didn’t deliver to the US then they added the US online and I was so happy lol, I love it plus for the price it’s worth it. I guess if I blogged or vlogged about Makeup then it’s ok to venture out but I don’t so nope lol.

I agree! Their prices have been creeping up more and more. I have not purchased anything from them in awhile, mostly because I am on this ColourPop kick right now. I do check MUG out from time to time though. They do ship things in very timely manner which I think is great.

I have not used anything from MUG yet, but I am planning to order their 27 pan matte eyeshadow palette. I am just getting into eyeshadow seriously and need a good amount to start out with. However, I don’t love that I have read that their mattes are hit and miss. Are they? I think I would be better off just ordering some Coastal Scents hot pots for 1/6th the price (on black friday) since I have read the same thing about them being hit and miss.

Same! My only complaint is shipping. Note to all brands that offer international shipping, (colourpop, melt cosmetics, house of lashes, makeup geek) unless you let me pay taxes as I’m ordering don’t bother. It costs way too much when it gets here and you add the customs and handeling fees. Also adds about a week to the delivery! Never want to make that mistake again!!

I have 6 MUG colors that sit idle in the back of a drawer because I really dislike and won’t use the color. So that comes out to be an unused $36 palette. For me, no more buying site unseen online with no ability to return. Ouch, it hurts to think about.

I was thinking about just this topic. My beautiful Viseart palettes came in at $4.26 per shadow (Sephora sale). MUG quality is good, but it’s not Viseart good. So discretion has become the better part of my eyeshadow valor these days.

Overall, I think that MUG quality is good. I do think people (looking in the mirror here) end up spending more than they think at their “inexpensive” one-off shadow pricing. It adds up.

I’ve never been a huge fan, and I don’t see that changing. The new highlighters look gorgeous, though, so if I buy MUG in the future, it will be one or two of those. I agree that the pricing is high for this brand, but the pans are pretty large. I think it’s still a reasonable price for a good highlighter. I get frustrated that popular items are out of stock most of the time. I think their eyeshadow quality is all over the place. Most of their eyeshadows that I’ve used have been duds. I used to love their blushes, but I don’t like how they changed the finish and some of the colors (but kept the same names). The whole sparkler release, with inaccurate descriptions (which they did changed when they were called out), and the packaging that MUG knew was bad, but they opted to ship them out anyway. That really turned me off. I’m watching to see what goes on with this company in terms of conduct, product quality, and pricing before I buy from them again.

I watched the video on those sparklers and I don’t really get the fuss over the packaging. She released them early with the caveat that the packaging sucked for now but would be better as soon as they got the sifters in, but they wouldn’t be ready in time for the holidays and she knew people would want the product for holiday/new years parties. It was explicitly clear why they were released without sifters and that it was going to be temporary.

You lost a lot of product without the sifter in place, and they charged the full price, despite product loss being a known factor. They did not reduce price until people spoke out against it, and it was definitely not clear just how messy they are without sifters — I have to keep all of them in a ziploc bag, because they constantly lose product – half of the product is now in the bag, mixed up, with half empty jars even though I’ve only used each shade a handful of time.

We are here, almost a year later, and sifters are still not on the product – they have finally started to come with the product, but you have to put it on yourself, so you still can lose quite a bit of product as soon as they arrive. There was also an issue with how they were marketed – that they were stated as usable on their own.

Releasing a product before it’s ready is not something to be admired, IMO. They are no strangers to jars, loose product, and sifters. The excuse of “having to have them for the holidays” is weak to me, and it just sounds like they needed more cash coming in.

I watched the video, too. That’s fine if you didn’t have a problem with how MUG did things. 🙂 But my issues are: Every single review video I saw had product flying all over the place when people opened them, and people lost product that they paid for. Many people, myself included, felt it would have been more professional for MUG to have held off the release until they packaging issue was sorted out. Plus they were marketed as being able to be used on their own, but them being used on their own was NOT in the video because they “forgot” (MUG’s words) to put the swatches in. Sorry, but I don’t buy for a second that they “forgot.” It wasn’t till people called MUG out on it that they changed the description to indicated you needed a sticky base, or lowered prices.

Rave: color selection, by far! MUG duochrome eyeshadows and pigments have been calling my name since they came out. The blushes have a good range of undertones and shades. Even the contour shades impressed me with warm and cool options for 4 different depths! Now that the highlighters are out, I’m even more impressed.

Rant: quality and price. First, quality. So many of the matte shades perform patchy and some of the shimmers are very sheer. On the other end of the spectrum, some are dense and almost creamy. Second, the highlighters. If they were offered in $10 pans like their other cheek products, I would happily purchase some. As it is, the price in packaging isn’t worth it to me :/

Totally agree. The packaging is pretty, but I’d rather save the money and the space and buy them in pans. It bugs me, because I always like that MUG offered their customers options, and now they are moving away from that.

You said exactly what I was thinking, Christine. When I saw the price on the beautiful highlighters, I just couldn’t commit. I was really disappointed but it looks like I’ll just be building my Makeup Geek eyeshadow collection only.

I’ve only tried the eyeshadows; Wisteria, Lemon Drop and Chickadee and I just cannot get them to work for me, A lot of people use Chickadee in the crease but it just does not show up and that type of colour is pretty easy to formulate. Wisteria is too sheer and Lemon Drop is very chalky and streaky but I can understand as those are difficult shades to get right. I don’t get the hype at all and won’t be buying anymore from them. I vastly prefer Coastal Scents; cheaper and better quality.

I am so happy to hear you compliment Coastal Scents. I have been wondering how they compare to Makeup Geek. They are currently having a hot pot sale and I want a ton of them. But, I have heard so many bad things about their mattes, but then I have heard good things too. They are currently half off. Do you think I would be better off just buying Coastal Scents hot pots and passing on Makeup Geek? I am just wondering if Makeup Geek is worth the extra $5 per eyeshadow pan that I would currently pay.

I always wanted to try out a few MUG eyeshadows, and esp the blushes when they were new because I had a much smaller makeup collection back then, and having all those options at a lower price was very appealing. However by the time I was actually going to bite the bullet and place an order, the whole “sparklers” or whatever Marlena called them came out and I was immediately turned off from her and her brand. Her nonsense packaging seemed so out of character, I watched her youtube for a long time and I got the sense that she never wanted to rush something out that wasn’t ready. She took so long on blushes and then suddenly these glitter things came out and they were definitely not ready. Her video on the sparklers was so edited to make them look amazing and she suggested a perfect use for them would be as a face highlight and I remember laughing and rolling. That was the point were I saw her sell out and just try to sell her products down our throats. I liked the small business owner Marlena who seemed to have more heart than just say “Yes this glitter! Fab as highlight on the nose and cheeks!!!” Then seeing the real swatches of her products, I remember commenting that there is no way in hell she couldve really suggested using glitter as highlight in the normal day-to-day.
It probably sounds petty but that one launch really left a bad impression of her in my mind, but I’m not even inclcined to entertin the notion of buying any of her products.

I love MUG and the thing with the highlighter, honestly when it came out , i was like awww 3 highlighter for 48 dollars it’s not that bad and I remembered that for the glow kit we have 4 for 40 $ so yes i’m agree it’s disappointing


Almost the same with other opinions here: it’s not exactly affordable at all. If you’re interested in only a few colors/finishes and cannot justify paying HE price for them (usually singles offered by HE brands are quite dull, they most likely offer a more variable color spectrum in palettes), buying from MG is a great choice. However, if intending to build a whole wardrobe out of the brand, the cost is much higher. For example, a UD Naked Palette is $54 for 12 colors, so $4.5 for each, while the same (if using standard formulation from MG only) will add up to $72 excluding the palette that holds them all together. Surely the amount of product in palettes is less than in single pans, but as an average consumer I can never see the end of any of my possessions.

I also am not a fan of the price increase especially for their original “motto”. With only a few more dollars I can get a HE product that vanity-speaking, much more fulfilling than a low-mid-end one. There’s a clear difference in my mind when I’m using a Becca highlighter and using MG. Sometimes the brand names play a big role in a consumer’s mind: same quality, almost same amount of money, then go for the HE stuff without doubt. Also as mentioned, it’s not always cost effective.

Finally the same old struggle with their packaging, especially the sparklers. Even as watching the announcement video and Marlena addressing the issue with the shifter, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Packaging plays an enormous part in housing and affecting a product’s performance. Faulty packaging always means one thing to me: no insight. I can’t bring myself to spending on a brand that has no control over it, and I’m speaking about a company that has a history of repeating that problem for years.


Some colors/formulations are rather unique and exciting. I have yet to see anything more perfect than their Liquid Gold pigment. It might come off as uber negative, but MG has become duller and duller in my eyes.

I agree with the majority of comments here – I’m not sure that MUG is actually affordable. People can just customize, that’s all.

Rant: I bought some eye shadows (foiled and regular shimmer/satin) and a blush based on the amazing reviews on here, and I couldn’t get any of them to work. What a waste of $60. I was shocked since I’ve never had this happen before or since with any of your reviews, Christine.

What I admire most about Makeup Geek is that it’s a cruelty-free company. I also applaud the brand’s efforts to include shades for a wide variety of skin tones.

It seems like the company needs to work on improving the consistency of their products’ quality and perhaps become a bit more professional. I also agree with others’ comments about the pricing of the new highlighters; I’d rather pay less and get a smaller amount in pan form.

Loves: great quality products, cruelty-free, great customer service, and they always try to offer products for a wide range of skin tones.
Hates: They’ve had some packaging issues in the past, which has been disappointing… I got their duochrome pigments and the sifters caused the jars to crack and break. I did contact them and let them know about this and they sent replacement jars, but they were just cheap clear generic jars, which was a bummer.

Ugh, I’ve had zero luck with Makeup Geek although I’ve always enjoyed her You Tube channel and blog. I have a handful of matte shadows that are patchy and difficult to blend. All the blushes and contours that I bought are really soft and are a big powdery mess to use! : /

I love their eyeshadows, especially for the price. I really love their foiled shadows, too! I only have two of their original launch blushes and I like them both and thought they were also a good price, but I haven’t tried their newer blushes to compare.

I’m not a fan of the pricing for those highlighters, but I do get that they’re larger and in fancy compacts. It’s nice that they at least offer a bundle of 3 that saves $12, but $20 for each is a bit steep compared to their other items. I wish they came in pan-only to save money.

I’m excited that they’ve been developing lip products, but of course, no telling how good those may or may not be until they come out.

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