Sephora: a makeup lover’s heaven. (Admit it, every time you visit you walk out of there with your hands completely covered in makeup swatches.) It seems like large makeup chain stores, or even drugstores, would carry every makeup product we could ever need. But that’s not the case. There’s actually a whole other world of makeup out there. “Where?” you might ask. The internet! Today, more and more people are starting their own independent brands of makeup that aren’t sold in stores. All it takes is a bit of browsing on YouTube and Instagram to learn about the hottest indie brands and their absolute must-have products. But in case you’re lazy, we’ve rounded up 15 independent makeup brands you need to know about immediately. Warning: Your wallet may hurt afterwards.
If you love bright colors, Sugarpill is the brand for you. Launched in 2010, Sugarpill has always led the way in vibrant, innovative makeup products. They offer a line of the most highly pigmented shadows ranging from matte primary colors to frosty pastels. In addition, they produce loose pigments, false lashes, and makeup brushes. And as if that wasn’t awesome enough, all of their products are cruelty-free and a majority of them are even vegan!
2. Morphe Brushes
If we could name one brand that has had the most buzz over the past year, it would have to be Morphe Brushes. They first came into fame by offering a line of professional quality makeup brushes at an extremely affordable price. But that’s not all they do! They even offer an extensive range of amazing makeup products, including eyeshadow palettes, cream shadows, foundations, concealers, blushes and gel liners. And get this, their single eyeshadows run just two bucks a pop! Recently, they even released an exclusive palette in collaboration with YouTube star Jaclyn Hill, which sold out in practically no time at all.
3. Melt Cosmetics
Vibrant, matte lipsticks–need we say more? Melt Cosmetics hasn’t been on the scene for very long, but it’s time they got more recognition. Their lipsticks provide the most gorgeous creamy matte finish in a wide variety of shades ranging from red to black to even green! The line is only just beginning to grow (they just expanded and released two brand new eyeshadow stacks) but we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Melt!
4. Violet Voss
One word: Glitter! Violet Voss offers some of the best glitters on the market which can be used on the eyes and nails. Their product Violet’s Secret Weapon is also known for being the best glitter adhesive out there. Recently, they’ve expanded their line to include nail polishes, pigments and eyeshadows. If you’re looking to add some fun and sparkle to your looks, this is the brand for you!
5. Makeup Geek
If you don’t know who Makeup Geek is, you need to do your research immediately. When YouTube’s own Marlena launched MUG a few years ago, the makeup world changed forever. The brand started out with brushes and eyeshadows (which are just as good, if not better, than MAC shadows and only $5.99 each!) and gradually moved on to pigments, gel liners, lipsticks and blushes. Makeup Geek is constantly praised for its superior quality and service and we’re super excited to see how the line continues to grow!
6. SauceBox Cosmetics
Founded in 2010 by a mother/daughter duo, SauceBox cosmetics specializes in gorgeous, extremely pigmented eyeshadows. They believe that “make up is all about attitude and your inner self expression” and wanted to create a “high quality line without the high price.” Among their best-sellers, the Étude palette is highly praised and their Black Widow eyeshadow is said to be the darkest, mattest, blackest eyeshadow out there.
7. Gerard Cosmetics
You may have heard quite a bit about Gerard Cosmetics through YouTube and Instagram–and for a good reason! Gerard Cosmetics is a line “created for women by women who empower each other and strive to offer products that are luxurious, accessible and endlessly chic.” They are known for their creamy lipsticks, super pigmented glosses, and illuminating BB cream. They take pride in creators and artists and often collaborate with YouTube and Instagram stars.
EX1 is a smaller and relatively unknown brand in the United States–but not for long! When starting her brand, creator Farah Naz had one philosophy in mind: “to design the highest quality collection of products for olive-skinned women.” The line currently offers a full range of face products which all suit women with warmer undertones. The Invisiwear Liquid Foundation has also been highly praised for its longevity and oil control.
9. Velour Lashes
If you want your lashes to go va-va-voom, you need to check out Velour. These luxurious mink lashes are lightweight, cruelty-free, and can be worn up to 25 times. The lash line ranges from full and flirty to light and wispy–and to top it all off, you can even design your very own customized lash to suit your eye shape perfectly!
ColourPop is definitely the brand to watch out for this year. Based out of LA, ColourPop is currently on top of innovative and colorful makeup. They offer a huge range of eyeshadows, lipsticks and lip liners in every shade imaginable. And guess what? They cost only $5 each! Their eyeshadows have one of the most unique and interesting formulas out there–creamy, fluffy to the touch, but with amazing pigmentation. ColourPop loves teaming up with content creators and has even released exclusive products in collaboration with YouTube and Instagram stars such as Shaaanxo, KathleenLights, and Megan Naik.
11. Sigma Beauty
Sigma Beauty first came onto the scene with their high quality and significantly cheaper dupes of MAC’s brushes. Now, they have expanded their brush line even more and also opened up into the world of makeup. They offer tons of products, such as eyeshadow palettes, gel liners, lip glosses, blushes, etc. and are always creating new and exciting products. They also have a freestanding store in the Mall of America. Like many other indie brands, they really appreciate content creators on YouTube and Instagram and frequently collaborate with vloggers and bloggers alike.
Zoeva, a German cosmetics brand, also started out by producing luxurious, high quality makeup brushes at a low price. Their brushes have been highly acclaimed for their softness and superior quality. Over the past few years, they’ve also begun to create their very own line of makeup which includes vibrant eyeshadows, silky blushes and creamy lipsticks.