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5 Indie Beauty Brands You Need to Know About

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Time and time again I have said that I just absolutely adore makeup. I love buying it, using it, watching videos tutorials, and reading reviews about products and brands on the internet. I’m always up to date on hot releases and cool new product launches. My new obsession? Indie makeup brands. Now, you may not know exactly what that means, but no worries — I’m here to enlighten you. Basically, “indie” makeup brands are smaller, independently owned companies that operate without a bigger parent company to back them up. For example, The Estee Lauder Company owns brands like Too Faced, Bobbi Brown, and M.A.C. Kendo owns Fenty Beauty and Kat Von D.  These smaller companies do it all on their own, and they aren’t often found in mainstream retailers like Sephora or Ulta. However, the freedom of being independent allows these brands more creativity and control over things aesthetics, packaging, shades, and ingredients. These smaller brands are out here pushing boundaries, starting trends, and creating amazing high-quality products, which is why I’m putting them on your radar

1. Storybook Cosmetics

This makeup company’s tagline is: “Inspired by your favorite stories,” and they definitely live up to that expectation. Storybook makes the cutest collections inspired by classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter, Mean Girls, and more. They have the most beautiful brushes that are perfect to show off on your vanity and to use, too! The Rose Gold Wizard Wands Brush Set is absolutely stunning; the set consists of five soft, cruelty-free eyeshadow brushes with the most intricately detailed rose gold handles, modeled after wands from the Harry Potter series. With this set, your smoky eyes and cut creases will be pure magic! If your looking for face brushes, take a look at their Roses Are Black Brush Collection. This set comes with four brushes perfect for your powder highlights and blushes. Each brush has black and scarlet cruelty-free synthetic bristles and a goth-inspired black matte handle. In terms of makeup, I personally would die to get my hands on their Mean Girls inspired Burn Book eyeshadow palette; it’s got a beautiful collection of warm-toned pinky-orange mattes, but a couple of really unique shades thrown in there, like Cool Mom, which is a shimmery deep blue, and Grool, which is an absolute showstopper of a color that’s an interesting greenish gold shimmer. Either way, it’s a stunner of a palette. If you want a good idea of how it wears, check out YouTube queen Nikkietutorials’ video using it; she creates a stunning look that will definitely have you running to get your hands on it!

2. Beauty Bakerie

Beauty Bakerie has been steadily gaining momentum in the beauty world over the past few months, so you may have heard of them. If you haven’t, here’s a quick spiel on this awesome company. Created by artist, entrepreneur, and makeup junkie Cashmere Nichols, this brand has quickly made a name for itself due to the intense staying power of their long-wearing products, including eyeshadows, long-lasting “lip whips” and smudge proof brow products. The brand also stands for extremely high quality and good-for-you products, as their website states: “During a challenging but successful fight with breast cancer, Cashmere became extremely health-conscious and research-driven about the products that she purchased and used. The Beauty Bakerie brand is a direct reflection of Cashmere’s perseverance and passion for great quality products that enhance the beauty in everyone, every day.” Aside from the good for you ingredients and crazy staying power, the brand’s super cute aesthetic is also a huge draw, with products styled after sweet treats and desserts. As a huge proponent of baking (the makeup technique, not the brownies and cookies kind!), I’ve been dying to try their Flour Setting Powder, an ultra-fine HD translucent powder designed to help make your face last all day!

3. Juvia’s Place

Another black-owned beauty brand on the rise, Juvia’s Place has been making a name for themselves with their insanely pigmented eyeshadow palettes. Owner Chichi Eburu has stated she was inspired by the vibrancy and richness of her home in Nigeria. She pays homage by branding her products with images of Queen Nefertiti and creating show-stopping palettes with African inspired names, including the best selling Zulu, Saharan, Nubian Palettes. All palettes contain unique and stunning colors with out of this world pigment. With their new festival collection, Juvia’s Place has even expanded into the world of liquid lipsticks, creating two stunning debut colors: Soil, a stunning clay-colored inspired by the expansive African deserts, and Dudu, a super dark and vampy blackened-brown. Although sold out at the moment, I’m planning on purchasing the accompanying Festival eyeshadow palette, which boasts the most amazing red shade I’ve ever seen; I can’t wait to test it out! If you’re looking to see how these products work before you buy, check out KathleenLights or NikkieTutorials on YouTube; Kathleen has some great tutorials featuring the Masquerade Palette, while NikkieTutorials has raved about the Magic, Nubian and Douce Palettes time and time again!

4. Black Moon Cosmetics

This super cool brand has been consistently bringing it since 2015 with their awesome lip products, and have been working hard to expand their product range! With their most recent launch, an eyeshadow palette called the Orb of Light Palette, Black Moon Cosmetics is certainly not messing around. This gorgeous neutral matte palette has all the basics needed for a variety of eye looks, and yet, the palette is the complete opposite of basic. With eight creamy and pigmented cruelty-free shades housed in an edgy and gothic-inspired half moon shaped palette, you can do everything from a classic everyday look to a sexy, sultry black smoky eye with this go-to palette! If eyeshadow isn’t your cup of tea, you have to check out the lip products that put this brand on the map. They have the most interesting and unique shades out there. Take Genie for instance; it’s a stunning combination of magenta and fuchsia with a cool bluish purple flip that gives you super trendy duochrome effect! If you’re not into pinks, check out Gloom, a super interesting beige/gray/nude that’s a real cool-toned showstopper; it’s neutral without being boring and basic. If you’re really feeling out there, they have an awesome collection of metallic liquid lipsticks, my favorite being Myth, an almost black emerald green with tiny hints of teal. Let this green shade really push you out of your comfort zone! No matter which product you pick from them, you really can’t go wrong.

5. Star Crushed Minerals

Star Crushed Minerals’ stunning mineral-based products will really allow you to sparkle and shine. With their loose highlighters, you can unlock your inner glowing goddess! They have an extension shade range of loose, shimmering pigments to highlight your cheekbones, nose, forehead, and chin. Use them on your body too, if you so desire! They have your classic, go-to neutral champagne sand golds, such as Honeymoon, In The Buff, and Gold Digger, which are perfect for everyday wear. They also have a some more adventurous colors if you’re feeling extra. Be sure to check out Ice Queen, Mint Candy, Honey and Lemon, and Sheer Joy! Ice Queen is a cool purple-silver shade, with a sheer kiss of blue. In that same purple-ish family, Sheer Joy is a beautiful pastel lavender. Mint Candy is described as a “soft mint green with delicate jewel toned sparks.” Definitely a showstopper! And on the other end of the spectrum, Honey and Lemon is a gorgeous and super bright yellow-gold. Whether you’re looking for something bold or understated, Star Crushed minerals have got something for you!

It’s always important to me to support up and coming brands, especially those owned by women or people of color. I love Sephora and Ulta, but it can get boring seeing the same stuff every time you browse their websites or check out their stores. These smaller indie brands are putting out really unique and new products, and I’m always one to spend some money in the name of creativity and innovation! Let me know if you decided to check out any of these companies based on my recommendations!


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Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.