5 Indie Makeup Brands that are Better than Mainstream Makeup

As I have gotten more interested in makeup, I’ve been more open to experimenting with different brands, especially indie makeup brands, and I’ve noticed that indie companies are often better than those offered at Ulta and Sephora. Indie makeup is also typically made with better ingredients and is cruelty-free (most are vegan as well or provide vegan products). I’ve listed five of my favorite indie brands that I think live up to the hype or deserve more hype.


*Cruelty-free, but offers vegan products

**Vegan and cruelty-free

  1. Menagerie Cosmetics (formally Makeup Monsters) is probably my favorite eyeshadow brand. They also offer liquid lipsticks, and they will soon be providing powders and concealers, but their eyeshadows are the superstar of the brand. Their Whalesong Palette, for example, is full of highly pigmented mattes and metallic shadows that allow for a colorful, impactful look every time. Not only is the brand vegan and cruelty-free, but it’s also talc-free and made in Washington state!

  2. You may have spotted the brand's Juicy Olive Palette, but if not, this brand is worth checking out. Again, they are mostly known for their unique color stories and eyeshadows, but they also offer a large range of liquid lipsticks.

  3. Formally Strobe Cosmetics, the creepy makeup company recently decided to rebrand. From pastels to dark, grungy tones, this brand offers an eyeshadow palette for everyone. They also offer biodegradable glitters and shimmering face and body mist for all of your sparkly needs.

  4. Although not a secret anymore, Sugarpill has definitely lived up to the hype for several years. The entire brand is cruelty-free, with most products being vegan, and it’s a one-stop-shop for colorful makeup. The makeup can be pricey – their gigantic single eyeshadows are $10 each – but Sugarpill’s color payoff cannot be understated.

  5. One of my favorite underrated brands is Baby Bat Beauty. The brand offers pretty much anything you can think of including mascaras, lip scrubs and mixing potion, but the highlighters and liquid lipsticks are my favorite. The lip color Zodiac is my perfect nude, and it feels like nothing is on my lips. I can wear these lipsticks for hours (and eat!) with minimal crumbling and fading. And the lasting power is just as good on their highlighters. By the way, if you were eyeballing Fenty’s Diamond Glow, Baby Bat Beauty’s highlighter in Moonlight is a dupe!