So excited to share my Indie Makeup Brands worth supporting post! I've been wanting to compile a post for a while that showcases all the smaller Indie Brands – here it is!
What actually is an indie makeup brand?
Simply put, an indie makeup brand is a brand that is independently owned and operated. Typically the brand is doing something that is considered progressive; they may have a new product, a different ingredient that other beauty brands aren’t using or a new way to solve an age old problem. Indie brands are becoming so much more common that even Amazon has an entire beauty category dedicated to indie beauty brands!
“The landscape of the beauty industry has shifted in large part because of the emergence of millennial and Gen-Z buyers whose preferences have helped indie brands carve into the market share of longstanding beauty corporations.” (1)
I have had the pleasure to work with some of the best indie beauty brands and even attend the Indie Beauty Expo in previous years. These Expos allow me to meet the creators of many of these brands and test out their products…so fun!
According to Jillian Wright, co-founder and CEO of Indie Beauty Expo:
“Since the indies have become the topic of conversation in the past 5 years, so has integrity, authenticity, and transparency.” (2)
Who wouldn’t want to support businesses like this?! And that is why I wanted a complete list of the top indie makeup brands worth supporting in clean beauty for my readers to reference when looking for natural makeup options. So many good ones, but these ones made the cut for me!
Best Natural Indie Makeup Brands To Support-
Fitglow Beauty is on a mission to create beauty products that work with your skin. They use science to select ingredients and create formulations that meet 3 requirements:
- Ingredients that the skin can recognize
- Nutrients the skin is able to absorb
- Key actives that the skin is able to maximize
By meeting these three requirements, FitGlow beauty products are able to work in sync with your skin.
I can’t help but mention the owners of each of these indie brands. Anna Buss, the founder of Fitglow, battled sensitive rosacea skin. She wanted products that would help her skin not turn bright red during workouts, be effective and stick with her throughout her day. Thus the mission for wanting beauty products that work with the skin was born!
Just a few of the must have FitGlow products include:
- FitGlow Lip Serums -Completely clean, hydrating, and filled with antioxidants to keep your lips looking fresh and young. They're not goopy or tacky like some glosses. They are perfect in texture and pigmented just enough. Plus, they smell like vanilla!
- FitGlow Conceal+ – This is the best concealer for covering hyperpigmentation in clean beauty- no joke. It's too heavy for under eyes but for covering redness or scarring, it's perfect. It's thick enough and stays put the whole day. A top pick in my Best Natural Beauty Concealers post and a top pick in Harper’s Bazaar The Best Organic, Natural, and Non-Toxic Makeup.
- Night Lip Serum – I use the night serum EVERY night and sometimes in the morning too when my lips need a little extra moisture. Since the skin on the lips is the thinnest and ages so quickly you want to make sure you're taking extra care to ensure it is well nourished. The Night Lip Serum is full of actives that help to plump the lips, fight signs of aging and keep moisture intact. And it feels so good on the lips!
Shop all of FitGlow Beauty here!
Aether Beauty is a sustainable clean beauty brand that was founded in 2018. For this company, being sustainable goes into everything they create – the formulas, the ingredients and even the zero-waste, recyclable packaging (no mirror or magnets makes it FULLY recyclable)!
Tiila Abbitt, the founder of Aether Beauty, launched her business with just one palette – the Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone palette. After working for Sephora for years, she felt there was a huge hole in the clean beauty space, specifically choice of color, trend and completely sustainable packaging. It was also through this position at Sephora, which is a global brand, she had to learn how to formulate with a large chemical ban list. This is because:
- There are only 11 banned chemicals in color cosmetics in the U.S. (3)
- There are over 1300 banned chemicals in the European Union (4)
And it is with this knowledge and experience, she was able to launch her business with just one eyeshadow palette. And Tilla really hit it out of the park with this one. I have featured that very palette in both my Best Of Natural Beauty-January blog post and in my Valentine’s Gift Guide because Aether is easily one of the top indie eyeshadow brands.
- The Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Palette features the perfect mix of shimmers and matte colors, not to mention a great range of colors. This would be perfect even if you have mature eyes as the shimmer shadows aren't sparkle looking but more subdued. With ingredients like shea butter, rosehip oil and coconut oil, the formula feels so silky smooth on the skin. Trust me, you'll be hooked after your first swipe!
You can shop Aether Beauty products here!
After her mother encouraged her to read the ingredient list on her favorite lip balm, ILIA’s founder Sasha Plavsic found that many of the ingredients were unsafe. According to Sasha:
“I started looking on the back of the boxes and not only did I realize that there was a lot of ‘green washing’ but a lot of products didn’t perform either.” (5)
So, she set out to recreate her lip balm with ingredients that would be safe and effective. While ILIA started as a brand that focused on lip products, they have expanded to offering so much more in clean beauty!
They were also one of the first on the clean beauty scene years ago and continue to keep making exceptional beauty products. From their True Skin Serum Foundation, to their Ilia Beauty Lipsticks- Ilia has it going on. They consistently deliver drool worthy products that perform so well. They are such a good alternative to conventional makeup…you won't feel like you're sacrificing at all!
Here are some of my fave ILIA Beauty products:
- Limitless Lash Mascara– This mascara comes with a patented brush. One side is for curling and the other side is for lengthening. It really does give my lashes a curl boost and makes adding length to them even easier. The formula is a little on the wet side, but not too wet that it smudges all over. It can be found on Glamour’s Beauty Awards: The 23 Best Natural Beauty Products of 2019
- Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation– LOVE this foundation because it doesn’t feel greasy to me and the longevity is great. It is a liquid but then it sets after a while and you get a great long wearing foundation. It really feels and acts like your skin, yet I still feel like it gives my skin great coverage. This is definitely one of my favorites in my Organic Beauty Foundation Guide.
- Chromatic Liquid Eyeshadows– These are everything! They go on so smooth and stay put! Yes, they don’t budge. Which is unheard of in clean beauty for a cream or liquid eyeshadow. I even use the lighter shades for highlighters for my face! So many uses. So good I put them on my Best of Natural Beauty 2020 list!
Shop Ilia Beauty here!
Kjaer Weis is an indie makeup brand that is not only luxurious and high performing, but organic and sustainable. When looking for a nontoxic makeup brand, what could be better?!
The founder of Kjaer Weis, Kirsten Kjaer Weis, is a Danish born makeup artist that has managed to combine the minimalism of Scandinavia with an unapologetic NYC spirit.
And if you have ever seen or used a Kjaer Weis product, you know they nailed this on the head. The makeup packaging is gorgeous and unique, while still sustainable. The makeup speaks for itself in its performance. A must try brand if you haven’t yet.
A few of my fave Kjaer Weis products include:
- Kjaer Weis Lipstick: These feel very similar to a conventional lipstick. It isn’t super hydrating, but more weighty in texture. They have an opaque and heavy feel to them and more matte look. It wears well and lasts!
- Kjaer Weis Cream Blush: If you've followed me for a little bit, you know I love a good cream blush. Especially for those with mature skin. Cream blushes make your skin look dewy and moist, bringing back the youthful glow. This blush even made Allure’s Best of Beauty 2020 list!
- Kjaer Weis Foundation: This comes in a solid cream compact. It is a great option for those who like a heavier foundation and full coverage. I can literally apply this in the morning and still look fresh faced by 7 at night. It’s great for days you need long wear and days you just need more coverage. I featured this foundation in my Organic Beauty Foundation Guide!
- Kjaer Weis Lip Gloss: I love this lip gloss as it doesn't feel goopy at all. It glides on and leaves great color pigment along with a nice sheen.
Shop Kjaer Weis here!
Kosas offers some of the best natural beauty makeup products. From their tinted face oil, to their lipsticks- you can’t go wrong with a Kosas product. The pigments are rich and colors are beautiful! They remind me of my conventional favorite MAC products.
Kosas was founded in 2015 by Sheena Yaitanes and began with the Weightless Lip Color collection, with all orders shipped from her kitchen table. Since then, Kosas breakthrough products have included Tinted Face Oil and 10 Second EyeShadow because of their totally new approach.
Some favorite Kosas products include:
- Kosas Tinted Face Oil– This is a hydrating spin on foundation that feels light and leaves you with a glow. I thought I wouldn’t like it originally but after I gave it a try, I realized how wrong I was. The Kosas Tinted Face Oil offers such good coverage, a lot better than I thought. It gives my face an overall polished and pulled together look. Plus, it looks so dewy and fresh. My skin literally looks like it’s glowing! Especially great for skin in the winter as it gets colder. Check it out in my Organic Beauty Foundation Guide and on Allure’s Best of Beauty 2019 list!
- Lipsticks– They’re definitely a go to of mine in clean beauty. Their formula is unlike any other. Not too hydrating where they bleed, but definitely moisturizing enough. These lipsticks are highly pigmented, last and plump the lips all at the same time. They come in so many great colors too. Honestly, I haven’t found a color I didn’t love.
- Revealer Concealer– I included this new concealer in my Best of Clean Beauty Concealers, but wanted to pay a little tribute to it here. I have been loving the formula which really is unique compared to other brands I’ve used in the past. It’s very brightening and really wakes up your whole complexion. It also helps to hide dark circles. I love that it has caffeine to help de-puff the under eye area and hyaluronic acid to add hydration. If you’ve been looking for a new concealer, look no further!
Check out more Kosas products here!
RMS Beauty was founded in 2009 by makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift when she noted there was a need for beauty products that were as pure as possible. She uses her 36 years of beauty industry experience to create products that are clean and high performing. This allows her customers to focus on their makeup looks and not what is in their makeup!
I have used RMS Beauty since the beginning of my clean beauty journey. These are some of the products I continue to love:
- RMS Beauty Concealer: This was the first natural beauty concealer I used 10 years ago. It’s been a long favorite of mine. I featured it in my Best Natural Beauty Concealers post. This concealer melts so easily into the skin, which I love, and gives you such a natural look, yet it still offers some coverage. Often I’ll just wear this and not wear any foundation. I just apply starting in my t-zone area and then blend out for a really natural look. This concealer has received a ton of awards over the years, including Allure’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2020.
- RMS Beauty Hidden Desire Palette: This palette includes 6 shadow colors, a highlighter and a blush color. They are all pressed powder pigments. It comes in a sleek white case and with a big mirror. The colors are perfect for everyday wear. So rich and beautiful!
- RMS “Un” Powder: This is a translucent powder (there are tinted ones too!) that I use to set my foundation/concealer. It’s really good if you tend to have oily skin and/or an oily T-zone. I also prep my eyes for eyeshadow with this powder. It soaks up the oils so my shadows don’t crease as the day goes on!
Shop for more RMS products here!
Erin Williams, a makeup artist, is the founder of Erin’s Faces. This is another clean beauty brand that began as a 1 woman show with orders being fulfilled from Erin’s kitchen table. The brand was born out of Erin’s want to work with women of all backgrounds, not just models. The brand really took off and by 2019 Erin’s Faces was able to move to a commercial space and out of her home.
Another unique part of Erin’s Faces story, is that it didn’t start out as a clean beauty brand. It was a conventional brand that was a little ‘cleaner.’ As Erin learned more, she changed up the ingredients. First, she cut petroleum out of her lip glosses. Next, no more chemical SPF and so on. Eventually they became known as the clean beauty brand they are today!
Top Erin’s Faces beauty products include:
- Erin's Faces Brush Collection – This is a newer collection from Erin’s Faces. The set comes with 4 brushes (double concealer, powder, foundation and eyeliner brush) that you need for your makeup routine plus a cute canvas bag to store your brushes in. They are so soft and make a makeup routine so much easier! I love how soft they feel and they don't shed!
- Matcha Mascara- The brush is an hourglass brush that really delivers on length and volume. You instantly get pigment on your lashes. I do each side and then go back and add a little more just on the ends to pump up the length. From length, volume, thickness- this mascara does it all! It wears great throughout the day as well – no flaking or smudging!
Exa Beauty was launched by Credo Beauty last year and its name represents so much. According to the press release on Exa Beauty:
“Our name comes from the decimal unit prefix 10 18 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) because our range is big, our impact is bigger and our inclusivity is Exa.” (6)
This includes 43 shades of foundation and a primer. In the clean beauty space the most shades available by any one brand was 19 shades, which was quite limited when it comes to color matching. These 43 shades include cool, medium and warm undertones for each shade family…so everyone can find a match!
- High Fidelity Foundation: This foundation features a buildable medium-full coverage. It has a semi-satin finish that works for all skin types. The end product is an amazingly dewy finish that will stick with you till the end of the day! It was named the Best Foundation in the 2020 Shape Beauty Awards: Makeup.
- Jump Start Smoothing Primer: This is a silky primer that will create a semi matte base for all skin types and skin tones. The amazing ingredients of cocoa fruit powder, CoQ10 and fatty acids will smooth any fine lines, minimize your pores and protect from free radicals.
Shop all of Exa Beauty here!
Ere Perez was co-founded by a husband and wife team, Ere and Juan Perez, in the sunroom of their Australian apartment in 2002. A Latin heritage is obvious in their brand as both Ere and Juan were born in Mexico and later migrated to Australia. It was Ere’s mother who got her interested in more natural choices, as she loved home remedies and beauty recipes.
With little budget to work with, Ere Perez’s first product was mascara, which she knew every woman could use. Since that first product launch, there are now 41 beauty products, with over 120 colour variations that make up this clean beauty brand. They have an approach to beauty that is clean and conscious, while using natural ingredients are affordable.
Top Ere Perez beauty products include:
- Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint: This 2 in 1 product comes in two super vibrant colors. As the name says, it can be used on both the lips or cheeks for a splash of color that lasts all day!
- Carrot Colour Pot: This is another multi use product that you can use to add color to your cheeks, lips or even eyes. It comes in 5 colors that are natural looking and create a dewy look on your skin.
- Arnica Concealer: This concealer is so good and reminds me of my RMS concealer. It is so creamy and goes on with a natural, dewy look. You can use it as a concealer or even more like a foundation to hide redness and imperfections.
So many great indie makeup companies! Let me know in the comments…what’s your favorite indie makeup brand?
If you liked this post on top indie makeup brands to support be sure to check out past popular posts below:
- Gupta, Pritika. (2021 March 4). The Quiet, Quick Rise Of Indie Beauty Brands. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/columbiabusinessschool/2021/03/04/the-quiet-quick-rise-of-indie-beauty-brands/?sh=6883b7c932c1
- Culliney, Kacey. (2020 Jan 27). Expert: Indie beauty has brought ‘integrity, authenticity and transparency’ to the fore. Retrieved from https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2020/01/27/Indie-beauty-brand-values-and-sustainability-inspiring-says-Indie-Beauty-Expo-co-founder?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright
- Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients In Cosmetics (2020 August 24). FDA. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/prohibited-restricted-ingredients-cosmetics
- Cosmetic Ingredient Database: List of Substances Prohibited In Cosmetic Products (2018 Dec 14). European Union Open Data Portal. Retrieved from: https://data.europa.eu/euodp/data/dataset/cosmetic-ingredient-database-2-list-of-substances-prohibited-in-cosmetic-products
- Taylor, Meggen (2018 April 30). ILIA Beauty: Meet The Sibling Duo Behind The Pragmatist's Clean Cosmetic Line. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/meggentaylor/2018/04/30/ilia-beauty-meet-the-sibling-duo-behind-the-pragmatists-clean-cosmetic-line/?sh=44d91c626703
- Exa Beauty (n.d.). Exa Beauty About Page. Retrieved from https://exabeauty.com/pages/about