So excited to share my Indie Makeup Brands worth supporting post! These are some of my favorite Indie Makeup Brands in clean beauty. Plus, I am including 6 Indie Makeup Looks to go with it! I’ve been wanting to compile a post for a while that showcases all the smaller Indie Brands – here it is!
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
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 doing things. 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!
What Are The Pros and Cons to Buying from an Indie Makeup Brand?
As with anything there are pros and cons to spending your dollars with Indie Brands versus a mainstream brand.
Pros to Purchasing from an Indie Brand
- Typically more personalized interaction
- More unique products. Their products may have a different ingredient than other brands, colors that other brands don’t offer or a new way to approach a problem.
Cons to Purchasing from an Indie Brand
- Prices can be higher since the brand is smaller
- There may be more wait time for your order to be processed and shipped due to a smaller staff
Best Natural Indie Makeup Brands To Support
Gucci Westman is the creator of Westman Atelier. She is a longtime celebrity makeup artist. With 20 years of experience creating looks for celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few. Her work has been featured in top publications like Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue and she’s done numerous ad campaigns for top luxury brands like Dolce and Gabbana, and Louis Vuitton, and worked on fashion shows with brands like Oscar de la Renta and Brock Collection.
Gucci has some pretty amazing thoughts about creating a clean makeup brand. She wanted to create makeup that is fast, easy and flawless. No need to spend hours blending your makeup…these formulas will blend easily and make your life easier! Gucci is also know for her ‘second’ skin approach to makeup. She wanted and has created makeup that correct, heals and soothes the skin rather than just colors the skin.
Just a few of the must have Westman Atelier products include:
- Vital Skin Foundation Stick- This was the first Westman Atelier product that I tried and fell hard for. It’s creamy, and gives your skin the perfect balance of coverage and glow. It provides a dewy finish that looks like your skin but enhanced. Since the foundation comes in a stick form, you can apply directly on your skin or use a brush to get the product and then apply it to your skin. I prefer using Westman Atelier’s Foundation brush to get the product and then applying it to my skin. It’s a buildable texture foundation, so if you want more coverage you can simply add more product to your skin. Get it here!
- Westman Atelier Brushes– These are hands down the BEST clean beauty vegan brushes I’ve used. Made with nylon fibers, their lacquered handles are made from sustainable hardwood birch that is a Forest Stewardship Council certified forest in Eastern Europe. They feel ultra silky soft and glide over your skin like butter. They offer 8 different brushes. I have the lip brush, blender brush, the eyeshadow brush II and the foundation brush. Check out the whole brush collection here. Check them out individually here!
- Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer- This is a very hydrating and nourishing bronzer for a powder bronzer. It gives the skin an overall subtle glow unlike other bronzers. It blends so nicely into the skin that it really looks like the sun naturally bronzed you instead of you caking on some powdered bronze. I really liked it! Check out the Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer here!
Indie Makeup Look Using Westman Atelier Products
Products used for this indie makeup look include: Vital Skin Foundation Stick in Atelier III, Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Poppy Pink, Lit Up Highlight Stick in Nectar, Beauty Butter Bronzer in Coup de Soleil, Face Trace Contour Stick in Biscuit, Lip Suede Lip Palette in Les Rouges, Eye Pods in Les Jours.
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!
Indie Makeup Look Using ILIA Beauty Products
Products used for this makeup look include: True Skin Serum Foundation in SF4, Ilia Volumizing Mascara, Multi-stick in the color In The Mood, Clean Gel Liner in Twilight, Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint in Glaze and Fresco.
Shop Ilia Beauty 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!
Indie Makeup Look Using Kosas Products
Products used for this makeup look include: Revealer Skin Improving Foundation in 170, Revealer Concealer in 2.5, The Big Clean Mascara, 10-Second Eye in Neutral Beige Champagne and Blaze, Lipstick in Electra
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 “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!
- RMS Un Cover Up Cream Foundation: This foundation is so creamy and dewy. It comes in a glass jar and literally lasts forever! A little goes a long way. I start in my t-zone and then blend out so I get more of a natural look. Love how buildable it is and offers great coverage. You can easily get full coverage with this foundation if you want. Great for normal skin and dry skin. If you have oily or acne prone skin I wouldn’t recommend it since it has some comedogenic ingredients in it. Get it here!
Indie Makeup Look Using RMS Beauty Products
Shop for more RMS products here!
Vapour Beauty was founded by Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley.
“They live out of bounds and in their element. They are nonconformist, free-spirited self-aware, alternative thinkers, and powerful innovators of Vapour’s unconventionally clean and deliberately sustainable beauty.”
Vapour Beauty’s products are made without any of the 1400 ingredients that are banned by the EU. Their facility is Ecocert Certified as an organic processor. Plus they are respectfully anhydrous- meaning they only use water when necessary and not as a filler. 97% of their products are made without water. They are truly doing things their own way and the end result is some amazing clean beauty products!
Just a few of the must have Vapour Beauty products include:
- Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation- This foundation feels just like your skin when you apply and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a heavy foundation at all. You can definitely build it up if you want. It’s medium to full coverage. It gives you a little glow, not a matte finish at all. It even made my Best Natural and Clean Foundations post. Get it here!
- Vapour Beauty Aura Beauty Multi Stick- These offer great pigment, but blend in so well, giving that natural look that we all crave. It also is a very buildable color. I love that you can apply these on your cheeks, and lips- making them great for travel or for a less is more approach to makeup. Get them here!
An Indie Makeup Look Using Vapour Beauty Products
Products used for this makeup look include: Soft Focus Foundation in 115S, Taos Organic Lip Balm, Bronzing Powder in Eclipse, Mesermize Mascara in Jet, and Aura Multi-Stick in Dare on lips and cheeks.
Joanna Montesano, the founder and CEO of Saint Cosmetics, took her teachings from her grandmother during her upbringing to create a clean cosmetics brand that doesn’t skimp on performance or ingredients. It was her grandmother that taught Joanna the importance of healing the body through what Mother Earth has provided – this includes plants and other natural ingredients that can be used to help improve not just skin health but overall health. As Joanna set out to create Saint Cosmetics, it was another goal to create a brand that was luxurious and stays put all day. Allowing an easy transition from day to night for a busy woman. After testing out many of Saint Cosmetics products, I can say they truly have made a clean cosmetics brand that doesn’t compromise when it comes to performance and quality!
Just a few of the must have Saint Cosmetics products include:
- Saint Cosmetics Velvet Lip Cremes- I had the pleasure of testing these lipsticks out this past summer and did I quickly fall for them! They are true to their name, velvety soft on the lips. They’re offer some hydration and don’t feel drying like so many lipsticks, but they don’t bleed. They also stay put and offer loads of pigment. A truly clean lipstick without any added artificial dyes. I can’t recommend them enough! Plus, they have so many colors to choose from. I also love that the ingredients are squeaky clean and that it comes in 14 shades. I love the shade New York, a classic red, the shade Paris, a dusky rose and the shade Moscow a raspberry pink. So many gorgeous colors! Check them all out here.
- Saint Liquid Foundation- I love how creamy and hydrating this foundation feels on the skin. It really gives the skin an airbrushed look and offers amazing coverage. I love how it looks in photos. It covers my redness but doesn’t look like a mask. Get it here!
An Indie Makeup Look using Saint Cosmetics Products
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!
Athr 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 Athr 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:
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 Athr 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 Athr Beauty products 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 mix 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 chic, 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.
- 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!
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 – 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 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 color 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