Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Are Indie Eyeshadows Cheaper, Ounce per Ounce?: The Math

I do love both indie eyeshadows and sitting on high horses. However, after reading my one millionth, "Oh my god, every time someone buys a palette from Sephora, I want to tell them how much cheaper indie eyeshadows are!", I decided that this particular high horse needed some examining.

I've written before about how indie eyeshadows, when you break it down by ounce, aren't startling cheap. They're not expensive, but they're not a price that warrants breaking out the smelling salts.

I decided to compare whether or not indie eyeshadows come out cheaper than Sephora palettes when compared ounce per ounce.

My indie list consists of the brands I could find that state weights (as opposed to volumes) that are included in each jar. Although all of these weights were stated in grams, I went ahead and converted them into ounces in order to remain consistent with the "price per ounce" that I usually give on this site. Hopefully, this will help give regular readers a better sense of the meaning of "price per ounce" when it comes to makeup. I only included full sized jars of product. (No samples or mini jars.) I am only using the weights that are self-reported by the companies, so there is not accounting for any sneakiness.

For my Sephora palettes, I cheated and used the data from the "Sephora's January/February 2014 Eyeshadow Palettes by Price Per Ounce" post I published earlier this year. It can be found in its entirety here.

Indie Cosmetics by Price per Ounce

The All Natural Face: $6.50 for 0.18oz, $36.11
ScaredyCat Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.12oz, $41.67 per ounce
StarCrushedMinerals: $5.00 for 0.09oz, $55.55 per ounce
Eight Bit Cosmetics: $4.00 for 0.07oz, $57.14 per ounce
Dawn Eyes: $3.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $60 and $75 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Regular Line): $60.25 for 0.10oz, $62.50 per ounce
Hello Waffle Cosmetics: $4.50 for 0.07g, $64.29 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Arcane Magic): $6.80 for 0.10oz, $68 per ounce
SobeBotanicals: $4.99 for 0.07oz, $71.29 per ounce
Dreamworld: $7.99 for 0.10-0.12oz, between $66.58 and $79.90 per ounce
Sugarpill Cosmetics (Chromalusts): $12 for 0.16oz, $75 per ounce
Detrivore Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Glamour Doll Eyes: $6.00 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Shiro Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Concrete Minerals Pro Matte: $8.00 for 0.09oz, $88.89 per ounce
Eccentric Cosmetics: $6.00 for 0.05-0.06oz, between $100 and $120 per ounce
My Beauty Addiction: $5.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $100 and $125 per ounce
My Pretty Zombie: $5.00 for 0.05oz, $100 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Cat Eyes: $8.00 for 0.07oz, $114.28 per ounce
Fierce Magenta Cosmetics: $4.99 for 0.04oz, $124.75 per ounce
Kimberly Noel: $5 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Little Sparrow Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Madd Style: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Femme Fatale Cosmetics: $6.44 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $128.80 and $161 per ounce
Concrete Minerals (Mineral Line): $7.00 for 0.05oz, $140 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Ideal Eyes and Modern Eyes: $10.25 for 0.07oz, $146.43 per ounce
Geek Chic: $5.99 for 0.04oz, $149.75 per ounce
Aromaleigh: $7 for 0.04oz, $175 per ounce
Alima Pure: $12.50 for 0.06oz, $208.33 per ounce
Lucy Minerals: $7.00 for 0.02oz, $350 per ounce

Mean: $107.10
Median: $94.45
Standard Deviation: $61.07

Sephora Eyeshadow Palettes by Price per Ounce

Make Up For Ever Flash Palette: $99 for 2.46oz, $40.24 per ounce
Too Faced Joy to the Girls Eyeshadow Palette: $46 for 0.9oz, $51.11 per ounce
Sephora Collection Event Entry Palette: $11 for 0.2oz, $55 per ounce
theBalm Shady Lady Volume 3: $39.50 for 0.51oz, $77.45 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Easiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Most Glamorous Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Sexiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Too Faced the Chocolate Bar Palette: $49 for 0.62oz, $79.03 per ounce
Stila In The Know Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Garden Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Light Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Moment Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Color Spectrum: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Glitter: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Nude: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Smoky: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 1: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 2: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 3: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Eight-Pan Palette: $36 for 0.41oz, $87.80 per ounce
Kat Von D Ladybird Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Beethoven: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Poetica: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Saint: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Sinner: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked Basics: $27 for 0.30oz, $90 per ounce
Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette: $46 for 0.5oz, $92 per ounce
Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft and Sexy Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Matte Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural At Night Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Smokey Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced The Return of Sexy Palette: $49 for 0.525oz, $93.33 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Trio: $24 for 0.25oz, $96 per ounce
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette: $49 for 0.49oz, $100 per ounce
Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Portfolio: $599 for 5.6oz, $106.96 per ounce
Sephora Collection Sand Illusions Baked Eyeshadow Palette: $15 for 0.138oz, $108.70 per ounce
Tarte Beauty and the Box Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Quad: $22 for 0.2oz, $110 per ounce
Urban Decay Ammo Palette: $34 for 0.3oz, $113.33 per ounce
Anastasia Beverly Hills Illumin8 With Youthful Synergy Complex Eyeshadow Palette: $30 for 0.252oz, $119.05 per ounce
Kat Von D Esperanza Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.28oz, $128 per ounce
Anastasia  Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Eyeshadow Palette: $34 for 0.263oz, $129.28 per ounce
Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.26oz, $138.46 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette: $75 for 0.519, $144.51 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
BECCA  Ultimate Eye Color Quad: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Dark: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Nude: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Tropics: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Illamasqua Complement Palette: $46.50 for 0.29oz, $160.34 per ounce
Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette: $49 for 0.3oz, $163.33 per ounce
Illamasqua 4-Colour Liquid Metal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Illamasqua Paranormal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Quad: $28 for 0.16oz, $175 per ounce
NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette: $79 for 0.45oz, $175.56 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0: $30 for 0.17oz, $176.47 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes: $59 for 0.29oz, $200 per ounce
Make Up For Ever Black Tango Palette: $45 for 0.2oz, $225 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette: $50 for 0.22oz, $227.27 per ounce
Illamasqua Fundamental Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Neutral Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Reflection Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Blue Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Brown Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Hazel Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 Plush Shadow Palette: $59 for 0.24oz, $245.83 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $60 for 0.24oz, $250 per ounce
Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Read-to-Wear Eye Palette: $48 for 0.19oz, $252.63 per ounce
Edward Bess Prismette Eyeshadow Quad: $68 for 0.25oz, $272 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.3 Plush Shadow: $42 for 0.14oz, $300 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics 4 Wet and Dry Eyeshadows: $55 for 0.18oz, $305.56 per ounce
Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: $33 for 0.1oz, $330 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $86 for 0.25oz, $344 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Sequin Shimmer Brick For Eyes: $48.50 for 0.14oz, $346.43 per ounce
Lancome Color Design 5 Shadow and Liner Palette: $50 for 0.141oz, $354.61 per ounce
Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette: $61 for 0.17oz, $358.82 per ounce
Dolce and Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Quad: $59 for 0.16oz, $368.75 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Eyeshadow Quartet: $57 for 0.14oz, $407.14 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Yeux Colour and Shine for Metallic Eyes: $57 for 0.14oz, $414.29 per ounce
Givenchy Ecrin Prive: $73 for 0.072oz, $1013.89 per ounce

Mean: $169.10 per ounce
Median: $119.05 per ounce
Standard Deviation: $133.39

I did a t-test to see what was up.

I was generous in my data examination in two ways: for the indie companies, I used the lowest price available when a range of prices was presented. For the Sephora palettes, I excluded the Givenchy outlier because seriously, what the fuck.

My data did support the notion that indie eyeshadows are cheaper than Sephora's range of eyeshadow palettes, t(109)=2.44, p=0.016.

However, when you examine individual brands, it's clear that a sense of superiority in your financial choices is not necessarily warranted simply by the decision to buy indie. Well-regarded indie brand Shiro Cosmetics, for example, is nearly identical in price per ounce to Urban Decay's overrated beloved Naked Palettes, at $85.71 per ounce versus $86.67 per ounce, respectively. My Pretty Zombie is priced in line with Smashbox, both at $100 per ounce. The most expensive of the indies are similar in price to NARS, YSL, and even Dior (The shmanciest of them all, Lucy Minerals, at $350 per ounce, is quite similar in price to Dior's $354.61 per ounce).

Additionally, if you recall from my previous analysis, Sephora palettes are skewed towards the expensive, with the most palettes hitting the $80-100 per ounce price point. With the average indie shadow hovering around $100 per ounce, cutting out all the fancy bullshit that Sephora sells will leave you with patterns that are more similar than different. It would be very feasible for a price-concious shopper to spend comparable amounts of money on the same amount of eyeshadow as indie aficionados, even if they shop at Sephora.

Price can definitely be a consideration when choosing indie eyeshadows. However, based on the data here, I doubt it would be a primary reason for most people to switch to indie products. Luckily, as a lover of both indie and commercial cosmetics, I can confirm that makeup of all stripes has the potential for awesomeness.


  1. As a Canadian resident, shipping costs will put the cost of indie shadows far above that of retail palettes. I also sink a significant amount of time and money pressing them into little pans and sticking them in my pretty etsy bought palettes, so clearly money is not an indicating factor in my purchases! I do love my sparklies.

  2. I've still yet to try indie eyeshadows. When I buy colour cosmetics, though, cost effectiveness tends to be fairly low down in the list of priorities.

    I love that you did a t-test.

  3. I think a factor for some people would be shipping. I haven't and probably won't buy indie anytime soon because I 1. am cheap and 2. want instant gratification. I can buy indie for $50 and totally forget about my order, or spend $50 at Sephora and be able to rub my fancy eyeshadow all over everything and anything in my house basically immediately. I ordered the mint palettes from the Lorac website (psst, they're both up for $15, by the way) and have already given up seeing them anytime soon.

  4. Did you know what you did was a superb research analysis plus a lot of critical thinking for the fancy beauty reader, my hat to you, my lady

  5. I think the problem with this comparison is that it's comparing individual indie shadows to mainstream palettes. With individual shadows, you get full control of which colors you choose, whereas with palettes, someone else chose them and they might not align with your preferences exactly. I think the comparison between indie singles and mainstream singles would be more apt. And individual mainstream shadows are a LOT more expensive by ounce. For example, while the Naked palettes are in fact $86.67 per ounce, comparable to many indie brands, an individual Urban Decay shadow is $18 for .05 oz, making it $360 per ounce, much much higher.

    Which is not to say I don't appreciate this post or the work that went into it. It's just that in my mind comparing palette prices to individual prices is a bit flawed. (In general, I love your blog, though, and it's because of posts like these that I've started thinking of the price per ounce instead of just the total price when I buy thing.)

    1. I agree, but I think the comparison is still apt in the sense that (correct me if I am wrong - we have neither Sephoras not much in the way of indie brands in this country) people are more likely to buy eyeshadow in palettes from Sephora (because it is more cost effective) and individuals from indie companies (because often singles and loose pigments are all they have available). The nature of the two businesses kind of skews the data from the start, if you're looking at what (I assume) people *actually* buy from those two places, which is what the 'high horse' comment at the start of the post referenced.

      Did that make sense? Apologies if it didn't, it's 2:48 am here...! :-)

    2. No, I think that's definitely true (at least that's how I do it), but there's a markup for being able to choose your own shades for mainstream shadows that there isn't for indies. Because single mainstream shadows are stupidly expensive.

  6. love your detailed analysis and t-test! however i agree, if you checked the price of individual shadows vs individual shadows sephora would probably be a lot higher!

  7. I just started trying out indie brands recently because of a desire to move towards more cruelty free products and to support female entrepreneurs. The prices did seeeem cheaper, but this is interesting to know.

    I also might be defeating the purpose of "cheaper", when I buy smaller orders repeatedly (such as 2, $30 orders from indie companies), rather than just a one time purchase of an expensive palette. I'm not saving any money that way, but I rationalize that I do. Evil brain.

    Interesting post, thanks!

  8. Interesting comparison. I'm one of those weird people who likes buying single shadows as opposed to massive palettes though, and indies are awesome for that. But it's also interesting to see how big of a price spread there is amongst the indie brands. Now for a "Are indie perfumes cheaper?" ;)

  9. One additional aspect to consider is that most Sephora brands hike up their prices in Europe and probably other places too. The price of the shipping that indie brands add to the price still makes more sense to the price conscious buyer. In addition there is the problem of Sephora being unavailable to many cities in Europe.

  10. I was wondering if you've heard of the new indie brand Life's Entropy Cosmetics. I remember you mentioned you don't like pop culture references in indie brands and you prefer science, and she has a line of lip products named after scientific theories. I thought you might like that!

  11. I find that I never really use up eyeshadows, especially pallettes so the cost per ounce is slightly less relevant for eyeshadows than some of the other products I will use up like foundations

    1. I feel the same way about most nail polishes. I'm probably never going to finish the bottle, so I'd rather pay less up front if possible. But with things like concealer, powder, foundations, skin care, etc., it's definitely more important to me.

  12. This is really interesting, thanks! I feel like my love of makeup related data analysis has been fulfilled for the day, and I can get back to the data analysis I'm supposed to be doing. Or not. T_T

    I haven't delved much into indie makeup just yet (although I have had my eye on Sugarpill for a while), and I have to admit, my primary deciding factors in purchasing indie cosmetics would be 1) colours available and 2) how clean I think their stuff is likely to be (rather than price). Call me a paranoid commercial sheep, but I do rather like that commercial stuff is made (generally) in sterile factories that have to adhere to health and safety regulations in manufacturing...

    1. Indie companies do follow health and safety regulations. They're companies, they're still required to follow laws.

    2. I'm not saying that indie producers as a whole don't follow laws - not at all. It's just that in certain situations, when I read of an individual saying that their four year old is involved in the packaging of the glitters (for example), I start to cast a more cautious eye on the sanitation control available to people who manufacture/pack in their own houses. Companies are not legally required to tell FDA about their products and safety data (according to the FDA), and it's not like the FDA has the resources to send inspectors out to every individual undertaking an entrepreneurial venture in their own home (also according to the FDA). They're more likely to focus on large companies that, if there is a problem, will cause a bigger issue because they have a wide (potentially international) distribution.

  13. I wonder about indie cost-per-wear.

  14. Oh, this post made me so happy to see. The low prices for indie jars and samples can often make it feel like you're getting a steal. Almost no big-brand companies offer samples regularly so in some cases the convenience of ordering 10 colors for $15 can be worth it to try a ton of different shades. Per ounce though the product itself is not startlingly cheap and it rustles my jimmies to get flack for paying non-indie prices.

  15. I haven't tried an indie brand yet. Do any of them have cream formulas?
    PS Robin, got my first order of Tarte 12 hour full coverage foundation in fair with pink undertones. Not only does it match my skin tone perfectly, the texture is awesome and it totally Rocks!! Got a skinny smouldering eyeliner pencil and the shit doesn't budge. Awesomeness abounds.

  16. Hmm I tried to post and I think the platform ate it. Please disregard this if I already posted....

    I really appreciate this breakdown and especially your gathering the data! So useful!

    As a supplemental, I ran a one-way ANOVA with indie v. mainstream as condition ("brand") and price point as DV. It upholds your t-test finding of a significant difference between indie and mainstream; F(1, 108)=11.40, p = .001. Of course as I expected, brand was still a small effect size with an rsquare of .09 (although bigger than I expected).

    I also dropped two outlier variables from both sets of data. Since there was no other single product remotely in their class, I dropped Lucy Minerals and the higher Givenchy product from the comparison since I thought they might skew the overall result in such a small dataset.

    The mean price point difference, in my opinion, is actually kind of striking, with indies coming in at $101.64 and mainstream up at $160.62. While they have a big overlap in distribution, indies also cluster more tightly around their mean (st dev of 39), while mainstreams are more variable (93), which I think might lead to more variable consumer spending on mainstreams--this doesn't surprise me, it's obvious indies can only sustain a certain price point given their resources--but from a psych POV it might mean that your consumers will spent more on mainstreams because they have a higher endpoint to the scale. From what I know of behavioral economics, people tend to adjust to scales with high endpoints and recalibrate their "mid-range" regardless of the actual dollar value. Which is another reason your gatherings of price-per-ounce are so valuable!

    Basically, to really know if consumers will save more by switching to indies, we need to know if people spent at the same level in each category. Or do we have a situation where people who are spending in the 400 level at Sephora would spent at the 200 level on indies? We can at least say that indies are more capped than mainstream, so if you want a lower endpoint for your scale, sticking to indies helps.

    The other thing I wish we knew was user difference between these groups. Do people use one indie shadow at a time and therefore use them more slowly? Do high-end shadows blend better or give more vibrant colors and therefore you use *them* more slowly?

    None of this is critical of your original post at all, I just wanted to contribute to the discussion! Really appreciate your putting this work in. :)

  17. Another bonus with indies is you get unique colours and you can often buy sample sizes (which considering I've only ever used up three 'proper' shadows in my entire life and two were browbone colours used daily is pretty handy). I also seem to use less per application with loose pigments, maybe it's just visual trickery but it seems that way to me. Still, this is super interesting as a comparison and looking at the maths behind it. I bow to your statistical skills.

  18. Platform ate my earlier try also.
    I like to support indie companies rather than buy from corporations, and all Sephora and department store brands are corporations. They enjoy certain privileges like tax dodging (from Wikipedia: "Lauder has arranged his financial affairs to minimize his U.S. income tax, as his lawyers acknowledge") and sending jobs to 3rd world countries, while indie companies employ local people and pay taxes. I hope this is not OT, but there has been an organized boycott of Estee Lauder Companies (which includes Bobbi Brown, MAC, Tom Ford, Clinique, and 26 others) because of the CEO's close friendship, financial support, and vocal political association with a certain foreign country accused of human rights abuses. If one were to support this boycott, one would basically stay out of Sephora or shop there very, very carefully. The tax dodging is really upsetting to me as cosmetic companies make bazillions. Lauder made more than $10 billion in 2013; as a woman who sees how disadvantaged women are in the US & world marketplace I've never been able to understand the zealous enthusiasm of young (usually underemployed and underpaid) women for these brands. The CEOs and owners of LVMH and L'Oreal are also shrouded in political and financial scandals (see Bettencourt and Sarkozy) but they are in France; nevertheless one might not want to support brands owned by megarich multi-generational oligarchs. All large cosmetic companies use manipulative and sexist marketing, which directly causes (not just contributes, but causes) eating disorders. Seems to me indie companies don't advertise; so they win here. I disagree that indie producers use unsafe production practices and that that large ones promote safety and health. Much of their production is done in 3rd world countries outside of FDA controls. They do not pay their workers well, and they keep jobs out of the US. They want you to buy as much of their stuff as possible, which means you will have shelves of plastic containers (ecological disaster) containing mica, oils, solvents, chemicals (more of same) and you're gonna have to throw this into landfills sometime. The fact that indie companies use less packaging and don't have repeated 'must have' releases means they're ahead of the game on the ecology plane. And I care about my planet and how it looks just as much as I care about my own appearance, maybe even more. I really salute indie companies for for doing creative and new things. The owner of Pumpkin & Poppy answered Robyn in the earlier post; can you imagine the head of LVMH doing that, or even Bobbi Brown? Tom Ford talking to anyone other than a camera with good lighting after he's fixed his own make-up and clothes to perfection? Please. No, I am not affiliated with any indie company or even know anybody who has one, though I'd love to meet some of them as they seem like super-interesting folks. Thanks Robyn for a great post.

    1. There's probably as much variation amongst indie brands for all of those things as there are for large corporations (which is a meaningless distinction, since anything can be a "corporation", large or small). Advertising, in particular - some indie companies advertise, but don't have the funds to advertise as widely or in the same ways as mega-corps. Cosmetics sold in the U.S. also have to pass FDA regulations no matter where they're manufactured, and both indie brands and mega-corp brand contain some of the ingredients you listed. Fyrinnae's eyeshadows have mica and several 'chemicals' (by which I assume you mean synthetics, because pretty much everything that goes into makeup is a chemical). Sugarpill also has mica and chemicals in them. I'm pretty sure most of the indie companies listed above use mica and chemicals in their makeup. Those aren't necessarily bad things.

      And no, I'm not affiliated with any large makeup corporations. I actually really like indie makeup corps.

  19. I, personally, don't buy much from indies just because I find loose shadows/pigments to be annoying to work with, store, etc, as compared with pressed shadows.

  20. For me, it pretty much comes down to loose-powder versus pressed. Not too many commercial brands do loose powder, and the ones that do (MUFE, MAC, I'm looking at you two) the cost-per-ounce test comes out in favor of the indies.

    Loose powder is most definitely a learning curve, if you've only ever used pressed shadows or creme shadows previously. Loose powder also can be problematic to travel with. And like others have mentioned - most indie cosmetics companies are in the US, which means shipping elsewhere is pretty nasty. (Though yay for Femme for partnering up with Shiro/Detrivore and Concrete Minerals to carry their eyeshadows!! Smart business move that lets the folks in the southern hemisphere get ahold of more indie-pretties without paying huge international shipping fees.)

    On the other hand, pressed powder is not quite as easy as loose powder to keep bacteria-free; much of it contains preservatives so it has a definite shelf life; and if you love two colors out of a twelve-color palette, you can't just buy the two you like a-la-carte. Storage can be a bearcat, too, because unless you limit your collection to Z-palettes (which...Smartest Idea Evar, why didn't someone think of these a helluva long time ago) or to vendors who use similar packaging, you're going to have a few palettes or eyeshadows that need Special Snowflake Storage. To some, this isn't a problem at all. To others, it's a minor issue. To OCDfolks like myself...big problem. Huge.

    (I personally LOVE finding indie dupes or near-dupes of super-expensive items like MUFE's Star Dust Powders, or color-matches to MAC and UD shadows.)

  21. Omg, this post is amazing. Thank you so much for putting this together, I'll actually put it in my favorite for future reference! I was also wondering if you've heard of Vain Pursuits before? They do personalized skincare I believe and I, for sure, would love to have your opinion!

    1. Funny, I've been hearing lots about Vain Pursuits and their Vain Kits recently too!

  22. 1. This post is amazing.
    2. I LOVE that you did a t-test to compare indie eyeshadow to Sephora eyeshadow. /stats geek

  23. Thanks for sharing this! I actually found it really helpful and it gave me some ideas :)
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  24. Thanks for the great post. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. , ,


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