Wow. There sure are a lot of different companies selling mineral makeup. What should you look for and how should you choose?
Easy. Buy mine! :)
Ok, sure I'd like everyone to purchase mine, I think it's the best. But I'll try to put my bias aside and give you a few general tips on what to look for.
#1. Ingredients. Definitely the number one factor to look at. Mineral makeup does not need to be made with a ton of chemicals and fillers in it. BUT pure mica is not eye shadow. Snap. More on this next blog post.
You need to know what exactly is in the makeup you are looking at. There should be full disclosure of ingredients on each item, or each section of a website. They should be right out there in your face, not something you have to Google to find hidden away on some obscure web page.
If the ingredients listing isn't obvious, or just isn't there, RED FLAG! run, don't walk away. Most often those companies have chemicals/fillers/lake dyes/and other unneeded ingredients. That, or they are resellers and truly don't know what is in the makeup they are selling. Be especially investigative on "handmade" venues. The person that is selling it is supposed to be the one making it, and I can only speak for myself on this but they should be proud of what they create and want people to know what is inside those little jars. Of course, if they are reselling and just slapping stuff on their site willy-nilly, they won't have time to actually list or even care about their ingredients.
#2. Know your allergens. This goes along with #1 in that if you are or might be allergic to certain things, make sure you know those things are not in the makeup you are going to purchase. Ask the seller, or company, beforehand. Most legitimate companies are happy to help you out by letting you know which if any products they make might cause an allergic reaction. But the primary responsibility is yours to do the asking! As with all bath and body and beauty products, you need to do a little patch test because the possibility of a reaction is always there.
I stopped selling animal hair brushes for this very reason. Although touted by big companies as the BEST brushes for mineral makeup, I beg to differ. They are, in fact, the cheapest brushes- which is why big companies sell them, more $$$. I'm not saying they are horrible, but I am saying I have heard and seen many, many people that say they cannot use mineral makeup- and come to find out once they started using synthetic brushes, their breakouts and rashes completely disappeared. Allergic to the brush, not the makeup itself. But you won't see this information on any of the big companies sites.
#3. Organic? Vegan? Who cares? Well, a lot of people actually do care, if you're not one of them you can skip right to #4 though! :)
Let me say again- ingredients. These are a few of the things that so-called vegan companies put into their makeup, and they are not vegan:
Carmine (red color made from ground up beetles)
Lanolin (derived from sheep)
Now, the above products are organic (of, produced by, or found in plants or animals) but not vegan. So be aware of what is in the makeup! All my makeup, brushes, lip products are all 100% vegan.
#4. Custom colors. Yes, I said it. You don't expect a big business to do custom work without a big price tag, so we'll leave them out of this point. Small companies have not only the ability to make custom colors, but that is generally their niche market. If you come across a company that is very small or even just one person (like yours truly!) then don't be afraid to ask for a custom shade of foundation, blush, bronzer, eye shadow, etc. if you don't see what you want in their line. Most small companies are happy to oblige and if they are anything like me they may just add your custom shade to their line! If they say they "can't" or "don't do that", RED FLAG! run, don't walk away! That means they are not making their own (and you are at risk because they don't know what is in what they are selling) or they just don't care enough to be bothered. Is that who you want to buy your makeup from?
Now, this does not include color matching. Making a color from scratch is quite different, and usually for the seasoned manufacturer, a much easier task than color matching another companies makeup. There are companies that do this, by the way, even if you don't know about it. In fact, most small manufacturers count on this part of their business to recruit customers away from big companies. They also color match other companies discontinued products, etc. The point here is, expect to pay for the color matching service as it is usually more time consuming and involved then small companies can afford without charging for it.
#5. Use your common sense. Obvious, right? Not always. Cheaper is sometimes better, but dollar store prices usually mean cheap chemical ingredients. For example, some of the big companies use a mining by-product called bismuth oxychloride. This makes the makeup shiny, quite a few people are allergic or reactive to it, and it costs just a few bucks per TON. Yes, you heard that right. This ingredient, in my opinion, is a cheap filler and not necessary in mineral makeup. You want shiny? Micas do the trick for that.
Back to the cost.. there is a fine line between being competitive, and getting paid for your knowledge and hard work. Many smaller companies charge a few bucks a jar, and most if not all of them are reselling makeup they purchased in bulk from a wholesaler. I would like to pay a fair price for anything I purchase, especially from a small business where I know they have a personal stake in each and every item that goes out their door. I trust that they are charging a fair amount so they can pay themselves and stay in business! I also know instinctively if it's TOO cheap, if they have a sale on all the time, etc, that they are not personally invested in the product or in their business. How can they be? There is no point in selling something at a loss if you are trying to grow your business. And if I do a comparison of a handful of companies that make similar items, usually the higher the price the better the quality. Not always- but in general that means the items are either using higher quality ingredients, or more time is taken in the creation of each item, or both.
So, I'm going to stop at 5 for now. What are some things you should you look for? Ingredients listed, potential allergens, custom colors, price, and if you are vegan then vegan ingredients and brushes. I hope this helped a bit with your shopping!