Throughout my 4 1/2+ years of beauty blogging and working as a makeup artist, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned by doing, trial and error and through research and extensive reading, something I strongly encourage, not only when it comes to beauty brands, but any topic in which you want to be well informed.
I’ve discovered brands that I absolutely adore and admire. I have even had the opportunity to work with some of them directly. I have also been quite disappointed with other beauty brands, so much so that I won’t be talking about them here. Today I’ll tell you which and why.
Disclaimer: Please know that I am not writing this post to be judgmental but rather to be as honest as possible. If you love any of the brands listed here, I don’t fault you at all and there is certainly no shortage of bloggers that do too. Some of the following brands make great products. Some don’t and some have just done some sketchy things. Read on. Kylie Cosmetics
Many have asked me my opinion on this brand. Clients have asked me to apply their Kylie Lip Kits, which I’m happy to do. They’re not bad products and most of the shades are pretty. However, I won’t be offering any sort of press to the brand here, not that they need it 🙂
More than anything though, I won’t support someone who profits by ripping off a truly talented and hard-working makeup artist. Kylie Cosmetics has ripped off Vlada Haggerty’s creations, time and time again. It infuriates me as Haggerty, an independent artist, cannot possibly stand up to a Kardashian/Jenner legal team but instead watch someone profit (a lot) from her artwork.
Simply put, I avoid cheap, paraben-filled, made in China products. I have one Morphe palette that I had to purchase last minute to use at fashion week. I bought it because it was cheap and had the colors I needed. It doesn’t perform badly but it smells heavily of chemicals.
As for the brushes, I only have one, which again was an emergency fashion week purchase and it’s fine. I’ve seen multiple people complain about their brushes shedding and overall quality issues.
The ingredient list for the Morphe 35W palette should tell you why it’s cheap: Talc, Mica, Mineral Oil, Kaolin, Titanium Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lanolin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
Morphe produces in China to cut costs, instead of creating jobs in the U.S. They’ve relied heavily on influencers to build brand recognition, who are happy to share their affiliate codes. I have no problem with codes; I’ve had them too, but I can no longer take a brand seriously who is so reliant on influencers.
Though it may have changed, for most of their life, Morphe was private label makeup, with the same formula as Crown Brushes, Sedona Lace, AliExpress and others. If you don’t want to take it from me, take it from Stephanie Nicole, who is now blocked from all Morphe social media for making her honest review video. This video will also show you how clear the private labeling is. I see Morphe as a very cheap consumer brand but one I wouldn’t purchase myself in the future or use on clients.
Jeffree Star Cosmetics
When you support a cosmetics company, you are supporting the founder. While I support Star’s history as a working artist and his role as a creative, his history of racial slurs, threatening violence and documented bullying and harassment is not in line with how I think we should treat each other. I won’t put money in unkind pockets. I could perhaps forgive these mistakes if he made a truly heartfelt apology but I’ve yet to see that.
Product alone, I don’t see any issues with quality but I also don’t care that much about more liquid lipsticks or highlighters. Also, this is 100% blackface. Don’t even trip.
Racism, violence, bullying; I don’t condone it in any way and it doesn’t belong here.
Brands tested on animals/sold in mainland China
At the beginning of 2016, I made the decision to no longer offer blog coverage to brands who test on animals. As a passionate animal advocate, I realized that I was only contributing to the problem by giving press and money to these brands. Without getting too deep into this, animal testing is just not something I want to be a part of.
When a brand or PR company emails me requesting to send product for possible review and coverage, if I do not already know, I respond with the following:
“Can you share more information about the brand’s animal testing policy? As of 2016, Wake Up For Makeup does not offer blog coverage to brands that test on animals or retail their products in mainland China. Thank you for the information!”
Cruelty Free Kitty has an excellent, comprehensive list of all of the brands who do test on animals if you are curious.
I do have faith that things are changing, with many brands leading the way. I truly hope that someday, animal testing is a thing of the past.
Long before ZPalette lost their damn minds and and rudely insulted their customers via Instagram, I decided to stop using their products. I did so as their magnetic palettes are not made to last and are nowhere near durable enough to withstand travel in a freelance makeup artist’s kit. Time and time again, the plexiglass windows would shatter. I have a graveyard of ZPalettes to prove it. They are cheaply-made and I can get far more durable palettes for my money.
Makeup artist Kevin James Bennett has spoken about the quality degradation before and I agree. After their Instagram fiasco, ZPalette was dropped by it’s retail partners Boxycharm and Makeup Geek.
Moral of the story being, if you bully people, you lose in the end. Makeup Revolution
This is a brand 100% built on replicating more expensive and successful counterparts. If there is one thing that has always bothered me, it is unoriginality, especially for profit. I don’t find this brand to be inventive, original or innovative in any way. I’m not impressed at how well or how often they rip off other brands. These are beyond “dupes” and it’s just uninspiring to see.
This post won’t benefit me in any way. In fact, it will do the opposite. I will never have a collab or discount code with these brands. My pockets will be emptier but I’m ok with that. Unethical, unkind, shady or harassing actions don’t get to sit with us. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming 🙂