Beauty brands you won’t see here

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.

Kylie Cosmetics

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 🙂

There is evidence to support that Kylie Cosmetics uses Spatz Laboratories, the same ones that Colourpop uses. I’d buy Colourpop 100 times over before I bought marked up Kylie Cosmetics products.

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.

More eyebrow-raising issues with Kylie Cosmetics can be found here, here, here and here. I shouldn’t have to link so many things.


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 slur, 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.

Summary 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 🙂 


  1. Mazie Stilwell

    05/31/2017 at 12:07 PM

    THANK YOU for compiling this! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to publish, but I think it’s just as important to know which brands to avoid as it is to know which to seek out. I’m so not down with exploitive companies, and totally wouldn’t have done enough research on my own to find this out. Keep it coming!

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/01/2017 at 10:25 PM

      Thanks so much, Miss Mazie! I’m glad that it was informative!

      1. Sherry

        02/26/2019 at 3:58 AM

        I really like this site and all the information that you given, but there is a problem… some of your facts need to be “re-checked”, as they are so WRONG! Please see this site: That will tell you that Morphe does not make, sell, and/or, TEST on animals. Now on to a one more thing. Kylie Cosmetics and Colourpop use the same lab, yes… but that “same” lab does have a place in china where make and “test” all their products out on cute little bunnies and god knows what else. Just so you know… Take care!

        1. Ivy Boyd

          02/28/2019 at 10:16 PM

          Hi Sherry. I’m a little confused as I never said my reasons for not using Morphe had anything to do with animal cruelty. I am fully aware they are cruelty free, but they are simply problematic in other ways for me is all. Curious about the lab in China you refer to that is associated with Kylie and CP. I am referring to Spatz Laboratories in California. Would love to know more if you could share. Thanks so much for sharing you insight and reading this post.

  2. Debbi

    05/31/2017 at 12:36 PM

    Thank you for sharing this information. I especially appreciate the info on the common drugstore brands. I have been looking for better options, and your blog has been helpful.

  3. Karen

    05/31/2017 at 5:03 PM

    Fascinating! Thank you so much for this post–lots of things to reflect on. Thank you for all the work you put into this.

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/01/2017 at 10:24 PM

      Thank YOU for reading, Karen!

  4. Alissa

    05/31/2017 at 6:45 PM

    I really enjoy posts like this in a world that is like EVERYTHING IS GREAT ABOUT THIS MAKEUP! Personally I cannot stand MLM reviews so if you review something, I trust that you are doing it for a good reason, even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. I don’t use any of these brands thankfully so I feel good to be cleared from your hit list!

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/01/2017 at 10:24 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Alissa! I don’t always love the MLM approach but there are some good products lurking behind the craziness I think!

  5. Trista

    06/02/2017 at 11:33 AM

    Thank you!! People need to know this information! Thank you for not supporting brands that test on Animals, I have a Beagle and this breed is subject to animal testing and it is truly sad! I fully support everything about this Post!! Thank you for not sitting back!

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/03/2017 at 10:28 PM

      Hi Trista!
      I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my post and your thoughtful comment. My heart definitely beats for animals and I know that there is truly good in the world when I “meet” people like you. <3 I promise to do all I can!

  6. Cristina

    06/02/2017 at 1:46 PM

    Wonderful post…your really honest and brave,…..great qualities.
    I follow all your posts , and i love them because the’re clear and human.Thank you for inform us in such a good way. ♥

    1. Ivy Boyd

      06/02/2017 at 4:01 PM

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Cristina! I really do appreciate you reading!

  7. S

    07/23/2017 at 10:43 PM

    You know just about every cosmetic has parabens in it? Like Urban Decay. So what brands that you know of that are not like the “natural” makeup brands don’t use parabens?

    1. Ivy Boyd

      07/26/2017 at 12:35 AM

      It may seem that way but when you take the time to comb through the sea of beauty products, there are tons of great brands that forego parabens. Here are a few: Burt’s Bees, Tarte, Physician’s Formula, LORAC, bareMinerals and many other brands that have tons of paraben-free offerings. Sephora and Ulta both do a good job of listing ingredients on their website if you’re curious and another great resource is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database:

      1. Andrea

        02/22/2019 at 9:33 PM

        There are many makeup companies that no longer use parabens and they will let you know when you look at ingredient lists and faq’s. Cover FX is a good brand that doesn’t use parabens or talk and they’re cruelty free too. Tarte, unfortunately, uses talc in a number of their products. Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a great resource!

  8. Where Is Elf Makeup Sold? – Erickkasysavane

    12/06/2021 at 3:02 AM

    […] 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. via […]

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