When I did some research for this post, I kept coming across brands like Morphe, Makeup Geek and CoulourPop. No, these brands aren’t as popular as Too Faced or MAC, but I wouldn’t exactly consider them under the radar.
I wanted my list to be full of hidden gems that even my most beauty-obsessed friends might not know about but would want to try if they did. I was confident that my readers were makeup savvy enough to have heard of the indie but still well-known brands!
Keep your eye on each of the companies listed below–they might not be blown up yet, but I could totally see them growing a ton in the next few years! All of these indie brands are starting to pop up more often because of the super high-quality and unique products they offer.
Check out my list below, and leave a comment if you want to add any more awesome underground brands that everyone should know about!
Melt Cosmetics is known for their bright and bold lipstick colors and eyeshadow stacks. They offer extremely pigmented lipstick in daring colors like shimmering emerald green, true black and electric pink. If you aren’t into statement lips, they also have a ton of nude and brown lipstick shades to choose from. Even their more low-key colors are extremely high-quality with a ton of color payoff.
They offer a handful of premade eyeshadow stacks that hold together magnetically and include a mirror. You can also buy the colors individually.
Melt is a cruelty-free brand, and most of their products are vegan. All products are labeled vegan or non-vegan on the product page, which is super convenient! I have my eye on the “dark room” lipstick. 😉
Bite Beauty is a slightly more popular emerging brand known for their lipsticks. This company got its name because they use ingredients so pure, you can actually eat the lipstick. The brand was founded by a chemist, and if you go to the lip lab in NYC, they will actually produce a shade that you create and can take home!
Bite was recently picked up by Sephora, so if you don’t live in NYC you can still head to your nearest mall and try out their well-acclaimed lipstick or the multi-stick, made to use on eyes, lips or cheeks. The lipstick has amazing reviews and they offer plenty of colors to choose from.
This brand is also cruelty-free. Even though the lipstick is edible, their products contain beeswax and carmine so it’s slim pickings for vegans (the struggle is real!).
SUVA Beauty is a cosmetics line created by a makeup artist for makeup artists and beauty lovers alike. When professional makeup artist and YouTuber Shaina Azad created the brand, she wanted to fix the problems she ran into while doing makeup on set. The eyeshadows she created have a built in primer and are formulated so that shimmers never mix with mattes.
This brand is known for bright and bold colors of super pigmented eyeshadows. The most popular eyeshadow palette, Cupcakes and Monsters, consists of neon yellow, bright red, the whitest of whites and more. They also offer a Neutral Necessity palette, that I have been contemplating for a while!
They are a cruelty-free brand but do not claim to be vegan. I did look through the ingredients on a few of the eyeshadow palettes and didn’t spot any non-vegan ingredients!
Illamasqua is a Britain-based beauty brand with a very high-end feel. They offer an award winning long-lasting and buildable foundation in a variety of difficult shades, as well as eyeliners, lipsticks, blushes and bronzers.
They are creating a buzz for their gorgeous highlighters that rival BECCA and Laura Mercier. The brand has a similar feel, with sleek black packaging and mostly neutral and gold shades. This brand is a little pricey, but the quality is definitely comparable to well established Sephora brands.
Illamasqua is recognized by PETA as cruelty-free, and they carry over 300 vegan products and makeup brushes! You can choose “vegan” as an option on their site menu to see which products are.
Sugarpill offers a wide range of bright and unique cosmetics inspired by drag queens and clubs. They offer everything from liquid lipstick to nail polishes and lashes in bright, pastel and glittery shades. Trinket, a matte mauve liquid lipstick infused with gold glitter, remains their most popular product. Similar to SUVA, they offer an eyeshadow palette filled with large pans of difficult to find neon shades.
I heard of this brand when I spotted their Sparkle Baby palette on Instagram. It is a super cute pastel eyeshadow quad decorated with kittens. Unfortunately, I could not find it on the site, so I’m not sure if it is available anymore!
The majority of Sugarpill products are vegan, and they take pride in being cruelty-free. It even says on the about page that many of the creators are vegetarian or vegan! They mark products on their website as vegan so you can easily tell which ones are or aren’t.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand created by and for makeup artists in NYC. The brand gained popularity after launching their lip tars at a makeup show in Los Angeles. The lip tars are super pigmented liquid lipsticks that apply like a lip gloss. The liquid lipsticks are so pigmented that reviewers say to be careful because a little goes a long way!
OCC claims that their lip tars are the “original liquid lipstick,” and I do agree that they were one of the first brands to debut this now insanely popular trend, as early as 2009! They also offer glitters, nail polishes and primers, but the lipsticks are unproportionately more popular. I really want to try some of their other products to see if they are good as well.
Let me know what you think of these brands and products in the comment section below! Please share this post on social media to give these awesome under the radar brands some extra love. 🙂
Photos are from the brand websites.