Is Using Private Label Products Unethical?

private label cosmetics

Have you ever wondered why so many beauty products are identical in everything – colour, texture, finish, performance, etc – bar the packaging and the price? That’s because they are the same product, but sold by different brands. How is that possible? Private label.

I first found out about private label a few years ago, when lots of small mineral makeup brands kept popping up left, right, and center. There was a new one every week, all offering big, but identical, ranges of products. But even traditional cosmetic brands often use private label. And the pratice is by no way limited to the beauty industry. Food, fashion, and technology brands, to name a few examples, repackage and resell private label products too.

So, what is private label?

Private label beauty companies, such as Lady Burd and Grafton Cosmetics, create their own range of cosmetics, which they then sell to third parties who slap their logos on them and resell them as their own. Private label is very popular because it allows anyone to create their own beauty brands at an affordable price, while keeping the costs down and maintaining good profit margins.

But if brands love private labels, consumers don’t. Customers like buying from people who put thought, effort, and creativity into developing their own line. When they use private label, instead, brands have no control over the formula or the ingredients, but only on the packaging and the final price of the product. A lot of people think that’s dishonest.

My thoughts

Personally, I believe that it is unethical and dishonest for a company to sell private label cosmetics without admitting to it. Or worse, even claiming they have created the products themselves. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t buy from Lime Crime. It’s not cool.

On the other hand, though, starting a cosmetic company is very expensive, and most people simply don’t have that kind of capital at their disposal to make their dreams come true. Susan Chyi certainly didn’t when, at 19, she started Jelly Pong Pong. So, she used private label stuff for a while, focusing all her creativity on the packaging instead, until her company grew enough to allow her to formulate her own products.

I don’t have a problem with that. On the contrary, Jelly Pong Pong is not the only brand that started this way, so image what the beauty world would have missed if private label didn’t exist! But if you’re thinking of starting your business and going down this route, then you must a) be honest with your customers about it, b) not charge too much for them, and c) start formulating your own products as soon as you are able to do so. Otherwise, it’s just cheating.

What are your thoughts on private label cosmetics?

7 Tips To Build Your Makeup Stash Without Breaking The Bank

how to build your makeup stash

So, you’ve just fallen in love with makeup, and now wish you could buy any new shiny (or matte) thing that catches your eye but don’t want to waste money on something that may not work for you? The amount of products available out there, in every colour you could possibly think of, and in so many different finishes and textures, can be overwhelming. How do you figure out what you need or what’s best left on the shelves?

I did it the hard way, wasting a lot of money in the process. But you don’t have to. Here’s what I learned along the way:

1. Do your research

When I first started getting into makeup, blogs didn’t exist. I had to rely on magazines for info on all the latest releases, and of course they raved about everything. I wasted so much cash on cheap Deborah makeup products that looked amazing on those glossy pages but ended up being sheer, chalky, and hard to blend, or on mascaras that did nothing for my lashes (Maybelline Great Lash, anyone?).

Luckily, nowadays things have changed. There are millions of beauty blogs out there (and more are popping up every day) that let you see and know how a product performs on a real person rather than on a model who’s been heavily airbrushed. Beauty bloggers dissect every aspect of a product, from its texture to its pigmentation to its staying power, and a lot of them are pretty good with a camera, taking clear and accurate photos of the shades and the looks they have created with them.

Don’t like to read reviews? Watch video reviews on youtube then. But do your research. I’ve never been disappointed with a product I thoroughly researched beforehand. Most of the stuff that I impulse bought, instead, made me regret having spent my hard-earned cash on them. *sighs*

sleek au naturel eyeshadow palette 03

2. Don’t hoard similar shades

This is one instance when I should really take my own advice. I’ve been known to hoard pink lipglosses and peachy pink blushes. I justify this by pointing out the subtle differences in colour and finish, but the truth is, I don’t need so many and most of them end up lying in my stash for ages before I donate them to friends.

That doesn’t mean that you should only buy one pink lipgloss or one taupe eyeshadow, of course. It’s ok to own more shades in the same colour family, especially when they have different textures and finishes, but you want to make sure they don’t look too similar, and that you’re gonna use them regularly. It doesn’t matter how cheap or pretty something is, if it’s gonna lie at the bottom of a drawer unused, it’s a waste of good money that could have been used for something you really needed or enjoyed more.

3. Return what doesn’t work for you

There will be times when you end up with a dud, especially when you impulse buy. Or maybe you like the product, but you bought it while doing some shopping therapy after a bad day and now realise that you already have something similar or just don’t need it. If the store you bought it from allows it, then return it. Don’t feel guilty about it. You worked hard for that money and you shouldn’t waste it on something that doesn’t work for you or doesn’t make you feel good.

Chanel inimitable intense mascara 03

4. Sample first

If you have the chance, always test the product yourself before buying it. When you visit a counter, play around with the shades to see how they suit your colouring (especially face products such as foundations and concealers that must exactly match, or be slightly lighter than, your skintone). Then, if you like something but are still unsure if you can afford it, look for deals online. Many online stores have frequent deals and coupon codes that allow you to save quite a bit of money.

Before splurging on skincare products, always ask for a sample at your counter. But don’t accept satchels. To know if a cream will work for you or will make you break out horribly instead, you need to use it for at least three weeks. What if the brand sells only online? Most of them sell samples that will last for several uses at a cheap price. Some brands are quite generous with their samples too, so even if you like them, you won’t have to purchase the full sizes that soon.

5. Quality over quantity

Truth be told, if brands didn’t send me products for consideration, my stash would be a lot smaller. No, I still love beauty products, but, let’s face it, I have only one face and there is a limit to the amount of products I can ever finish. I didn’t always feel that way, though. When I was younger, I hoarded eyeshadows, blushes, mascaras, and anything else I felt I needed to try, only to give most of them to friends or throw them in the bin because they had gone bad. And they had barely been used!

These days, I prefer to invest money in products that I truly love and that I know I’ll use regularly. I don’t need more than one foundation or one mascara at a time, I stick to staples for skincare, and when I feel like trying something new, I do my research so that I won’t waste my money on something I won’t use often. Remember, quality is always better than quantity.

6. When experimenting, go cheap

So you want to experiment with a red lip, or try the latest textured nail polish, but are not sure you’ll like them? Go drugstore. Gone are the days when everything you found in the drugstore aisle was chalky and sheer. These days, most drugstore brands have upped their games and are now making great quality products that will make you look great without hurting your wallet. A red ELF lipstick, for instance, will set you back only $1.00! Even if turns out you can’t rock a blue-based red, you’ll have at least discovered so without wasting too much money.

benefit go tropicoral set

7. Opt for palettes and sets

I love the holiday makeup season. During that time of the year, pretty much every brand comes up with several sets that allow you to try their best-selling products at a fraction of the price. But a lot of brands sell similar sets all year round too. The products inside may not always be full size, but so what? When was the last time you finished a full size lipstick or blush, after all? Palettes are another great way to stock up on eyeshadow/blush/lip shades without splurging too much money. Just make sure you love all (or almost) all the shades in it!

How are you building your stash?

5 Beauty Bloggers Reveal Their Favourite Red Lipsticks

beauty bloggers love

Red lipstick is a statement piece. It’s classic, glamorous, and a confidence booster. But for newbies, it can also be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Reds are a lot easier to pull off than most people think, and they suit everyone.

Here, five top beauty bloggers share their favourite options for newbies, as well as their all-time favourite red lipstick shades:

paris b fave red lipsticks

Paris B @ My Women Stuff

All-time favourite: Guerlain Rouge G Garconne 25. It’s deep, intense, long lasting and the perfect red to complement any look!

Best for newbies: this is a tough one but I’d suggest for someone afraid of wearing red lipstick to try something from the Clinique Chubby Stick lip balm or Chubby Stick Intense in a colour like Mightiest Marachino. The texture is sheerer while having slightly bolder colour so they can ease into a brighter lip shade and when they feel comfortable, go for a full, pigmented red lip :) My texture preference is for Chubby Stick Intense :)

arianne fave red lipsticks

Arianne@ Glitter Geek

All-time favourite: MAC Lady Danger. This orange-red just gives me life! It makes me feel sassy and confident, and the matte texture stays on all day. I don’t mind that it isn’t the most comfortable formula because I really do love it.

Best for newbies: for a starter red, I think a stain texture is best, and it’s quite a pretty effect. You can use any red lipstick for this. Apply by stamping it on your lips and pressing/blending with a clean finger. Blue-based reds are universally flattering and teeth-whitening, so I pick Revlon Raspberry Bite.

allison fave red lipsticks

Allison @ Never Say Die Beauty

All-time favourite: Givenchy Rouges a Levres Lipstick is my all-time favorite, oldie-but-goodie primarily because of the gorgeous 1930s-inspired silver bullet packaging. It harkens from the era of Hollywood glamour when women would pull out and apply their lipstick in restaurants and nightclubs. And the Givenchy red would be perfect for that because it has a built-in mirror. I just adore it! Unfortunately, this particular lipstick is no longer available so I hold onto it as a “museum piece”, lol!

Best for newbies: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick F-Bomb is my current fave because the shade is perfect for me: a true red with just a hint of blue. The color pay-off is just fabulous color! The formula is comfortable to wear and fairly long-lasting.The good news is that it’s widely available and such a great shade for most skin tones.

ling fave red lipsticks

Ling @ The Best Beauty Blog

All-time favourites: I love my red lipsticks so choosing my favourites is so difficult! Drugstore lippies include : NYX Apple and Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate in 10. Luxe red lippie, Sisley Hydrating Long Lasting Lipstick in L33 Rouge Passion.

Best for newbies: Lancome 163M Dans Ses Bras, a vibrant coral watermelon red, is quite a safe one for newbies.

marina fave red lipsticks

Marina @ Makeup 4 All

All- time favourites: I love a good red lip! I have quite a few red lipsticks that I love, so it was very hard to pick up only one, hence here are my three favourites. I personally am not a fan of metallic or shimmery reds, so all of mine have a satin or matte finish. So, here we go:

Daniel Sandler Red Carpet Red
: the name speaks for itself, this is a show-stopper lipstick. I always get a lot of compliments whenever I wear it. I also love that you get an excellent quality product with an affordable price tag.

Ellis Faas L101: Ellis Red is one of the best reds on the market, I have it in an classic opaque formula, Creamy Lips, this is the darkest and the most full-on one from the selection. But it feels light and comfortable on, and you can’t compete with that design.

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge 160 Rouge Hypnose: Lancome lipsticks are among my favourites, they are a cult classic. L’Absolu Rouge has creamy and smooth finish. Black lacquer packaging, with signature golden rose, and a click mechanism – it makes this lipstick a worthy member of every collection.

Best for newbies: I am actually very proud and happy that I was the reason why some of my friends tried red for the first time! So, hopefully, some readers of “Beautiful With Brains” will find my tips useful:

If you feel uncomfortable wearing red out, start wearing it at home by yourself, and later with close friends around to get used to it.

Try and find your red, there are tones of different variants! You go with your girlfriends, and you can always ask a sales assistant to help you out.

Don’t go for full-on opaque shade at first, you can try glosses or sheer textures at first.

I personally would go for a luxury red lipstick. Why? Because when you spend money on something – you appreciate it, and it is special. Because, let’s face it when you get the cheapest red it will be much easier to ignore it.

YSL ‘s Volupte Sheer Candy in 06 Luscious Cherry combines all of the tips above. It is sheer, juicy red that looks amazing on the lips, plus what girl doesn’t want a luxurious beauty product in her makeup bag?

Have you tried any of these? What’s your favourite red lipstick?

Can Cosmetics Magically Change Colour To Match Your Skin And Mood?

where match foundation

Cosmetic brands are always coming up with some crazy ideas to attract our attention and make us spend our hard-earned cash. Vibrating mascaras, one sweep eyeshadows, BB creams for hair, blushes that match our skintones and moods… That last one is one of the most ridiculous claims I’ve ever heard. How can a blush, or lipstick for that matter, know what your skintone or mood is and change colour accordingly?

That’s definitely a myth, and yet, these products can really change colour slightly upon application, and look a bit differently on every woman. Magic? Nah, just chemistry. ;)

Here’s how they work:

smashbox o glow intuitive cheek color

1. Red 27 changes colour with PH

Red 27 is the most used trick to make a cosmetic change colour. In a waterless base, this red dye is actually colourless. But, when it comes in contact with moisture, the change in ph turns it into a bright pink hue. And that’s exactly what happens when you apply this dye on the skin. It reacts with the moisture in your skin (or even in the air, especially in humid environments), changing colour. This trick is used in Smashbox O-Glow Intuitive Chic Colour and Stila Custom Color Blush.

almay smart shade skintone matching makeup

2. Encapsulated colourants

Another trick is to coat colourants with waxy or gel-like ingredients, encapsulating them into small beads. Then, these beads are suspended in an uncoloured base. When you rub the usually colourless products into the skin, these beads break, releasing the colourant trapped inside them. The more you rub the product, the more colour is released. This gives the illusion that the product is able to detect your skintone, when, in reality, you just stop rubbing when the colour has become dark enough to match your colouring exactly. This technology is mostly used in powders and foundations, such as Almay Smart Shade Skin Tone Matching Makeup.

The Bottom Line

No cosmetic product is able to magically figure out what your skintone or mood is, but they can, with the right technology, slightly change colour, thus appearing to react with your personal chemistry. But, while they can be fun to use, there really is no need to splurge on them. They’re not doing anything so special to justify a high price tag.

Have you ever tried any makeup products that promised to change colour to match your skintone or mood? If so, did you like them, or were you disappointed?

5 Common Makeup Mistakes And How To Fix Them

fix makeup mistakes

Even though I’ve been using makeup for more than 15 years now, I often make mistakes. Like, almost every time I do my makeup, something will go wrong, and I end up with mascara smudges or clown cheeks. Well, I’ve always been a clumsy girl, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. On the bright side, though, I’ve become quite good at fixing my worst, and most common, makeup blunders. Here’s what I do:

Liquid Eyeliner Gone Awry

Oh, liquid eyeliner, how I hate to love you! You look so intense and glossy, and define the eyes so well. But to apply you properly is so hard! Seriously, if I had a cent for every time my liquid eyeliner application has gone awry, I’d be rich. But hey, if I still have problems applying liquid eyeliner, I’ve become a pro at fixing awry lines. Just dip a q-tip into a creamy makeup remover (I rarely use oil-based ones as they tend to leave an oily residue that prevents the new line from adhering well to the lid) and erase the mistake.

2. Clown Blush

This is something that often happens to me when I use a new, pigmented, blush for the fist time. Luckily, it’s easy to fix. Grab the sponge or brush you’ve used to apply foundation and gently dab it over the excess blush. The residue of foundation left on your tools will help tone it down. If you apply foundation with your hands, try this other trick instead. With a new, clean brush, pick up a bit of translucent powder and dust it over the blush. This trick works for overdone bronzers too. Just don’t use too much powder, or it’ll look cakey. And then, you’ll have to fix that too!

3. Mascara smudges

This is why I tend to avoid mascaras with big wands. When I use them, a bit of mascara ends up on my skin. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes, that happens even when the wand is thin. I’m just clumsy like that. When it happens, let the mascara dry first. Then, with a wet q-tip, press on the area. Swirl it gently and lift it off.

4. Clumpy mascara

Don’t you just hate it when a volumizing mascara makes your lashes thicker by clumping them all together? Lengthening mascaras can clump lashes too, making your lashes look horrible. When that happens, grab a lash comb (or, if you have it, a clean mascara wand) and comb your lashes to separate them and remove all the clumps.

5. Heavy concealers and cakey powders

Does your concealer have a very heavy texture that looks unnatural on? Slightly dampen your fingers (you can also use a sponge, if you prefer) with water and smooth it out. If, instead, you’ve applied your setting powder or foundation with a heavy hand and now your face looks like a heavy, cakey mask, fret not. Spray it with a mist atomizer (in alternative, your fingers or sponge will work, but be careful they’re damp, and not too wet), and, again, smooth everything out with a sponge.

What’s your most common makeup mishap, and how do you fix it?

A Quick Trick To Apply Mascara On Your Lower Lashes

apply mascara bottom lashes

Do you apply mascara on your lower lashes?

I do so only for special occasions, and every time, it used to be a struggle. I used only thin wands, rotated them vertically and then used them to apply mascara to the lashes, from their bottom to their tips. But no matter how careful I was, any wand always left some black smudges on my skin.

Being a lover of bright and bold eyeshadow shades, I always do my eye makeup first, so that if some fallout or smudges occur, I can easily remove them without messing up my foundation and concealer. But still, what a pain! There must be a better way to do this, right?

Well, you could buy Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, which is especially designed to coat the lower lashes. It’s only $10.00 and the reviews are raving. Or you could use your lip brush.

I had this idea while I was applying liquid eyeliner. I always use my eyeliner brush for that (makes the job so much easier!), so I thought, why not use it for mascara too? Well, that worked ok, but I wasn’t wholly satisfied. So I tried a lip brush next, and that worked even better.

How do you do it? It’s simple. Pick up some of the mascara with your brush. I do not like to touch the brush to the wand for hygienic reasons, so I put some product on the back of my hand. Then, I pick it up with the brush, and start “painting” the bottom lashes, a few at a time.

I concentrate the colour mostly at the roots. That’s where I apply more pressure with the brush, and then, more lightly, I coat the tips. I find that focusing more on the roost also gives the illusion that you’ve lined your eyes. So, there’s no need to use eyeliner for that. Isn’t that great?

How do you apply mascara to your bottom lashes?