When it comes to shopping for beauty products online, you might be wary of buying makeup and skincare from traditional brands like L’Oreal, Max Factor, Benefit and more. However, this means you could be missing out on some great beauty bargains and brands hiding in plain sight!
With this in mind, we wanted to shine a spotlight on what may be lesser-known, as well as independent brands that make fantastic products that are really good value for money.
And we’re going to start with a number of Amazon-owned brands that you may not have heard of, but you should definitely consider, before moving on to some of our favourite indie brands that are making waves.
The Belei skincare range includes a whole host of budget face washes, cleansers, anti-ageing creams, moisturisers, serums and much more.
Our favourite from the Belei range is the Vitamin C Brightening Moisturiser(£9.27). This is because it helps reduce redness and leaves our skin looking glowy and hydrated.
Not only is it suitable for vegans, but it also uses a green alternative to hyaluronic acid. The antioxidant benefits of its Vitamin C ingredient come from the Australian Kakadu lum extract, while Vitamin B3 niacinamide and grapefruit extract all help to reduce the appearance of, and unclog your pores.
The only issue we have with this moisturiser is the smell. Although very faint, it does smell quite medicinal. It’s also probably not a brand you’ll want to use if you have really sensitive skin. Other than that though we think this moisturiser is fantastic, especially for the price.
Another product from the Belei range we really like is the Deep Cleansing Charcoal Mask (£11.48). It’s great at removing dirt from your pores because, as research has shown, activated charcoal draws out bacteria and impurities from the skin. This is why charcoal is a really great ingredient for removing blackheads, soothing acne and shrinking the appearance of your pores.
You’ll want to use this charcoal face mask once or twice a week after cleansing your skin. You’ll also want to follow this up by putting on your moisturiser. Once you’ve spread an even coat over your face you need to wait 10-15 minutes for it to dry and then wash it off.
After using the charcoal mask your skin will feel a lot cleaner and softer. The only thing to be careful of is charcoal can stain, so make sure to be careful when you remove it that it only goes down the sink and not anywhere else.
Find. is an Amazon makeup brand that offers lip colours, brow pencils and mascaras, eyeshadows, bronzers and makeup brushes. All of its products are great – and have equally great reviews to match – but we particularly like its Chubby lipsticks (£6.83).
Available as part of Find.’s lip kits, these lipsticks have a really smooth and creamy texture. So much so, that they still feel hydrated for a couple or more hours after applying it. In each lip kit, you get two lipsticks, a matte version and a shiny option. And they come in a range of shades from bright pinks to dark reds.
Another thing we love about the Find. brand from Amazon is the pairing of lip colours. A lot of its products come in twos, so for example you can buy lipstick and complementary lip gloss. Or you can buy a lip pencil with matching lipstick, so you don’t have to guess and gamble which ones go together.
Find. also offers a vegan Makeup Setting Spray (£8.49) which works better than many more expensive versions we’ve tried. It’s particularly good at keeping your concealer and foundation in place all day, plus it dries really quickly after you spray it on.
If you have wrinkles under your eyes you know it can be hard to stop your foundation from showing creases. However, using this setting spray on top of your under-eye concealer will help to keep it looking smoother. It also doesn’t feel sticky after it’s on your face, nor does it add a shine to your face that you then have to powder over like others can.
The Eono eyelashes (from £7.59 for 10 pairs) it offers are fantastic value because you get 10 pairs and they’re reusable up to five times – if you clean, and look after them! This means you get a lot of lash for your money. If you like to wear falsies every day then this brand could save you a fortune. You can also buy them in larger quantities for not much more money.
There’s more than one style, so they cover a day or evening look. They’re really lightweight, easy to put on and don’t cost a fortune. What’s not to love?
Our one complaint is that they’re slightly on the longer side. If you’re after a truly natural look, these lashes might not be for you. They’re certainly not the longest lashes on the market, and you could always trim them down, or wear them as half lashes (which involves cutting them in half and only applying on the outer corners of your eyes). It all comes down to personal preference.
Elsewhere, this is one for fans of Dr Pimple Popper. You know how it is when you look in the mirror and you can’t help but squeeze that spot. The only problem is, by using your fingers you risk adding more bacteria to your skin, or worse driving the spot and pus deeper.
Eono sells a little set of blackhead tools (£4.99) that give you the same satisfaction of getting rid of a spot, but in a much more hygienic way that won’t leave any nasties behind. There are detailed photos on the product description link, which outline what tool you need to use for what type of spot you have.
We should caveat this by saying that it’s not advised you get rid of spots yourself, and you should seek expert help. However, if you’re anything like us, you don’t always follow this rule…
One downside is that the box this set of tools comes in is really tough to open, and we mean really tough! It’s a design feature Eono is aware of and will hopefully fix soon.
If you only stick to the big name cosmetic companies you are also missing out on some fantastic indie make-up brands. These niche brands will often offer better value for money and provide a more specific type of makeup to suit you.
An indie brand is a company that is individually owned, rather than owned by a big corporate or parent company. As the above recommendations technically are. Often an indie brand will have been created to try to cover a gap in the market that big corporate brands haven’t fixed.
Here are our favourite indie makeup brands you should definitely take a look at and experiment with.
After struggling to find the perfect nude lipstick, Amanda and KJ created Mented Cosmetics to provide women with makeup products that are perfectly pig’mented’ to match their skin tone.
This is an indie beauty brand targeted at women of colour, which primarily offers lipsticks, foundations and concealers. Its website offers a shade finder which features a 60-second quiz you can take to find out what shade of foundation and lipstick will suit you best.
When it comes to Mented’s products, we particularly like its semi-matte lipsticks (£13). They’re really silky and don’t dry out quickly. They also don’t transfer to drinking glasses and straws and so on. There’s a selection of nine shades to choose from.
If you’re a vegan then you need VE Cosmetics in your life. It’s a totally cruelty-free and vegan indie makeup brand that also refuses to sell its products to countries where animal testing for cosmetics is mandatory (such as China.) What’s more, VE Cosmetics doesn’t use any photo editing on its website, so the colours you see in the photos are the colours you’ll actually get.
As well as being vegan and cruelty-free these eye shadows don’t contain any palm oil. VE Cosmetics really is a UK makeup brand you can trust. The one downside is that it’s not a cheap brand, but then you are paying for quality and sustainability.
With festival season soon to be upon us (hooray!), you’re going to want bright colours with a touch of sparkle. Our favourite VE Cosmetics eyeshadow palette is The Book of Shadows (£28) because it has both matte and shimmer shades in a range of colours.
With these eyeshadows being completely vegan, VE Cosmetics uses dyes that can leave temporary staining on your eyelids. However, this is easily prevented by using a primer or concealer on your eyelids before application, which you’ll probably be doing anyway as a base for your makeup.
This staining is easy to remove with a good oil-based cleanser, too. Check out our cleansing balm guide for recommendations.
If you’re looking for high-quality makeup brushes you need to look at Spectrum Collections. It’s an award-winning beauty brand, created by Welsh sisters in their garage who wanted to improve makeup brushes, tools and accessories. It’s since grown to be a multi-million-pound company and that’s because of the high quality and effectiveness of its brushes. All of its products are vegan and cruelty-free, too.
The KJH 11-piece Edit Brush Set (£99.99) is a favourite of ours. It was created with makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who you may well know from Instagram, and provides every type of makeup brush you need to recreate Katie’s makeup looks.
We love the rose gold colour and that the olive-toned handles are made from sustainable wood. As well as the brushes you get a microfibre brush towel to emulate Katie’s buffing technique.
Spectrum also offers a brush laundrette (£29.99) which we absolutely love! It’s a 100% vegan solid brush soap that comes with a silicone cleaning mat that has a lovely smell. The towel it comes with can be easily hung up or can be folded or rolled with your brushes stored inside.
P.LOUISE is a UK brand that has become an absolute cult fave on TikTok, Instagram as well as among celebs, having reportedly travelled across the Atlantic into Kim Kardashian’s makeup bag. It offers all sorts of cosmetics, including subscription boxes that you can buy as one-off purchases called Budget Boxes. Getting one of these means you can try a selection of the brand’s products for a great price.
We particularly love the Rumour Eye base (£5), which is one of its best sellers. Of course, you can use it as an eye shadow primer, but it can also be used for your brows, to brighten up your under eye and as a contour depending on which shade you buy. We’re borderline obsessed with this brand.
Kat is a freelance journalist, photographer, and the founder of Simply Gender Free – a company dedicated to smashing gender stereotypes in kids’ products. As a mum of two, Kat is passionate about making the world a better place for the next generation