Bright Make-up, Brighter future

Alternative make up and the rising demands for ethics in the beauty industry.

The rise in alternative make-up has brought alongside it a rise in cruelty free small businesses run by independent people. It feels like within the last few years, the shop small movement hit the make up scene in a major way, and a new wave of independent sellers and styles hit everyone’s suggested pages online. This push for ethics has coincided with a different style of make-up. Inspired by the drag artists and theatrical make up that came before, these looks are bold, bright, and unashamed to go against the grain. Alternative and indie often go hand in hand, but the addition of an environmental awareness has elevated these looks far beyond a simple trend – they instead mark a shift in the way we see the industries we rely on daily.

Glisten Cosmetics is one such small business. Originally founded as a glitter company in 2017, Natalie Chapple ended up creating a brand that would shape the alternative make-up scene with their iconic bright eye liners, face paints, and mascaras. Their products are only available online, but their range is big enough to more than make up for it. Their now iconic Wet Liners (and all products on their store) boast a guarantee of fully vegan products with no animal testing, including certification from animal rights organisation PETA. As a frequent Glisten customer myself, I’m incredibly impressed with how tight their ship is run – I have always received my make-up on time, and the colour pigments are always extraordinarily bright and vivid.

Another small business to turn to in the alternative make up scene is Cult Candy. Started by mother-daughter pair Angie Adams and Jazmin Bean, the company takes pride in it’s connections to punk and alternative fashion. The pretty pastels mixed with gothic imagery create a haunting yet charming style, and one that’s clearly found it’s niche. And, once again, the brand have made a commitment to vegan and cruelty free products, this time backed by the Leaping Bunny (a leading gold standard for cruelty free products). I personally adore the colours on their Playhouse eyeshadow palette. The saturation makes every look pop, especially when I combine it with my Glisten Cosmetics Wet Liners.

The make-up industry as a whole has been a fairly difficult place to avoid animal cruelty for some time now. When brands like Glisten Cosmetics and Cult Candy are able to thrive in a landscape built on this attitude, it makes the point clear. Consumers are tired of a lack of accountability and ethics from the brands we use. And the best way to express that distaste is a rebellion, of sorts. Going against the standards of beauty that we’ve seen time and again through the large brands, alternative styles have found their home with the small businesses and ethically transparent brands.

But don’t go switching out every product you own for a new, cruelty free, locally sourced version. At least, not yet. There’s a danger in overconsumption, and we should always keep in mind that you can’t save the planet with more plastic. Conscious consumerism – buying what you need, when you need it – is far more healthy for both our world and wallets. Additionally, since the majority of small businesses only operate online, there is a serious issue to consider in the impact of shipment. We need to be truly conscious of our lifestyles and how they affect the animals and world around us.

But for me, at least, the future looks bright, bold, and cruelty free.

Me (Hell_with_Perks)

Written by @Hell_with_Perks (IG) and @Rosie_mb11 (IG)

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