Indie beauty brands are innovative rule breakers that aren’t afraid to be different. Often times, indie brands set the trends that mainstream brands eventually follow. From pressed glitters to duo chromes and multi chromes, these are just a few of the trends that indie beauty brands helped to catapult to the mainstream beauty market.
And if it wasn’t obvious, indie beauty brands are often owned and operated by badass, risk-taking and rule-breaking founders who innovate.
However, as I’ve developed global friendships, I’ve realized that American-owned indie beauty brands are often hard to get in other countries due to strict tariff rules. (Likely because American products are cheaper than similar products in Europe due to both the actual price, as well as the exchange rate.)
Please keep reading for this list of the dope European Indie Makeup Brands that you should check out in 2020
What is an indie makeup brand?
All makeup brands fall into one of two categories: Indie or Not Indie. For decades, the mainstream beauty market was dominated by brands owned by large beauty conglomerates (often called parent companies) such as Estee Lauder, L’OREAL, and Shiseido. Brands owned by a parent company benefited from shared resources, distribution power, and marketing dollars.
With the rise of social media in the early 2000s, independently owned beauty brands started to pop out of the woodworks! With a winning combination of innovative products, social media marketing, and e-commerce sales, indie brands are growing at a faster rate than many of their mainstream counterparts as consumers are increasingly shopping with indie businesses.
A brand can be both mainstream and indie. For example, mainstream brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Melt Cosmetics, and Pat McGrath Labs are indie makeup brands despite their popularity. How so? They are not owned by a major beauty conglomerate.
Additionally, indie brands may or may not benefit from venture capital funding. For example, Anastasia Beverly Hills has major investment partners that have helped the brand to scale to meet demand this past decade. In contrast, indie brands such as Menagerie Cosmetics are self-funded and run by a small team.
10 European Indie Makeup Brands You NEED to try in 2020
Photo Credit: @blushtribe on IG
1 | Blush Tribe | UK, 2017
About the brand: UK-based, Blush Tribe is a Cruelty-Free, European Indie brand founded in 2017. Known for featuring colorful depictions of beauty influencers for its palette designs, Blush Tribe is ubiquitous in the small YouTuber space.
Why the Brand Excites Me: I am an unashamed eyeshadow fiend. As such, I have drooled over the Hasina 2 and Malika Palettes forever. P.S. I love how the brand features diverse women on the palette designs!!
Where to Buy: Blush Tribe is available via the brand’s online site.
Photo Credit: @certifeye on IG
2 | Certifeye | UK, 2016
About the brand: Founded by Aysha Ali in 2016, UK-based, Certifeye Cosmetics has steadily grown in popularity due to their colorful, Instagrammable 18-pan eyeshadow palettes. Certifeye is known for responding to customer feedback and actively working with fans to storyboard palettes.
Why the Brand Excites Me: I love how Certifeye isn’t afraid to play with bold colors, from electric brights to deep mattes. From a product perspective, I lusted after the Certifye Affinity and Destiny Palettes for a long time.
Where to Buy: Certifeye is available internationally via the brand’s online shop and at Beauty Bay (US/UK)
Photo Credit: @true_beauty_by_perla on IG
3 | Coloured Raine | UK, 2013
About the brand: Coloured Raine Cosmetics was founded in 2013 with the mission to make highly pigmented colorful eyeshadows wearable and approachable for the average beauty consumer. To this day, the brand is most well-renowned for its eyeshadow formula.
Why the Brand Excites Me: Coloured Raine’s eyeshadows are a much-raved about formula in the beauty community. Whether the brand releases neutrals or vivid shadows, consumers rave about the quality.
About the brand: Berlin-based, Lethal Cosmetics was founded in 2016 with the mission to create high-quality Cruelty-Free and Vegan for people use as a means of self-expression and a way to celebrate their uniqueness. Although the brand made a name for itself with the launch of the CHIMERA Liquid Lipsticks, Lethal Cosmetics is most well known for its eyeshadow formula.
Why the Brand Excites Me: Not only am I excited to support a Cruelty-Free and Vegan brand, but I am obsessed with the look of the Lethal Cosmetics palettes. In particular, I am drawn in by If it wasn’t apparent from this post, I am an eyeshadow addict. I LITERALLY want all three of the brand’s pre-made eyeshadow bundles: Hive Collection, Alchemy + Hysteria Collection, and Skyward + Landfall Collection.
Photo Credit: @lindahallbergcosmetics & @hausofboo on IG
5 | Linda Hallberg | Sweden, 2016
About the brand: Launched in 2016 by acclaimed makeup artists and Swedish influencer, Linda Hallberg, Linda Hallberg Cosmetics aims to provide consumers with Cruelty-Free multi-use products that break beauty rules. The brand is known for its luxury price point and high-quality, editorial products.
Why the Brand Excites Me: Linda Hallberg is often thought of as the Charlotte Tilbury or Pat McGrath of Sweden. Well known and respected in Sweden for editorial style, Linda Hallberg Cosmetics line consists of bold products.
Photo Credit: @lisaeldrigemakeup & @stefannikolovski on IG
6 | Lisa Eldrige Makeup | UK, 2018
About the brand: Did you know that world-famous, UK makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, was the first professional MUA to launch her own website? A leading makeup artist in the space with a long list of celebrity clients, fashion editorial work, and creative director roles, Lisa Eldrige launched her own line of lipsticks in 2018.
Why the Brand Excites Me: Lisa Eldridge is an inspiring MUA who is renowned for her fresh-faced beauty. Although I love a bold eye look, there are days when I want a fresh face and a bold lippie.
Where to Buy: Lisa Eldridge’s lipsticks are available for sale internationally via her online shop.
Photo Credit: @nablacosmetics on IG
7 | NABLA | Italy, 2013
About the brand: Founded in 2013, NABLA Cosmetics is an Italian Indie brand that aims to provide consumers with high quality, innovative, Cruelty-Free beauty products. Although they were founded in 2013, the brand began to explode in the American market in 2019.
Why the Brand Excites Me: First, as an Italian American, I LOVE seeing Italian brands shine under an international spotlight. Second, have you seen the brand’s eyeshadow palettes!? Like ColourPop, NABLA isn’t afraid to play with multiple colors and formulas within a palette.
Reviews on the way: My next NABLA review should be on the NABLA Coral Cutie 6-Pan Palette. I hope to pick up more NABLA Palettes, as well as more of the Skin Glazing Highlighters. In general, NABLA is a brand that I want to explore more in 2020.
Where to Buy: NABLA is sold internationally through the brand’s web store. Other retail outlets include Morphe (International), Ulta (US), Beauty Bay (US/UK).
Photo Credit: @odenseyecosmetics on IG
8 | Odenseye | Sweden, 2017
About the brand: Founded in 2017, Odenseye is a European Indie makeup brand founded in Sweden inspired by Norse mythology. From product names to packaging design and color stories, each Odenseye product is clearly tied to some aspect of Norse mythology.
Why the Brand Excites Me: I was first introduced to Odenseye by the indie makeup queen, herself, Angelica Nyqvist when she reviewed the Solmåne Eyeshadow and Highlighter Palettes. I love the softer color schemes and the dainty packaging design of the Odenseye products.
Where to Buy: Odenseye is available on the brand’s website. Please note that all sales are final.
Photo Credit: @SarazaarCosmetics on IG
9 | Sarazaar Cosmetics | UK, 2016
About the brand: Sarazaar Cosmetics may create some of the most viral Instagram videos on the platform. Known for its 24-carat gold-infused highlighters and mesmerizing loose pigments, Sarazaar knows how to capture consumers’ attention.
Why the Brand Excites Me: Sarazaar Cosmetics may create some of the most viral Instagram videos on the platform. Although the brand has expanded its product line, I still hope to own a few of the High Shine Foil Pigments from the Insta-famous brand.
Where to Buy: Sarazaar Cosmetics is available for international purchase online
Photo credit: @SILKTIFY on IG
10 | September Rose Cosmetics | UK, 2018
About the brand: Founded in 2018, UK-based September Rose Cosmetics EXPLODED onto the European Indie makeup scene with the launch of the Slush Palette. This Cruelty-Free and Vegan brand is best known for its beautiful palette designs and the Slush Palette.
Why the Brand Excites Me: I may not need another rainbow palette, but my heart skips a beat whenever I see the Slush Palette. I hope to own this beautiful palette one day!
Where to Buy: September Rose Cosmetics is available internationally via the brand’s website.
Final Thoughts on the 10 Dope European Indie Makeup Brands You NEED to Try in 2020
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the European indie makeup brands included in this roundup are based out of the UK. As an English-speaking, American consumer UK brands are typically more accessible to me than other European Indie makeup brands. However, I was excited to include European indie makeup brands from Germany, Italy, and Sweden in my roundup.
In an ideal world, I’d try products from all of these dope European indie makeup brands in 2020. However, I know that is unrealistic given (1) my Low Buy and (2) the steep price tags. Although I do not have to pay for customs costs in the United States, international shipping typically costs more money. Also, the conversion rate between the US Dollar and the British Pound or the Euro is unfavorable for Americans. When accounting for the conversion rate and the additional shipping costs, many of the brands on this list become too expensive.