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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Legit or Repackaged? A guide to finding legit indie eyeshadows

So sometimes I have people telling me how indie eyeshadows are hard to work with and have a lot of fall out. Sometimes, the issue is the eyeshadow formulation. There are brands that sell repackaged eyeshadows or simply mix a few colours together and sell them without any bases to help adhesion. Without the base to add adhesion to your eyeshadows, you need to work extra hard to make the colours stay on your lids since they'll be more likely to fly away or slip completely off.

Some people think the 2nd option doesn't count as repackaging, but for me, well..why should I pay someone to mix a few colours together when I can buy the colours for wayyy cheaper from TKB and mix them myself?

TKB's micas and pigments go for $1.50 for a 6g sample size. It's way cheaper than your average $4-6 for 1.5-2g of indie eyeshadows. 

The mark up you're paying should be for the time they took to find the perfect formula to make the eyeshadows look great without the help of many other products. If you're ok with paying a mark up for prettier packaging, that's fine, but I'm not.

UPDATE Jan 2015: Here are swatches of pure micas and EOTDs with them. The only cons of using pure micas is that they don't really stay on bare skin very well, and need more careful application & blending methods (tap on to apply and blend gently around the edges with a stiff brush to blend). That's why when someone attacks a reviewer who criticizes a brand's formula by accusing him/her of just not able to "apply it properly", I roll my eyes.

So here's a guide to deciphering your eyeshadow ingredients:


If your eyeshadow only contains these ingredients and nothing outside this category, it's most likely repackaged

  • Iron oxide 
  • Mica 
  • Tin Oxide
  • Titanium Dioxide (whitens, can be used for adhesion too)
  • Zinc Oxide (make it more opaque, can be used for adhesion too)
  • Carmine (red, non-vegan)
  • Ferric Ferocyanide (blue, not lip-safe in the US)
  • Ultramarines (blue, not lip-safe in the US)
  • Chromium Oxide (green, not lip-safe in the US)
  • Manganese Violet 
  • Copper Powder 
  • Bronze Powder 
  • Zinc
  • Boron Nitride 
  • Boron Glow 
  • Bismuth Oxychloride (makes things shiny, adds slip too)


Ingredients that make up glitter or sparkle/"sparks"...if your eyeshadow only contains glitter and colour, that's iffy too

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • Aluminum
  • Polyurethane 33
  • Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate
  • Synthetic Fluorphlogopite


Used to reduce pigmentation (great for pastels/blushes) or just cut costs. If your eyeshadow only contains fillers + colour/glitter, it's not legit.

  • Cornstarch (it can rot, so personal nope for me)
  • Talc 
  • Kaolin Clay (also absorbs oil..not my favourite since too much can make the colour clay-like)

If your eyeshadow only contains the ingredients listed above, it doesn't contain any bases and highly likely repackaged (or made crappier if fillers are added).

Some Ingredients Your Eyeshadows SHOULD Contain

These are just a couple of common ingredients, it does not cover every ingredient possibly used for binders.

Ingredients for Adhesion 

Makes your eyeshadows stick to your skin instead of flying all over the place

  • Carnauba Wax
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Magnesium Myristate
  • Lauroyl Lysine 

Ingredients for Glide

Makes it glide on smoothly on your skin...helps reduce the drag from ingredients that add adhesion

  • Silica/Silicon Dioxide (helps they colour stay on better too. Some micas such as TKB's Crucible collection already come with it, so having this is not an indicator that the product is not repackaged. However, the product will stick a bit better than the products without it)
  • Silk powder (not vegan)
  • Micronaspheres


Other ingredients that may be included

  • Calcium Carbonate (absorbs oil)
  • Allantoin (humectant and supposedly good for your skin)

So...examples of legit ingredient lists (this does not cover all brands or the list will be too long):


Screenshot taken on 9 June 2015


Farore’s Wind
Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

Ten Three Labs

Screenshot taken on Nov 8, 2014

Examples of incomplete ingredient lists/potential repackaging:

* Note: Since I know this is controversial, I've included multiple examples. I'd like to note that I have found some eyeshadows from these brands that do have legit ingredients, only many of them don't have legit ingredients. If you still wish to support these brands but want to avoid getting an eyeshadow with a terrible formula, check the ingredients and purchase the shades with legit ingredients. These are potentially not the only brands to do this, so if anyone knows of other brands, let me know.

I picked 3 shades from each brand that has sketchy ingredients, but they're just a few out of more.

Comet Vomit

There is No Try
Screenshot taken on Nov 4, 2014

Champagne Supernova
Screenshot taken on Nov 4, 2014

Dark Matter
Screenshot taken on Nov 4, 2014

Glamour Doll Eyes

* NOTE: GDE claims that the repackaged colours are clearly marked. These are colours that are not marked as repackaged.

Ahoy Sailor!
Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

All Nighter
Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

Sigil Inspired

It's a bit hard finding the ingredients list for this brand, since most colours have no ingredients list and only lists "mica" as materials. Some colours contain silica, but silica does nothing to aid adhesion and some TKB's micas already contain silica.

Carnelian Dust
Screenshot taken on 8 June, 2015

Amethyst Dust
Screenshot taken on 8 June, 2015

Sister of Rainbow Dragon
Screenshot taken on 8 June, 2015

 Siren Cosmetics

Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

Love Fool
Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014

Screenshot taken on Nov 3, 2014