Every now and then, I tag a brand under the "Recommendation" tag if they're so great, I need to recommend it to everyone. Now I've decided to put all the brands I usually recommend in a list to make it easier for people to check out. If a brand isn't on this list, it's not that they suck, it could be because I haven't tried it yet, or they're good, but just not as good as the "Recommended" brands. If you have any questions about this list, feel free to email me at workingwithmonolids [at] gmail.com.
Bath & Body
- Haunt: This brand is just amazing. Their scents are amazing! I'm a huge fan of their scrubs and Skin Glossing Oils –both leave your skin so moisturized, but the oils get absorbed really quickly into your skin. I like their lip balms enough, though I wish the taste is stronger. The perfume oils tend to have very low throw and longevity, but I still love their scents.
- Haus of Gloi: I'm cautiously recommending this brand. Until now, their pumpkin butter, whipped soaps, bubbling scrubs and bath melts are still my favourite formulas that beat even mainstream formulas. I also love the scents they come in! I haven't had much luck with their perfumes and find their lip balms only ok, so I exclusively stick to their bath products. Unfortunately, HoG has been having issues with not replying to customer emails about order issues, messing up orders, and recently someone found an insect in her products. My experiences with HoG have always been positive so I'm shocked to find out about this. HoG responded here, and I'm personally satisfied with their response, but I know this may not be the case for everyone.
- Cocoa Pink: I love their Argan Therapy Creme conditioner. It feels very watery but it does the job! It's as good as my mainstream L'Oreal hair masks, with the added bonus of smelling awesome. Their Squeaky Clean and Shampink shampoos are also my 2 favourite shampoos. Squeaky Clean keeps my hair oil free longer, Shampink is my go-to shampoo when I dive, because it leaves my hair so moisturized. I normally need a leave-in conditioner to keep my colour-treated hair from going full plastic, but if I use Shampink and Argan Therapy Creme conditioner, I don't need a leave-in conditioner at all!
- Lather & Lights: I only like their shampoo. I've tried everything else they have and nothing else works on me, but my hair just loves their shampoo. The scents tend to go lean on artificial and I don't find many I like though. I wish they have unscented version of their shampoos.
- Dawn Eyes Cosmetics: Dawn is such an underrated brand. These eyeshadows are gorgeous and look great, even against bare skin! This was one of my first indies and I ended up having my bar raised waay too high. The website's a nightmare to navigate, so I prefer googling for swatches and emailing Dawn the colours I want.
- Eccentric Cosmetics: I'm in love with their primer and can't wear make up without it. It really outperforms all the primers I own, including UDPP.
- Fyrinnae: They're formula wizards. Try them out and you won't be disappointed, everything's great! Their liquid matte lipsticks is one of my favourite matte lipstick formulas out there, though I did find that some colours (usually the metallic ones) tend to go streaky.
- Jouer: I love the formula of their lip products, and they have some of the most unique colours ever. Many indie brands do unique colours, but Jouer has a richness and smooth consistency that really impressed me!
- Life's Entropy: Their stand out product is definitely their lip theories. They're so pigmented and last forever! They do tend to feather, but you can fix that with concealer or lip liner. The odd coloured lip theories (green, blue, metallic, etc.) didn't go that well for me but I still like their original lip theories! I also like their contour sticks and they're really great, but I tend to get swept away raving about their lip theories. Their eyeshadows and highlighters are ok, but seem underwhelming once you've tried their lip theories. That's how good they are.
- Limnit: My favourite indie brand for lipsticks in unique colours! I've had their lipsticks for over a year (I know, bad) and it's still as creamy as before. Almost all the colours are very opaque and buildable (I had a bit of trouble with the yellow and olive).
- MadLab Cosmetics: Definitely an underrated brand. Their colours look great even on bare skin! Definitely very beginner friendly and easy to use.
- My Pretty Zombie: I love their blushes! They're as easy to use as mainstream blushes! Their duochromes also perform relatively well over primer alone, which I think is a testament to how solid their formula is.
- Glitter Elixirs: Top notch cosmetic glitters at very cheap prices. She also has some really creative glitter blends that I'm so in love with
- Looxi Beauty: Gorgeous formula, great prices, amazing customer service. I recommend trying their colour shifting highlighters and eyeshadows!
- Lit Cosmetics: Always excellent customer service and their glitter glue is my favourite glue for turning glitter into liner. They have some extremely unique glitters that smaller indies can't carry.
- Arcana: The best in fruity scents and almost everything else. There's a reason why this brand is so well-established! I've always had trouble finding good indie fruity scents since they tend to go artificial and kiddy, but Arcana's fruits...beautiful. They actually do almost everything well, but their fruity scents stood out so much to me, just because of how hard it is to get good fruity scents. They're a safe bet for great quality perfumes.
- BathSabbath: Definitely an underrated brand, they have really great scents and my favourite gourmand scents come from them. Their scent selection is relatively small, but I found so many winners among them. Heard their beard oils are great too!
- Dame Perfumery: Slightly on the steeper side but the quality's great. I've tried too little to form an impression of what their specialty is, but I noticed that in general, their scents are more suited for older (ie. late 30s+) women.
- Darling Clandestine: The best in realistic cut plant stalks scents, smoke, leather, blue and Indonesian sort of herbal scents. Evonne makes poetry in a bottle. She has some of the most unique yet wearable scents I've ever encountered. Don't worry if you're not into weird perfumes, she has some safe and easy to like scents as well. She hid a discount code in her interview here!
- Deconstructing Eden: The best in hot dude scents, and also in delicate, feminine, powdery musk scents. Her pumpkin note is also my favourite pumpkin note now. It's light, not so sweet, yet so rich and complex. It's definitely very wearable as perfume. The sillage and longevity is amazing....so amazing that I have this 1st world problem of not being able to review her perfumes fast enough because I can only do 2/day since they're that strong. The quality is that of a mainstream high end perfume, only at the price range of mainstream mid range perfumes. Definitely great value for money.
- Midnight Gypsy Alchemy: They do amazing blues, gourmands, and florals. These are natural perfumes and have a relatively low throw, but the quality is amazing. Free shipping for all orders, including international!
- Midsummer Dreams Apothecary: The best floral scents! Amazing branding and quality as well. Try out their customized perfume option! They have a LOT of notes available. I'm not a fan of their solid perfume formula and strongly recommend the perfume oils instead.
- Possets: They're known for their vanillas and citruses, and it's for a great reason. I've had mixed luck with their fruity notes but I'm comfortable blind buying full bottles of everything else.
- Sweet Anthem: They're great at creating mainstream high end scents. Rather on the steep side but the quality's superb and the branding's beautiful. I recommend going for their eau de parfums rather than their solid perfumes.
- ZOMG Smells: If you like very English sort of herbal scents, they're great for that. I haven't tried enough of their scents to figure out what their specialty is, but from the few I tried, the quality is definitely there. I've heard people having issues with their TAT, but I usually purchase decants through Ajevie, so I have no personal experience on this.
- Art by Aelia: Amazing handmade necklaces that are amazing quality. They're pieces of art and I feel like a walking art exhibition when I wear them!
- MiniMint Palettes: These palettes are just beautiful and look like story books. Great quality and extremely sturdy –more sturdy than some mainstream palettes I've gotten, actually!
- CarouselInk: Really gorgeous printed leggings and tops. Go generous with your size since they tend to sheer out when stretched though!
- WebsterWigs: Gorgeous, top notch wigs!