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Makeup and mutinies
November 7, 2009 2:55 PM   Subscribe

The Mineral Makeup Mutiny was founded to encourage consumers to buy indie self-made mineral cosmetics, instead of overpriced makeup that were repackaging wholesale micas from companies such as TKB Trading, or publishing contradicting ingredients lists and sending Cease-and-Desist Letters to unfavourable reviews. Miss K of Aromaleigh, founder of the Mutiny (and former seller of repackaged wholesale hues, which she's discontinuing in favour of original colours), demonstrates how mineral eyeshadows are made.

Bonus link: How to make vegan lipsticks.
posted by divabat (33 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't get it. Most branded products are just repackaging. It doesn't sound like there is anything really wrong with the repackaged brands other than cost and the mutiny site does not make at all clear what the problem is.
posted by rr at 3:51 PM on November 7, 2009


This is a scandal. Btw, I have it from a very good source that many, many products are manufactured, distributed, repackaged and sold by many different parties.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:54 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


What, no kiss and make up puns yet?

The eye shadow mixing video was fun to watch. Now I want to blend some colors. I can never find the right green eyeshadow.
posted by dabitch at 4:00 PM on November 7, 2009


I don't get it. Most branded products are just repackaging.

Btw, I have it from a very good source that many, many products are manufactured, distributed, repackaged and sold by many different parties.

Did you read the links? They acknowledge this:

Is it somewhat nefarious to repackage wholesale product and mark it up (literally) 4000%? Maybe, but I can assure you, this is nothing new, nor is it limited to small businesses. ... That's capitalism, kids. There's nothing wrong with buying a particular brand because you like the way their compacts look, or because you prefer supporting small businesses. Just be aware that there are alternatives out there.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2009


I'm a lazy tomboy and all, but wouldn't it better to encourage women not to wear make-up in the first place? The stuff is expensive, wasteful, and you're beautiful just the way you are. Instead of covering "blemishes," treat your skin right, get enough sleep, and eat better.
posted by autoclavicle at 4:21 PM on November 7, 2009


Note to self: start business selling make up marked up by 4000%
posted by Damienmce at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2009


It's unclear whether mineral makeup is even good for people in the first place. Small particles of some minerals, like talc, have been linked to ovarian and lung cancer. That's why I haven't tried using mineral makeup—I don't know that it'd be good for me to potentially breathe that stuff.
posted by limeonaire at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2009


Let's play a game. MDMA or DIY mineral makeup?

Shedding a tear for The Hive ... rarely do you see trained chemists collaborate at such a high level, mineral makeup it is not.
posted by geoff. at 4:34 PM on November 7, 2009


Most branded products are just repackaging.

The thing is, apparently, that there are quite a few sellers who are all "I MAKE THIS MYSELF! BUY MY STUFF BECAUSE I MADE IT MYSELF!" when they actually a) didn't make it themselves, and b) are marking up the repackaged product by enormous factors.

Context here is coming out of the DIY handmade fashion world, where reselling goods you didn't make or alter yourself is Not Cool.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:34 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The thing is, apparently, that there are quite a few sellers who are all "I MAKE THIS MYSELF! BUY MY STUFF BECAUSE I MADE IT MYSELF!" when they actually a) didn't make it themselves, and b) are marking up the repackaged product by enormous factors.

Like Gucci handbags made for $1 in China?
posted by rr at 4:47 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why would anyone want to put makeup on minerals?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:47 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why would anyone want to put makeup on minerals?

Mining can be lonely work, CP.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:07 PM on November 7, 2009 [21 favorites]


autoclavicle: the makeup here tends to be in bright theatrical colours - to stand out rather than to hide features. I don't often wear makeup myself but stuff like this is perfect for my performance work. It's less about "look like the Perfect Woman" and more "here's how to achieve this costume style in makeup".
posted by divabat at 5:12 PM on November 7, 2009


Tons of behind-the-scenes photos of AromaLeigh's makeup. Whee, sparkly.
posted by divabat at 5:27 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like Gucci handbags made for $1 in China?

The people who buy this makeup are people in the DIY/handmade/Elegant Gothic Lolita scene. They are not the people who buy Gucci handbags, in general--they buy handmade handbags with weird shit appliqued on them.

This is why they're pissed off. The sellers in question are trading on years of reputation within a fairly small community in order to rip off members of said community.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:38 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The people who buy this makeup are people in the DIY/handmade/Elegant Gothic Lolita scene

Just so I understand.. these people know that all the various companies are doing is mixing off the shelf pigments into different color hues, right? They weren't under the impression that these were somehow really and truly DIY in the "from scratch" sense?

If so, it's a little hard to believe that it is a major scandal since the infraction is relatively minor, but your perspective does help.

That said, the Mineral Makeup Mutiny page is terribly written; it never states exactly what the issue is.

Is it really wrong to suspect that the reason they never state it is because it starts to sound silly when distilled?

If they stated simply that buying off the shelf powders from wholesalers and repackaging them in mass produced off the shelf containers is evil but buying off the shelf powders from wholesalers and making some minor mix of multiple powders before packaging them in mass produced off the shelf containers was good they'd look like business trying to protect their market and not much more.

For example, it seems like LimeCrime could alleviate the complaint by simply (1) ensuring that they didn't sell the pure powders and instead for each source powder mixed it with at least one other, even in a totally mechanistic way and (2) choosing new and novel names for the colors. Neither of these is actually significant when you think about it, marketing and such aside.
posted by rr at 7:30 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


these people know that all the various companies are doing is mixing off the shelf pigments into different color hues, right?

Yes. Just like the people who are making clothes in the same community are buying off-the-shelf fabric and thread and zippers and buttons and what-not and making their own garments.

They weren't under the impression that these were somehow really and truly DIY in the "from scratch" sense?

At least one of the vendors being complained about claims that some of her products are specially formulated for her in "a lab," which is very obviously a lie (there are some amazing photos of her "overseeing production" that have to be seen to be believed).

I agree that this is a tempest in a very, very tiny teapot, and that the Mineral Makeup Mutiny site is ridiculously poorly designed and written, but basically there are a small group of people who do have a valid complaint.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:18 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, for those of you who don't want to buy "off-the-shelf fabric" let me present Spoonflower, where you can design your own fabric and have it printed for you (kind of the yardage equivalent of Zazzle, etc.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:20 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't get it. Most branded products are just repackaging. It doesn't sound like there is anything really wrong with the repackaged brands other than cost and the mutiny site does not make at all clear what the problem is.

You mean besides the fact that people are paying for nothing?
posted by delmoi at 8:22 PM on November 7, 2009


The people who buy this makeup are people in the DIY/handmade/Elegant Gothic Lolita scene.

Not exactly. Sure, the tiny cottage industry mineral make-up people have a indy-hippie following, but the big brands of mineral makeup have 3 hour long blocks on QVC. I think Oprah did a show on it. My mom loves the stuff, and now orders it from etsy.

If you think this shit is bad, there are some crazy internet fights between knitters about spinners and (yarn) painters. Same basic argument, knitter thinks she's buying fantastic yarn, and it's a stock dye, poorly set.
posted by fontophilic at 9:57 PM on November 7, 2009


For the record; I've been making mineral makeup for years. I never sold it through my company, because getting FDA approval for makeup is a nightmare, and product liability insurance without FDA approval isn't going to happen. And operating in the US without product liability insurance is just stupid. That said, nobody *but* the big mineral makeup companies have gone through the FDA process, because they're the only ones that can pony up the 50k per product it takes to do so, and have the clean rooms to do manufacturing.

I can almost guarantee you that not a single one of these "boutique manufacturers" have FDA approval, or the million dollar clean labs that are required for that approval. These are folks that are buying stuff from vendors and mixing it up in coffee grinders in their kitchen, and STILL charging a 1000% markup...and you've got nobody to sue when it turns out their product hasn't been tested and came from a contaminated area of China.

All that is a lead up to this: Nobody on the market is just buying stuff from TKB (whom I love...they are a fantastic source, and their products are top-notch) and reselling it as "makeup". They may repackage and resell it as "kits" with instructions on how to make it...but nothing from TKB is "wear-ready".

This, my friends, is a marketing campaign, and nothing more. This is someone trying to stir outrage and turn it into dollars for her company. Every little vendor who sells mineral makeup does the same thing this person does. They blend it, they design colors, yadda yadda. Nobody is buying bags of chromium green and selling it the way it came from the wholesaler.

I call shenanigans, and I say this as someone who has been making mineral makeup for almost a decade. This isn't education, this isn't a movement, this is an ad campaign.
posted by dejah420 at 10:11 PM on November 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


You mean besides the fact that people are paying for nothing?

I guess it beats paying for a shiny and relatively common rock or bottled water. Power of marketing.
posted by rr at 10:16 PM on November 7, 2009


This, my friends, is a marketing campaign, and nothing more. This is someone trying to stir outrage and turn it into dollars for her company.

THIS.
posted by rr at 10:18 PM on November 7, 2009


That said, the Mineral Makeup Mutiny page is terribly written; it never states exactly what the issue is.

Probably because it sounds like the plot to Young & The Restless.
posted by pwnguin at 10:46 PM on November 7, 2009


(there are some amazing photos of her "overseeing production" that have to be seen to be believed)

Where are these amazing photos? I'd like to see them. Which vendor are you talking about?

Zero snark intended here; I find these controversies-within-tiny-subcultures fascinating
posted by ook at 6:35 AM on November 8, 2009


This, my friends, is a marketing campaign, and nothing more. This is someone trying to stir outrage and turn it into dollars for her company.

It's what I call "caucus marketing." You simply keep outflanking your enemy's left. When the enemy throws resources at where you're at, you simply move further left. This can be kept up forever.
posted by Faze at 6:52 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil : Yes. Just like the people who are making clothes in the same community are buying off-the-shelf fabric and thread and zippers and buttons and what-not and making their own garments.

Massively unfair analogy.

DIY designers/dressmakers actually have some impressive skill in the performance of their craft.

Mixing two powders in a set ratio? No. You could literally train a dog to do that.
posted by pla at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2009


I want to see the photos that have to be seen to be believed too. (not snark)

The Mineral Makeup Mutiny page isn't making me much wiser and I don't know where to go from there.
also, I might be the last person on earth to 'get' what's so awesome about mineral makeup, have I been trying the wrong stuff? It makes me look terrible and my skin hates it. I can sleep in regular makeup if I bloody want to, my skin hates me equally much after that. Mixing your own colors looks like fun though.
posted by dabitch at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2009


Not exactly. Sure, the tiny cottage industry mineral make-up people have a indy-hippie following

THAT IS WHAT THIS PARTICULAR CONTROVERSY IS ABOUT. It isn't about Bare Escentuals or any of the other mainstream mineral makeup companies--it's about little DIY makeup providers who are known to each other through the DIY fashion community.

And, like most conflicts among small groups where the stakes are really pretty low, it generates an awful lot of heat and not much light.

(there are some amazing photos of her "overseeing production" that have to be seen to be believed)

Here's one which is just silly. There were some other more egregious ones but I am too lazy to look for them.

Zero snark intended here; I find these controversies-within-tiny-subcultures fascinating

Oh, yes, me too. That's why I know about this: I don't buy this makeup or wear those clothes myself, but I am fascinated by ingroup conflict.

There's an Internet war among fly-tying enthusiasts that's also fascinating me right now, but I don't think it's FPP-worthy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:01 AM on November 8, 2009


dejah420: this is what Kristen had to say in response to the FDA ruling comment:
Tiara, to the person in this thread who claims to have been making mineral makeup for a decade and states that all cosmetic companies must have million dollar clean rooms and pay 50k per product for FDA approval, that couldn’t be more inaccurate and in fact, not a single word of it is true whatsoever.

That can be verified by the FDA’s Cosmetic Guidance, Compliance and Regulatory Information:
http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074162.htm

Furthermore, Cosmetics companies are not required to file with the FDA. The FDA Cosmetic Registration Program is voluntary.

I believe that the commenter may be confused about companies obtaining the right to specify and advertise an SPF for products. That DOES require testing for each color within a foundation range as well as testing for each batch, by an independent lab. A company cannot specify an SPF without having this testing done and recorded with the FDA.

Due to the costs of the testing, as well as the requirement that it be established for each batch and each color, no small independent mineral cosmetic company would be able to afford such expense. Only the largest mineral makeup companies, who manufacture en masse are able to do this. At this time I am only aware of Bare Escentuals and Jane Iredale as having done this. When Bare Escentuals met these requirements about 5-6 years ago, it was a VERY big promotional push.

All mineral makeup companies are required to follow FDA GMP’s (Good manufacturing Practices) and if you read the link I provide to you, you’ll see that those involve some pretty basic standards of hygiene and do NOT require a million+++ dollar “clean room” environments.
posted by divabat at 11:17 AM on November 8, 2009


Yeah, Divabat, I'm not arguing with you...but I'm going to have to believe that the attorneys who work for the largest liability insurer in the world know better than she does. That's what they get paid for. The tricky part of the law, and why most home-brew cosmetic manufactuers can't get product liability insurance for their products is this clause: it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health" . Note here that I'm talking about product liability insurance. That's the insurance the protects the consumer, not the manufacturer. Anyone can get business insurance, but product liability insurance requires some pretty serious hoop-jumping.

Here are the regulations that a cosmetics company MUST meet in order to get a liability policy. I know this, because I carried a million dollars worth of liability insurance on my products, and the company was going to drop my coverage if I put mineral makeup on my product list, even though I use those same micas in soaps. They and their lawyers came to see our manufacturing facility, they checked out the lab I use to test, and said that because our walls and ceilings couldn't be hosed off, it didn't meet the standards. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY working out of their house has the facilities that meet those standards.

As well, many of the "mineral micas" on the market are created with FD&C colors, which are ABSOLUTELY Subject to Certification.

I'm sorry if this person is a friend of yours and she's insulted. You know I adore you, and am not saying that you're doing anything but sharing information. But that doesn't stop this from being a classic astroturfing campaign.

If it was about education, and not cash, then she'd be putting out instructions and how-tos and telling people where to buy the ingredients, not selling her "special blend" of cosmetics and trying to convince people that hers are so much better than someone else...who is doing the exact same blending and selling.
posted by dejah420 at 12:15 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


dejah420: Oh, I'm not a friend of hers; I only heard about her after this controversy over Doe Deere. I'm just interested in all angles since this is an area I don't know much about. It'd be good if you could post that on the Mineral Makeup Mutiny blog as well.
posted by divabat at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2009


There's an Internet war among fly-tying enthusiasts that's also fascinating me right now

Wonderful. Synthetic versus natural materials, or something more obscure?
posted by ook at 6:58 AM on November 9, 2009


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