Like I said in my previous post regarding repackaging, I would go into detail about how I formulate.
To start, I have a small range of base ingredients. First I have a selection of base ingredients which includes carnauba wax treated mica as well as magnesium stearate. All of the shades will have the carnauba wax, but not all will have magnesium stearate. I use the magnesium stearate when I need to lower the shimmer level of a shade. All of the shades have some shimmer, with the degree varying across the board.
Next I have a core set of colored micas. This includes a basic red, yellow, green, blue, orange, purple, silver, and black. These colors a pretty flat and simple, they’re nothing special by themselves. They need to be mixed with each other to create a shade with more dimension.
And lastly, I have a set of interference colors. These colors provide duochromes and depths to the shades. For those who don’t know, most interference pigments are white in nature, but give off an incredible gleam when mixed with other ingredients or applied onto the skin.
In addition to the ingredients, I have a few other tools including small scoops, zip-lock bags, spatulas, and my recipe book.
-I first take a moment to think about possible colors in my mind. Do I want to product a dark shade? A light shade? Low or high shimmer? What will be the base color? Will there be a duochrome? This is the brainstorming step. What will happen when I add this to this, and that to that? It’s a process that occurs entirely in my head.
Trial and Error.
-Now I take those ideas I have and apply them. Throwing on my gloves, mask, and hairnet I go to work trying to piece together the colors in my mind. Of course, they don’t always come up as planned, so I have to work with what I’ve got. Is it too light? I darken it by adding a complimentary color. Is there too much shimmer? I add some magnesium stearate to lesson the sparkle. I don’t always end up with something I like, many end up as duds. Approximately 4 times out of 10 will I get something that I want. And sometimes I get tired of making failure after failure. And so I stop. I put everything away and will come back to it some other time, when I’ve gotten some inspiration.
-With the formulas I do like, I set aside after the clean up. While I’m actually mixing things together, I write down the exact ingredients on scrap paper. With end shades that I picked, I then transfer the recipe into my notebook. For now, they are just kept in a long, generic list without names or numbering.
Names and Numbering.
-After I make a good number of recipes (roughly 15-20), I then write them down in a structured, formal list of recipes. This is when I name and number them. The numbers are chronological, regardless of the shade.
Now it’s time for naming. As you may or may not know, I categorize the shades into groups of constellations. All purples go into one constellation, all greens in another, etc, etc. First I will give each shade a constellation. Then I will assign the greek lettering in order. I go by actual star names in Bayer designation, so once a constellation has used up all of the available names I must add a new constellation to house the next series of shades.
And that is essentially how I do it. It takes up a lot of time, especially considering most of the results usually end up in failure. I’m also a tad bit impatient and will give up and try again another day. Sometimes I just need new ideas and inspiration. And that’s why I don’t have a gazillion shades at release. More shades (aka “Clusters”) of 15-20 will premier every few months. Of course the formulating will be a bit different when I introduce lip gloss into the line.
Thank you for reading. Here’s a gif completely out of context to amuse you.
I do my research. I’ve read countless blogs and posts regarding the indie makeup community. I did this months before I actually started preparing for opening. Why did I do this? To learn.
I wanted to learn about what others did wrong and what others did right. Mostly so that I could model myself after what is best while avoiding the tactics that some companies fell into. I won’t mention what companies I’m referring to here, but I’m sure if you’re familiar with indie makeup, you know who I’m talking about.
Over the next few weeks I made a check list. What do I need to do to be successful? Check. Check. Check. I believe I have a good grasp on customer service that goes up and beyond. Quick shipping and response time is something that was obvious, as well as maturity. But then I had to develop the right packaging that presents a professional and pleasant design.
So far, so good.
But then, the repackaging debacle caught up with me. I make my own shades, which I spent hours upon hours formulating. I don’t believe in repackaging unadulterated micas. Yes, there is work put into that, I’m not debating that. It takes time to photograph, package, prepare, and ship these pigments even if the product itself remains untouched. Yes, there are companies who do this and are upfront about it. Which is fine. They’re honest. And I think honesty goes a long way. From that point, it’s personal preference. But those who lie and say they made it themselves? That I cannot stand behind.
You can’t go down to the store, grab some Pantene Pro-V, go home and pour it into your own bottles and sell it on Etsy as your own homemade shampoo. Just like you can’t take wholesale micas, scoop it from the bag and put it into pretty jars to call your own original formula. You have to put the time and effort into your product.
So that brings me to my point, my paranoia. In the makeup industry, there are bound to be dupes. In fact, many bloggers find dupes for higher end products so that others can enjoy beautiful shades when they cannot reasonably afford the expensive goods. I like to look for dupes for lipsticks and glosses.
What I am worried about is what if I get accused of repackaging because of this? I don’t know every color ever made, how could I? All I know is the color I formulated was appealing enough to me to add the shade to my line, unknowing whether or not someone’s already done it, for better or for worse.
Admittedly, I do own a few samples of TKB pigments. But they are for my own personal use. I don’t buy my ingredient micas from TKB, although I do buy a few supplies from them (silicone mats, seives, scoops). I have a lot of suppliers for everything I need (micas, fillers, vials, labels, shipping, bases, extracts, sample containers, test tubes, almost everything comes from a separate company).
I took swatch photographs the other day. And while I was editing them, I couldn’t help but notice how similar some of the shades looked to swatches I’ve seen of other colors. Mainly TKB micas. With paranoia settling in, I scrambled for my personal collection of TKB products, products I haven’t used in months. Impatiently I swatched my shades with TKB micas I thought may seem similar. Alpha Draconis seemed like it might be similar to Blackstar Blue, Beta Pegasi to the now discontinued Grape Pop!, and Gamma Draconis to Blackstar Gold. But when I looked down at the back of my hand, I let out a sigh of relief. They were nothing alike. The bases, duochromes, and saturations were not at all similar, although the finished product is in the same type of shade.
After calming down, I went back to my photo editing with a new sense of confidence. Sure, they may be in the same range of color, but they are not the same. TKB’s is TKB’s and mine were mine. As much as I like TKB’s shades, I personally like mine better. That’s not biased at all, is it? No, of course not!
I am confident now. Confident that my shades are fine, they are the shades I made and the shades I love. I realize it might take a little more than a blog post to convince people about my authenticity before I’ve even opened shop. But I think that once I get things up and rolling, many will be able to see and judge for themselves.
Over and out
P.S. My next long post will be about how I formulate, so keep a look out for that if you’re interested.
Was hiding underneath roommate’s bed.
It happened almost 15 minutes ago, a surreal almost alien feeling. I was laying on my sofa, watching Hey Arnold! (hey now, don’t be hatin’) when my cat, Link, starts zooming around the living room. Obviously something has caught his attention. I figured it was some sort of bug, which he often times goes after. So I just let him do his business while I continued to watch television.
Link continues to dodge in and out of the chairs, back behind stands and lurking behind the couch. He’s still after that bug? I shrug and let him have his fun. At one point I look over towards the other side of the living room, where Link is crouching on the floor glaring at something. At first I thought it was a catnip toy, until it moved. It was a mouse.
Now, I have never seen a mouse in my house up until this point, so imagine my surprise. It was still alive and running for it’s life. I grabbed a cup and went to catch the mouse before my cat could have his bloody fun all over the living room floor. We scramble. I dive. He dives. But in the end, me and my cup wins the battle.
As I look at the mouse in the cup I can see that Link did get a pretty good hit on it, the creature’s nose had been scratched. But other than that, it looked okay. Throwing on some extra clothing, I take the cup of mouse outside towards the small wooded area of my neighborhood and let it go.
After it all happened, I am still left with mixed feelings. I didn’t want the mouse to get seriously hurt, even though I understand that cats are natural predators and Link was doing what he was built to do. I would have been rather upset to sit back and watch nature do it’s part. I am conflicted whether or not I should be proud of Link for being keen and a good hunter. Even as I type this, he’s patrolling the living room, making sure that no other mouse gets past his guard.
I have two cats. And if you’re thinking Link is the cat I’m referring to in my title, you are mistaken. Charles, my Siamese, is not nearly as keen of a hunter. I’m not sure if it’s because of his age (he’s a year old, while Link is two) or because he just sucks. But he just sat there on the back of the couch, watching all of the drama unfold.
In the end, it was all a rather interesting experience.
P.S. I might not be moving if I play my cards right! And if that is the case, Dark Matter will open up in May as scheduled!
I originally had planned to open my shop in the middle of May, now I must unfortunately announce that Dark Matter will be opening in mid to late June instead. The reason behind this is due to my current living situation. Unfortunately, I and my cats must find ourselves a new home alone. This is very stressful to me, considering I was not made aware of my living situation until today. I have to find a new abode by the end of May and move in in June. During that time, I must put Dark Matter onto the back burner, my time and funds will be spent making moving arrangements and making sure my cats do well.
I wish I could have been made notice of this earlier, giving me more time to prepare. I still have a month and a half to get ready. But it’s not the move itself that stresses me out, but all of the unnecessary emotional baggage that comes along with it.
Dark Matter will open soon after my move, which would probably be for the best.