My current favourites both come from Phee's Makeup Shop; a small indie brand that's cruelty-free, handmade in Sheffield and created by one very lovely blogger (hi Phee!).
As well as a range of loose pigments and pressed eye shadows, Phee creates some of the most beautiful highlighters I've ever seen. The amount of sheen you get from just a tiny bit of product in unbelievable - the swatches above were taken from a single swipe with my fingers. I'd suggest a very light touch with a medium-sized brush for the best effect - you can layer it up for a heavier highlight if you prefer.
The majority of her products come as single pans, which will fit easily into any Z palette or magnetic case that you have. Phee has also started to expand her range of compact products, which come in sturdy black cases and make things a lot more travel friendly.
I've tried both the Rose Quartz Compact (the two-tone one) and the Pressed Glow and have been so impressed with them both. Rose Quartz has a more lilac/pink tinge to it that really works with cooler skin tones, whereas Pressed Glow has a mix of gold tones that I think would look great on anyone with a warmer skin tone.
Prices are really reasonable - pans start from £6.50 for smaller sizes, with the compacts coming in at around £16.50. I currently have my eye on her Rainbow Glow, which features a mix of five shades and looks absolutely stunning.
Behind the brand: a Q&A with founder Phee
What inspired you to start creating your own makeup?
I got fed up of not being able to find the products I wanted in the UK. The US has it is so much better for indie brands! And because I was bored of my job, so I thought it would be fun to see if I could make this a full time thing.
Can you tell me a little about the creation process?
Usually when I'm creating a new shade I'll order some samples that I like the look of. Then I'll mix them up, maybe add more reflect or more matte pigment where I think they need it. When I've got the shade I want as a loose pigment, I'll post photos of it on Instagram and Twitter to see how popular it is. If it gets a good reaction then I'll press it and use it myself for a few weeks, and if I still like it then I'll go ahead and put it on sale.
With the highlighters I keep a note of what shades customers have asked for and see if it's something I can do. I want to be able to offer a wide range of highlight shades for different skin tones and different tastes so that's my main focus for expanding my range of products at the moment.
What are the biggest challenges as an independent brand?
Finding the time to develop new products. At the moment it's just me running everything so as much as I love coming up with new products and playing with samples, I don't always have the time.
One thing I didn't expect is when larger brands pick up on the same trends that you have. It's very difficult to compete with the amount of marketing and outreach that they can afford to get something trending on social media as a must have product.
If you had to pick 3 items from your range that everyone should try, what would they be?
The three I recommend all the time are:
- Sunset Highlighter. This compact has two highlight shades (The Original and Bellini) and Sphinx Mineral Eyeshadow so it's a good way to test out both products. You can also create a whole look with this compact which is handy for travel.
- Peppered Mineral Eyeshadow. It's the perfect every day eyeshadow that you can quickly blend all over the lid, add some liner and you're good to go.
- Luna Glow Highlighter. This is a new shade, but so far it's been really popular as it's less yellow toned than The Original, it suits more skin tones.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep growing the range. I would like to move away from the pan products and put all the highlighters and eyeshadows into compacts. I'm also testing pressed glitter formulas too right now which will hopefully be around in time for Christmas!
You can buy Phee's products directly through her website.
*contains PR samples