I love mineral makeup. I also love supporting small businesses. And after realizing that Philosophy The Supernatural may not be the be-all-and-end-all for me when it comes to foundation, I’ve been searching for a new mineral foundation. I first mentioned that in my In Defense of Diana post, and as luck would have it, I’ve since been so fortunate as to try two fabulous makeup lines that are working overtime to produce makeup for bellas all shades of beautiful. Get ready to add something special for yourself to your holiday shopping list, gorgeous!

I’ve been hearing great things about Valana Minerals for a minute now – my beauty blog buddy Andrea The Organic Beauty Expert, teaches a Create Your Organic/Natural Beauty Business workshop at The Learning Annex. Valana Minerals creator Valerie took her first class. I know Andrea holds a very high standard for her products, and not just any and everything gets the OK from her. So when I read her glowing review of Valana, I started getting excited!

As a woman of color, Valerie has experienced the difficulty of finding her perfect shade amongst the mainstream brands. “I have traveled extensively and in my travels I’ve shared my experiences and discovered that people of color around the world have the same frustrations I’ve experienced with skin care and color cosmetic products. Most people around the world have yellow/gold, red or olive undertones with various combinations of red and blue. Many major market cosmetics companies don’t provide color selections that address the wide range of skin tones and undertones among those with various shades of brown skin. One size does not fit all. In the area of natural organic skin care, product availability has been scarce…UNTIL NOW.” Yes indeed.

In case you were scared that Valana didn’t offer your shade, looky here, scroll down, and be amazed at the range. I was intimidated by the variety — after becoming used to “brown skin” coming in three or four shades (if so many), choosing between 18 different shades is alot to process. Thankfully, Valana offers the sample purchase program — when you purchase six sample compacts you will receive a $10 discount on your next purchase of $50 or more. You choose the collection or colors you wish to sample. So if you’re not sure if you’re an “earth passion,” a “golden queen,” or an “amber blaze,” that’s the first way to figure things out. If you’re a super skilled makeup artist who knows the ins and outs of contouring, Valana is perfect for you – you can use the multiple shades to bring out different undertones. Valana also makes fabulous blushes, stunning eyeshadows — LOVING the Tropical Butterfly collection — and great vegan Sparkie Lips Color Sticks. They come in a long time with a brush attached on one end, and I am absolutely in love with the Velvet Pomegranate shade. These colors really enhance the natural color of my lips while adding sparkle and shine, and the formula isn’t sticky at all. It makes a great layering gloss for the lipstains I use daily.

For the bella who has everything, I’d recommend the Velvet Plush Synthetic Cosmetic Brushes. I have tried quite a few brushes, bellas – and these are among the softest I’ve ever used. Plus they’re totally vegan – no animal fur in sight! The seven-piece set is $65 and would make a great holiday gift – Mama Bella would just LOVE the $25 Kabuki brush! And speaking of great gifts, Valana also features the Girlfriends and Coffee set, a seven-piece set for $30 that comes with two eye colors, brushes, a vegan lip gloss and a cute little bag that makes a brilliant change purse. Order now if this is what you need to jazz up your Christmas stocking.

Valana is made by a woman of color for women of color — not just black women, mind you, there are gorgeous shades for Asian, Latin, Native American, and Middle Eastern shades, and every ethnicity in between.

Another similar company is run by a self-described “white chick,” but Ferro Cosmetics also aims to make products for bellas of all skin tones. You can shop by look, skin tone, or category — founder and president Krissy Ferro is serious about offering her handcrafted cosmetics for women of all skin tones. She’s tested her darker colors on a variety of bellas, and she also offers custom formulations for clients. She’s also very interested in customer feedback, so if you’d like to see more of a specific shade or product, leave a comment for Krissy! I love supporting companies like Valana and Ferro – the owners both care about the opinions of their consumers, and feedback is genuinely appreciated. Both ladies are incredibly dedicated, sweet, and responsive.

Ferro goes the route of some of the bigger mineral brands by offering not just regular foundation, but “radiance foundation,” mineral veils, and blemish control concealers. I fall between tan and dark, and there’s a ton of colors that really compliment my shade. I fell head over heels for Ferro’s eye shadows, which come in matte, pearl, or (my fave) shimmer.

If you were wondering, “do I need that Buy Me Emeralds shade in my life?” The answer is yes, yes you do. It’s ultra glamorous and just $12.50. But you know me, I love eye drama. If you’re less decisive about color, check out the chameleon, which is a color-shifting shadow with a brown base that shifts from green to gold on your lids. The 3-N-1 eye candy is an eyeliner, brow definer and eyeshadow — used with a wet brush, it makes for an excellent, soft-looking alternative for those of you who fear liquid liner.

Both Valana and Ferro are excellent brands, perfect for bellas who are concerned about what goes into the products you put on your face. Both companies get what women want — variety and range. My only complaint (if you can even call it that), is there’s so much to choose from with these brands, it can be positively mindboggling to choose your exact shade. But hey, it’s better to have too many items to choose from than too few, right? It’s a complaint that I wish I could make more often. “waah, these companies make too many colors for my skin shade! Whatever do I choose!” There’s a lot to check out, so if you’re looking for that ideal new makeup for your own personal holiday stocking, get clicking! Happy shopping, bellas!

Have you tried Valana or Ferro? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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