Friday, April 10, 2009

Brand Spotlight: Archetype Cosmetics

I'll admit, I’m new to the mineral makeup game. I avoided mineral foundation for years- since it was initially introduced via late-night infomercial, I wrote it off as a passing trend. I have used powder foundations before and found them to have an itchy, tight, line-enhancing effect on my dry skin. Due to my complete lack of interest in foundations of the mineral persuasion I was unaware of a makeup trend growing right under my brows- mineral pigment eye shadows. Recently while I checking in on fellow blogger Padmita, I noticed a gorgeous shade of green on her eyes with a brand name I wasn't familiar with: Archetype Cosmetics.

According to her website, Archetype owner Holly Regan's love of color was cultivated with a background in fine arts; mixing oil paints led to mixing makeup. Archetype specializes in multipurpose loose pigments in unique, often sparkly or iridescent shades. They also have a wide range of loose mineral foundations, as well as a line of lip products.

To avoid confusion, the site does not picture foundation shades. However, it does odetailed descriptions along with advice on choosing the right formula and shade. The company offers two different formulas, classified in depth levels (1-5), each with six different undertones available.

Though Archetype classifies their pigments as eye shadows, many of the shades are multipurpose. Most pigments can be applied to lips, blended with lip gloss, used on the cheeks as blush or highlighter, and even mixed into nail polish. Color swatches of the eye shadow pigments are shown on the site, but since most of the line’s colors are shimmery or iridescent, photography often doesn’t do them justice. Thankfully, the site includes spot-on, incredibly vivid descriptions of each shade, and often suggests color combinations as well as comparisons to other shades in the brand that may be similar.

By my best estimate, Archetype makes around 150 mineral pigment eye shadows and 60 foundations. With such a wide selection of products, even a non-junkie could get herself in trouble here- luckily, Archetype’s prices are incredibly reasonable: foundations are currently $9.00; lip and eye products come in 2 sizes- the small retails for $3.75, the large is $7.00.

Of course, I’ve saved the best for last: All of Archetype’s products are available to order in sample form! For just a quarter each you can try any (or all) of Archetype’s eye shadow pigments. Lip glosses and foundations are available too, for $1.00 and $2.00 respectively. Each sample contains enough product for several applications- more than enough to experiment! For all of you recessionistas- this is your guilt-free indulgence!

My one caveat with Archetype: don’t expect a speedy delivery. Take the company warning at face value: generally orders take about 4-5 weeks to ship. I ordered 2 small shadows and almost 40 samples and it was indeed about a month before they hit my doorstep. This is in no way a condemnation- Archetype is a small, privately owned business and there is no mass marketing here. Creating, mixing, and dispensing over 200 products by hand takes time. Don’t let this discourage you from ordering, just order accordingly.

Stay tuned for full reviews on both the eye pigments and the foundation. For a sneak peek, see my spring colors look, which features Archetype Cosmetic's mineral pigment eye shadows in China White, Conjunction, and Weeping Willow.

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