Nerd culture has been seeping into mainstream for some time, so is anyone surprised that it leaked into our war paint?
That’s right. Nerdy make up. Made by nerds, for nerds. Vulcan high-five!
Before I focus on the Seattle based company Espionage Cosmetics, let me first introduce you to other dorktastic cosmetic companies.
Several dedicated individuals have poured their heart and souls into the makeup they create, such as Shiro Cosmetics of Oregon, who works tirelessly to bring beautiful eye shadows such as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and “Seven Kingdoms” collections to eager consumers. Each of their items are handmade in small batches by the four person team that boasts their own personal nerd life as inspiration for their products.
Other indie companies, like Geek Chic Cosmetics also has a wide selection of eye shadow collections for Sailor Moon, Supernatural, Harry Potter, Sherlock, and more (all cleverly named to avoid any problems with licensing of course.) They also offer foundations, fragrances, and the ever sparkly nail polish!
One of the long standing companies, Aromaleigh Cosmetics, was founded in 1998. Their assortment of cheek, face, and eye powders easily set the buyer up to create any look they are dying to achieve. Their newest collection of eye shadows is based off the 1980’s film Blade Runner and offers a stunning array of iridescent and shimmery eye wear.
But let’s come back to Espionage Cosmetics. These misfits have been blazing through a mass of glitter to bring us their own personal creations.
In my attempts to discover why the energy and excitement of Espionage is so infectious, I decided to email the team.
“Espionage Cosmetics started almost 4 years ago in our Glitter Jedi’s (CEO) tiny basement office, and has moved HQs twice to fit our expanding products and shenanigans! We weren’t happy that nerd loot and ladies’ merch were mutually exclusive, and decided to change that…Basically we just make things that we love and want to use ourselves! Part of the reason we believe this works is because we are our own target market and that makes us super passionate about everything we make.”
As with each company, Espionage has their own spin on the cosmetics they create. For example they don’t have classic eye shadow and instead have created several lines of everything shadow, intended to be used as “blush, bronzers, brow fillers, lip colors, hair chalking, and more! We love being able to get multiple uses out of just one product.”
But what does Espionage Cosmtics specialize in? The Holy Grail of nail wraps.
Haven’t heard of them? No problem. Nail wraps are specially designed stickers that attach to your fingernails for up to two weeks with minimal time and equipment (as in you may need a nail file, some scissors, and a bit of top coat). As a frugal consumer, I end up getting multiple uses out of one set of their nail wraps, mostly because I have tiny child-like nails that only require half a piece.
Ever watch TableTop? You may have noticed that the beautiful Ashley Johnson (The Avengers, Much Ado) was sporting the “Comic” nail wraps in the episode on Feb 19th. She also modeled nail wraps earlier on for Espionage’s quite successful kickstarter.
Prior to Ashley’s work, Felicia Day gleefully showed off her everything shadow collections from Emerald City Comic Con in 2013.
So what is it that sets Espionage Cosmetics apart from their fellow geeky companies?
Honestly, not a lot. Wait! Don’t get me wrong, this is a GOOD thing. Rather than being in competition with other companies, or trying to take away clientele from each other, these geeks all understand the right we have to be fabulous nerds.
Pretend you’ve thrown some women into a pen for a cat fight, but instead they band together to set themselves free. This is the world of geek makeup! There’s no reason to say who is better, because no one is better. They are each beautifully, creatively, and joyously different! Just like us, the queens and kings of nerd life.
Yet each company has their niche. Espionage isn’t only setting a bunch of glitter into shadows and wraps, they’re taking it the extra mile.
“Well… we have been working a lot with licensing lately! For us this means that as fans we are getting the opportunity to create and collaborate with the larger IPs in comics, video gaming, and table top gaming! As a tiny company of nerd misfits this brings our hearts a lot of joy. Recently we launched a Borderlands line of makeup and nail wraps that has been received quite well.”
If you’ve been paying attention you may have noticed that our Espionage contact first mentioned “shenanigans” and trust me, they aren’t joking. Last year the company hosted their first annual “Grown Ass Adult Prom” where their employees and honored guests went all out to recreate an even better version of one of high school’s most iconic moments. Check out their Facebook album to really take in the absurdity of it all.
Wish I could have gone.
But above all else, this company is made up of people who love what they do, and love the people that support them.
“Every few months when we open up our Clubhouse of Glitter & Fandom to the public for shopping days, or have big packaging parties, we love to have cupcakes (and sometimes champagne)! …We love to meet our customers in person to show them how to use the products, talk about our favorite Sherlock episode, and get their feedback on what they think about recent launches, makeup collections, etc.”
Regardless of where you choose to buy your nerdtastic cosmetics, I encourage you to support a company that shares in your love of geek. Maybe you want to support the closest creators to your own hometown, as I have, but whatever you choose, make it count. We are able to help support each other without ever meeting, but if you attend conventions this year keep your eyes open for your favorite company. Several of these, and other similar indie groups, are traveling far and wide to bring their products to the nerd world.
As one last word of caution, I recommend staying within your budget. I may, or may not, have supported the shit out of the most recent Espionage Cosmetics kickstarter.
Sorry dear, we’ll eat next month.