New brands aren’t hard to come by, but new brands that have a serious point of difference and something to get excited about are. I’m often presented with a new concept that in theory sounds fab, but in reality is a little short of the mark – it’s surprisingly hard to discover newness that has longevity. However, in 2016 one of the most exciting brands I’ve seen in a long time is launching on British shores. MINA (or 3INA if you’re looking for them on social, just to be confusing!) offers a ‘bold new approach to beauty’ via a huge portfolio of ‘professional quality’ makeup that is really rather lovely. Encompassing pretty much every product, shade and texture imaginable, they offer over 500 individual SKUs in their stores across Europe – and that’s sure to expand over the coming months. What’s incredibly interesting about MINA is that right now you can’t actually buy anything online; you have to visit their stand-alone Covent Garden boutique to get up close and personal before you can buy. Part of a bigger strategy to encourage customers to touch and play with their makeup, it’s somewhat refreshing amidst a portfolio of brands that just want to shift it as quickly as possible.
They’ve definitely chosen the right place to launch their brand to British consumers, setting up shop in the Covent Garden marketplace to enable them to talk to a customer that’s already prepped to buy. (The iconic plaza has fast become the best makeup destination in London, offering everything from Urban Decay and MAC to Burberry and Chanel in one place.) If you’re a fan of KIKO and the chic, modern and loud (!) stores they offer, you’ll adore MINA too; the concepts are very similar, bringing ‘fast makeup’ at affordable products, and I’ve no doubt that we’ll see some of the products popping up all over the internet as MINA-mania takes hold. I’ve been playing with some of the key pieces of the collection for the past week or so and I’m seriously impressed: considering an eyeshadow is £6.95 and lipstick £7.95, you’ll want to rush in and pretty much hand over your purse. Here’s the lowdown on each…
MATTE LIPSTICK (£7.95): I love the slightly odd angle of the bullet and soft-touch pack, but what’s most exciting is the pure pigment it offers. This red is to-die-for and totally competes with product two or three times its price. I want more and I want them now.
EYELINER PEN (£7.95): Possibly my new fave liner for creating subtle flicks, the nib is incredibly fine so offers incredibly precise results. It’s pigmented, a pleasure to glide over the eye and stays put. What more could you ask for?
HIGHLIGHTER (£10.95): I love this golden shade, which adds just the right amount of warmth to my skin. It’s pigmented and rich, providing a subtle glow without excessive flaking or wasted product. Possibly my new favourite for summer.
EYESHADOW (£6.95): Although it does take some work to get the colour out of the pan (it’s quite like a baked shadow,) the result is colour-popping and creamy. Enriched with silicone for a crease-free and comfortable finish, there’s absolutely no fall-out and no flaking.
CHUBBY STICK (£7.95): A much cheaper alternative to some of the balm-lipstick hybrids out there, this provides a comfortable slick of colour that’s easy to apply on-the-go. With ten shades to choose from, you’re bound to find a new fave.
NAIL VARNISH (£4.95): The texture is quite runny, but once it’s applied you need only a couple of coats to get the desired colour result. With more colours available than I can count, these are affordable and fun – without looking like you’ve picked up a polish aimed at 12 year olds. I approve.
If you’re passing through Covent Garden any time soon, then make sure you swing by the MINA store. If you’re not, then don’t worry – there are plans to launch more stores across the UK, before they finally launch online later this year. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.
Check out MINA on their website here: 3ina.com Pop by their Covent Garden boutique too, which is opposite the tube station and next to Kikki K – just to keep the Swedish buds together.
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.