Independent, ethical new beauty brand, MEMI, launches in Leeds

Rosie O’Brien assesses the effectiveness of a variety MEMI’s cruelty-free, professional standard cosmetics, all vegan except for just two products which contain beeswax.  The company has been founded by 21 year olds Millie Watson and Jack Thompson, who spent two years sourcing the perfect formulae for their brand, always with the aim of offering luxury at lower prices.

I owe the very kind people at MEMI (pronounced me-my and from Me, Myself and I) an apology, as this review is so very late. It’s not like me to miss deadlines, but after a very thorough dousing my laptop went to gadget heaven just before I was about to write this review, and I’ve been without one ever since. So here we are, two and a half weeks later – guys, I’m so sorry, but very relieved that I can happily report such positive results.

The upside to my enforced digital detox is that I’ve had more of a chance to sample the eyeshadow palette, lipstick, eyeliner and highlighter MEMI sent me, and I’m thrilled to report 3/4 products are now part of my regular routine. Bonus – they haven’t irritated my temperamental skin, even with all the cold and central heating dryness this time of year brings, and they’re completely cruelty free – worryingly hard to find in a brand on the UK market. 

I tend to be sceptical about trying new makeup brands, partly because of the aforementioned difficult skinTM, and partly because if I stray too far from my tried and tested looks I end up looking more Beast than Belle. It’s fair to say my skills are limited, so if I’m not familiar with a product I tend to stay away, but with MEMI I really needn’t have worried. I liked the products so much, that a couple have replaced my old favourites completely – the eyeshadow palette in Millennial (absolute BARGAIN at £22) is pretty much my perfect colour selection, and now the only palette I use. Nudist is great for the brow bone, I use All Ass as a base, and any of the mid brown colours as a crease shade – Finesse if I’m feeling shy, and In Check/Wavy combo if I’m feeling dramatic. Focus and 90s Baby are great as a little pop on the lid. I adore One Love, but haven’t quite figured out how to use it yet without looking like a bad Kermit imposter, but that’s my fault – not the shade’s. With a swoop of Expert Liner (£10 – and indistinguishable from my previous £40(!!) equivalent) to top it off, I look like I know what I’m doing.

MEMI’s Radiance Highlighter (£15) in Wild Child gives a lovely subtle-but-definitely-there shimmer, and builds up nicely so you don’t end up looking like Robert Pattinson in Twilight. I use this one more for nights out than on my daily face as I generally prefer a cream highlighter – but that’s just personal preference. Their Matte Luxe lipstick (£12) glides on like a dream, but sadly I’ve not really used it as the shade is a bit lighter than my natural lip colour so I run the risk of looking like I’ve done that weird 90s thing and covered my lips in concealer. On the upside, it’s a testament to how good the formula is that the coverage is that thorough. I loved the formula so much that I’m planning to buy another one in a different shade. It’s completely non-drying, and matte enough without highlighting every little crack in your lips.

Did I mention the founders are just 21? Excuse me while I go and give these stupidly talented youngsters all my money before everyone else gets wind of the brand and it’s all sold out.

Find out more about MEMI’s online at

Rosie writes for Leeds Living on food and drink, health, beauty, culture and retail.

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