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Alert: Affordable New European Makeup Brand Catrice Comes to the U.S.

Catrice makeup in action at a Berlin runway show. Photo: Isa Foltin/Getty Images

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When it comes to beauty, Germany is famous for being the birthplace of so-called natural skin care lines like Weleda and Dr. Hauschka. But it’s also the home of Catrice, a super affordable line of makeup found at drugstores all over Germany and beyond. Twelve years and 55 countries from the original launch, it’s now available here in the US.

Catrice is owned by parent company Cosnova. Cosnova also happens to own Essence cosmetics, which has been available here for quite a few years. Think of Essence as the younger, cheaper, trend-driven little sister to Catrice. Catrice has aligned itself with the fashion industry a bit, sponsoring and doing the makeup for runway shows at Berlin fashion week. Its colors and products skew more classic – no blue lipstick here – with innovative formulas.

The average price for a product is $5 and nothing is more than $9, making Catrice slightly cheaper than brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline. (Essence has more of a $1.99 Wet ‘n’ Wild price point.) You can currently find Catrice online at Ulta and in about 80 brick-and-mortar stores, with more to be added.

The brand offers 180 different products. Its best sellers include its six-pan neutral eye shadow palettes ($6.99), a mattifying primer ($7.99), highlighting powders ($5.99), and a long wearing satin matte lipstick ($7.99). There’s also a wide selection of mascara formulas, including a gel for brows.

There are definitely some fun formulas amidst the classics. The Smokey Matte Powder Liner, which is a loose, finely-milled powder applied with a straight foam tip applicator, makes doing a smudgy eye liner or smoky eye really easy (it was really fun to play with). The Prime and Fine Anti-shine Blur Stick, a primer and anti-shine product, is notable for being easy to use and portable for touch-ups. If you hate lip gloss but also don’t want to kill your lips with a matte lipstick, the Beautifying Lip Smoother is a hybrid product that you apply out of a tube with a fluffy applicator. It feels like a balm but has a shiny-yet-non-gloppy texture.

Catrice is starting from scratch to build awareness here in the US. Its European Instagram page has a respectable 262,000 followers. The new US page, however, has 210. A representative for the brand said that they’ve been reaching out to “micro-influencers” (usually defined as someone with less than 100,000 followers) to help spread the word, so you’ll see the familiar cut creases and matte lips sprinkled around the page, which is a contrast to the backstage model shots on the European page.

It remains to be seen whether we need another makeup brand here, but our collective appetite for the next new thing in makeup seems to be insatiable. Plus, it’s definitely kind of fun to say, “This lipstick? Oh, it’s German.”