Barry M was the first makeup brand that I EVER used. Those little pots of loose pigment slowly gathered in my makeup bag, I couldn’t get enough of that Barry M colour that I couldn’t get anywhere else on the high street. Those blues/greens and any other bright pigments I could get my mitts on were the flavour of my later school years and I couldn’t get or wear enough.
Flash forward like 15 years and I still use a fair bit of Barry M, I love their bright eye & lip pencils in my professional kit and the Gelly nail polishes are some of my favourite polishes ever. I was bordering ectastic when I got invited up to have a look around their makeup factory in North London, I’ve been to a fair few factories before through TV & filming but I have never been into a makeup factory and it was so interesting to see all the empty bottles being filled and the process of making the lipsticks. (all still done by hand by the way!)
I met with Barry’s son, Dean who is running the brand now and he gave us a guided tour around. Aside from showing us the ins and outs of this small factory, we learnt some interesting facts about this entirely British company…here are some of the things I learnt, that I NEVER knew about this fascinating brand:
* Barry M, stands for founder and owner Barry Mero who founded the company in 1982 when he saw a gap in the market for vivid colours on the high street.
* Nearly ALL the cosmetics are made in this small factory in Mill Hill.
* All in-house marketing, production, warehouse and distribution
* There are over 250 colours in the Barry M range
* Barry M is a cruely-free company and NEVER and will never test these products on animals. They will never sell in countries that demand animal testing.
* All products are vegetarian and most are vegan.
* All products are ‘Big Three Free’ : No DBP, Formaldehyde & Toluene. Also no acetone are in the nail polish formulations which is why they may take a little longer to dry.
It was super interesting to see the different methods of mixing and creating the different products which I am so used to seeing on the shelves of Boots and using myself at home, I honestly found it so fascinating. I got semi-involved and go to fill my own nail polish via the machine and got to keep the polish that I filled. No idea why this makes a difference but it made this polish feel super special and I don’t want to give it to anyone!
At the end of the factory tour I got to make my very own customised Barry M lipgloss with the help of two of the lab technicians. I picked out the pigments and ratio, chose the fragrance (I think we went with Raspberry) and then mixed it up with the base product, a colourless gel mixture, in a special machine. I have two tubes of this one-off lipgloss which is really special and I still don’t want to use them as I will never be able to get that colour again! It’s really nice, a nectar peachy pink.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my insight into my Barry M factory tour, it was a great morning and I have come away with a more heartfelt love for this British brand, after seeing the individuals who work in the factory and how the processes are undertaken amongst what is relatively a small *Barry M-style family*.