The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Don’t Expect the Placebo Effect

Don't Expect the Placebo Effect

Amy Doan looks like a typical club kid. She has bright blue hair, crazy makeup and a curved bar through her septum. She wears mismatched clothing and has even been approached by a fashion makeover television show to help her with her look. People might not think much of this bright, bubbly thirtysomething, but if you take two minutes and look a little deeper you will learn Doan is so much more than a pretty face in wild clothing. Doan is the creator and founder of Sugarpill Cosmetics.

The Santa Clara native set up shop in Berkeley nearly three years ago to go along with her do-it-yourself clothing line, Shrinkle. “In college I started my own DIY clothing line called Shrinkle,” said Doan. “I designed skimpy club clothes in mismatched patterns and bright colors. Whenever I styled myself or models for photoshoots, I piled on as much colorful makeup as possible to fit with the party theme of the clothes. At the time, I was using theater and clown makeup for my shoots because it was the brightest stuff I could find. Every time I posted new photos, everyone wanted to know what makeup I was using. I realized that theater and clown makeup wasn’t easily accessible to most people, so I decided to sell it alongside my clothing. It was a hit and everyone loved it, but I still thought it could be better. I wanted to have control over the quality of the makeup, the formula, color selection and packaging. I realized the only way I could do this was by starting my own makeup brand. Sugarpill launched four years later, in February 2010.”


The concept behind Sugarpill is simple – color, and lots of it. Sugarpill eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and available in colors that aren’t readily available in most shadow lines. Between the loose and pressed powders, Doan has created colors like Asylum, a crimson, glittery loose powder and Flamepoint a pumpkin-colored pressed powder. Doan also offers more traditional highlight colors like Tiara, a shimmery, silver loose powder, and Tako, a white pressed powder.

Glancing at the Sugarpill website, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or wonder how anyone could possibly wear Doan’s colors in a business setting, but Doan encourages people not to be afraid. “A lot of people tell me that they wish that could wear colorful makeup, but they’re afraid to stand out due to work restrictions or being shy, said Doan. “What most don’t realize is that anyone can add a fun pop of color to their beauty rountine without looking like a drag queen. Bright eyeshadow can be applied sparingly to create beautiful yet conservative looks. Using a fluffier brush will give you a more subtle wash of color, which allows you to add color to your look without going overboard. Try a darker matte color such as Poison Plum (dark violet) or Bulletproof (black) around the outer crease, with a ligher shimmer such as Lumi (iridescent white with turquoise sheen), Goldilux (gold), and Tiara (silver) on the inner corners to lighten up the eyes. Additionally, all of our brightly pigmented colors look great paired with neutral colors as well, so don’t be afraid to wear browns with any of our eyeshadows. Afterparty (bright blue), Flamepoint and Midori (green) all look amazing paired with neutrals.”

Being new to these colors might intimidate potential users, but there are plenty of blogs, video tutorials, and an extremely active Twitter and Facebook page to help users find the perfect Sugarpill look for any occasion. Sugarpill’s products are completely cruelty-free and mostly vegan. Doan created the line and knows exactly what ingredients are being put into her products. “I am a crazy cat lady and huge animal lover in general. Animals bring so much love, peace and affection into our lives, and I feel it’s important to respect that. The notion that our beauty products need to be tested on animals is outdated and silly. There are so many modern alternatives that are more accurate and reliable these days,” said Doan.

For additional information on Doan and Sugarpill, or to purchase products, visit


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


You may like