10 Best Makeup Brands
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Searching For The Best Makeup Brands
Visiting any beauty marketplace (Sephora, Ulta, etc.) can inspire a giddiness akin to picking from a large ice cream menu. But just like selecting chocolate ripple as your champion flavor, choosing the right makeup brand can feel like an overwhelming decision — especially when there’s so much variety out there.
This Best Makeup Brands list exists to help narrow down your choices. We’ve done the research for you and summed it up in one easily digestible list that’s ready to be devoured. Looking for makeup icons? You’ll find them all here as we work our way through the greats as well as a few modern selections you won’t want to pass on.
Whether you find your favorite new makeup brand here or load up your cart with a variety of powerhouse products, the companies you’ll discover on this Best Makeup Brands list are pre-vetted and guaranteed to help you continue or spark your passion for beauty and self-expression.
The power of makeup is never-ending, it means different things to different people. Coming up, we’ll dig into our top 10 picks for the Best Makeup Brands out there, spanning across historical companies, with ones that were founded by pros or those with the simple desire to help you feel like you.
10 Best Makeup Brands
Known for its skin-loving approach to beauty, Tarte is a must-have for your clean beauty bag. Its collection of cosmetics never runs short of surprises, rich with botanicals, minerals, and game-changing miracle-workers mixed right in.
Since helping your skin look its best is high on Tarte’s list of priorities, its line of glow-enhancing skincare and vegan beauty tools fits perfectly within the collection. And because often, makeup, skincare, and tools go hand-in-hand, it’s a thrill to find them sold in sets.
Choose from best-selling favorites like the Shape Tape Concealer with Sponge, the Awake Home & Away Duo AHA & BHA Face Mask, or fun gifts like the Busy Gal 7-Piece Lip Glossary and Bag that make looking great effortless no matter where you go. Prices range from $12 for PRO Lashes to $60 for 5-piece beauty sets.
- Range of skincare, makeup, and beauty tools
- High-performance products
- Skin-loving ingredients
- Offered in handy sets
- Free from parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil
Related: View our full Tarte Cosmetics Review
#2: Charlotte Tilbury
We’ll kick this list off with a pick created by a makeup visionary. Charlotte Tilbury is a renowned British makeup artist, upleveling the looks of local and international celebrities and models. Her signature look is total glam, and you can tell that as soon as you land on the brand’s sparkly site.
Pumping out loads of sexy neutrals, shimmer, and high-performance products, this coveted brand was founded in 2013 with the mission to make glamorous cosmetics for the everyday woman. Known for her makeup tricks that are easy to put into practice, Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics includes a range of beauty staples for the modern woman.
Among its sassy selection, you’ll find luxurious formulas made with skin-loving ingredients. For example, the Beauty Light Wand that swipes on easily and leaves skin feeling silky smooth. Its collection is a joy to browse through — especially for those who like a neutral look, lots of nude, and gorgeous packaging.
Flirty and feminine, you’ll find Charlotte Tilbury eyeliner for $29-$32, lipstick for $34, and highlighter and foundation for $44-$55.
- Large range of products (face, lips, eyes, brows)
- Great for those who like natural, glam looks
- Products are easy to use
- Skin-loving ingredients
- Beautiful packaging
- Some vegan products
Related: View our full Charlotte Tilbury Review
#3: L’Oreal Paris
We don’t think we need to express just how popular L’Oreal is. The fact that you most likely already own one of its iconic cosmetics is proof enough. Ask any makeup artist around the globe, and they’ll most likely tell you they swear by at least one of the brand’s functional products.
Founded in 1909, it’s the oldest name on our Best Makeup Brands list and was created by visionary Eugene Schueller in France. The revolutionary brand has its fingers in multiple pots, including hair, skin, and cosmetics within its own line, as well as a multitude of other beauty brands (quite a few of which are on this Best Makeup Brands list).
Customers love it for its highly functional and approachable products that come with its attractive prices, making sure everyone can get in on the fun. One of its more popular cosmetic products that has certainly had its moment is the Voluminous Mascara, providing eye-popping results and is made with conditioning vitamins to help soften your natural lashes.
Its other products promise similar motives, giving you the look you want now while benefiting you in the long run. You’ll probably find L’Oreal cosmetics in pretty much any pharmacy around the globe, its prices ranging from $9 to $16 across its many product lines.
- Affordable & accessible
- Wide product line for face, eyes, lips
- Makes formulas that serve double duty
- Has a large list of product lines for all types of skin
- Has a number of very popular, iconic cosmetics
#4: Pat McGrath Labs
If you haven’t heard of Pat McGrath, then saddle up, you’re in for a treat. The popular makeup artist has served high-profile clients across the globe, including designers and celebrities. Even Vogue Magazine called her the most influential makeup artist in the world.
McGrath’s success doesn’t stop there though. Made a Dame by the Queen of England in 2021, she was one of Time’s top 100 influential people in 2019. So what’s her makeup brand like? As amazing as she is, really.
Launched in 2015, it’s known for giving wearers an editorial look thanks to its highly-pigmented, sparkly shadows, creamy liners, and blurring foundation. Delivering real-life looks that promise filter-like results, this incredible makeup line is a makeup enthusiast’s dream.
Offering varying prices, you can nab a silky, matte lipstick for around $15 or a full palette of 10 eyeshadows for $125.
- Blendable, glowy, filter-like looks
- Range of expressive, creative colors
- Incredibly popular line
- Has an inclusive range of shades
- High-quality formulas
- Range of prices, some are very affordable
Related: View our full Pat McGrath Labs Review
#5: Anastasia Beverly Hills
If Anastasia Beverly Hills is famous for anything, it would have to be flawless brows. Take one peek at its marketing and you’ll understand why. Known for her work sculpting Madonna’s perfect arches, founder Anastasia Soare launched her namesake brand in 1997, her first collection one to get your sparse little critters in shape, à la Kim K.
Her collection is packed with a ton of color. You’ll find show stopping eyeshadow palettes, and a full range of bronzer, blush, and highlighter fit for red carpet-worthy looks. Offering products that last all day, its line is mostly waterproof, smudge-proof, and made to impress.
If you’re searching for one of the Best Makeup Brands that has it all, Anastasia Beverly Hills is a shoo-in. With products that span across eyebrows, eyes, lips, face, and tools, this one-stop shop is ideal for those who like to hunt for complete looks.
Find ultra-pigmented, expressive eyeliners for $18, brow essentials for $21, and medium-coverage foundation for $38.
- Mid-range prices
- Wide range of makeup (eyes, face, lips)
- Tons of variety in each category
- Long staying power, smudge-proof
- Professional-looking results
- 50 foundation shades
- Some vegan products
Related: View our full Anastasia Beverly Hills Review
Originally started as a perfumery in 1935, scent master Armand Petitjean is the visionary behind the iconic brand. Lancôme’s mission is one of happiness, aiming to bring more joy into women’s lives by offering the best cosmetics possible and instilling confidence.
What do the “best cosmetics” entail exactly? The brand describes them as high quality formulas backed by science and proven to be effective. We’d definitely agree. Now part of the L’Oreal family, Lancôme is a high-end brand whose most popular product would arguably be its Hypnose Mascara.
Known well for its effective line of skincare, its makeup line is made with the same science-backed ingredients that help your skin look its best. Its cosmetics are made with skin nourishing ingredients that address issues like wrinkles, dark spots, and are made to last throughout your day.
You’ll find mid-level prices for all of its products, ranging from $22-$28 eyeliner to $47 foundation.
- Comfortable, breathable makeup
- Long-wear formulas
- Offers a classic range of colors
- Mid-range prices
- Includes all makeup basics (foundation, eyeliner, lipstick)
The brand’s well-known jingle, “Maybe she’s born with it…” alludes to the natural look that users will likely sport while wearing Maybelline makeup. That was originally the main drawing point for women who wore the brand, though today, you’ll find a fun range of expressive colors in its collection.
A now NYC brand owned by L’Oreal Paris, it was originally founded in Chicago by Thomas Williams Sr., an American businessman. Maybelline is arguably one of the most popular worldwide cosmetics brands, sold in 120+ countries around the globe.
With a product line that expands upwards of 200 different formulas, this hardworking company has a ton to offer.
Perhaps best known for its cutting-edge formulas and accessible prices, its Great Lash mascara is the perfect example, with over 200+ million tubes sold each year. The ideal line for those who want a simple look without the fuss, Maybelline foundation is $8, while its mascara is $9 — finding a product over $15 is a rarity.
- Accessible & affordable
- Very popular brand
- Cutting-edge formulas and technology
- Wide product selection
- Nice variation of neutral basics and colors
Related: View our full Maybelline Review
Dior will forever be known for its luxury looks, with its makeup line carrying runway-ready faces off the catwalk and onto the street. The fashion house was founded in 1945 by Christian Dior, launching its beauty line in 1953.
Rouge Dior was a red lipstick line with 8 colors of the expressive shade, designed to match the designer’s iconic red dress collection.
Ever since its creation, Dior makeup has been known for its luxury, with formulas that pull their own weight and last all day. A brand that’s been said to be worth the money, its prices are slightly elevated past mid-range, but still affordable for those seeking something that comes from a designer.
Its high-fashion makeup collection is packed with the classics, like neutral eyeshadow palettes and moody colors fit for everyday looks. Expect prices between $35-$65 for its selection of lip glosses, foundation, and shadow.
- Long-wear formulas
- Dreamy consistencies
- Iconic brand
- Professional-looking results
- Worth the money
- Offers some natural formulas
Say the name Clinique and lightweight, clean formulas packaged in apothecary-like bottles come to mind. The brand has long been associated with sensitive skin and natural scents, sold in spas and high-end department stores around the globe.
Now a part of Estée Lauder Companies, Clinique was originally founded in 1968 by Dr. Norman Orentreich, an NYC dermatologist, and Carol Phillips, who sought to create amazing skin.
A feat that now seems obvious, Orentreich and Phillips proved that great skin was just 3 steps away, launching their cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing trio that proved his theory correct.
Over time, Clinique has become one of the most popular skincare brands in the US, introducing its makeup line that approaches cosmetics from the same clean and lightweight angle.
Including foundations that cover and infuse skin with nutrients alongside cheerful, slick lip colors and lengthening mascaras, this brand is coveted by those who seek natural-looking beauty.
Pick up any of its fresh cosmetics for between $20-$42.
- Mid-range prices
- Great for sensitive skin
- Makeup is infused with nourishing ingredients
- Clean formulas
- Free from phthalates, parabens, and fragrance
Related: View our full Clinique Makeup Review
#10: Fenty Beauty
Sure, Rihanna’s music career is a success, but she’s now known in the beauty world as a force to be reckoned with. Owning the industry like she was made for it, she brings a fresh perspective and confident attitude to her line of high-performing cosmetics.
Launched in 2017, Fenty Beauty has been rocking the cosmetics scene since its inception, its line of inclusive shades a breath of fresh air in a limited market. Adored for its Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation that comes in 50 colors, you’ll get a full coverage, matte finish, with a lightweight feel that’s a dream to wear on a tropical vacay.
Along with a smooth foundation line, Fenty Beauty offers a full range of cosmetics for your face, cheeks, and lips, though its lineup for eyes (mascara, liner) is somewhat minimal. It appears this brand is more so about skin and lips, with its hydrating lipsticks, gloss, and creams performing double duty.
You’ll find prices that range between $27-$42 in its collection, along with a sweet sale section.
- 50 inclusive foundation shades
- Focus on hard-to-find shades
- Wide selection of cosmetics
- Long-wear products
- Infused with vitamins and minerals
- Mid-range prices
- Cruelty-, sulfate-, paraben-free
Related: View our full Fenty Beauty Cosmetics Review
How to Shop the Best Makeup Brands
Even though we’ve selected the top 10 Best Makeup Brands out there, it’s possible that making your way through them may lead you to a big back and forth between your wants and needs. The goal here is to find a brand that meets both.
In an effort to make your decision a little easier, we’ve put together a short list of criteria to keep in mind as you browse. Have a peek at it and head back through the brands mentioned above.
Just like their products, the Best Makeup Brands come with a ton of variety. That means their stories will be incredibly different. One may resonate with you more so than another. Are you looking to support a brand that gives back? If so, we have a few names here that fit the bill.
Want one that’s backed by a celebrity? How about one founded by a makeup artist? Maybe created by a Dame? Think about what you prioritize — like mission, credibility, or popularity — and thin out your options.
At the end of the day, choosing a brand that aligns with your values is important, but the allure of a pro-makeup line may be what you prefer.
We’re dealing with the Best Makeup Brands here, so already, you know their quality is going to be good. With that said, there’s no denying that a luxury makeup brand like Dior will use higher quality ingredients than a drugstore brand such as Maybelline will.
But even though that’s most likely the truth, less expensive brands like L’Oreal still prioritize quality. Buying a drugstore beauty product doesn’t mean you’re getting low-shelf cosmetics. The names on this Best Makeup Brands list are here for a reason, so rather than making price a determining factor in your decision of quality, look into ingredients and formula instead.
Some of the Best Makeup Brands were created with a mission in mind. For example, Fenty Beauty offers formulas that fit all skin types. Clinique is known for its products that are safe for sensitive skin, whereas Dior is known for its long-wear foundation.
We’ve taken care to include the defining features of each brand’s makeup line here, so if there’s a particular formula you’re after (for example, light vs heavy-wear products), you’ll get a peek into what they’re known for.
Natural makeup is quickly becoming a thing in the realm of beauty. But what we’ve learned is that natural formulas don’t always mean better, and they don’t always guarantee eye-popping results, highly-pigmented colors, or all-day wear.
Sometimes they do though, and we’ve made sure to include one or two names on this Best Makeup Brands list that pull their weight when it comes to natural beauty. If using naturally-derived ingredients isn’t a must for you, then your options really open up.
Then again, not all natural ingredients are safe, and conventional ingredients aren’t all bad, especially if you can still have an amazing beauty product that’s made from lab-based compounds which are totally clean and safe for your skin.
Not all beauty brands are created equally, and that’s ok. You just need to know which one to choose to find products made to match your skin tone. Many of the names on this Best Makeup Brands list offer a good range of foundation and concealer shades, while others offer an amazing range.
Fenty Beauty is known for its inclusivity and over 50 foundation shades. Clinique’s range is a little more limited. If you’ve had trouble matching your skin tone with a foundation before, you may have more luck choosing a brand with a wider range of shades.
Unlike inclusivity, color selection is more about the range of colors offered in lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush. You may find that some of the more classic names on this Best Makeup Brands list offer a limited color selection of just the basics, whereas others get more creative, including bright and trendy hues.
Whether you love to experiment with your look or have all the essentials to create your everyday style, you can find a makeup brand that will suit you perfectly. Make sure to keep an eye out for an expressive color selection in your search for your perfect brand.
You may have come to this Best Makeup Brands list thinking that all of our top picks offer the same product range. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. While some are known for their many types of mascara like Maybelline, others like Fenty only have one.
If your ideal makeup brand is a one-stop shop, and you love options, then take care to select one of the names here that have it all. If you’re concerned with one product alone, chances are you can get it from any one of the thrilling companies above.
We all have different budgets. Whether you plan on completely filling your makeup bag with one brand or are looking for just one product that matches your skin tone, the price needs to be right.
Why invest in a $62 foundation when you could get a similar one for $12? If it outperforms the cheaper pick, then it may be worth it, but even so, your ideal makeup brand should be one that you feel comfortable buying again and again (and doesn’t break your bank).
Which is the number one makeup brand in the world?
Choosing the number one name on this Best Makeup Brands list wasn’t easy. There are so many amazing formulas and product lines out there, many made by companies that strive for inclusivity, kindness, and innovation. When figuring out who reigns supreme, we had to look at numbers and consult various sources.
Many people seem to agree that L’Oreal Paris is the #1 makeup brand in the world. A chart-topper when it comes to popularity, accessibility, and hardworking formulas, there’s no wonder this historic brand is a go-to pick for millions of women.
Its sales numbers sail ahead of other beauty brands (worth $28B in 2020), as does the number of countries it’s sold in — 150. It’s a choice we couldn’t dispute. L’Oreal has rightly earned its place at the top.
Which makeup brand is most successful?
When you think of success, a few things come to mind. Firstly, popularity is a big one, but we won’t crown L’Oreal the winner of this coveted title just yet. Though there’s no denying L’Oreal is an incredible brand that’s loved by men and women around the globe, we also want to look at how quickly the brand rose to popularity as well.
Classic brands like L’Oreal and Maybelline have remained mainstays in makeup drawers for almost a century, we wouldn’t say they are the most successful names on this Best Makeup Brands list. So who do we think fits the bill?
None other than Fenty, Rihanna’s beauty brand. With the help of her music career, Fenty quickly rose to the top, and it’s arguably one of the most successful celebrity beauty companies out there. Launched in 2017, the brand was a sensation almost immediately, introducing an inclusive collection that featured models of all ethnicities.
Today, success means far more than numbers, and though it’s true that Fenty’s Instagram page has surpassed 10M followers, and the brand itself is worth $1.7 billion as of today, Rihanna’s powerhouse brand has strongly established itself as a major contender in the modern makeup category, and will likely be running it for years to come.
Most likely, you came into this Best Makeup Brands review knowing what you want — even if it’s the faintest idea, such as a brand that offers inclusive shades or an affordable, high-performing mascara. But perhaps you came in search of a recommendation to totally switch up your makeup bag or to add a bit of spice to your everyday look.
The names that made this list are a mix of modern and traditional brands, ones you’ve probably heard of before or maybe have even used. If you’re looking to level up what’s inside your cosmetics kit, any of our top 10 picks are iconic, quality, and classy in their own right.
Whether it’s superior long-wear formulas, cosmetics that serve double duty, or an accessible go-to, we hope that you’ve zeroed in on a collection on this Best Makeup Brands list that fits the bill and will soon be swiping on your new favorite product.
Looking for other top brands? Check out these curated lists below: