10 Best Makeup Brands
Table of Contents
Shopping For The Best Makeup Brands
What does it take to be one of the best makeup brands? High-vibe, long-lasting cosmetics that are as kind to your skin as they are to animals. Beauty needs have drastically changed over the last century, not to mention even further back. Although considering we might imagine it starting out as tousled hair and berry-stained lips, trends haven’t changed all too much.
But for real, the concept of makeup originated in Ancient Egypt. You’re probably familiar with the whole kohl eyeliner thing, but beauty trends back then also included lightened skin and green eyeshadow. How edgy!
There are mentions of makeup throughout the Old Testament as well, moving through to the scary trends of the Victorian era when women would take arsenic to help them look pale. Talk about drastic measures.
Thankfully, we’ve arrived in 2022 and makeup is everything it should be: clean, cruelty-free, long-lasting, and inclusive. Here, you’ll meet the 10 best makeup brands.
10 Best Makeup Brands
#1: Pat McGrath Labs
Pat McGrath is one of my all-time favorite makeup artists. She was called the most influential makeup artist in the world by Vogue and has seated many celebs in her chair. She’s even a real live Dame.
Naturally, her makeup line is just as stellar, including richly pigmented products and long-wear formulas to give her clients and customers a fully done-up look. I’m a sucker for her awesome branding, but even more so, her creamy eyeliners and glitzy-glam shadows.
Born in 2015, Pat McGrath Labs always has a collab going on. Right now, she has one running with Naomi Campbell as well as Bridgestone. You’ll likely love this line if you’re into the flawless, filter look and want wow-worthy results. Expect more premium prices here, around $38 for lipstick or signature 10-shadow palettes for $128.
- Filter-like looks
- Totally glam makeup
- Wide selection of shades
- Has an inclusive range of foundation shades
- High-quality formulas
- No animal testing
#2: Jones Road
Unlike Pat McGrath, Bobbi Brown, the founder of Jones Road, aimed for the no-makeup makeup look in her new makeup line. Launched in 2020 after leaving her namesake brand, she went the minimal route and developed a clean, cruelty-free line that truly pulls its weight.
While there’s certainly a time for glam, natural beauty trends are stronger than ever as we all try to cut down expenses and minimize the time it takes to complete our routines. Jones Road helps you do that with functional products you only need a few of.
Offering a bare-bones collection of high-performance cosmetics, Jones Road gets to the heart of the fresh-faced look. The line has banned over 2,700 potentially harmful ingredients and is safe for all skin types. Grab a pot of creamy foundation for $44 or a blushing miracle balm for $38.
- Cruelty-free & clean
- Banned over 2,700 harmful ingredients
- Safe for all skin types
- Simple, versatile products & tools
- Natural, minimal makeup
#3: Charlotte Tilbury
Ok, so I’ve pretty much packed this list with iconic makeup visionaries. Can you blame me? This is a list of the best makeup brands, after all. In her namesake line, Charlotte Tilbury aimed for the stars. A British makeup artist, Tilbury is known for her ultra-glam looks on celebs and models.
Her makeup line is very neutral, and sexy through smoky shadows, smudgy liners, and dusty rose lips. Founded in 2013, Charlotte Tilbury’s products don’t play. They’re here to perform and last for those who like to play up their natural beauty with a little bit of shimmer.
Charlotte Tilbury, the artist, is loved for the way her makeup works for the modern, busy woman. Designed to help you out in the morning and cut down the time it takes you to get ready, you’ll like this line if you’re all about beauty staples to use daily.
Of course, her collection isn’t all about looks. Packed with ingredients that are kind to your skin like Beauty Light Wand for a soft focus and vitamin E for lips. You can get a lipstick for about $39 and bronzer for $69.
- Wide range of cosmetics & skincare
- Natural, glam looks
- Easy-to-use products
- Skin-loving ingredients
- Some vegan products
One/Size was founded on the principle that beauty is a one size fits all category, meaning that it’s for everyone. Developed alongside YouTube sensation Patrick Starrr, watch one video and you’ll quickly want to know which product he used to get such gorgeous brows. Psst…you’ll find it here.
All One/Size collections were inspired by Patrick and he seems to be both the brand’s mascot, muse, and co-founder. I had to include him here on my list of best makeup brands because I love his approach to beauty and the brand’s values as a whole.
They’re all about kindness and creativity, discovering who you are and running with it. One/Size makes luxury daily musts, including nourishing brow gel, contour kits, and ultra lengthening mascara. Prices range from $13-$36.
- Inclusive beauty brand
- Focus on priming, contouring, and setting products
- High-performance ingredients
#5: Rituel de Fille
Since we’re here in modern makeup, I couldn’t leave off this witchy cosmetics brand. Self-proclaimed “spellbinding,” I’ve been kind of nuts for this brand after discovering it a few years ago. Why the fuss? It’s all in the handcrafted formulas.
Highly pigmented, rich, creamy, and made to last, this brand’s natural line is nothing short of awesome. Founded in 2014 by three sisters, Katherine, Caroline, and Michelle Ramos, they are all artists in their own rights with a love for alchemy. Each of their products is handcrafted in small batches for consistency, but I’m a super fan of the mood they all give off.
Romantic, whimsical, and always edgy, if you like bold, saturated color, you’ll love this clean, creative line. I love their tiny glass pots and smudgy orb eyeliner, and the pure ingredients don’t hurt either. The Dewy Pigment Balm is $26, and the Ash & Ember Eye Soot is $39.
- Bold, creative, natural color
- Witchy aesthetic
- Pure ingredients
- Handmade in small batches
- Give back to the community
Hourglass created a name for itself with its high-performing foundation, primers, and powders with real staying powder. Founded in 2004 by Carisa Janes, the brand has a modern, youthful feel to it, created in a time when cosmetics brands were at a turning point, edging away from toxic ingredients and non-inclusive shades.
Offering a wide range of 30+ shades for its foundation, the brand’s cruelty-free collection is touted by beauty editors and celebrities alike who love it for the way it helps troubled skin instead of simply covering it. Plus, its outfitted with user-friendly packaging that makes application a dream.
Expect higher prices from this high-performing beauty brand, like primer and foundation for $80+, mascara for $29, and blush sticks for $46.
- Inclusive shades
- Works with your skin
- User-friendly packaging/application
- 1% of all profits donated to support animal rights
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
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. 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
#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
Which Brand of Makeup is the Best?
I try very hard not to be biased here, so to figure out which of the best makeup brands is on top, I have to consider their selection of products, ingredients, prices, and practices. Many of the names here meet many of my qualifications, that’s why they’re here. But in terms of modern beauty, there’s one that stands out: Jones Road.
Jones Road has banned 2,700 ingredients from its products so that they’re safe and clean. Offering easy-to-apply and wear beauty products, I think it’s a great brand for the gal on the go. Which is pretty much everyone these days. Inclusive for women of all ages and cruelty-free, this is the epitome of modern beauty.
What Are the 10 Makeup Products Everyone Should Have?
New to the realm of makeup? First of all, welcome! If your beauty bag is looking a little empty, I’ll give you the deets on the 5 makeup products to fill it up with.
- Concealer: What dark spots? If you have an uneven skin tone or are prone to breakouts, this is a must.
- Blush/bronzer: Add some color & dimension to your cheeks
- Eyeliner: A smudgy stick doubles as an eyeshadow
- Mascara: Give your lashes some lift & length
- Lipstick/gloss: Condition your lips while giving them a pop of color
How Do I Pick a Good Makeup?
Here’s a secret that’s not so secret: all of the best makeup brands have good makeup. But still, when deciding which line is right for you, you’ll need to look at the details. I’ll run you through the most important points you should consider when doing so.
The bulk of the names on my list of best makeup brands are well-respected makeup artists. Heck, one is even a Dame and three of them have celebrity clients. If you like the idea of shopping with a renowned brand, go for one of these.
Prefer one with an ethos that matches yours? Maybe you’re minimalistic or glam, maybe you’re witchy. Whichever brands fit your look best, I think you’ll find products to love.
All of the best makeup brands make good makeup, but some have makeup that’s cleaner than others. For example, Jones Road is perhaps the cleanest name on this list but Rituel de Fille uses natural pigments only.
Shopping for your skin type is critical in finding the products that are right for you. Figure out what your skin type is, then go for a brand that meets your needs, ie. oil-absorbing foundation for oily skin or cream blush instead of powder for aging skin.
Modern beauty is much more inclusive than it used to be, but if you plan on buying foundation or concealer, you’ll probably want to make sure your dream brand actually makes it. Some brands have more shade options than others which means you may have an easier time matching yours. Foundation lines should be left in the 2000s.
Chances are you came looking for the best makeup brands because you want more than just one product. If so, you might find it beneficial to shop with a brand that has a wide range of makeup accessories. For instance, Charlotte Tilbury offers skincare alongside a massive selection of makeup.
Sustainability is an important part of modern beauty. Sustainable makeup will be made with sustainably-sourced natural non-toxic ingredients and packaged in recyclable packaging. The brands themselves may offer initiatives like carbon-neutral shipping or refill programs to cut down on plastic waste.
Durable & Long-Lasting
Good makeup stays on and stays put. That means you won’t have to keep reapplying throughout the day. If you want to extend the wear of your makeup, go for a brand with priming and setting products.
There’s nothing worse than getting to the checkout counter and having to put some of your favorite products back. To ensure you get what you came looking for, choose a brand with prices you can afford or whose products do double duty.
What ingredients are prohibited from use in cosmetics?
There is a long list of ingredients that are banned in cosmetics, and you can read up on the full list in this document published by the FDA. For quick reference, I’ll include a short list for you here:
- Chloroform (yikes!)
- Mercury compounds
- Methylene chloride
- Vinyl chloride
How do I apply sunscreen with my makeup? And what’s the best way to reapply once I have my makeup on?
To apply sunscreen, you should do it after you moisturize and before you put on concealer or foundation. To reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, use a dry makeup sponge. Dab the sponge over your entire face, don’t smear it.
What’s the best way to cover up skin concerns, such as wrinkles, with makeup?
Covering up wrinkles with makeup can be tricky, but it’s all about the type of formula you use. For instance, powder eyeshadows and foundations only enhance wrinkles as they settle into fine lines. Instead, opt for cream formulas.
To conceal deeper wrinkles, consider looking for a foundation or concealer with blurring properties. These may help reduce the look of wrinkles.
What’s a good makeup brand to try for beginners?
It’s usually a good idea for beginners to start small, so going with a simple makeup brand is best. We like Jones Road for this since its formulas are easy to apply and you can be out of the house in just a few steps.
What’s the best way to apply makeup?
It depends on what type of makeup you’re applying. Usually, a brush or a contoured sponge is best. For a flawless look, it’s recommended that you wash your face and moisturize before you begin.
Where can I learn more about cosmetic safety and how cosmetics are regulated?
Head over to the FDA’s Cosmetics page. They have all of the information you need to know about cosmetic safety, including guidance, information on ingredients, research, and more.
How long does makeup last once it’s opened?
This varies depending on the type of makeup used. Experts say you should switch out your mascara every three months. Other products like cream eyeshadows, blush, and foundations last 12 months when opened.
How to choose between drugstore and designer makeup brands
All of the names on my list of best makeup brands are considered luxury brands. Their products cost about three times what you’d pay for drugstore makeup and for good reason. With that said, you can still find some solid drugstore beauty brands that have similar values, but you may not get the same quality of ingredients or formulas.
You’ve reached the end of my list of best makeup brands. I hope you’ve discovered a new line to love and are leaving with more confidence about what to put in your beauty bag.
Check out other curated lists of top brands:
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