The Surprising Reason I Always Buy Blotting Papers At Sephora

Francois Nel/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

To the untrained eye (or unseasoned shopper), the hallowed black and white-striped aisles of Sephora can be a little overwhelming. There's just so much stuff. Fields of floral-scented perfumes. Rivers of liquid lipsticks. Pyramids of eyeshadow palettes. It's a fun place, but it's easy to get lost in the shuffle — especially on a holiday weekend. Since crowds aren't really my thing, I prefer to do most of my perusing online (and if a shade doesn't work for me, I can always take it back — the store has an awesome return policy). But in the event that I can't wait for shipping, there are six brands at Sephora that I never shop elsewhere — mostly because they're exclusive to the store.

Specifically, Pat McGrath Labs Fenty Beauty, Kaja Beauty, and Vernon François Hair Products all have goods that are tailor-made for my dark brown skin and coily 4c hair. I don't have to spend an annoying amount of time swatching, wiping off, and repeating the process — but no shame to those that find swatching calming. Of course, there's always trial and error with trying new products, but it's comforting to know that my demographic was kept in mind while at the creative table. And because I'm never immune to a good bargain, Sephora Collection is one of my favorites for supplies and brushes. See my picks ahead — and hopefully, they'll serve as a guide for your next trip to beauty world.

Pat McGrath Labs

Mother's makeup line is worth every penny. But I like being able to see how some of the products look IRL, courtesy of Sephora's Insiders, who typically include selfies with their reviews.

Fenty Beauty

Two words: VIB points. You can rack them up to redeem them on full-sized products, including my favorite Fenty goods below.

Vernon François

I mean, of course the stylist behind Lupita Nyong'o's best looks would have one of the best natural hair-friendly lines.

Kaja Beauty

This K-beauty-inspired line's point of differentiation is its range of shades — many Korean beauty brands don't offer options for dark or deep skin. And Sephora doesn't just sell some of them: It sells all of them.

Sephora Collection

High-quality products that cost next to nothing? Count me in.