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.
Two words: VIB points. You can rack them up to redeem them on full-sized products, including my favorite Fenty goods below.
I have a tumultuous relationship with foundation: Even when a formula works for me, I always have to mix a little bit of this and a tiny bit of that to get a match. With Pro Filt'r, I don't have to do anything — I just prime, brush on, and go. I love the fact that this is a full-coverage formula, but doesn't make my face look too cakey.
If you saw me at any point this summer, then I probably had this on my face. Pink highlighter isn't necessarily meant to be conventional, but I found myself sweeping on Sangria Sunset (the hot pink) nearly every day. It's sheer enough to be worn as a blush, and buildable enough for a gleaming highlight when the opportunity arises.
I mean, of course the stylist behind Lupita Nyong'o's best looks would have one of the best natural hair-friendly lines.
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.
Honestly, I didn't expect to like this stain as much as I do. First off, I'm very apples or oranges when it comes to my lip products: it's either a matte, a gloss, or nothing. Cushy Vibe is somewhat of a happy medium. It goes on so, so easy, just like a gloss would... I could apply it with my eyes closed, if need be. But once dry, it settles in like a comfortable matte... and even when it fades away, it looks comfortably worn-in. I love it for busy days when I don't have enough time to reapply my makeup.
High-quality products that cost next to nothing? Count me in.