Francois Nel/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

5 Brands At Sephora I Never Shop Elsewhere, Including Fenty Beauty And Pat McGrath Labs


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.

LUST: Lip Gloss in Flesh 4

Pat McGrath Labs

Flesh 4 is the sole reason why I gave up matte lipsticks for an entire summer (and part of the fall, too). This pretty, high-shine mid-tone brown looks good with literally any shadow or blush... or when I'm wearing nothing on my face — which is most days — it makes me look like I actually tried.


Pat McGrath Labs

I hate to humblebrag, but Pat McGrath handpicked this shade for me at her recent holiday preview. And obviously, Mother knows best... even though Cyber Orchid is described as a "UV pink," it goes on as a sheer, shimmery purple on my dark skin.

MTHRSHP Sublime Bronze Temptation Eyeshadow Palette

Pat McGrath

The nude, gold, and bronze shades in this six-pan palette are technically meant to play off each other, and can be used in a multitude of ways (highlighter, lipstick topper, bronzer... the list goes on). But the packaging makes it almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Fenty Beauty

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

Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation


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.

Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Duo

Fenty Beauty

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.

Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color

Fenty Beauty By Rihanna

There are plenty of "universal" red lipsticks in the market these days, like Mented Cosmetics' new trio or the soon-to-be-released Maybelline Made For All range. Fenty's got a universal red, too... and a dusty pink, and a chocolate brown, and a peach nude, and a black.

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.

Overnight~Repair Treatment Oils

Vernon François

On a quiet Friday night, one of my favorite things to do is apply this Argan, rose hip seed, and castor oil treatment from root to tip... especially when my natural hair is dry. In the morning, my curls are noticeably softer and shinier, without me having to lift a finger.

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.

Beauty Bento Bouncy Shimmer Eyeshadow Trio


I'm a fan of any product that I can apply with my fingertips. The texture of these shadows truly are bouncy, and reflect so much light due to the Glitter Arrangement Technology in the formula. (Meaning, it sparklesss.)

Cushy Vibe High-Pigment Lip Stain


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.

Kaja Mood Balm Color Changing Lip Moisturizer


It's a mood-changing lip balm. Do I need any other reasoning here?

Sephora Collection

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

Blotting Papers

Sephora Collection

I keep a pack of these in every summer clutch in my rotation. Aside from removing shine from my t-zone on particularly sticky days, the papers smell just like a bouquet of roses.

Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes

Sephora Collection

I keep a pack of these in my top drawer at all times. I tend to test lipsticks more than anything, and the exfoliating beads on the wipes help get the toughest of formulas off without a hitch.