Makeup Brands That Are Actually Worth Your Money

Are you sitting down? We have some news. On average, women will spend a whopping $15,000 on beauty products over the course of their lives, Money reported (via People). We know — it's hard to fathom. But, when you break it down, it does make sense. According to the data, the average woman spends a little less than 50 bucks — $43, to be exact — per makeup haul. And, if you've ever walked out of Sephora or Ulta with a hundred dollars worth of beauty products in your bag, well, you can just imagine spending 15 grand — or more — on makeup.


While you can certainly reduce your spending by opting for drugstore dupes instead of luxury labels, sometimes you just prefer that name brand. We totally get it. Of course, not all expensive brands (ahem, Christian Louboutin, ahem) are worth their weight in gold. Want to know which ones are? Here are the beauty brands you shouldn't feel guilty for purchasing.

Charlotte Tilbury

A mere 0.28 ounces of setting powder from Charlotte Tilbury will set you back $45. Add the brand's Filmstar Bronze & Glow contour palette and you're out an additional $68. There's no getting around the cost of Charlotte Tilbury products, but Kelli J. Bartlett, director of makeup artistry at Glamsquad, thinks they're worth it.


When speaking with Byrdie, Bartlett explained that Charlotte Tilbury is "the perfect combination of ultra-luxe glamour mixed with high-performance products." She continued, saying, "The packaging is so chic and the formulations are spot on. Charlotte just gets glamour." 

Of course, glamour comes with a cost. Despite the higher price point, though, Bartlett is particularly a fan of the Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder as well as the contour palette. Additionally, the makeup artist said the Feline Flick eyeliner is pretty much the best. "It starts off creamy so you have plenty of time to achieve perfection, and then dries down for the ideal long-wearing finish," she explained, adding that Bedroom Black is the "perfect" shade.


Giorgio Armani

When it comes to foundation, it's worth it to spend a little more. This is for two reasons, Rick DiCecca, a global makeup artist with Artistry, explained to Business Insider: "The options and the technology." He continued, saying, "High quality foundations make your skin look smoother, cover dark spots better, and diminish wrinkles and fine lines, while also incorporating the skin-care benefits you desire. With product technology advancing, foundation is no longer your first step in makeup, but your last step in skin care." Additionally, DiCecca said high-end foundations "tend to have more shades and finishes to choose from." So, if you've had a hard time finding the perfect shade to match your complexion, it may be time to try a luxury brand.


While there are cheaper foundations — even cheaper luxury foundations — than Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation, which retails for $64 per ounce, it's a consistent favorite among makeup artists, like Australia-based Max May and Filomena Natoli. Giorgio Armani foundations have also been consistently awarded the title of "Best" foundation or "Best Liquid Foundation" by InStyle as far back as 2013 and into 2019.

Cle de Peau Beaute

If you thought 64 bucks was a lot to spend on foundation, we regret to inform you that one brand sells foundation for nearly four times that amount. At $250 for a smidge less than an ounce, Clé de Peau Beauté's The Foundation is, as of this writing, the most expensive foundation on the market. "Developed from unprecedented skincare science," the brand explains, "this lightweight foundation contains radiance-boosting exclusive Illuminating Complex EX which moisturizes, rejuvenates, retexturizes and visibly repairs environmental skin damage for smoothing, radiant coverage." But, could it really be worth the three-figure price tag?


According to makeup artist and YouTube personality Jeffree Star, it actually is. After wearing the makeup all day, he updated his fans. "Okay, so I know most of you out there watching don't want to hear this, but the $250 foundation does actually work," he revealed in a video review. He added that he didn't have to touch up his makeup at all throughout the night and dubbed it "Jeffree Star approved." InStyle's editorial team also dubbed Clé de Peau Beauté's cheaper — and we mean $125 — foundation "worth the splurge." 


MAC is a "true artist's brand," Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad's director of makeup artistry, told Byrdie. "With MAC, the shade range and innovation and technology behind the products can't be beat." And MAC doesn't just do one or two things well. The brand offers up a ton of quality products. Among Bartlett's favorites is the label's Pro Longwear Paint Pot. In fact, she revealed that she probably wouldn't even be a makeup artist today without it. "It's the ultimate eye shadow primer and cream eye shadow in one," she explained. "It makes eye shadow more bendable, true to color, and non-creasing."


MAC also offers a foundation for a much lower cost than many comparable luxury brands. Bartlett dubbed their Studio Face & Body Foundation her "kitchen-sink foundation" considering "it works on every skin tone and type." And, really, what more could you ask for from a foundation? 

Of course, MAC shoppers will know that's not all. MAC even kills it in the lipstick department with its "iconic formulas and iconic colors, everything from moisturizing and sheer to full-coverage and matte," according to the makeup artist.

La Mer

When chatting with Byrdie, Patrick Ta, renowned celebrity makeup artist, said La Mer "is total luxury, from the moisturizers, to the lightweight makeup, to the lip balms." But, they all cost a pretty penny. A half-ounce of La Mer's Renewal Oil, for example, retails for $135. Nevertheless, Ta swears by the stuff. "It really moisturizes the skin for makeup and adds a radiant glow," he told the publication. 


He even thinks the $70 lip balm is worth buying because it "leaves lips moisturized without looking too glossy." For $345, you can purchase a 2-ounce jar of The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, which Ta said "soothes the skin for a flawless canvas and makeup application." Or, if you're looking for something more substantial, you can get a 16.5-ounce container of the brand's original moisturizer — for a whopping $2,475.

The story behind the moisturizer, however, is even more shocking than the price. According to The Cut, La Mer creates its creams using a fermented liquid they call "Miracle Broth." And, while it's fermenting, the technicians play it a song of sorts: a digitized version of the sound of fermentation bubbles. What? You don't play music for your lotion?


Urban Decay

Compared to La Mer and other luxury brands, Urban Decay feels much more affordable. Despite their products' lower price point, though, they're still every bit as glamorous. Plus, the brand is beloved by fans, celebrities, and makeup artists alike.


Makeup artist Jenny Patinkin especially loves the label's eyeliner pencils. When speaking with Self, she revealed, "They can be smudged and smoked on the lid instead of powder shadow; a slightly darker shade can create definition in the crease; a dark, tight line under the upper lashes can make the eyes pop; and a soft taupe under the lower lash line can create the illusion that the eye has more height." She continued, saying, "Plus, for me, as a 50-year-old woman with 'lived-in' lids, I find that a smudged liner is the most forgiving, flattering thing I can apply on my eyes."

It also doesn't hurt that Urban Decay is just a pretty cool company in general. On social media, the brand has shared un-retouched photos, encouraging others to love their skin — "flaws" and all.


Face Atelier

You won't have to skip foundation in the sweaty summer months, thanks to Face Atelier — because not all heroes wear capes. The luxury label is really changing the game when it comes to long-lasting makeup. According to the brand, their Ultra Foundation, which comes in a variety of shades, is silicone-based and "moisture, heat, and sebum resistant." Yes, please. Although one ounce will cost you $55, the brand promises that you won't need to use primer, which will save you a little cash. Plus, renowned makeup artists swear by the label. 


"I love Face Atelier for lighter skin," Tami El Sombati, celebrity makeup artist, told HuffPost. "I use their Ultra Pro foundations. They were one of the first ones I used in my kit and have stuck around." Makeup artist Jenn Blum especially recommends Ultra Foundation for those with oily skin. "I use it on myself and in my kit," she told Yahoo.

As great as Face Atelier's foundations are, that's not the only product you'll want to purchase from the brand. Makeup artist Béke Beau told Philadelphia magazine that she loves their Ultra Bronzer because "it's vegan" and "the colors are actually useful."

Honest Beauty

According to celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin, Honest Beauty is a label you'll definitely want to get to know if you haven't done so already. "Honest Beauty is a top makeup brand with completely safe, clean products that really work," he told Byrdie. Of all of the brand's products, Martin especially loves their Lip Crayons, which retail for $13. "These are the perfect formula and shades for a more natural look without looking like you have lipstick on," he explained.


He's also a fan of Jessica Alba's Falling for You Makeup Palette — mainly because of its "perfect cream blush," which is great for "hydrating winter skin." Lastly, the makeup guru also swears by Honest Beauty's Truly Lush Mascara + Primer. "This incredible mascara separates and lengthens on its own, and used after the primer, it has more volume to each individual lash," he divulged. Sounds good — we'll take two.


What if we told you you could wear the same foundation as Beyoncé? And, it won't even cost you a fortune. When ALLEVEN sent the singer's makeup artist, Sir John, their Colour Shield airbrush foundation to try out on his clients, he quickly became impressed. After two hours of dancing in the heat at Coachella, Bey's makeup stayed perfectly in place. "There was a certain point where she blotted with a white towel, and nothing was there," he told InStyle. "I was like, OK... I'm on to something here." For $48, you get a 3.4-ounce can and you don't have to worry about buying any airbrushing equipment to apply. The built-in nozzle will provide all you need for a perfect application.


"Put your hair in a towel, spray it, and do your eyebrows after because you might get a tint in your brows," the makeup guru suggested. Although he prefers to go back in with a makeup brush, this is an optional step. Easy peasy.


Although Dior is mainly known for fashion, you're missing out if you haven't tried the brand's beauty products. "Dior has real pro-artists tools for flawless red carpet makeup and air-brushed finishes," esteemed celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin informed Byrdie. Of course, with the Dior name, the makeup does come at a higher cost. Still, the expert thinks the products are great enough to justify the price hike.


Martin said the brand's Fix It 2-in-1 Prime & Conceal, which retails for $36, is "great for dark spots and dark circles on medium to medium-dark skin tones." If you're looking for "more balanced coverage," Martin recommended Dior's Forever Foundation. Although it's more expensive at $52, it's pretty reasonable for what Martin dubbed "a red carpet go-to."

Dior's concealers and foundations are amazing, yes, but makeup artists love more than just these beauty products. Celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney told Elle that one of her most-used beauty products is Dior's eyeliner, which helps her achieve "a sharp graphic eye." 


Like Dior, Chanel is a brand you certainly know, but maybe not so much for their makeup. Upon trying their beauty products, though, you might just convert. The brand revealed its best-selling beauty products of 2018 when speaking to Harper's Bazaar and there are plenty of goodies to try.


If you don't own a Chanel lipstick, you should considering taking the plunge by trying the fan favorite Rogue Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in the color Pirate. "I love this one for its classic satin finish," Brett Freedman, celebrity makeup artist, told Health. "It has a touch of luminousness that gives gorgeous depth. I've used this shade on Brittany Snow and she looked oh-so-retro!" Although you may get sticker shock from the $38 price, many would argue that it's #worthit. 

The brand's Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base is also a popular choice among consumers — and it's not hard to see why. Celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesneck told Health that "its universal shade can warm up the fairest complexions and deepen the deepest skin tones." Chanel fans also love Le Volume Revolution Mascara and Palette Essentielle in beige. Basically, you can't go wrong with Chanel.


Surratt Beauty

If you're looking for high-quality makeup that does double (or triple) duty, Surratt Beauty is the brand for you. Celebrity makeup artist David Martin told Byrdie that the brand has "the best multi-use products, truly second to none." Martin particularly loves the brand's eyeshadow because "they create a ton of dimension on the eyes and even on the skin." He also praised Surratt Beauty's "dark-circle banishing concealer," Surreal Skin Concealer, because it "gives great buildable coverage, and the shade range is excellent." At $50 for a 0.06-ounce tube, though, this fabulous concealer isn't the easiest on the wallet. Sigh.


Celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles is also a fan of the brand — especially the Surreal Skin Foundation Wand. "The finish is gently matte, almost 'mattine,' and it really diminishes the look of my pores," she told Glamour. "Without looking heavy, it evens out the skin, and the wand brush beautifully buffs the product to near invisibility."

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics has a lot of beauty products to choose from and, well, they're pretty spectacular. Good Housekeeping Institute tested a bunch of fan favorites and revealed the best of the best. From brow powder to primer, Benefit excels in creating a variety of great beauty products.


Caroline Brien, Good Housekeeping's senior beauty editor, particularly loves the brand's Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara"The brush is molded with tiny 'hooks' so coverage looks very even and there's amazing curl," she told the publication. "Plus, it's also curved just right to give a pretty lift along the lash line." According to Brien, she's found the product to be smudge-free and she doesn't even need to use a lash curler. Umm, yes, please. 

Benefit's Brow Zings Tame & Shape Kits were also a huge hit among the Institute's testers. The product earned a score of 91 out of 100, which is pretty amazing — especially at a $32 price point.

Fenty Beauty

In June 2019, Forbes reported that Rihanna had become the world's richest female musician — but it wasn't just because of her killer tunes. Thanks, in part, to her successful makeup company, Fenty Beauty, she amassed a fortune of over $600 million, and we imagine that number has only grown. The singer launched her brand back in September 2017 and reportedly earned $100 million in sales in less than one month.


With Fenty Beauty's release of an incredible 40 shades of foundation, Rihanna tapped into an underserved — and lucrative — market. "It challenged the standard convention that you only needed a very defined set of shades to satisfy a market," Stephanie Wissink, a research analyst at Jefferies, told Forbes. "Not only did [Fenty Beauty] achieve meaningful sales, but it potentially changed the industry permanently." 

It's no surprise then that Time magazine named Fenty Beauty one of the "25 Best Inventions of 2017." But does the makeup live up to the hype? According to the brand's consistent and overwhelmingly good reviews on, the answer seems to be a resounding "YES!"