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Although MAC is a mainstay in cosmetic bags across the globe, sometimes it seems we forget that other beauty brands exist. In fact, I recently overheard a woman carelessly toss an Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics lip tar back in its bin while saying “$16 and it’s not even MAC, no thank you!”

Sigh. If she only knew…

Now, this is no shade toward MAC (Ruby Woo lipstick gives me everlasting life and their concealer makes my toes curl) but it’s easy to get stuck in the routine of using the same products time after time for no reason other than the fact that you’ve used it before.

Of course we’ll always have that favorite product/brand that’s embedded in our hearts, but it’s also important to search for richer colors and creamier textures to fill our needs from time to time. Sephora, Ulta and some drugstores allow you to return used makeup if you’re not satisfied. In Sephora and Ulta you can try on makeup in the store or ask for a sample of a product you’re curious about. On a budget? Iman, Milani and The Sephora Collection are quality cosmetics without the hefty price.

Click through for 5 brands you should become (and may already be) acquainted with, but don’t stop here!

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  • You should check out Sleek Makeup
    Affordable, pigmented blushes and eye shadows, and their BB cream are great!!

  • ImenaDream

    URBAN DECAY has amazing mascara and eyeshadows and also this shimmering lotion that has you looking amazing in the summer

  • RenJennM

    You all gave some great suggestions!

    The brands/products I swear by are:

    1) Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Oil-Free / SPF 20). It’s the best tinted moisturizer for a reason: it’s light, it blends well, it moisturizes, it feels AMAZING on the skin, it’s great for dry skin like mine, and it has a great variety of shades.

    2) Wet N Wild eyeliner pencils. They perform well AND they’re super cheap at like $1 a pop!

    3) Maybelline mascaras. Maybelline, IMO, still makes some of the best mascaras in the business. From the classic Great Lash mascara to the new Volum’ Express Mega Plush, they’re just dope.

    4) BH Cosmetics eyeshadow palettes. Super affordable, highly-pigmented eyeshadows that come in a mind-blowing variety of shades per palette! If you don’t own a palette already, you’re LOSING! lol

    5) Bare Minerals. I don’t use it (yet!), but my mom and cousin SWEARS by it. Plus the the proof is in the pudding from how stunning they look with it on. My mom has dark circles that she struggled with covering her whole life, and then she found Bare Minerals. You’d never even knew she had dark circles. Plus, the line is NATURAL and GOOD for your skin. You can’t beat that!

  • RenJennM

    Here are some other brands/products:

    1) Think natural or organic makeup is expensive? Nah.

    – Bare Escentuals (which is almost always having sales or promotions) http://www.bareescentuals.com/

    – Alima Pure http://www.alimapure.com/

    With brands like those, you’re getting makeup that’s both affordable AND good for you. Still not cheap enough? MODE Cosmetics http://www.modecosmetics.com/ is not only SUPER cheap but it’s also natural.

    2) If you wear (or would like to try) bright or uniquely-colored lipsticks like I do, check out:

    – Keyshia Ka’oir. They’re a teeny-bit pricey at $15 a lipstick, but you get quality, highly-pigmented colors that smooth onto lips fully without the need for lip liner. With Keyshia being a Black woman herself, her line is meant for women of ALL shades. And her variety of colors is STILL unmatched: from black to white to green to blue to purple to yellow to nude to pink to silver. http://kaoir.com/

    – Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics lip tar (already mentioned by the article) http://www.occmakeup.com/

    – Inglot. They have some beautiful blue shades. http://www.inglotusa.com/Lipstick-Pacific_Blue_Collection_of_Lipstick.html

    – Barry M lip paint (for women in the U.K.). http://www.barrym.com/products/lips/paint/lip-paint.html

    – Fantastic Faces by Ms. Stephanie. Another cosmetic line run by a Black woman (support our own!), she offers homemade lip colors she calls “lip jelly” in a great variety of shades. http://www.stephsfantastic.com/apps/webstore/products/category/698231?page=1

    – Bitch Slap! Cosmetics. A more *ahem* alternative line, but still an amazing variety of unique and rare lip colors.

    – The Lip Bar. They offer lipsticks they call “lip shots”, which come in colors that they change each season. Also a line ran by a Black woman, they’re the most expensive option I’ve mentioned at $20 a tube.

    – Sweetpea & Fay liquid lipsticks. Available in a variety of pretty rare colors at only $7.99 a tube. http://www.sweetpeaandfay.com/#!j'adores

    – Violent Lips. These “temporary lip tattoos”, created by a young lady and her aunt (also women of color!), are one-of-a-kind in innovation and color variety. They cover the lips fully, imitating lipstick, and come off only when you remove it. Great to wear at parties, huge events, and even football and basketball games for the older women who want to have fun… or any other day, for the younger women like me.