A bold lip can improve your life. Not only is it an instant pick-me-up, but it’s also an easy, commitment-free way to change up your look without spending a fortune. And you don’t even have to splurge on department-store lines. Our favorite under-the-radar brands offer cosmetics that cost less than a latte. Here are five new companies to consider.
If you love MAC, you’ll love NYX Cosmetics.
MAC Cosmetics has a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. The edgy makeup company delivers on both classics (just ask fans of their cult-classic red lipstick, Ruby Woo) and trends (like their Good Luck Trolls, RiRi Hearts and Barbie collections) in a fun, spirited way. Get your fix the cheap way with NYX Cosmetics. This line, available at CVS and Walgreens, features slick packaging and amazingly bold shades of super-pigmented matte lipsticks. Smart swap: NYX Professional Makeup Dose of Dew Face Gloss instead of MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish Highlighter.
If you love Stila Cosmetics, you’ll love e.l.f. Cosmetics.
Stila is the reigning favorite for gorgeous shimmers, metallics and sheer eye shadows. Kitten, a soft, pretty pink, is a makeup-artist staple. The packaging is simple yet pretty, and the quality is makeup-artist worthy. For a more affordable fix, check out e.l.f. Cosmetics. Everything is less than $30, including the fan-favorite glimmering eye shadows. Smart swap: e.l.f. Cosmetics Baked Eye Shadow Trio instead of Stila Eye Shadow Trio in Gold Glow .
If you love NARS, you’ll love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.
From orange-red Heat Wave to shocking pink Schiap, NARS Cosmetics consistently creates the best bold lipsticks. However, at almost $30 a pop, they aren’t exactly a cheap thrill. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) is well-known for its Lip Tar. The super-pigmented tubes are available in intense shades and mini sizes. Smart swap: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss in New Wave instead of NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Place Vendome.
If you’re addicted to palettes, chances are you know about Too Faced. The Peach Glow compact is super popular, and the adorable packaging (Sweethearts Bronzer, Chocolate Soleil) is a step up from your basic bronzers. A line you might not already know is Barry M. Popular in the United Kingdom, the brand specializes in neutral palettes. It also sells fun swivel-up blush sticks, glitter pots and cheap lipsticks. Smart swap: Try Barry M’s Contour Kit instead of Too Faced’s Cocoa Contour Chiseled to Perfection.
If you love Clinique, you’ll love Physicians Formula.
Clinique is a classic for simple packaging and products perfect for sensitive skin. Its Dramatically Different Foundation is one of the most beloved beauty products of all time. Drugstore line Physicians Formula has a similar mission statement, but offers products that are a fraction of Clinique’s prices. Physician’s Formula specializes in cosmetics for people with allergies. Find eye shadow palettes for less than $12 and glosses for less than $10. Smart swap: Try Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation instead of Clinique’s Even Better Makeup SPF 15.
Andrea Kasprzak is a writer. She's fascinated by the imagination, folklore and fantasy, the healing power of art, and finding magic in the mundane. Her playbook, Imagination Transforms Everything, is forthcoming this spring from Seal Press/Hachette Book Group.