Though I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, there are a few makeup brands that I trust because of how wonderfully they compliment my highly-sensitive, combination/oily brown skin. Here’s a quick hit-list of brands that I love and will never leave.

1. NARS
Why I Love It: Y’all must love it, too, otherwise Drake wouldn’t be singing about “Orgasm Blush, lipstick and concealer.” This line is classic and feminine, with a variety of products from sheer and matte lipsticks, glosses, iridescent blushes, wonderfully complimentary eye shadows (I don’t have the patience to do the coordination myself) and fun limited-edition things for product junkies. The packaging is very sleek and sophisticated, and almost everything I touch compliments my skin. Given the sensitivity of my skin, it’s great that none of the facial products feel too heavy.

2. Makeup Forever
Why I Love It: If there’s one thing I hate to buy, it’s lipstick. My top and bottom lip are two different colors – top is fully brown, bottom is pink – which makes for a pain in the ass when trying to even out and blend. Makeup Forever products are HIGH INTENSITY PIGMENT, which are not for the faint of heart, but great when you know exactly what you’re after. Be forewarned; a lil’ dab will do ya.

3. Bliss
Why I Love It: If you’re anything like me, winter winds leave your skin in need of a new start. Bliss makes a lot of great stuff, but the Lemon and Sage Body Scrub is stuff of the gods. It smells nice and clean, and leaves dry skin as a thing of the past. Follow up with the Lemon and Sage Body Butter and you’ll be left smooth, sweet and supple.

4. Evian Mineral Water Spray
Why I Love It: I know – Evian is expensive enough in the regular water bottle, without putting it in some fancy aerosol can for a pretentious fine mist. I would agree, except um…this has changed my life. I was almost forced to buy this after a very uncomfortable case of heat rash at the beach (told you my skin was sensitive), and bought a refrigerated can of the French Alps’ best to sooth an otherwise inflammatory situation happening on my arms, stomach, and anywhere else not covered by a swim suit. Having purchased a large 10 oz. can, I continued using the spray throughout the summer for no particular reason – as a toner, to set my makeup, or just out on the street in the hot sun. My skin had a noticeable difference with all the extra water being showered on it.

5. Clairsonic Facial Brush
Why I Love It: Darker skin is susceptible to hyperpigmentation – dark spots that result from scarring. If you want a daily deep clean, dab a little of your favorite facial cleanser on the rotation brush head (available in “normal,” “delicate,” or “sensitive”) and rotate for about three minutes. The brush head helps your product clean more deeply, and your face gets buffed for smoothness. In time, dark marks decrease and it’s like having a mini facial every day.

– Maya K. Francis

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  • Tarte Cosmetics’ ReCreate foundation and their Smooth Operator tinted moisturizer are excellent for women of color with oily skin. I picked them up at a Sephora after being fed up with the eye roll parade at the MAC and I haven’t looked back since. Top it with their setting powder and I’m not shiny at all (and this includes an 8 hour work shift)!

  • Cheryl

    Let’s not forget beauty on a budget! Maybelline is my go to favorite when it comes to “cheap” yet effective foundation- for everyday wear.