As beauty editors, we like to celebrate Women's History Month in a few different ways. One, by celebrating women entrepreneurs and all their accomplishments. And two, by supporting the ones in the beauty industry and stocking up on hero products from each of their brands (truly the best way to honor them IMO). Lately, I've been noticing a trend within the beauty space that I'm more than happy to see. More and more women are creating brands with high-quality ingredients at much wallet-friendlier prices. It's refreshing to see so many agree that luxury beauty shouldn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Granted, I understand that "affordable" is a subjective term—what may be considered budget-conscious to a beauty editor may not be considered so by others. But I think high-quality skincare and makeup is worth spending over $15 to $20 on, always. If you'd like to support women-owned businesses this month (and always), keep scrolling for a few I've been completely obsessed with lately that won't upset your bank account.
1. Kolorete Cosmetics
Is organic yet highly elegant lipstick your thing? Then Kolorete Cosmetics will be your new go-to. Founded by Angela Weinberg and Johanna Vizmanos, this beauty brand aims to make high-quality, luxury beauty available to all. First, the packaging is right on point. Its lipstick tubes are gold and magnetic and feel expensive.
This may sound weird, but I also love the smell of the formula. Although I normally don't smell my lipsticks, I can't help it when this one is loaded with lemongrass essential oil along with other hydrating ingredients. It's truly a hybrid lip balm and lipstick that feels really lush on the lips. My current favorite shade is Boracay Sunset.
I've waxed poetic about Undefined Beauty before—it's a brand with an ethos I can really get behind. Founder Dorian Morris is at the forefront of the shift to purpose-driven, conscious capitalism. She aims to democratize the beauty industry by making skincare that's inclusive and plant-based and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The formulas are ultra nourishing, and I honestly sleep a little better at night knowing that most of them contain adaptogens (herbs and mushrooms that provide an array of health benefits). I incorporate adaptogens into my daily diet for things like stress support, and having them in your skincare routine can provide even more for your skin like brightening and soothing.
Summer Fridays (founded by Lauren Ireland and Marianna Hewitt) is a brand that's been on my radar for quite a while, but I've just gotten around to trying a couple of products lately that I'm totally in love with. Now, the price points are slightly higher than a few other brands on this list, but I'll happily pay it because I still consider it reasonable for quality skincare. I'd heard through the grapevine (aka on Instagram) that the brand's Heavenly Sixteen Oil is pretty next-level. Normally, I would shy away from face oils because I had cystic acne growing up, and if you've ever dealt with acne, you know anything with even a whisper of the word oil in it causes you to say, "Immediately no."
But this oil is composed of 16 non-pore-clogging oils that condition and hydrate your skin in such a beautiful way. My skin always feels so soft after using it and has that healthy glow. It also absorbs well, which is a big deal to me considering that's another tough thing about face oils—some of them feel like they just sit on top of my skin. The brand's Overtime Mask is also a treat I like to throw in a few nights a week that leaves my skin looking brighter and feeling less congested.
If you struggle with dark spots, you'll love this brand just as much as I do. Co-founders Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng created Topicals as a brand that champions the less-is-more approach. The brand's Faded Serum really helps if you're dealing with post-acne scars, as it's loaded with brightening ingredients like tranexamic acid, niacinamide, and azelaic acid. And they're safe for all skin tones. What I've found even handier is the Faded body mist, which is great if you have dark spots on your back or legs.
I've always been a fan of Tower 28 Beauty, but lately, I've been loving the brand's BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush for everyday wear. It really just provides the perfect pop of color on my cheeks. I haven't tried using it as a lip shade just yet, but it's definitely next on my to-do list. I love that the brand is affordable, free of toxins, and one of the first beauty brands to be free of every known skin irritant. Founder Amy Liu wanted to create products that would be safe to use on her own sensitive skin (she has eczema), and she certainly succeeded. The formulas are fun and look fantastic, but it also helps to know that my own skin (which is sensitive occasionally due to allergies) won't react to anything in the products.
Maelove is another brand that believes high-quality skincare doesn't automatically have to equal expensive. Founded by Jackie Kim, the brand's hero product is aptly named the Glowmaker, a vitamin C serum that's basically an affordable dupe for SkinCeuticals' C E Ferulic. I won't lie to you—the SkinCeuticals formula is truly the best and can't really be beaten, but if you're looking to receive the same benefits at a lower price point, this one is definitely the best option. With more and more fantastic formulas being released by the brand, including its Moonlight Retinal Super Serum, I can't wait to see what it comes up with next.
When I first discovered Evolve Organic Beauty, I truly couldn't believe the price point. If that wasn't enough to convince me, I then read the stellar reviews and knew I had to give it a spin for myself. Evolve is founded by Laura Rudoe, and the products are handmade in small batches. You can tell a lot of love goes into these products, and the reviews just don't lie—they're seriously that good. A few fan favorites include the Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum and the oh-so-fun Bio-Retinol Gold Mask. The gold mask makes me feel extra luxurious and leaves my skin feeling baby-soft.
If you're a sucker for fun packaging, budget-friendly price tags, and killer formulas, InnBeauty Project is the brand you need to try. Founded by Alisa Metzger (formerly of Tula), the brand's products are also vegan, cruelty-free, nontoxic, and, most importantly, effective. I've really been liking the Down to Tone Toner because it resurfaces, brightens, and minimizes my pores. It also contains one of my other favorite ingredients, niacinamide, which really provides soothing hydration. The brand's moisturizer also features star retinol alternative bakuchiol.
I mean, I'm never not obsessed with Kosas, let's just be honest. Founder Sheena Yaitanes literally started the brand from her kitchen table five years ago, and now, it's mega successful in the clean-beauty space. I thought it would be hard to top the brand's Tinted Face Oil Foundation, which has been my go-to for years, but the new Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation may have just done it. It provides a tad more coverage than the Tinted Face Oil, which is exactly what I've been wanting from the brand. I also use the Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Wash, which makes my skin feel so soft, and it smells great without being overpowering.