7 Affordable Makeup Brands for Darker Skin Tones That Beauty Editors Swear By


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

If there's one thing I can confidently say I'm passionate about in life, it's makeup. My love affair began at the age of 12 when Victoria's Secret lip glosses first hit the market and MAC pigments were all the rage at the department store counters. Let's just say it was a phase I never really grew out of. To this day, I still find myself scouring the Sephora aisles for glosses and adding every eye shadow palette under the sun to my Ulta cart.

What I have noticed over the years though, is that some makeup isn't exactly made with my specific skin tone in mind. I remember I would excitedly try certain items with a cult-following only to discover that they didn't show up at all on my complexion. It's a disappointing feeling to say the least. After lots of trial and error, and an improvement in the conversation around inclusive makeup, I'm happy to say that I've discovered brands that get an A+ for their formulas. They don't skimp on quality and guess what? They're also pretty affordable. Whether your skin tone leans olive, golden, tan, or deep, you'll want to take a peak at these beauty-editor loved brands. Keep scrolling and find out which ones two WWW beauty editors swear by. As a bonus, everything on this list is under the $35 mark! You're welcome.

1. Milani

As far as affordable makeup goes, I have to give credit where credit is due. Milani offers such fabulous formulas and low-key incredible dupes for more expensive items out there on the market. My fellow beauty editor Maya Thomas and I couldn't stop talking about how much we love it.

I also recently spoke to TikTok star Rocio Soria about the brand and she agreed that if we were stranded on a desert island with just a makeup bag full of items—there would need to be at least a few from Milani in the mix. Personally, I love the brand's UnGilded EyeShadow Palette. It offers 12 rich, pigmented shades that can create beautiful and versatile eyeshadow looks for just $20. Not to mention the brand's Baked Blush—it's almost a highlight and blush in one if you ask me.

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2. LYS Beauty

Black and Brown skin needs products that are pigmented, plain and simple. I used to run into this issue a lot growing up. I would try to use so many popular formulas at the time and would be disappointed to realize that the shades just didn't show up very well on my skin tone. Now, it's refreshing to come across Black entrepreneur-owned brands like Tisha Thompson's LYS Beauty. Thomas and I also talked about how much we love this brand. The formulas are really something else and best of all, won't cost you a kidney. Favorites of mine include the No Limits Cream Bronzer for its creamy, silk-like formula and the Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder—it gives you glass skin!

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3. Danessa Myricks

I don't even know where to start when it comes to my love for Danessa Myricks products. I honestly and truly can't believe the price points on a lot of her offerings because they're just all so deliciously good. Let's start with the Yummy Skin collection. Not only do makeup artists continuously rave about the Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder, I also had the pleasure of trying out the brand's Serum Foundation recently too and loved it. To be honest, I used way too much the first go around because I thought I needed a normal amount to achieve the coverage I wanted. Long story short, I didn't. The formula is so creamy and just keeps going and going. A little goes a long way and it blends out so beautifully.

I also have serious love for the Colorfix pigments. The shades are just breathtaking and stay in place so well. Sure, the prices are a bit more affordable than some brands, but beware. I usually end up filling a huge cart of items for this very reason. 

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4. Mented Cosmetics

Thomas and I also agreed that brands like Mented are at the forefront of inclusive beauty. It hasn't been until recently that I've seen a shift and improvement in product formulations to make them more suited to Black and Brown skin tones. Mented offers so many great color options in this regard and I have to give a special shoutout to its powder formulas. Normally, I like cream formulas for bronzing, but the brand's Sunkissed Bronzer is easily one of my favorites because it offers such a high pigment payoff and can even be used to contour. The Everyday Eyeshadow Palette is one I reach for often as well due to its rich brown and shimmer shades. I've created so many fun looks with this palette and my makeup still looks great after eight or so hours of wear when I use it.

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5. Juvia's Place

If you've read any of my other writing, you may have seen me write novels about what an incredible brand I think Juvia's Place is. It's the crème de la crème of affordable makeup brands for Black and Brown skin tones. Every product is so accessible and performs just as well (if not better) than some of my high end formulas. Although the brand's Nubian Palette ($20) is my forever favorite, I have to take a second to call out the Nubian Earth Gloss and I Am Magic Setting Powder. I never used to care for dark-shaded lip glosses, but then I found the Nubian Earth Gloss and my life changed forever. It definitely gives off a sheen, but offers a deep, rich nude-brown color that I honestly haven't found anywhere else. 

Powders aren't usually my forte either, but the $14 I Am Magic Powder makes my skin look so soft, smooth, and downright airbrushed. I use just a tad over my foundation to lock it all in during the day.

Shop Juvia's Place


Even celebrity makeup artists love BLK/OPL's formulas for Black and Brown skin. I know if it's in an MUA's kit, it must be good. From lipsticks to foundation sticks, BLK/OPL offers such an incredible shade range—no one will feel left out. I haven't had the pleasure of trying the brand's cult-loved foundation stick yet, but it's up there on my list along with its gorgeous matte lipstick.


The Lip Bar

Sold at your local Target, The Lip Bar products are another winner for Black and Brown skin. The brand's lipstick shades just compliment darker skin tones so well while staying ultra-matte all day long. Its Brow Gel + Brow Pencil (with a perfect five-star rating on Target's website), offers two products in one. I love taking it on trips because then I don't have to pack my Anastasia Brow Freeze separately, saving me time and room in my makeup bag. Give both of the below items a try, you definitely won't regret it.

Shop The Lip Bar:

Up Next: 12 Flat-Out Fabulous Makeup Looks I'm Dying to Try in 2023.

Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.