I Spent 5 Hours in Target's Beauty Section so You Don't Have To—My 20 Best Finds

In case you haven't noticed, Target has a truly spectacular beauty department. In fact, these days, strolling through the retailer's sparkling aisles (whether literally, IRL, or figuratively, online) is just as exciting as a trip to Sephora, Violet Grey, or any of our other favorite beauty stores. Brand and product selection has increased exponentially, and while you'll still find staple drugstore labels like Maybelline, E.l.f. Cosmetics, CoverGirl, etc., there are also plenty of more obscure brands waiting to be discovered and vying for your attention. So, I was given the ultimate challenge: Choose my top 10 beauty brands at Target, and from there, select two choice products from each. The process, in its entirety—and because I'm too thorough for my own good sometimes—took about five hours. 

Obviously, there are about 30 Target-found brands I desperately want to include here (I'm still swallowing some guilt), but if pressed, the 10 highlighted brands below are the ones I could truly use and recommend until the end of time and are less widely known than the drugstore names we're already so familiar with. (Don't get me wrong—I still love those classic brands, but I just want to shine the spotlight on some additional deserving brands.)

Keep scrolling! The 10 best beauty brands at Target—according to me, a super-picky beauty editor—are just ahead. 

1. Versed

Versed might be Who What Wear's sister skincare brand, but the ultra-clean and sustainable line would still claim our number one spot regardless. It's just that good. Each and every product features potent, skin-boosting ingredients at their most efficacious levels.

Also, since the brand simply steers clear of expensive, overly fussy packaging and conventional retail markups, it's able to keep each and every price point under $25. Oh, and have we mentioned Versed formulates to the highest standards in the world (aka—European Union standards) by banning 1350+ ingredients that are questionable when it comes to the wellbeing of our skin, body, and planet?

2. Juvia's Place

Okay, I cheated a little here because technically Juvia's Place is available through Target's partnership with Ulta, but you can still find it on the retailer's website or any IRL location with the exciting Ulta expansion. (Literally a beauty lover's heaven.). If you have yet to try Juvia's Place, this is your sign. The brand is known for its bold, deliciously pigmented palettes and color cosmetics and its dedication to celebrating universal beauty that flatters all complexions. I've tried so many products from the line, and am always completely impressed.

3. Olive and June

I love Olive and June so much that I wrote an entire dedicated story about the brand. The polish colors are 12/10, the formula lasts at least a full week or two, and the payoff is so bouncy and shiny, you'll trick everyone into thinking you have an expensive gel job. True story: I got a regular manicure at a salon the other week (the polish brand shall go nameless), and it started chipping and disintegrating the very next day. I ended up removing it and applying an almost identical O&J shade I had at home instead, and my manicure still looks immaculate and better than the in-salon job.

You can't beat Olive and June's prices, and your life will never be the same after you try the ingenious dry drops, which not only have nail and cuticle-nourishing ingredients like jojoba seed oil but will dry your polish to the touch in 80 seconds or less. I've been super into the sheer shimmery shade Cosmic—a vibe that It girls like Hailey Bieber have also been flaunting recently. 

4. Byoma

I'm so freaking obsessed with Byoma, and anyone who wants highly efficacious formulas, but at totally doable price points, will be too. (Plus, it doesn't hurt that the packing is so damn cute, as well.) Exclusively sold at Target, Byoma prioritizes practically every single thing I look for in transformative skincare products: clean, noncomedogenic, dermatologist-approved ingredients specifically designed to improve and repair the skin's barrier function while simultaneously hydrating, balancing, and brightening. A proprietary Tri-Ceramide Complex is touted as the line's MVP, and all seven formulas (one cleanser, one toner/face mist, two moisturizers, and three serums) are mix-and-match compatible and boast complementary key ingredients to boost skin health.

5. La Roche-Posay

Need I say more? Like so many other beauty fanatics out there, I go absolutely wild for all things La Roche-Posay. (And if you check out the glowing reviews, the proof is in the pudding, my friends.) A few fun facts: The brand is recommended by 90,000 dermatologists worldwide; its hero ingredient, thermal water, has a history dating back to the 1400s concerning its holistic treatment of skin conditions; and the brand got its start back in 1975 in a French town of the same name. It's become my go-to brand whenever I'm traveling and need to pick up trustworthy products in a pinch. And, of course, I have a few favorite staple products I keep in my products wheelhouse at all times, too.

6. Flamingo

Once you try Flamingo's line of personal care products (think affordable yet luxe razors, creams, tweezers, shave, gels, etc.), you will never go back to anything else. I don't know what my shower would even look like anymore without my fave Flamingo razor attached to the wall (love that it comes with a shower holder) and all of the brand's other body care formulas which play especially nicely with those extra-special, sensitive areas. The razor is obviously a must, but the light hydrating spray will also change your life if you're someone who wants gleaming, moisturized skin fast, post-shower and would rather forgo the fuss of messy lotions, butters, and oils. 

7. Bliss

I've loved and used Bliss since college, and have always appreciated that the brand really meets you in the middle in terms of high-quality formulas at price points that are totally swallowable. So many of its formulas have become insanely high-rated best sellers (so you really can't go wrong with anything you buy—I basically recommend everything), and the lush, spa-worthy staples feel like products three times the price but won't *actually* incur any collateral damage to your bank account. Everyone from dermatologists to editors says the SPF below is the best thing since sliced bread, and you won't want to sleep on the vitamin C–packed moisturizer if you dream of an ultra-clear and glowy complexion. 

8. Kinky-Curly

I don't personally have curly or textured hair, but everyone I know who does, swears everything Kinky-Curly makes is absolute gold. (Again, the reviews say it all.) The brand specifically formulates its roster of products to infuse strands with essential moisture, resulting in optimal hold, curl shape, and protection from the elements. It's still a relatively lesser-known brand in the natural hair space, but it deserves all of the kudos and attention and rivals even the most iconic brands in the haircare industry. 

9. Kristin Ess

As one of the most sought-after celebrity hairstylists,(think Lucy Hale, Kelsea Ballerini, and more), it's no surprise Kristin Ess's namesake haircare line contains products that would have to live up to her ultra-high standard as a stylist. The packaging is sleek and gorgeous, the formulations are luxurious yet affordable, and trust me when I say every single item I've tried (from her beautiful styling tools to best sellers like the texture spray) delivers high-caliber results rivaling the most famous and expensive brands in the hair industry.

10. Jason Wu Beauty

As a lover of all things nude, shimmery, and glossy, Jason Wu's still relatively new beauty collection is so up my alley, and everyone I've introduced it to has become equally obsessed. Obviously, we all know Jason Wu as a celebrated fashion designer, and his reimagined approach to beauty via clean, beautiful, and easy-to-wear skincare and makeup is a true treat. Plus, the collection won't break your budget! If you buy anything, make it the Celestial Lust Glitter Cream Shadow, and thank me later.