It’s not *just* about the label.
Photo Courtesy of Hourglass
With their fancy packaging and elevated ingredients, there’s something about luxury makeup products that make getting ready all the more satisfying. A gold-encrusted tube of lipstick here and a shimmering eyeshadow palette there, and suddenly you’ve transformed into Amal Clooney gallivanting around Venice on her wedding day. (Who could forget her stunning rosebud lips glossed in Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution?)
Because luxury adds pleasure and comfort into our lives, there’s no better way to indulge—if only a little—than with makeup. Is a Birkin bag not in your budget at the moment? Try the Hermès Rouge bullet lipstick (inspired by the brand’s iconic Kelly bag). Can’t quite splurge on a Chanel crossbody? Treat yourself to the Les Beiges eyeshadow palette, embossed with the brand’s iconic interlocking Cs.
Of course, luxury makeup isn’t inexpensive and you still want to make sure you’re getting more than just the coveted label. Not to worry; we’ve got you covered. Ahead are 18 luxury makeup brands that are worth the splurge no matter what products you choose. Go on and treat yourself—you deserve it.
It all started with the best-selling perfume, Chanel No. 5, in 1921, and since then, Chanel has become one of the world’s most iconic beauty brands. In fact, Gabrielle Chanel was known just as much for her tweed jackets at one point as she was her crimson lips—a color she created herself. The popularity of the shade eventually propelled the brand’s first lip color collection in 1924, and the rest, they say, is history. From lightweight foundations to creamy lipsticks, each Chanel makeup product oozes elegance with packaging that comes embossed in the brand’s signature interlocking C’s. Combining rich pigments and silky textures, its collections are made for the woman who has perfected the art of styling—a carefully placed brooch here, some pearl drop earrings there—and her makeup exemplifies that same elevated look. For makeup as timeless as its ready-to-wear and bags, try the Rouge Coco Bloom lipstick (an ode to Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel herself) or the Les Beiges eyeshadow palette, which includes five shimmery neutral shades that are always très chic.
Gucci’s head designer, Alessandro Michelle, creates for a bold, free-spirited woman and the brand’s makeup line is no different. Launched in 2019, Gucci’s fantastical, eclectic, and cultured allure is seamlessly translated into its makeup line with color-rich formulas and long-lasting textures that guarantee to give you a head-turning look. Made for the woman who is both contemporary and romantic, this line celebrates quirks and individuality and everything that comes with it. Take for example the Rouge à Lèvres Satin Lipstick. This fan-favorite is beautifully etched with a baroque-style gold casing. It’s charming yet vamp, and the long-wearing pigment—which is both creamy and opaque—will look just as stunning on your lips as it will on your vanity.
The Tom Ford woman is unapologetically powerful, anything but ordinary, has a foot on both the West Coast and East Coast and struts either way (like Ford himself). This persona merges effortlessly into the brand’s beauty collection, with sultry shades and sleek, display-worthy packaging. Makeup artist Marylisa Diaz tells us that the brand’s eyeshadow palettes are among some of her favorites. “Not only are the selection of colors and textures amazing, but the pigmentation is intensely powerful and long-lasting on the eyes,” she adds. “A little goes a long way.” If you’re looking to vamp it up, try the F****** Fabulous Lip Colour, guaranteed to give you a vibrant, full-coverage look with a high-shine finish.
Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury got her start working with nearly every supermodel and A-list actress imaginable before parlaying her robust experience into her own namesake line in 2013. Inspired by the red carpet and runway looks that she’s known for, she decodes her expertise into makeup looks and easy-to-use products that everyone can access to look like they just jumped from the pages of a glossy magazine. The Matte Revolution Lipsticks and Airbrush Flawless Finish (a staple in Amal Clooney’s beauty routine) are fan favorites that give off bombshell Hollywood vibes while also remaining fresh and easy-to-wear. In fact, Pillow Talk (the lipstick known just by its shade name) has become so popular due to its universally flattering nude hue, that one tube is sold every two minutes. From creamy nude lipsticks and matching liners to dozens of twinkling eye palettes, each product boasts color-rich pigments that are long-lasting and always glamorous, making this makeup line the definition of true luxury.
If Martha Stewart swears by Clé de Peau (have you seen her thirst-traps?) then count us in. Clé de Peau Beauté was founded in Japan in 1982 and has since remained one of the country’s best-selling cosmetic lines, fusing high-end beauty tech with potent, skincare-inspired ingredients. One of the most popular makeup products from this legendary and much-beloved line is its concealer, which many makeup artists dub the best stick formula on the market. Not only does it provide ample coverage thanks to its rich, creamy formula, but it also imparts a natural-looking finish without any creasing or cakiness. We also love that it’s packed with complexion-boosting ingredients (like hyaluronic acid for enhanced moisture and suppleness), and its newest formulation even comes with SPF 25. This concealer definitely ticks off all of the must-have boxes.
If you’re not familiar with Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation, allow us to introduce you to one of the most coveted formulas around. Luminous (it’s in the name for a reason) and outright stunning, this is the brand’s most iconic product and a go-to for celebs and royals alike (Megan Markle and Kate Middleton are said to be fans). “Armani’s foundations are astounding,” shares Diaz. It feels completely weightless on your skin and blends in so smoothly, you can use your fingers without having to worry about any streaks. Aside from the foundations, the Armani Eye Tints are another best-selling favorite thanks to their intense color payoff and easy-to-glide texture. The applicator allows you to use it as a shadow or as a liner for a more precise look. The formulas are also created to be weightless and to give off a second-skin feel, without ever drying or settling into fine lines.
The meticulous design of Hourglass’ products (minimal, modern, and exquisite) is a direct reflection of the quality inside. Founded in 2004 by industry veteran Carisa Janes, the brand has established itself as an innovative and cruelty-free beauty line. Its best-selling Veil Mineral Primer is coveted for its ability to conceal redness—rosacea included—and even skin tone, while also minimizing the look of visible pores and fine lines. It creates a smooth, even surface for makeup to glide on easily and can also be worn by itself to provide a your-skin-but-better look that will last throughout the day. The cult-favorite Ambient Lighting Powder is another a staple in many makeup artists’ bags thanks to its complexion-perfecting technology that blurs, smooths, and brightens skin. With so many amazing makeup products to choose from, it is hard to pick a favorite. But leave it to one user who describes the Veil Mineral Primer as, “Amazinggggg. It makes my skin radiate,” to help guide you. We couldn’t agree more.
Four words: Touche Eclat Illuminating Pen. This liquid highlighter is the Beyoncé of skin illuminators (i.e., it’s the hands-down best), with beauty editors and makeup enthusiasts alike dubbing it a holy grail product (this one included). From Zoë Kravitz, to Meghan Markle, and Naomi Campbell, this cross between a highlighter and concealer is beloved for its multitasking abilities: it brightens dark circles, illuminates the cheek and brow bones, and diffuses redness around the nose and lip area, or basically wherever you want skin to appear more radiant. Not to be overlooked, YSL’s lip stains are also a hit, giving off rich pigmentation with little to no budging, smudging, or transfer. It has serious staying power (it’s kiss-proof and coffee-proof) and has a flattened applicator that makes it easy to apply, even when you’re out and about.
Founded by famed doctor and chemist Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain (almost two centuries ago in 1828), Guerlain first started out by making custom scents. His fragrances were so beloved that he eventually became the official perfumer for the last monarch of France—King Napoleon III. (The brand created the iconic Shalimar perfume—the first ever to use vanilla notes—in 1925.) Guerlain then went on to introduce the first commercial lipsticks in 1840. Before then, lip color was made at home, usually from beeswax or plant dyes. However, Guerlain created a pre-made lipstick that was housed in a tube—quite innovative for the time. Since then, this Parisian brand has perfected its makeup formulations, offering some of the best beauty products on the market. Diaz agrees, adding that her favorite product is the 24K Gold Radiance Primer. “It’s a hydrating gel that melts into skin to provide an even and long-lasting finish under makeup. It also smooths the appearance of fine lines and tightens the skin,” she says.
Founded in 1994 by makeup artist and photographer François Nars, NARS was created with the intention of empowering women to experiment and have fun with makeup. Today, the brand still maintains this mission by offering an assortment of makeup products—like blushes intended to give you a post-coitus glow (“Orgasm”), and tinted moisturizers that offer a more subdued “no makeup makeup” look. And because this line originated with a collection of just 12 lipsticks, it comes as little surprise to learn that its lip products are still some of the most coveted around due to their intense pigments and long-lasting wear. Whether you’re looking for a radiant creamy concealer, a flattering sweep of blush, or an iconic lipstick, NARS has a diversified lineup of shades, products, and tools that are easy to use whether you’re a makeup novice or a pro.
What began as a niche French fragrance house has since bloomed into one of the industry’s most beloved luxury makeup and skincare brands, with soothing plant-based ingredients at the core of its formulations. Among one of our favorite products is the Lip Veil—a beautifully textured hydrating lipstick (it comes in 13 shades) that is infused with organic baobab oil to leave lips looking supple and hydrated. And if you’re into a bit of drama, the Luminescent Eye Shades swipe on with just a hint of micro-shimmer that will catch the light, even on the dullest of days. Chantecaille is also “Wild About Nature,” prioritizing its philanthropic mission to give back to charities that protect wild species and spaces, making each of its products a worthy investment.
Sisley-Paris is a family-owned brand that believes in the infinite complexities of the plant world to rejuvenate and regenerate the skin. The brand was started in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, whose father, Guillame, was the co-founder of Lancôme. Needless to say that beauty is in the DNA of this family. The concept of phyto-cosmetology (cosmetics based upon botanical extracts) lay at the heart of all Sisley-Paris creations—which, back in the 1970s, was quite revolutionary. In fact, the brand was the first to incorporate botanicals and essential oils into its skincare and makeup formulations. Today, Sisley-Paris continues to be a pioneer in phyto-cosmetology, implementing high-quality ingredients like hibiscus flower, plumping alkekengi calyx, and padina pavonica into its products, giving us the best of what science and beauty have to offer.
Luxury fragrance brand Byredo announced its foray into makeup in 2020 and has quickly become a stand-out in the market. Conceived by Byredo founder Ben Gorham and British makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, the collection allows individuals to express themselves without limits imposed by gender or outdated beauty standards. Although the packaging is understated, the makeup itself is vivid and anything but basic. With its Prismic Eyeshadow Palette that is arranged not by color gradient but “as a disrupted series designed to provoke experimentation,” to its bold, satin-finish lipsticks, Byredo is intended for the imaginative, playful, and cutting-edge. For minimalist packaging, versatile shades, and innovative formulations, Byredo is a makeup line you will want to add to your beauty arsenal stat.
When Hermès launched its beauty line in 2020, its debut product—the Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick—quickly became the most fashionable makeup product around. Inspired by the house’s iconic silk scarves, the coveted offering includes an array of both satin and matte finishes in shades ranging from soft rose to the brand’s iconic orange. In true Hermès fashion, each shade also comes housed in a brightly colored, Pierre Hardy-designed enamel case, which is not only refillable but also a collectible decor item in its own right. In recent months, Hermès has also expanded its beauty arsenal to include silky powder blushes, a colorless lip pencil that is compatible with almost any lipstick shade, and a beautifully hand-lacquered wooden lip brush for precise application.
Makeup artist Gucci Westman brings her experience working with industry heavyweights like Lancôme and Hollywood A-listers (including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, and Cameron Diaz) to her clean cosmetics collection, Westman Atelier. “This is a brand that’s doing luxury well, but in a very attainable way,” says celebrity makeup artist, Jenny Patinkin. She loves how Westman Atelier’s simple, structural packaging hits on today’s minimalist trends, while the formulations are made with responsibly sourced ingredients that are both clean and easy to use. A lifelong vegetarian herself, Westman believes that “clean” and “luxury” don’t have to be a contradiction. In fact, while the line is free of potentially irritating ingredients, it is also professional-grade, meaning that products are created to be high-quality, efficient, long-lasting, and beneficial to the skin (including sensitive and reactive skin types). If you’re looking for new staples to add to your makeup bag, try the ever-popular Baby Cheeks Blush Stick or the Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer, both of which are guaranteed to give you a beautiful flush of color while also boosting hydration and promoting healthier-looking skin.
Legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath took everything she learned while creating iconic runway looks, as well as working with top models and photographers around the world, and translated it into her eponymous beauty line, Pat McGrath Labs. The brand’s aesthetic is bold, seductive, and plays more on the dramatic side, all of which make the collection stand out. This line is definitely for the makeup enthusiast who loves to experiment and is not afraid of a striking pop of color. For starters, try the MatteTrance™ lipstick, embellished with voluptuous golden lips in black and gold casing. This tube of lipstick will transform your pout from demure to fascinating in just one swipe. Available in 28 shades, it’s guaranteed to be your new favorite go-to.
17. Victoria Beckham Beauty
We know what you’re thinking: another celebrity makeup range? Not quite. Victoria Beckham Beauty has risen the ranks of luxury as one of the best-selling and most highly coveted makeup brands on the market. Born from Beckham’s own beauty regimen (she is a fashion icon, after all) and told from her stylish point of view, the brand maintains an emphasis on clean, high-quality ingredients. Furthermore, each product is created to be high-performance and easy to use for those who have little time on their hands but want to indulge in a moment of self-care. Sustainably focused, cruelty-free, and transparent in its formulations, each product is a tiny treasurer waiting to give you the posh beauty look of your dreams. Try the Smoky Eye Brick palette, which is blendable and sumptuously creamy, or the Satin Kajal Liner, which will give you the type of smoky eye a ’90s-era Winona Ryder would be proud of.
This iconic French heritage house was launched in 1946 and has remained an “it” fashion and beauty brand, synonymous with taste and luxury ever since. Known for his love of flowers (especially the rose) Christian Dior translated this admiration into his ready-to-wear clothing, bags, and makeup collection. Indeed, his first fragrance, Miss Dior, was an homage to his sister Catherine, who was a professional gardener. While Dior’s perfumes are hugely popular to this day (we simply adore J’Adore), so are its makeup offerings. Dior’s Airflash Spray Foundation is one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets (red carpet legs don’t just look like that on their own) while the Rouge Dior lipstick is a signature product for the label and a fantastic place to start for those who want to test out the brand without much commitment.