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Thanks for Silvia for today's question!

What brands are most consistent in quality?

Anastasia, Bite Beauty, ColourPop, Make Up For Ever, and Tom Ford all came to mind. They’ve all had a few misses, but I feel like, usually, they’re quite good (or in line with what I’d expect from the brand, even if not technically perfect based on claims).

— Christine

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46 Comments

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Bite, MUFE, Chanel, ColourPop, Nyx, KVD. Lately MAC is too, although they would no doubt review better if their descriptions of certain products included details as to whether something is meant to be sheer or useful mainly as a lipstick topper. Hourglass, with the awful exception of those wavy eyeshadow palette disasters, has been pretty consistent, I believe.

I think there are some classic brands that may not be the most exciting but they execute really high quality products… I’m thinking of Bobbi Brown, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Laura Mercier… I also really like Marc Jacobs, Guerlain, Dior, YSL… I don’t buy everything they make. They don’t do anything trendy. But whenever I buy their products, the product and packaging are top notch.

Cover FX, Bite Beauty and ABH.
Estée Lauder has some great products, too: their lipsticks from the Pure Envy line and the collaboration w/ VB resulted in some great products (the Saffron Sun Bronzer and the Modern Mercury Highlighter).

In all honesty, I can’t think of a single one. It’s interesting that you mention BITE, Christine. I’ve loved everything I’ve purchased from them but that only amounts to maybe 8 lipsticks, so I don’t think that’s enough of a “sampling” to judge, plus, they make a fairly limited range of product which makes it “easier”, I guess. I also love everything I’ve purchased from Becca but, again, that’s maybe half a dozen or 8 items and I know there have been some very bad fails (to the point of recalling or ceasing to manufacture) but I’ve been lucky to miss those. The thing is that I (and many here, I guess) have the advantage of your work to help us avoid product of poor or inconsistent quality. But I think every single company has some really embarrassing clunkers and the bigger the product range, the more likely the clunkers (looking yesterday at that one new MAC e/s duo that looked so lovely but the dark side rated a D or D- just drove that home)

In the old good days when Anastasia was made in the US, yes, I’d agree. But back in the days they made only brow makeup. I was addicted to Anastasia. Ever since they moved the production to China (greed?) the quality dropped drastically. I still have some of the old made in the US products and they are beyond comparison with the new horrible ones. I even got an allergic reaction to the Chinese brow-duo. They have nice colours so if one doesn’t care about health or safety then I’d say- go for it.

I agree. You have to be very careful with cosmetics, human and pet food products made in China. Not too long ago a pet food product made in China killed a number of dogs in the U.S. And recently while at Sam’s Club looking for dog treats, I came across a bag of smoked pig ears with the label warning to thoroughly wash your hands after handing treat!!! I’ve heard horror stories from some of my friends who have used cosmetics made in China resulting in skin rashes. The problem is quality control inspection. The U.S. has set the standard for safe product in manufacturing. That’s not to say it has not been without its problems. But, whenever it’s discovered that a product is unsafe, it’s recalled and destroyed. Plus you can have your license of operation pulled or worse, go to prison if you knowingly put out unsafe product. That doesn’t exist in China. The reason I know this, I have a friend who worked for the FDA for a number of years.

So several readers have been commenting this week on Bite Beauty. I love my Bite lipsticks but haven’t bought anything new in about 6-8 months. What Bite would readers recommend?

The brand that provides consistent quality for me is NARS.

I got hooked on the amuse bouche formula via the 2016 holiday duos, and since picked up a full sized Fig. Also, I find the agave lip mask very hydrating, healing.

Tammy, those Prismatic Lip Creams are beyond amazing! I’ve got 2, Gold and Peacock, and aiming to get Rose, too. Super pigmented, very comfortable to wear,and they last quite awhile when worn.
Now I’m dying to get a few of the new lip liners!

I like the Bite Lip Pencils if you are into lining – on the rare occasion I reach for liner, Bite and UD are my go-tos!

The Bite Prismatic Glosses are also gorgeous!

Anastasia, Colourpop, Bite, and Make Up For Ever for me as everything I’ve tried/swatched has been great with very few misses.

Bite Beauty, yet to have a miss. I have two blushes, a lipstick, and a quad by Tom Ford, so not exactly a trove, but they are all fantastic. There are lines within lines that never disappoint, like Marc Jacobs gel pencils, and I never swatched a Becca powdered highlighter I didn’t like (although I only own one).

I cannot agree with Bite. They still prefer to put drying and irritating peppermint in their products and their color selection is dullsville. But agree with Colourpop though they are new to me and I’ve enjoyed whatever KVD product I have bought

I think it depends on what you’re looking for when buying makeup. I consistently like Tarte, Bobbi Brown and Nars!

I’ve been looking at Chanel, Dior, Laura Mercier, Shiseido, Clarins, Decleor and Chantecaille for decades — so I guess they must be doing something right! I really do like all these lines, selectively of course.

MUFE, Bite, ABH, The Balm, Sephora Collection, SauceBox, Tarte, Nyx, Milani, Makeup Revolution, bhCosmetics, ColourPop, OCC, e.l.f., Wet n Wild, Notoriously Morbid, Darling Girl, Looxi Beauty.

Permanent lines of MAC, NARS, and Urban Decay, although their LE collections vary and lower their average.

I apologize, I got a little too quick with the response and would like to add that Ben Nye is family owned, based and manufactured in the United States. ALL of their products are outstanding-every last one. Regardless of what shade/skin tone you are, from the darkest of ebonies to the palest of fair or anything between, you will find your match. Their array of face, eye and lip offerings will astound you.

Maqpro is based and manufactured in France. Their solid foundations are excellent but there is a learning curve but well worth mastering. Their Maqpro Make Up Mixer is an incredible product that can be used for a multitude of tasks – as a primer/base, mixing/blending medium for cream, liquid or powdered products. It’s a miracle in a bottle and very reasonably priced.

Be aware that these lines do not come in fancy schmancy packaging but the packaging doesn’t work the magic on your face, the product contained within does and in the end that’s what makes for impeccable war paint.

I’ve done the Chanel, YSL, Dior, Estee Lauder, Guerlain, Revlon, etc. routine for years and when I discovered these two lines, I never went back. Ben Nye and Maqpro ARE that remarkable and I learned of their existence from a sales associate at Sephora!

Hope this is helpful to someone!

Christine, looking at the brands you have mentioned here; do you think high end makeup generally has a better and/or a more consistent quality than mid to lower end makeup?

There are brands that are more affordable that are also quite good – Milani comes to mind for something that’s pretty accessible (in the drugstore) and then more online brands like Makeup Geek/Coloured Raine have standout formulations.

With drugstore brands (generally), I feel like you will find they do some types of products better than others. Powders are getting better but still can be inconsistent!

RE: my previous comment

Christine, after my question to you, I read the other comments and it seems across the board, high end makeup is thought to be superior in quality and reliability. I must wear strictly hypo-allergenic makeup, I react to just about everything. I use a private label mineral makeup and a mineral lip tint, do you or other readers know of any other makeup for highly sensitive skin that is not in the $$$$ range, or do I have to settle for “less than” makeup?

I don’t have sensitive skin, so I’m not sure. I feel like you’d have to have a good handle on what ingredients trigger sensitivity for you personally and then really get into the ingredient lists through brands.

Cle de peau, Dior except for eye shadows, Anastasia, V.B. for Estee Lauder all her products so far where right on for me the quality and performance are excellent. I have not purchased any Lancome in a long time but I know at one time they were pretty consistent with their makeup line. As far as not being consistent I would say Tom Ford for such an expensive brand that is suppose to be of exceptional quality I find that it isn’t always consistent for the price point. Yet I do love a lot of his product but I don’t like how he puts out a lot of the same things over and over with less quality & yet at a higher price point.

Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t purchased from Lancome in many years. Brenda is there anything in particular that you are referring to as far as being terrible quality or is it there complete makeup line? I use to only purchase a couple of items like a blush or lipstick and that was at least a few years ago. I have friends that have been purchasing from Lancome for many years and still do they love Lancome.

I purchased 2 of their eyeshadow palettes and immediate returned them. They were not good. One of my friends (makeup junkie like me) tried the lip shaker and returned it too. I will say I love hypnose drama mascara.

Brenda thanks for letting me know. Every once in a while I am tempted to make a purchase from them because my name and number is still in Lancome’s Registrar book at Lord & Taylor from many years ago; so they still call me when they have specials. I haven’t made a purchase from them in years and now that I know how bad the quality has become I definitely won’t be purchasing from Lancome.

I can only speak to the brands I know well, but Cle de Peau, By Terry, Chantecaille, Armani and Tom Ford. I used to have a lot of Chanel and Bobbi Brown, but the BB color scheme leans to yellow for my skin and I just grew away from Chanel. I still have a few things, but I think their quality dipped for a number of years (way, way back) and I was put off. I was a big Chanel user in my early twenties, so I’m talking way back.

Make Up For Ever – From foundations to lipsticks to blushes, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a purchase from them. And, their free-standing stores and makeup artists there are always amazing.

Those would be my choices except I only have 1 Tom Ford lipstick. So worried that once I start with his line I’ll end up loving it and purchasing it all. Lol

Cle de Peau- CdP’s color products don’t suit the American/western tastes but all their foundations & concealers are absolute perfection! Amazing skin-like finish, easy to apply, & comfortable to wear.

Elizabeth Arden- I know EA suffers an old lady or mature image. But their products are consistently great quality and surprisingly on trend! I have a lot of EA staples in my makeup- Smoky Eyes Powder Eye Pencil (stays put & looks great all day), Beautiful Color Maximum Volumizing Mascara (holds my curl, does not clump, & does not budge all day), Flawless Finish Maximum Coverage Concealer (only thing that rivals my beloved CdP concealer), and Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick (very moisturizing & long lasting). Bear in mind that EA’s eyeshadows are the Japanese slurry type similar to CdP’s & the new Covergirl TruNaked palettes- love’m or hate’em!

Anastasia- Granted I’ve only bought brow products from ABH but they are the best!

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