The Best Beauty Brands We Tried, Tested & LOVED In 2022

Beauty News

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NGL, we tried plenty of products in 2022, but only a few have earned a forever spot on our desks and vanities. And since we’re flipping through the final pages of the year, we thought it best to perform a good ol’ annual review of the beauty market! So, today we’re spotlighting the brands that earned golden stickers from us; these are our fave beauty brands we discovered this year:

1. Best Indie-Up-And-Comer Brand: EspressOh 

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The DL: Coffee-infused makeup formulas
Price point: $16 +
Must-have: GLASSY – Blush by the glass, $16

We tried their caffeinated formulas the minute we heard about their transparent jelly blush going viral on TikTok… And they don’t disappoint. Everything in this Italian collection – from eyeliner to lipstick, skin tint to mascara – is inspired by Italian espressos and infused with coffee-derived ingredients like caffeine and coffee Arabica seed oil. In short, we’ve got a whole latte love for them.

2. Best New Y2K Haircare BrandSquigs Beauty

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The DL: #HeadCare for your scalp, hair, and skin
Price point: $28 +
Must-have: Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil, $34

Is old gold? Squigs nods after developing a modern-day collection of scalp, head, and skincare formulas inspired by traditional Indian hair oiling. The packaging screams Gen Z, but their leading ingredients are rooted in Ayurveda.  Their two-piece collection currently delivers effective, non-irritating ingredients that care for your skin, hair, and scalp. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that a percentage of the proceeds are donated to a mental health charity, because they believe in taking care of what’s inside too.

3. Best Indie Fragrance Brand: Moodeaux

The DL: Good vibes in a bottle
Price point: $10 +
Must-have: Worthy Supercharged Skinscent Starter Pack Sample, $10

Founder Brianna Arps knows that fragrance tickles our emotions, so she created an on-the-go spritz to make her (and you) feel powerful and worthy. After dropping her first-ever juicy fragrance fueled with natural ingredients (without the usual alcohol and water), she continues to uplift Black female perfumers with her empowering initiative, Black In Fragrance. Read more about her mission here.

4. Best Drugstore Skincare Brand: BYOMA Beauty

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The DL: Barrier-boosting skincare
Price point: $12 +
Must-have: Creamy Jelly Cleanser, $13

BYOMA’s barrier-boosting formulas have a clear mission: to strengthen your skin’s barrier… And they do so while looking cute enough for your Insta snaps. Every bottle in this derm-approved collection is driven by science, powered by actives, and helps build and balance your skin’s barrier. The result? Happy and healthy skin at affordable prices.

5. Best Curl Brand: Next Of Us

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The DL: Porosity-focused haircare line
Price point: $7 onwards
Must-have: Moisture Mask W/ Shea Butter, $7

NOU is a one-stop shop for curly-haired qweens who want simple, affordable formulas that *actually* work. The hydrating collection prioritizes hair porosity levels (ability to absorb moisture) – a stand-out vision that some haircare brands miss. Did we mention that their entire collection – serums, gels, shampoos, and conditions – is formulated without sulfates, dyes, and parabens?

6. Best MUA Brand: Isamaya Beauty

The DL: Celeb MUA makeup line that goes above and BEYOND
Price point: $26 +
Must-have: Skinlacq, $78

Lipstick tubes with piercings? Now that’s undeniably Isamaya Ffrench, who constantly pushes standard beauty boundaries, and her first-ever makeup collection is no exception. Whether you shop her latex-infused mascara or nearly-black lip serum, know that you’ll radiate bad bish energy. Round of applause, anyone?

7. Best Influencer Brand: FЯAN by Franciny Ehlke

The DL: Affordable, selfie-worthy makeup 
Price point: $6 +
Must-have: Fran Matte Foundation By Franciny Ehlke Real Filter, $8

Complexion products aren’t easy to perfect, but Brazilian-born influencer Franciny Ehlke understood the assignment. Her drugstore beauty line comprises complexion heroes like foundation and concealer sticks and expands into gorgeous bronzer and blush palettes. It has our stamp of approval, read our full review here.

8. Best Derm Brand: Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty 

The DL: Derm-approved skincare that restores and brightens
Price point: $75 +
Must-have: Bowe Glowe™ Microbiome Nourishing Cream, $95

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe challenged the skincare market by focusing on the skin-gut-mind connection for better skin. She believes that healthy skin and a balanced gut microbiome go hand in hand and develops products that work on the inside and the outside. We’re obsessed with this moisturizer that really goes the extra mile to make skin glowy and strong.

9. Most Innovative Makeup Brand: Half Magic

The DL: FUNctional makeup
Price point: $8 +
Must-have: GLITTERPILL Eye Paint + Liner, $20

MUA Donni Davvy stormed onto the scene dripping in glitter as the lead makeup artist for the cult show, Euphoria, so it was no surprise that her first makeup debut was a total glitter fest. Sparkling gems? Pigmented lippies that stay put? Shimmery eyeshadow pots and pans? Check, check, and check. There’s really something for *everyone* here. Her newest innovation, the Magic Flik eyeliner, is unlike any other liner we’ve seen, and we love it.

10. Best Clean Makeup Brand: Saie

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The DL: Makeup that’s good for you and the planet
Price point: $16 +
Must-have: Glowy Super Gel, $28

Founder Laney Crowell wants to make beauty better… For you and planet earth. Her community-powered beauty line is fueled with clean, award-winning highlighters, bronzers, and brow gels (to name a few) that improve your skin from the inside out. But don’t get it twisted – these green beauty baddies never compromise on texture or performance.

BTW, these drugstore beauty brands deserve a shoutout too.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.