When it comes to makeup, people typically want to feel seen and represented. But for a long time, if you had darker skin, it was unlikely you would see yourself represented in ad campaigns (or even products) when you walked down the drugstore beauty aisles. One of the few exceptions was Milani Cosmetics.
For nearly 20 years, Milani has been the drugstore go-to for all things diverse, inclusive, and representative—all buzzwords to sell makeup in 2021. But Milani has never wavered in its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, while also offering high-quality products at an accessible price point.
Read on everything you need to know about Milani, including the brand's best products.
- Founded: Laurie Minc, 2001
- Based In: Los Angeles
- Pricing: $
- Best Known For: High-quality, melanin-friendly cosmetics at a drugstore price point.
- Most Popular Product: Baked Blush, Conceal + Perfect 2-In-1 Foundation and Concealer.
- Fun Fact: The company's Baked Blush is baked on Italian terracotta tiles from Sicily.
- Other Brands You’ll Love: NYX Cosmetics, ColourPop, e.l.f. Cosmetics
Lauri Minc, a former art teacher in East Los Angeles, founded Milani under one principle: “Beauty is something that is alive, real, and should be accessible to everyone.” Wanting to make high-end cosmetics at a drugstore price, Milani started as a brand for multicultural consumers, devoted to bringing beauty to those who often went overlooked at the beauty counter—the brand was one of the first to showcase diverse models in-store.
"The inspiration to start Milani is deeply rooted in the rich diversity of the East L.A. neighborhood, because it is a place that truly embodies the melting pot of Los Angeles, where people from all backgrounds and walks of life come together to mingle and inspire each other," brand representative Aminata Tall told Byrdie. Milani's main goal is bringing beauty to the masses, delivering quality, and being transparent.
Diversity and individuality aren't just buzzwords for Milani—they're part of the brand's core mission, and have been since it launched. "We create makeup for every shade, attitude, and style and have done so since the very beginning, way before inclusion and diversity was a hot topic," Tall explained. The brand's motto is "Luxe for All," intending to make luxury quality products at an affordable price point. "We are targeting the multicultural makeup enthusiast who believes diversity and beauty are intertwined," says Tall. They want to promote the concept of wearing makeup because you want to, not because you need to, by using innovative, top-of-the-line formulas, and for every skin tone, without compromise. The brand prides itself on being cruelty-free and is developing its portfolio of vegan products consistently.
Looking to learn more about Milani? We've detailed 13 of the brand's best products for the next time you're making a drugstore run.
Arguably, these blushes are the brand's hero product. They're pigmented, buildable, and one of those products makeup aficionados everywhere recommend on a never-ending basis. And "baked" isn't just marketing speak: these blushes are baked on Italian terracotta, giving a natural flush that you won't be able to ignore. The range features every shade from rose to peach—there's a color for everyone here.
Conceal + Perfect 2-In-1 Foundation + Concealer
If all-in-one products make you hesitate, this 2-in-1 multitasker may be the immersion therapy you need. It's both a foundation and concealer, which sounds counterproductive, but not here: Milani knows you're busy, and they want to cover your undereye circles and even out your skin tone without the need for multiple products. Coming in an epic 45 shades, this medium-to-full coverage product is exactly what your face needs on the days you want a five-minute face.
Color Fetish Lipstick
Love sheer-to-medium coverage lipsticks but don't want to run the risk of a lipstick smudge? The Color Fetish lipsticks are exactly what you need. They're low-maintenance and full of nourishing oils that make them feel more like a balm than a lipstick.
Weekend Brow Eyebrow Tint
Sculpting out your perfect brow arch can be time-consuming and a lot of work for your everyday makeup look. The Weekend Brow is perfect for those who may not have the time or the patience to spend 20 minutes creating matching arches. It will give you big, bold, but natural-looking brows that are both full and defined.
Make It Last Prime + Correct + Set Setting Spray
If you're a fan of "set it and forget it," this primer-and-setting spray is for you. It works like a dream to prepare your skin for foundation and concealer while also ensuring that all your hard work won't blow away if a heavy wind comes along by functioning as a strong setting spray. For those looking to pare down their beauty routine, this multitasking product is a must.
Conceal + Perfect Longwear Concealer
Concealer lovers, unite! This concealer is perfect for covering up undereye bags and disguising blemishes; plus, the creamy, water-resistant formula can last for up to 1 2 hours. It also comes in 18 shades and is full of vitamin E, so you're likely to find your most perfect match while also doing good by your skin.
All the Baked Blushes' greatness is also in the Baked Bronzers, working to give you glow and shimmer but no streaks. Every shade here will make you look like you just got off the plane from an Italian beach vacation.
Keep It Full Nourishing Lip Plumper
This lip plumper isn't like any other one you've used before—one of Milani's hottest products, the Keep It Full Nourishing Lip Plumper, is also a sheer gloss, offering full, hydrated lips, no injections required.
Metallic Lights Pearl Liquid Eyeshadow
As a liquid eyeshadow lover (and tough judge), Milani's version is top-tier in this writer's book. One sweep on the eye gives shimmering color while wearing them on top of other eyeshadow adds dimension and shine to any look. This water-based formula helps keep the glitter on your eyes, not on your face.
Hypnotic Lights Eye Topper
These eye toppers resemble the aforementioned Metallic Lights but with a more unicorn-like effect. The name "hypnotic" is a perfect description of this product, a duo-chrome liquid shimmer eyeshadow that will have everyone under your spell. Worn alone or on top of other eyeshadow, these bold colors will make any glittery look seem out-of-this-world.
Stay Put Matte 17hr Wear Liquid Eyeliner
This eyeliner might convince you to throw away your pricier faves. Stay Put Matte 17hr Wear Liquid Eyeliner stands out for being long-wearing, heavily pigmented, and smudge-proof. For those who want their cat-eye to stay on for nine lives, this waterproof eyeliner doesn't budge.
Strobelight Instant Glow Powder
Highlighters have dominated the beauty space for years, and this Milani one has been a hit since it launched. Milani says this highlighter is made with light-reflecting pearls, and you can tell—your face will truly look like a disco ball, in the best possible way. Those looking for a more "glow from within" look, fear not: While highly pigmented, this highlighter also blends beautifully on the skin.
Supercharged Cheek + Lip Multistick
Milani is truly the brand of the multitasking product. Two swipes of the Super Charged Cheek + Lip Multistick, and you're swimming in buildable color. With a gel-like consistency, it will give a flush that looks natural and healthy.