ESSENCE held its annual Smart Beauty panel last week at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The event found that African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products but struggle with prestige beauty brands like Chanel and Versace, which don’t effectively market to our consumer group. ESSENCE Beauty and Cover Director Mikki Taylor led the panel and was joined by celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton and Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. “She spends a lot, but there’s little satisfaction. What keeps us buying is the hope that this product will do what it’s supposed to do,” says Fine.—QS

What beauty brands do you trust and use regularly?