Beauty brands have become to celebs what TikTok has become to influencers: something to add to your resume. Whether or not they have any background in the beauty space, aside from being beautiful themselves, it seems that more and more famous women — from singers to actors to social media stars — are trying their hand at becoming beauty industry moguls.
Now, I’m all for supporting women, having them live their best lives and take up as much space as they can. However, it feels bittersweet that some non-famous women put their hearts and souls — along with their life savings and actual science — into creating beauty brands, but they don’t get the attention they deserve. Meanwhile, stars who gained fame and notoriety based on their looks (which are often elevated and maintained through products and procedures outside of their everyday beauty routines) are able to market their brand as if their products are the reason they look the way they do.
One brand that I’m skeptical of, personally, is Jennifer Lopez’s JLo Beauty. JLo is a never-aging, timeless queen, but she’s revealed some of her go-to skincare products throughout the years, including a pricey La Mer moisturizer. This makes me wonder if women buying her products hoping to look like her might not find what they’re looking for.
The same goes for Hailey Bieber’s new skincare line, Rhode. Hailey Bieber seems like an unproblematic queen, but I wonder: what is her beauty line bringing to the industry that isn’t already here? Especially knowing her glowing skin is courtesy of high-end brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm.
To me, you can really tell when a celeb cares about their brand.
That’s not to say that celebs don’t have the money to hire an amazing team and create amazing products. However, I feel that there’s a difference between someone starting a line that they truly believe in or that is trying to fill a genuine gap in the industry — and someone just adding another marketing venture to their list of accomplishments.
To me, you can really tell when a celeb cares about their brand. It shows in the time they take to create something that is unique in the market, and also when they put in the effort to be inclusive and have their brand represent that. At the end of the day, beauty products are just products — the moisturizer you put on your face, the highlighter that makes you pop — but as people begin to care more about supporting more conscious brands rather than buying the trendiest products, celebs need to consider where and how they take up space.
With that being said, there are some celebs who entered the market at the right time, provided something unique and are shaking up the beauty industry in their own way. Here are a few of my top picks for celeb beauty brands that are killing it:
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty
You know we had to start with Fenty Beauty. Not too long ago in 2017, Rihanna shook up the celeb universe by transitioning from international pop star to business mogul. She entered the market at a time when not many celebs owned a beauty brand (as opposed to being a brand ambassador for one), and she added something that, oddly, still wasn’t the norm in the industry: a range of 40 foundation shades. Rihanna didn’t invent this concept, but she definitely normalized it. Shortly after Fenty popularized this and showed there was a demand for the shades that ranged outside the typical 20 medium shades that most other brands created, other companies followed suit and upped their shade range.
My Fenty Beauty pick: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation, Sephora, $50.
Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez is another celeb-founded brand that took the industry by storm. Selena Gomez, who openly talks about her mental health struggles, named her beauty brand after her album of the same name — Rare. This album and her brand sent her audience a powerful message: you are rare.
Rare Beauty’s products are meant to enhance your natural beauty and make you feel confident in the skin you’re in. It helps that the liquid blush went viral on TikTok and is now a cult favourite, but Gomez created a line that encompasses an overall positive message and lifestyle that people entrust her with.
My Rare Beauty pick: Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in “Encourage,” Sephora, $26.
You may also like: Selena Gomez debuts sleek new bob haircut on TikTok.
Ariana Grande’s R.E.M Beauty
Last, but definitely not least, is the iconic R.E.M. Beauty by Ariana Grande. Again, Grande made the deliberate choice not to include her name in the branding itself, but to instead name it after the popular track from her Grammy award-winning album, Sweetener. If you’re a fan, the makeup line makes total sense and seems like an authentic extension of her brand.
Her Sweetener era encompassed an ethereal and other-wordly aura, her tour set made to look like the night sky. Although she’s an artist known for her eras, with each album taking on a different version of herself, R.E.M. beauty manages to capture Grande’s overall essence — soft, feminine, glossy and attention-grabbing. Many of the iconic looks she sports in her music videos are courtesy of R.E.M beauty products — which just might be the perfect marketing strategy.
My R.E.M. Beauty pick: at the borderline kohl eyeliner pencil in “white,” R.E.M. Beauty, $25.
Starting a beauty brand seems to be the newest trend in Hollywood. The way every celeb had a fragrance in the early 2000s is the same way they have a beauty brand now. We love any excuse for a makeup haul, but choosing what products we trust to put on our face is completely different than choosing a scent. We love to see celebs who make inclusivity a priority and bring something cool and unique to the market. But we would also love to see brands being created with more of a purpose, rather than as a trend.