Halsey is joining Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and Millie Bobbie Brown with the curation and launch of her very own beauty brand, About-Face. The award-winning artist has been hinting about her latest project for months through mysterious posts on social media. Now, all has finally been revealed.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #38 series on my blog.
About-Face launched with three distinct franchises: Light Lock, Matte, and Shadowstick. The Light Lock assortment includes face highlighters with ultimate shine in stick, powder, fluid, and lip gloss form. The Matte range includes velvety finishes with products like the Paint-It Matte Lip Colors, Matte Fix Lip Pencils, and Fluid Eye Paint. Lastly, Shadowsticks are precise cream shadow crayons in soft pastel colors. The launch includes ten different products in an array of colors across each category. All About-Face products are vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without gluten, phthalates, parabens, or synthetic fragrances.
Keeping to her vision of self-love, identity, and reflection, about-face is a creation of Ashley Frangipane (Halsey’s birth name), with the brand’s initials being a reflection of her own. The beauty brand focuses on a collection that is “For everyone, for everywhere, for every way with a dedication to products that are as edgy and non-conforming as the voice behind it,” according to the press release.
Serving as founder and Chief Creative Officer, Halsey has had her hands in every step of the curation and launch, even stating on Twitter that she did the makeup and photos for all the models during the campaign. So far, the campaign has featured people of various backgrounds and identities, emphasizing the theme of multi-dimensional makeup for everyone.
About-Face officially launched on January 25, 2021, on aboutface.com. The line includes affordable items that range from $14 to $32.
About-Face wants you to embrace your inner light with their face products that feature shimmery colors and pigments that will leave you “Straight Beaming!” Featuring products like the Matte Fix Spray ($28), the Light Lock Highlighting Fluid ($32), the Light Lock Powder ($30), and the Light Lock Stock ($25). Each Light Lock product includes at least three varying shades from light sheer to a deeper bronze.
Light Lock Powder
A crazy smooth highlighter powder that transforms for a glass-like finish.
Often one to rock a bold look, Halsey curated lip products with bold shade ranges that highlight a deep wine red, a matte burnt beige, a light pale pink, and more. Featuring products like the Light Lock Lip Gloss ($20), the Paint-it Matte Lip Color ($22), and the Matte Fix Lip Pencil ($17).
Paint-It Matte Lip Color
A flexible, matte liquid formula infused with natural peppermint with a powerful pigment load.
Currently, About-Face offers two eye products that provide a bold matte finish, a saturated matte look, or a pearlescent shimmer—featuring products like the Matte Fluid Eye Paint ($24) and the Shadowstick ($21). The smooth, buildable Matte Fluid Eye Paint pigment comes in six shades described as a “one-swipe color” that is smudge and budge-proof. The Shadowstick contains both matte and shimmery shades that can be used as eyeliner, eyeshadow, or truly whatever you choose.
An insanely pigmented, one-stroke eye crème with a built in sharpener.
What’s left to say about the year 2020 that hasn’t already been said? These past 12 months may have tested humanity and the planet and every institution on it in ways most of us could never have fathomed — but even in the bad, weird, living nightmare times, the beauty industry did not quit.
Despite the odds, the economic downturns, the flailing retail structure, the unstable political climate, the sheer number of times the word “unprecedented” was uttered, beauty charged on. After all, there were game-changing formulas, groundbreaking technology and conversation-shifting campaigns to bring to market.
And so, as we look back at 2020 (and slowly but surely claw our way out of it), industry experts — ranging from dermatologists to Insta-famous makeup artists to beauty editors — identified some of the most noteworthy beauty launches of the year.
It was a big year for celebrity beauty, and a handful of star-backed brands had an impressive showing on this list, with multiple experts highlighting their superiority or buzz-worthiness amidst a sea of so many other celebrity lines. Skin care also reigned supreme, particularly as so many of us spent a record-breaking amount of time at home, staring at our own faces during Zoom calls. And perhaps most promisingly, brands that emphasized inclusivity — by serving marginalized and too-often underserved communities, by bringing all genders into the beauty conversation, by broadening the definition of what “good” skin can look like — were a welcome addition to 2020.
“Biden Beauty is an initiative that was near and dear to my heart because Very Good Light was behind it. It was a small idea that became a reality and was really amazing to see it thrive. We wanted to support the 2020 elections — arguably the most important of our lifetimes — and engage Gen Z and the beauty community to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. To do this, we [sold] a beauty sponge by the name of the Biden Beat from a beauty brand called Biden Beauty. We ended up selling one sponge every 60 seconds and it was probably the most meaningful initiative I’ve been a part of.” —David Yi, Founder and CEO, Very Good Light
“We don’t include men enough in conversations on skin care. Although Humanrace was created for all genders, [it’s] exciting to have a man at the forefront of the push to normalize skin care beyond just facial hair grooming. I love that the brand is guided by the expert input of his dermatologist with carefully selected science backed ingredients and prioritizes exfoliation and hydration as part of its simple three step routine.” —Dr. Adeline Kikam, Board-certified Dermatologist and Founder, @BrownSkinDerm
“[I] particularly [like] the Humidifying Cream. I wasn’t expecting to be floored by this product, but it’s honestly one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever used. I think we’re all a little burnt out when it comes to celebrity beauty launches — especially this year — but it seems like Pharrell actually put a lot of time and care into this one. He was thoughtful with his collection, from adding braille to the packaging to working with the brilliant Dr. Elena Jones to create simple and clean, but effective formulations, and I definitely appreciate it.” —Kayla Greaves, Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle
“Many men are not as passionate about skin care as they should be. And [Pharrell] is Benjamin Button! He’s pushing 50 and looks arguably 20-30 years younger. It’s about time he shares his secret to the fountain of youth.” —Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and Founder, BeautyStat
“Humanrace was a late entry this year, but made a lot of noise upon release. Although it’s a small launch it has the potential to attract a whole new audience to the skincare industry. It’s exciting to see.” — Saleam T. Singleton, men’s beauty advocate and contributing writer for Byrdie and AskMen
“I think Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace debut was incredibly successful and highly anticipated. The man is practically a vampire and for years we’ve been dying to know (beyond the fact he has melanin on his side) how he continues to look like he’s in his 20s. Not only is it a simple system of just three products, but it’s also eco-friendly. Wins all around!” —Julee Wilson, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan
TATCHA THE SERUM STICK
“I’m already a loyal fan of the entire dewy skin collection, but the stick is like Chapstick for the face and perfect for the random seasonal dry spots. I also use it as a highlighter in makeup applications when I’m looking for a shine without any pearl. Being a hands-free application and a multitasking product, it feels like a true hero of the year.” — Shayna Goldberg, makeup artist and consultant at The Wall Group
KOSAS REVEALER CONCEALER
“This concealer-meets-eye-cream has enough coverage to work on the toughest spots, but is flexible enough that the 16 shades work for every one of my clients all wrapped up in a dreamy formula.” —Tony Tulve, freelance makeup artist
“Patrick Starrr’s One/Size truly brought some new, better and different to the market. Yes, it was makeup, but it was gender-neutral makeup and represented a new breed of founder at Sephora. Patrick is unabashedly himself and wants others to be as well, which is so needed in an industry that’s striving to be inclusive but not quite there.” —Priya Rao, Executive Editor, Glossy and host, “Glossy Beauty” and “Unfair” podcasts
“It seemed like the world stopped when Rihanna came out with her skin-care line. Everyone either had already tried it, wanted to try it or was watching YouTube videos of people trying and reviewing it. It’s so revolutionary for the simple fact that it’s Rihanna, a well-known Black woman, showing that you can [create a] business that feels true to you.” —Ali, beauty model, creator and makeup artist at @SweetMutuals
“I haven’t tried any of the products myself, but many of the reviews I’ve seen have been more lukewarm than I would have expected. Much of the trepidation from the online skin-care community came from the use of fragrance in the Fenty Skin products. This product launch ignited a wide-ranging debate about the function of fragrance in skin care and whether the fears surrounding it are warranted. While most consumers probably have no idea about the debate around fragrance, I think there are a few lessons to be learned here: First, skin-care hobbyists can be extremely discerning, and not even someone as universally adored as Rihanna may not be immune to their criticism. Second, for the many celebrity skin-care launches that followed it (we’ve already seen entries from Pharrell and Jennifer Lopez this year), we can expect even more criticism as these people are seen as outsiders with little experience by the industry.” — Dr. Angelo Landriscina, board-certified ermatologist in New York City, @DermAngelo
“Fenty Skin broke barriers when it came to promoting sun protection for darker skin tones. The brand messaging is very inclusive, showing that skin care is for everyone.” —Tiara Willis, esthetician and influencer, @MakeupforWomenofColor
“Fenty Skin was for sure the most talked-about, most debated, most anticipated launch of the year, mainly because of innovation (Fat Water and the idea of the toner essence), effectively speaking to young, Black consumers about the importance of SPF and because of ingredient discussions on witch hazel and fragrance.” —Dr. Ranella Hirsch, Board-certified dermatologist in Boston
“[Selena Gomez] entered the already crowded celebrity-with-a-beauty-brand space, but gave it purpose in 2020. It’s so refreshing to have a brand centered around giving back to the community Gomez herself is part of with the Rare Impact Fund. Everyone at Elle has been obsessed with the products to the point where we won’t shut up about them. To more inclusive and transparent brands with a mental health impact in 2021!” —Chloe Hall, Beauty Director, Elle.com
“Rare Beauty was the most exciting launch for me, mostly because it felt genuine. Celebrity brands will always make headlines, but not all launches are up to snuff. But the team managed to carve out a unique space for themselves while creating a great lineup of staple products. It was a cohesive launch with purpose. I respect the brand for creating the Rare Impact Fund, which promises to donate $100M over the course of 10 years, starting with 1% from Rare’s first year of sales. As someone who’s often pitched new brands and products on a daily basis, it’s important for me to see that this celebrity-faced brand has a long-term vision.” —Kirbie Johnson, content creator and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
“When Selena launched Rare Beauty, it was clear that she really took her time to build this brand. The product formulations are innovative (that Lip Soufflé is so good!), the packaging is gorgeous and most impressive was Rare Beauty’s commitment to being a mission-driven brand. While I’m hoping fewer celebrities feel the need to launch their own beauty brands in the future, I do hope that those who do take note from Selena.” —Sara Tan, beauty editor and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
SUPREME X PAT MCGRATH LIPSTICK
“This was Supreme’s first foray into makeup in its 26-year history, and the Pat McGrath Labs brand was the perfect co-conspirator. Streetwear is supposed to be about breaking the rules and foraging new paths; McGrath has done both her entire career. I think there are a lot of lessons the beauty world can learn from the streetwear space from both a marketing and storytelling perspective, and visa versa. So much so, I once wrote about it earlier this year. I’m interested to see how else these worlds may dance together.” —Darian Harvin, Beauty Reporter, Beauty IRL
TATCHA THE LIQUID SILK CANVAS PRIMER
“I’m always looking for products that can retain longevity and stretch makeup to new boundaries through intense color payoff or innovative formulas. Tatcha’s launch of Liquid Silk Canvas Primer in the spring of 2020 was the [brand’s] first bridge product integrating innovative skin-care ingredients into makeup. This product became the makeup magnet of the year locking down whatever you put on top of it.” —Daniel Martin, makeup artist and global director of artistry and education at Tatcha
MAKEUP BY MARIO
I had to personally add it to this list, how could I not? One of the most world-renowned and looked-up-to makeup artists came out with his own makeup brand exclusively at Sephora in 2020. The brand’s mission statement is:
“Created by Master Makeup Artist Mario Dedivanovic, MAKEUP BY MARIO features pro formulas and tools in the most universal shades and easy-to-use textures. Infused with Mario’s philosophies and techniques, each product is crafted to provide an effortless makeup experience and inspired artistry.”
Patrick Ta has become one of Hollywood’s top makeup artists, but it wasn’t always so glamorous for the San Diego native. Before touching makeup, Ta had explored becoming a culinary chef and even owned a nail and tanning salon in Scottsdale, Arizona. After his salon venture failed, he got a job at MAC Cosmetics where he found his love for makeup. “After my salon went bankrupt, my roommate at the time gave me my first job doing makeup at MAC Cosmetics and from there my obsession for makeup began,” explained Ta. Even though he didn’t have any experience, he started doing makeup on people for prom, events and weddings. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #14 series on my blog.
Instagram had just started becoming popular around the time Ta was becoming passionate about makeup so he started his own page uploading his work. “I was really lucky that all my girlfriends let me practice on them. They would share my work on social media which led me to grow my clientele and eventually led me to want to pursue makeup in Los Angeles,” said Ta. When Ta first moved to Los Angeles as a freelance makeup artist he didn’t know anyone in the industry. He took to Instagram once again to connect with influencers to do their makeup. Then one day Shay Mitchell started following Ta and slid into his DM’s. “I knew Shay was going to make a huge difference in my career. I am so grateful that she was one of my first celebrity clients because she allowed me to grow with her, and then I met Gigi Hadid which took my work to the next level in the world of high fashion,” stated Ta.
Ta went on to work with Olivia Munn, Adriana Lima, Jessica Alba, Joan Smalls, Ariana Grande, Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Bella Hadid Kendall Jenner, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, and Jenna Dewan Tatum, among others. Patrick’s devotion to his craft has allowed him to develop a refined hand and keen eye for color and composition. Although his client roster consists of the highest profile models, celebrities, and influencers today, he believes that every person, no matter who they are, deserves to feel confident and beautiful every day. As his fanbase grew, so did the demand of knowing how he achieves that natural, yet sultry glow on his clients. That led him to work on creating his own beauty line which launched in April 2019 as an homage to the women in his life that have supported him and given him the confidence to be who he is.
Patrick Ta Beauty initially launched with Major Glow which included three highlighting mists, body oils and lip shines. “My first collection all about translucent glow for all skin tones; then my next collection was named Monochrome Moment which featured four blushes, lip liners and lip cremes. I love monochromatic looks because thats what I do for my clients when they hire me for an everyday look. Simple browns and bronzes to give that natural glow” explained Ta.
Ta is set to expand Patrick Ta Beauty with more makeup and color. His masterclasses are always full and his insights and techniques are extremely unique.
Huda Beauty is a cosmetics line launched in 2013 by Iraqi-American businesswoman and makeup artist, Huda Kattan. The founder, Kattan, was chosen as one of “The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet” by Time in 2017, listed as one of The Richest Self-Made Women and one of the Top Three Beauty Influencers by Forbes. In the span of 5 years, the brand has built a positive reputation on some of its products, such as fake eyelashes series, a collection of foundation, eyeshadow and some face palettes. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #11 series on my blog.
In April 2010, Huda Kattan started the beauty-related blog, Huda Beauty, and a YouTube channel. She later found success on other platforms. Kattan launched a cosmetic line named after her channel in 2013. It has since become one of the world’s fastest-growing beauty brands.
As of 2020, Huda Beauty has more than 4 million subscribers on YouTube and is the number one account on the Instagram Beauty section in the world, with over 40 million followers. The contents of Kattan’s channels are beauty tutorial-oriented: Kattan shares makeup techniques, skincare routines and personal preferred beauty products from multiple brands. On Sephora.com there are currently 55 products listed for her brand.
The first Huda Beauty product was a collection of false eyelashes released through Sephora, in Dubai in 2011 and the United States in 2015. The Kardashian sisters were reported to use Huda Beauty lashes, providing an early publicity boost to the label. As of 2018, Huda Beauty has an estimated net value of US$550 million and the company as a business is valued at over a billion dollars, according to Forbes.
In December 2017, the company received a minority investment from TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm which had previously invested in beauty brands such as Smashbox and It Cosmetics (both of which were purchased by major beauty conglomerates — Estée Lauder and L’Oréal).
Huda Beauty offers more than 140 products online & in-store. The beauty brand has launched an entire range of products, which include lipstick collections, face palettes like highlighter and contour, false lashes, and a collaborative product with Tweezerman. Its Samantha Lashes #7, since launch, has been ranked as one of best selling and highly reviewed lash products.
In 2018, all launched products that together bring in at least $200 million in annual revenue. Time described this “an internet based beauty brand age”, as internet-to-business beauty products have taken over a large percentage from the traditional beauty market. They own a significantly growing share of the whole market.
The price of Huda Beauty’s products has been widely seen as reasonable compared to similar products that share similar markets. Though, among blog-to-brand beauty brands, that are created by YouTubers or Instagram bloggers, the price of Huda Beauty’s products are relatively high. Bloggers mostly launch beauty products for which they set a price a bit lower than the ordinary market price, as their brand names and quality usually have not been tested through time.
However, Huda Beauty’s foundation sells at 65 Australian dollars in Australian Sephora stores, while Fenty beauty by Rihanna offers a similar market-targeted foundation at 50 dollars. Also, the first-line beauty company, Estee Lauder, sells its well-reviewed foundation “Double Wear” under 60 dollars at department stores, like Westfield and David Jones in Australia.
However, Huda Beauty’s most well known product: fake lashes “#7 Samantha” still achieve success in sales, although its price is 35 dollars in Australia. While SHU UEMURA, currently the first name in eye-related beauty section, offers fake lashes around 25 Australian dollars in department stores.
In 2017, Huda Beauty announced that it would soon be debuting a foundation collection with a more diverse range of shades. Just after this, the collection been criticized by Fenty Beauty followers that “it copies Fenty Beauty’s “Pro Filt’r” foundation collection image”. Huda Beauty’s “#FauxFilter” foundations have a selection of 30 shades, while Rihanna’s brand – Fenty Beauty “Pro Filt’r” foundation collection has 40 shades. Others, however, applauded Huda Beauty for being one of the first brands to release an inclusive range of shades in Sephora stores globally.
Huda Beauty is among the best-selling cosmetics brands in Sephora in the Middle East and Harrods in London. According to The Business of Fashion, Kattan’s background as an Iraqi immigrant in America distinguishes her from other beauty influencers. She studied finance in the United States, and pursued a career as a makeup artist in Dubai.