On Monday, Ciara announced she’s leveling up and jumping into the beauty game by launching her own skincare line.
Called OAM — which stands for “On a Mission” — the beauty brand drops online September 15.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #90 series on my blog.
“You’ve been asking… and here it is. Meet my secret sauce,” the “One, Two Step” songstress wrote on Instagram, calling the line “years in the making.”
The Instagram Reel shows comments fans have left over the years asking the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model, 36, to drop her skincare routine.
“It’s the flawless skin for me,” one reads. “Baby them pores was no where [sic] to be found!” another gushes.
In the comments, one fan asked, “Now can we get the workout plan?” and a follower added, “She got that business head.”
Ciara’s line is launching with five “clinical-level” products, which she worked with a team of board-certified dermatologists to perfect, testing her potions on 96 women with different skin tones.
OAM is rolling out a Vitamin C Hydrating Cleanser, Vitamin C Brightening Pads, 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum (which she calls “liquid gold for your skin”), Vitamin C Eye Revitalizer and Vitamin C Radiance Moisturizer, with prices ranging between $28 and $62.
“I would say this is truly a missing piece in skin care today,” the “Like a Boy” hitmaker told Allure. “These products are for all skin types, so that’s why we wanted to do [the clinical testing] with every skin tone.”
Ciara joins a long list of celebrities with their own beauty brands and skincare lines, including Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Halsey, Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna.
Considering the sheer amount of celebrity product lines in existence, it’s easy to be wary of believing any are worth the hype. After all, how involved can a superstar juggling myriad projects be? Especially someone as busy as Jennifer Lopez. Yet according to fans, her skincare line’s newest exfoliant is just as hard-working as the star herself.
The proof is in its popularity: The That Overnight Hustler AHA + BHA Resurfacer sold out after launching last month, the brand tells InStyle, and promptly racked up a 3,500-person waitlist on JLo Beauty’s website. While it’s still MIA there, Sephora has it in stock — and per people who’ve tried the overnight treatment, no product has made their skin look smoother, clearer, or more even.
As one person on the cusp of 50 said, it’s their favorite nighttime addition for addressing “fine lines, sagging skin, and uneven tone.” The combination of plumping hyaluronic acid and line-softening lactic and glycolic acid leaves wrinkles less visible after a couple applications, a different person agreed, writing that they’re “amazed at the difference” it made in just a few nights.
The formula gets a moisturizing bump from glycerin, jojoba, and grapeseed oil, and antioxidants enter the mix via blueberry, sugarcane, and orange extract. On top of those, willow bark extract clears pores, and bromelain adds a last exfoliating angle — so it’s no wonder Sephora reviewers see much smoother skin and a J.Lo-worthy glow. “This has absolutely changed my skin,” one user wrote of the “relaxed, fresh” skin they saw upon waking.
Those with chronically dull skin were also satisfied by the amped-up brightness it delivered, like one customer who noted that it softened their fine lines as a bonus. Dark spots lighten too, a logical consequence of the Resurfacer’s acid squad — but as multiple people addressed, the “liquid gold” somehow still feels gentle.
“Our philosophy is making one of everything really good.” That’s what Hailey Bieber told PEOPLE about Rhode, the skincare brand she’s been teasing for months (and has been promoting very fashionably now that it’s available to buy). “What sets Rhode apart is we’re putting out a very curated, edited line of essentials.”
Ahead of its June 15 launch, five PEOPLE writers tried out the model’s new line, incorporating its debut trio of products, which come bundled in The Rhode Kit, into their daily routines for an average of 10 days.
The Rhode lineup consists of three products: the Peptide Glazing Fluid, the Barrier Restore Cream, and the Peptide Lip Treatment. Key ingredients in the collection include peptides, which the brand says “visibly plump and reduce the look of fine lines“; niacinamide, which “nourishes, brightens, and improves skin’s overall texture“; and hyaluronic acid, which “locks in hydration.” You’ll also find moisturizing shea butter, softening marula oil, and supportive squalane.
The team definitely agreed on one thing: It looks very cool. “Clean and fresh, very Gen-Z in a cool way,” said Jenn Chan, commerce writer. “The packaging compels me to reach for it more than others because it does look so unique.” And speaking to Bieber’s intention to make her products “accessible and attainable for everyone,” commerce writer Claire Harmeyer noted, “The fonts are sophisticated and subtle and they don’t feel too fancy or inaccessible.”
Added Michelle Lee, style and beauty editorial assistant, “Aesthetically, I loved the matte gray packaging and the pastel colors when it came to differentiating the scented products. It felt very on brand for Hailey.“
And speaking of scents, “the Barrier Restore Cream and Peptide Glazing Fluid don’t have scents,” senior commerce writer and strategist Alex Warner confirmed. “The cream is a richer white color, and the glazing fluid is more of a translucent white color. Both turn completely transparent within seconds of smoothing onto your skin.”
“The scented Peptide Lip Treatments, obviously, have a smell, but I liked them,” said commerce writer Madison Yauger. “I didn’t notice the scents when I was wearing the products. The lip treatment comes out like a clear gel, kind of thick, but is easily spreadable across the lips.”
As for the line’s user-friendliness, “the directions are very straightforward and make it easy to figure out how to add the products to your regular routine,” said Warner.
Keep reading for more details on each product, and stick around for their final thoughts on Rhode at the very end.
Alex: “The Peptide Glazing Fluid is lightweight and smooth. I expected the peptide product to be more of a liquid-y serum, not a cream. It feels slightly tacky after first patting into the skin, but that goes away once it’s all dried. It comes in a small container with a pump and pull-off cap. The cap is definitely secure and was sometimes hard to pull off, but that was good for traveling so that product didn’t accidentally leak out anywhere. I enjoy that it dispenses a pea-sized amount, controlling how much you’re using.“
Madison: “The peptide serum feels more like a liquid-based cream because it’s so thin and can easily be dispersed between two fingers. My skin took on an immediate dewy glow and stayed hydrated throughout the day.”
Michelle: “This glided on nicely and was easy to layer with my other products (after an essence and before my sunscreen). It left my skin feeling smooth, and the lightweight formula was great for my oily skin — I tend to gravitate toward gel-like and lighter consistencies. My skin absorbed this one quicker. I didn’t have any problem applying my makeup on top of this either.“
“But I didn’t like how clunky the packaging was compared to the lightness of the product. While the pump dispersed the right amount of moisturizer, the cap was hard to twist on and off.”
Claire: “I was hoping to visually see that ‘dewy glow’ Hailey always plugs, and I can confirm my skin does look dewier after less than two weeks of use! I really think this gives my skin a supple glow immediately. I notice extra dewiness and glow every morning after I use it the night before. I really enjoy lathering it onto my face after cleansing, because it makes my skin feel super hydrated and look dewy.“
“One note: The cap was not extremely easy to get off. The first time I removed it, some of the product spilled out and was lost. You have to pump pretty hard to get enough product out of the nozzle. However, I like the unique shape of the bottle and slanted top.”
Madison: “The Barrier Restore Cream feels like a thicker cream, but it’s still pretty light. It applies easily and dries fast. But when I used it with the Peptide Glazing Fluid, my oily/combination skin tended to have that oily shine toward the end of the day. Toward the end of the trial period, I started just doing the Glazing Fluid in the morning, and then both the fluid and the barrier cream at night.”
Alex: “This has a thick texture, but it blends out smoothly when I massaged it into my skin. It comes in a squeeze tube that’s easy to open and close, but it can be tricky since you could dispense too much product. It can be wasteful this way.“
“But I’m definitely going to keep using it! I’ve been looking for a good, thick moisturizing cream that I can use in my a.m. and p.m. routine, and this one has been great for hydration. I love that it doesn’t leave my face feeling sticky.”
Michelle: “The cream is heavier than the Peptide Glazing Fluid, but still easy to blend into the skin. While both left my skin feeling smooth on initial application and I noticed a slight evening of skin tone and brightness after, over time, I developed irritation that made my skin texture uneven (i.e. I had some small small breakouts), and my skin felt slightly dehydrated and tight after using the Barrier Restore Cream overnight.“
Claire: “The cream isn’t as moisturizing as I had hoped — it absorbs very quickly and leaves me feeling like I need a bit more to really lock in moisture… I needed to use more than the ‘1/2 finger length’ suggested in order for my entire face to feel hydrated. But I like that it advises to layer with the Peptide Glazing Fluid because it feels like a nice combination.“
“I don’t notice as much of a visual effect from this product, but my skin does feel extremely soft after using this.“
Jenn: “I think the standout here is the Peptide Lip Treatment. I loved the consistency, the scent — the shiny, dewy effect is so pretty and unlike any of my other lip balms or treatments. The watermelon one is my favorite.“
Madison: “The Peptide Lip Treatment felt like a much thinner version of Aquaphor. It comes out like a clear gel, kind of thick, but is easily spreadable across the lips. It created the same glossy barrier on my lips, but it looked like a lip gloss and kept my lips hydrated for several hours after application.”
Alex: “The Peptide Lip Treatments come in long, little squeeze tubes with an edge that makes applying it on lips seamless. They apply like a gloss and feel slightly sticky, but not in an uncomfortable way. It made my lips feel very smooth when I rubbed them together. I absolutely love the taste and smell of the watermelon — it reminds me of lip balms I used as a kid. I plan to apply it over some other pigmented lip colors for a glossy, hydrating finish.”
Michelle: “These had a heavy feel similar to a gloss that lasted after hours of application, which I didn’t mind because it felt more hydrating. After applying, my lips felt moisturized, and I didn’t feel the need to reapply numerous times. I’d say the best packaging goes to the Peptide Lip Treatments: I loved how compact they were (great for on the go), and the applicator allows the product to go on smoothly.“
“I loved that even the scented lip treatments didn’t have an artificial, overpowering fragrance. As someone with sensitive skin, I always try to shop fragrance-free products, so that element was great for me. I would use the lip treatments again because I loved the application, scents, and shine, which I feel would make a great lip gloss alternative — glossy and moisturizing at the same time!.”
Claire: “These bottles are a nice size for keeping in your purse or on a bedside table. The squeezing applicator makes these lip balms easy to apply without getting your fingers messy.“
“This doesn’t feel too sticky on my lips, but instead is lightly moisturizing and feels high-end. It absorbs pretty slowly, which is nice because I don’t feel the need to reapply shortly after. My lips definitely look softer and juicier after using this! The lip treatments are nice overnight, because they do feel a tad bit sticky for about 20 minutes after applying.”
Their Final Thoughts on Rhode
“This is a line for someone on the go who doesn’t have a ton of time to fuss with a super fancy regimen,” Chan deduced. “Really nice formulas, not too thick or gloppy. They apply easily and absorb right into the skin effortlessly. The products feel simple and straightforward.” She also noted that her skin felt “noticeably fresh and radiant — I did a double take one morning.”
“My skin has a slightly more radiant glow a few hours after applying, but isn’t overly dewy or greasy-looking, which is ideal, in my opinion,” added Warner. “I can definitely tell my skin feels smoother after applying immediately, but I haven’t noticed any really big improvements to my skin’s overall hydration after just two weeks.“
“Overall, I really liked these products,” said Yauger. “Even after a week, my skin feels smoother and generally more hydrated, which is promising (especially during summer!). I plan to continue using them to see what results look like in a month, and I’m excited to see what else Rhode releases in the future.“
Idris and Sabrina Elba have it going on — in more ways than one. The partners in life and business are hosting a podcast, Coupledom, and now, launching a skin-care brand, S’Able Labs. (That’s Elba’s spelled backwards!)
“We’re a partnership, and skin care is something we can share. We are both on the same page about feeling good externally and it helps us approach our day,” Idris Elba tells Allure. There’s no “his” or “her’s” here. Instead, S’Able Labs is all about “us-care,” the idea of looking after yourself, so you can look after others — and intentionally sharing moments with the people around you. “We all have skin we want to nourish and protect and hydrate,” says Sabrina Elba, and, she adds, “when you feel good, you do good.“
Together, the duo has created a line of three products — cleanser, toner, moisturizer — to help with the “feel good” part of that equation. It’s a simple lineup, but each product is formulated with hard-working ingredients, several of which have been thoughtfully sourced from Africa. “There are powerful ingredients on that continent,” says Sabrina Elba. “Some of my fondest memories are of sitting underneath the massive baobab trees in East Africa,” she says.
The superfood baobab, packed with anti-inflammatory properties, is the star ingredient in the aptly named S’Able Labs Baobab Moisturiser, a lightweight formula that goes heavy on hydration with the help of shea butter and squalane.
Each of the products are infused with The Elba’s experiences. “Somali women have been using qasil, [a powder made from the leaves from the gob tree], for centuries,” says Sabrina Elba. “I’ve watched my mom put this green stuff on her face forever. It’s a great natural soap full of antioxidants,” she tells Allure. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King confirms this ingredient is both an effective cleanser and exfoliator.
The S’Able Labs Qasil Cleanser combines the Somalian plant with shea butter and purifying kaolin clay. “We both loved the way the cleanser felt on our skin. It provided immediate smoothness and softness — but unlike some exfoliating cleansers, it wasn’t the least bit irritating,” says Allure associate features director Dianna Mazzone, after testing it with her fiancé Herman.
For editorial assistant Talia Gutierrez and her partner Austin, the S’Able Labs Black Seed Toner added some fun to their multi-step routine. “We enjoyed spritzing each other’s faces — a couple’s thing,” she says. “And we both appreciated the ultra-fine mist that left our skin dewy while feeling clean and hydrated, too.” They both sealed in the hydration with a penny-sized scoop of the S’Able Labs Baobab Moisturiser. “A little goes a long way,” says Austin.
Well, Allure sat down with Idris and Sabrina in a cozy, colorful room at The Whitby Hotel in New York City to chat about their exciting new brand S’Able Labs, how they like to use the products, and their favorite ways to practice “us-care.”
IDRIS: Self-care quickly became “us-care” when we were in lockdown [during the pandemic]. We realized that only when you’re really good with yourself, are you good with someone else.
SABRINA: It’s become such an educational process for me to talk about skin care with my partner who, you know, only used Vaseline until very recently [laughs].
When we created the S’able Labs, we wanted it to be something we could use together.
IDRIS: It’s not man or woman. It’s just human. We are both humans.
SABRINA: Idris will use the [S’able Labs Black Seed] toner as aftershave and I use it to set my makeup. It doesn’t need to be so specific.
IDRIS: I know how our [S’able Labs Baobab] moisturizer feels on my skin, Sabrina knows how it feels on her skin, and we both know that actually makes us feel good.
SABRINA: So much of my beauty routine is [about] being prepared for the day, so I don’t have to spend time in the bathroom, like having lash extensions, or my brows laminated. Even though I never look like I’m wearing heavy makeup, I’m always trying new things. If I’m going to try a color, it’s probably on my lips. And I’ve been trying colorful eyeliner recently, which is so fun. But Idris loves the no-makeup look [on me]. He says, “Oh, you look so great in the morning when you just wake up.”
IDRIS: I just sit in the makeup chair and get whatever done to me if I’m in a film. [And] I do make it a point to brush my teeth, but I’m not a flosser. Sabrina is a flosser.
SABRINA: How do you get away with so many things? I get jealous of how little you have to do [before] you walk out the door.
IDRIS: I will shave! I’m the guy who gets new growth by five o’clock in the afternoon, so I keep on top of it. And I shower every day, sometimes twice a day. I just got a fresh haircut and, honestly, my energy levels feel different. My clothes feel different.
A haircut does that for me. I’ve gotta make sure the hair looks right. Buying new sneakers definitely makes me feel good. There’s something about stepping in fresh shoes. And I started swimming early in the morning. It feels so alien to jump into cold water, but it’s invigorating.
SABRINA: So much of the dream treatment for me is about where I am and who I am with. We went to Iceland recently and we were in the Blue Lagoon getting a massage.
IDRIS: That was incredible.
SABRINA: Yeah, it made it so much more impactful. If I’m in a beautiful setting, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bad massage.
IDRIS: Also, hot yoga in a hot climate is different. It’s not hot yoga, it’s just yoga. Something about the elements being natural rather than having a heater… Everyone’s sweating. But it’s the fact you’re warm and supple, and the environment is great.
SABRINA: Music is [another] form of self-care for us. We sit together, listen to an album… We fell in love listening to an album on a couch. It was A Tribe Called Quest…
IDRIS: The newest one. And Sampha.
SABRINA: We were just listening to music and that was so therapeutic for us and allowed us to bond. And also, if Idris serenades anyone, I’m pretty sure they fall in love pretty quickly.
IDRIS: Don’t put that out there [laughs]. They’ll be like, “You’re good at this! Sing!“
SABRINA: Idris is so passionate about music. And it’s that [same] passion that’s bled into our relationship and anything we approach together.
Ariana Grande stans, rejoice: the singer’s latest r.e.m. beauty chapter is now available at Ulta Beauty.
Alongside Chapters 1 and 2, Ulta customers can add the latest r.e.m. beauty Chapter 3 products to their carts. The newest collection features five lip products, including a balm, oil, liner, and two new formulas of the On Your Collar lipstick: a liquid version and a hydrating option packaged in a thin bullet.
“With Chapter 3, we blend the romance and retro-glamor of the ’50s’ approach to lipstick that I’ve always loved,” Grande tells InStyle. She says she’s “obsessed” with the new “high-performance” formulas, and shares a secret about the Essential Drip Lip Oil: “We brought a little skincare magic to your lips — the lip oil applicator was inspired by one of my favorite eye cream tools and really enhances the experience.”
The applicator of the r.e.m. lip oil and gloss hybrid has a unique design that includes a small metal ball at the tip, similar to eye cream products that are designed to de-puff the undereye area. The brand recommends using the metal part to apply the oil and then blending it in with the sides of the cupped applicator. Made with cocoglycerides, an emollient derived from coconut oil, the oil comes in four scents: raspberry, mint, lavender, and peach.
Fans are already fawning over the Essential Drip Lip Oil on r.e.m. beauty’s website. Shoppers love the “original design” and say the oil is “not sticky at all, has the “best cooling effect,” and makes their lips feel “10 times more moisturized.”
One thing’s for sure: You can count on r.e.m. beauty’s Chapter 3 for a plush and plump pout!
Bobbi Brown, the makeup mogul who pioneered the “no makeup makeup” look in the early 90s, is back at it with a new venture.
Based on the belief that the world “doesn’t need more beauty products, it just needs better beauty products,” her new brand, Jones Road, which she launchred during the pandemic, offers a relatively small range of “clean” products, formulated to eliminate potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sulfates. And, in keeping with her less-is-more approach, many items in her new range are multifunctional — such as a balm that can be applied to cheeks, lips and eyelids.
Jones Road comes decades after Brown sold her namesake label and years after she exited the company.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #85 series on my blog.
Building a brand
Brown first entered the beauty world in the 1980s as a makeup artist when the overly made-up look was in vogue. “It was Studio 54, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Hall,” recalled Brown during an interview with CNN. “I tried to do that and it didn’t work. So I thought, ‘let me make people look more natural,'” she said.
Bucking the trend, she bid on consumers wanting a more natural look and launched Bobbi Brown in 1991, building a business that was so successful that Estée Lauder came knocking on her door just a few years later. According to Brown, the then CEO Leonard Lauder called to tell her she was beating the cosmetics giant in all the major department stores. He invited Brown and her husband over for dinner and asked if he could buy the brand. “We aren’t for sale,” she told him at the time, but eventually Lauder made an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“When Leonard said to me, ‘what if I can promise you that we can grow your business and you could do what you love’ — and this got to me — ‘you keep doing all of the creative, we do everything else and you can be a really good mom and have your family and not spend your life traveling,’ I said OK. He was the right partner at the right time,” Brown said.
She stayed on at the brand for more than two decades after the reported $74.5 million sale but eventually came to regret a non-compete agreement she had signed, which would bar her from launching any new beauty brands for 25 years. “I’ve always only put my name on things I believe in. It is one of the reasons I left the last brand,” she said. “At the end of my tenure I was forced into approving things that I never had a chance to approve. I refused. I never put my name on something that I don’t believe in.”
But there were still four years left on the non-compete agreement and she finally had the luxury of time to figure out what she wanted to do next.
In her second act, Brown went back to school to get certified as a health coach. “I didn’t go back to school with a purpose. I went because it was the first time in my life I had time to think of what I wanted to do,” she said. “I’ve always been a health nut and a foodie so going back to school I figured out healthier ways to eat food that I love.” During that time she said she started wearing even less make up.
“Honestly, I sort of stopped wearing it after I left the brand. I was getting healthier, I was less stressed, and I looked better,” she said.
Brown said she could see what was happening on social media with the many direct-to-consumer beauty brands emerging but saw a gap in the market for the company she was quietly starting to envision which was “somewhere between old Celine, when Phoebe Philo was there, and Supreme.”
She launched the brand on October 26, 2020, the day her non-compete was up.
Brown joined Tiktok in January this year, posting videos with straight-talking advice, including tips for people who are over 50. In one video she makes a case against contouring — a makeup technique used to define and shape certain facial features — asking, “why would you want to contour your nose?” while explaining how she learned to embrace her natural features.
Brown has also used the platform to address critics. One of the brand’s foundations had received some negative feedback from users online — some didn’t like that the oil-based foundation separated in its container, others felt the coverage wasn’t enough. She responded with a series of videos defending the product and explaining how to mix it properly and how to apply it.
A lot has changed since Brown launched her first brand, but she appears to be embracing the opportunity to talk directly to consumers and share positive beauty messages.
“I believe in life, you have to use what you have and stop fighting who you are,” she said, “I really believe in empowering people to be the best versions of themselves.”
Bobbi’s Top 5 Beauty Tips:
1. Smile a lot, you just look so much better when you do!
2. Hydrate yourself, I don’t care if it’s water or herbal tea — it makes such a difference in how you feel.
3. How you feel is tied to how you look, so instead of running to get work done, ask yourself “why don’t I feel good?” and make some changes to your lifestyle.
4. Wear sunscreen and wear a seatbelt.
5. Streamline your regime: Find a few beauty products that take you just a few minutes to apply that make you feel good no matter what, where and when.
Scarlett Johansson is joining the sea of celebrity skin care founders. Last June, the two-time Oscar nominee announced she would be entering the beauty market with her own line, and on Tuesday, the 37-year-old actress launched an Instagram account and a website offering a sneak peek of her brand, The Outset.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #78 series on my blog.
“I’ve been the face of several luxury brands throughout my career, and all of those experiences were really wonderful,” Johansson wrote in one post, referencing her years with L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and others. “But—how do I put this? I guess I always felt like I was playing a character in those campaigns, and as I evolved I wanted to create and represent a brand that was true to me.” Using the hashtag #TheStartOfYou, Johansson’s preview of The Outset suggests a product line centered on eco-friendly and plant-based ingredients.
Johansson will serve as the chairman of the new company, which launched on March 1. Cofounder Kate Foster will be the CEO. Foster was previously founder and CEO of SwearBy, a digital site focused on word-of-mouth product recommendations.
The Outset has funding from the Najafi Companies, a Phoenix-based private investment firm founded by Jahm Najafi, vice chair and partial owner of the Phoenix Suns and McLaren Formula One Race Team. In addition to backing the NBA team and other sports ventures such as StubHub, BodyBuilding.com and Mission Advancement Corp. with Colin Kaepernick, Najafi has a notable portfolio of celebrity-founded lifestyle brands, including Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty and Shay Mitchell’s bag company, Beis.
WWD reported last year that Najafi invested between $5 million to $10 million to fund The Outset launch. When Johansson announced that the beauty company was in the works, the mother of two said she took a step away from her existing endorsement deals to focus on her own venture.
Johansson is joining a long list of stars with cosmetics brands. Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez already have their own beauty lines, all of which tend to boast an emphasis on clean ingredients, simplicity, accessibility and inclusiveness. But the crowded market isn’t deterring Johansson from entering the skin care space, which helped make Rihanna a billionaire last year.
The cluttered market did not deter Najafi from investing. “The Outset is a special opportunity; for us to partner with an artist, it comes down to core values, passion and commitment…” says Dean Schnider, partner at The Najafi Companies. “Scarlett has been perfecting her own skincare formulations for years and the amount of genuine passion and intentionality that has led to The Outset is a true differentiator in the marketplace.”
While The Outset is a serious business venture, Johansson’s husband, Saturday Night Live star Colin Jost, couldn’t resist making with the wisecracks in the comments of the new Instagram account: “Is this the best way to contact you?” Jost asked a Johansson portrait. “I’m starting a similar brand called ‘Part of a Face’ and would love to use this photo. Thanks.”
To get more comfortable during a presentation, people often suggest imagining the audience in their underwear or assuming a powerful stance. Ariana Grande, while swatching the new shades from her r.e.m. beauty brand, has a different method: she announces that she’s going to swatch while impersonating actress Jennifer Coolidge. “This one’s called Boca Mocha,” she says in a pitch-perfect Coolidge voice while running her finger with the chocolate-brown eye shadow over her arm, “because it’s got a nice warm shade.” Grande’s right—it does make everything more comfortable.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #69 series on my blog.
The singer has a lot of nervous energy to expunge while launching her new brand. In fact, she was the first person to log onto the Zoom call to discuss r.e.m. “I was way too excited,” Grande explains. “Like obviously way too excited. I was the first person here that was talking to the wall. I am smiling so hard. My teeth hurt. I’m so proud and grateful, and this is such a special moment for team r.e.m and me.”
R.e.m. beauty is Grande’s baby: the project has been gestating for two years now and finally launched on Friday, Nov. 12. The brand’s first drop, called “chapter one,” includes highlighters, false lashes, eyeliner pencils and markers, a shadow palette, liquid eyeshadows, and lipsticks that are all vegan and cruelty-free. And for “chapter two,” Grande shared that a possible foundation and concealer may or may not be in the works.
Below, in Grande’s words, here is every detail you need to know about the launch of r.e.m. beauty.
Grande was nervous about stepping into the beauty world at first
“I was nervous about [starting r.e.m.] because I don’t ever want to just jump into something that is popular. It has to feel super intentional and super fueled by passion. It has to feel super authentic to me. So let’s experiment, let’s dig in, and let’s play with some products. There are so many different versions to tell this makeup story and these formulas are so inspiring. We can bring our own version of this into the beauty space and I’m so excited.”
All the products have been world tour-tested
“We were doing shows and finishing the tour and were able to test the highlight on stage and then make notes on the formula. It’s been such a long road… going into the labs and trying everything and coming up with names.”
The Voice is another r.e.m. testing ground
“I’ve been wearing all of these products on The Voice. I wear them all the time to work. I wear them on TV. I’m always wearing the marker and the lip. And everyone asks, ‘What are you wearing?’ And I’m like, I don’t know, so this is exciting to finally be able to say [r.e.m. beauty]. It’s been really cool to secretly test and see them on TV.”
The brand is named after a favorite song she’s made
“I decided to name it r.e.m. because I feel like that song really encompasses a lot of my favorite parts of my sound sonically. And also REM rapid eye movement: focusing on dreams and focusing on the eyes and eyes being kind of like our best way to articulate–better than you can with words sometimes.”
Creating a beauty line and creating music have a lot of parallels for the singer
“The obvious answer is that music and makeup are incredibly different. They are so polarized, they’re so opposite, but the way that they sort of help bring each other to life is unspoken and right here in front of our faces. I feel like a lot of my music comes to life more when we shoot the video, which is accompanied by makeup. I am so appreciative of that because they’re both totally different outlets of storytelling, but they hold hands in a weird way. When you’re writing a song—spending time with the pre-chorus to make sure that the notes set up the hook in the proper way or that the harmonies aren’t fighting with the bells in the background or the strings and that everything is sort of complimentary of one another—is the same process as putting together these formulas and making sure that each note is perfect. Although they’re so wildly different, they feel so similar because it’s the same meticulous spending time with formula and formula is in music as well.”
Her love of makeup comes from her mom
“I was probably in my mom’s closet and I was using her black eyeliner. My mom loves black eyeliner. She only wears black. Her whole closet is, like, fields of black fabric and shoulder pads and you’re like, ‘Where am I? What is happening? Are you Cersei Lannister?’ I don’t get it. But I was using my mom’s black eyeliner and I wanted to look like a Spice Girl. And also my mom is super into Halloween and goth, and in the middle of July, she would paint me as a skeleton. That’s an early one. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, your family is super into Halloween.’ I’m like, ‘That was the summer. It was my third birthday. I’m just kidding. I’m not though.”
Meet the Products
THE BABYDOLL EYESHADOW PALETTE
On the packaging: “I wanted to make sure everything looked like a prop from Star Trek or Black Mirror. I wanted to treat it like Apple or Tesla and not treat it like makeup, because I’m obsessed with vintage sci-fi horror space stuff. I wanted to create my own world with the packaging.”
On the name: “My grandpa used to call me ‘baby doll’ and my nona calls me that and it’s on my finger. It’s the most personal name with warm and neutral yummy tones. The other palette is called ‘Principessa’ [princess in Italian] and ‘Midnight Snack.’”
On the packaging: “I’m obsessed with this packaging in a way I don’t even know how to articulate. It’s our little space human-alien pod. It’s kind of the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I love that you can peek through and see the colors. I love that it’s spacey and fun and it’s very soft and smooth.”
On the formula: “It’s super matte, but also super creamy and hydrating at the same time. This one comes in six shades, which is very exciting but there will be more. We’re starting with six and they’re all really strong and beautiful.”
COLLAR-PLUMPING LIP GLOSSES
“The glosses come in nine shades and the names are all kind of nostalgic like the ‘90s: away messages, jelly sandals, and scrunchies. It was just like pulling for things that make us feel warm and nostalgic because it makes me happy. This scent is like vanilla, minty, yummy, delicious scent and it’s super plumping. I have to say it’s one of my favorite glosses I’ve ever seen in my life. The plump was very important to me because I just remember being in middle school and having lip venom on.”
UTMOST IMPORTANCE PLUMPING GLOSS
On the product: “These are in my top-three favorite things in chapter one. It’s just the perfect clear top coat. It’s so ‘90s, like no color, no anything, perfectly there. And it has the yummiest warm vanilla scent and has the same pumping sensation, but it’s its own separate thing because that’s how imperative it is for the lip.”
How to wear it: “My favorite thing to do is pair this with my other favorites from chapter one. First, the practically permanent lip marker. It’s like a stain. I love stains. I’ve always loved stains more than lip liner or lipstick because I feel like it’s going to be there for you. You know, we gotta go, we gotta work, we gotta do things. Also, it doesn’t move. My favorite combination is the lip marker with the gloss. I love it and I’m wearing it right now.”
INTERSTELLAR HIGHLIGHT TOPPER
“We did 10 shades and named them after most of the planets in the solar system. We wanted to create them to have range but also to create fun eye looks, but you can use them anywhere they’re not just highlights. I love the way this feels, and it’s super pigmented.”
THE VOLUMIZING MASCARA
“I wanted to launch with two [mascaras]. This was a big debate because mascara is so important and so personal. I wanted to launch with two—one that’s more like lengthening and clean that separates the lashes. But another one that’s more dramatic, which is this one. And I love it so much. And I hope you do too.”
“I’m happy to tell you these are faux mink. They come in two styles for now. They are named ‘Eternally Meowing’ and ‘Grow and Show.’”
AT THE BORDERLINE EYELINER MARKER
“I love this marker because it’s super precise and I like that you can make the perfect little simple cat eye with it, but also just create more graphic looks with it because it’s so pointy and precise and thin and flexible. I love this marker at the borderline, a little nod to my song ‘Borderline.’ We have three colors: ‘Midnight Black,’ ‘Teddy Bear’ (brown), and ‘So Mod,’ which is white. This is like super, super white because a lot of my inspiration is from ‘60s mod: Twiggy, Barbarella, stuff like that. You can create more graphic, vintage stuff or just use it on your waterline.”
MIDNIGHT LIQUID SHADOWS
“We have several matte shades and then several super metallic sparkly shades. The coverage on these is really, really insane. They’re super pigmented. I feel like sometimes I can just wear them without any base or anything because the coverage is so insane.”
There is a little-known right of passage for Angelenos that caught Jennifer Aniston off guard when she first started driving in Hollywood. “I got my first car, and someone said to me, ‘So, like, what’s the name of your car?’ And I was like, ‘What? You have to name your car in California?’” Nevertheless, Aniston obliged, dubbing her black Saab 900 Lola. “I always liked the song,” she says, referring to Sarah Vaughan’s version of “Whatever Lola Wants,” which has become something of a theme song for the Friends star. “Whenever I’d show up, my friends would say, ‘Lola’s here!’”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #65 series on my blog.
Aniston has since leveraged the name in myriad ways, including in 2010 when she launched her debut fragrance, before quickly changing course and going with the more straightforward Jennifer Aniston for Women, which was eventually acquired by Elizabeth Arden. There were murmurs that copyright issues inspired the switch, but it’s also entirely possible that Aniston had bigger plans for LolaVie, which she loosely translates as “Lola’s life, my life”—an illustrious existence that has included superstardom, as well as some very smart business decisions, including this one: Today, LolaVie lives again, as the name of Aniston’s debut beauty brand.
Aniston has dabbled in beauty before, of course. She has transcended the more standard “brand ambassador” title to take on C-suite positions across a range of beauty and wellness categories (her newest role, as the chief creative officer of Vital Proteins, is the latest example of Aniston putting her considerable endorsement power behind a product she simply uses every day). But her own brand, which will be broad-ranging if trademark filings are any indication, will begin where her household fame left off: with her hair.
“This just felt pretty organic to me as my hair is something that has always been one of my struggles,” reveals the onetime owner of The Rachel, who refers to her own honey blond strands as “the Greek frappé on top of my head.” Years of washing and drying and curling and straightening and coloring, both in her personal and professional life, has left Aniston uniquely positioned to talk about damage—and reparative ingredients, of which she has tried many on a long road to hair health. While working with a different hair-care brand, Aniston got “the bug” for formulating, so when the opportunity to become a founder presented itself five years ago via Elizabeth Arden veterans and current LolaVie co-founders Joel Ronkin and Amy Sachs—to create hair products with natural, plant-based ingredients that still perform—Aniston needed little convincing.
LolaVie arrives this morning with a Glossing Detangler that swaps water, a filler ingredient that typically makes up 80 percent of hair-care products, with nourishing, sustainable bamboo essence. Lemon extract imparts “extraordinary shine,” per Aniston, and vegetable ceramides replace conditioning chemicals such as silicones, which can offer immediate gratification but often cause damage over time.
A detangler isn’t necessarily the first product you’d expect from a new hair-care brand, but one of LolaVie’s core principles is to launch products based on need—a hole in the market, or something that can be improved upon—rather than conform to predetermined retail schedules. And Aniston happens to need a good detangler. “I use detanglers all the time when I get out of the shower because of the condition of my hair; it’s hard to get through,” she reveals, adding that she wanted her detangler to be like “the Swiss Army knife of products: It’s a heat protector, it brings nutrients and health back to the hair follicle, it creates shine”—and it happens to be a great sign of what’s to come.