What Does It Take For A Celebrity Beauty Brand To Succeed In 2021?

In November 2015, Kylie Jenner launched three lip kits. The kits, consisting of a lip pencil and liquid lipstick available in a pinky nude, a beige neutral and a deep brown, sold out almost immediately.

Jenner’s wasn’t the first celebrity beauty brand to launch. In 2009, Australian model Miranda Kerr founded Kora Organics, while actor Drew Barrymore launched Flower Cosmetics in 2013. But Jenner’s was the first to leverage the reach, engagement and influence of its founder in the social media era. Nearly six years later, the lip kits have evolved into a full makeup and skincare brand and in 2019, she sold 51 percent of her business (at a valuation of $1.2 billion) to Coty for $600 million.

The rise of celebrity beauty brands

Today, the legacy of Kylie Cosmetics—as well as Rihanna’s industry-changing Fenty Beauty, which launched in 2017—is everywhere, as celebrities jump on the beauty bandwagon. There’s Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories; Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty; Kim Kardashian West’s KKW Beauty; Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace; Millie Bobby Brown’s Florence by Mills; Jennifer Lopez’s JLo Beauty; Halsey’s About-FaceVictoria Beckham; Paris Hilton’s Pro DNA, and many more.

Cardi B has teased a forthcoming makeup range, as has YouTuber James Charles, while Hailey Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Ariana Grande all reportedly filed trademarks for beauty products. Welcome to the golden age of the celebrity beauty brand.

It used to be that celebrities were the faces of beauty brands, starring in campaigns, endorsing the products in interviews and wearing the makeup on red carpets. But being the face is no longer enough—celebrities want ownership, becoming major players in the industry in their own right. And with the growth of the global beauty market over the last few years—the industry was valued at $532 billion in 2019—it’s not surprising.

“Celebrities are increasingly aware of the quick financial gains to be made, with the opportunity to monetize a loyal online fanbase and use their social media page as a marketing platform,” says Gabriella Beckwith, beauty consultant at market research firm Euromonitor.

But for everyone chasing a Fenty success story, fame and following alone won’t ensure sales. As the market becomes increasingly crowded, brands will have to rely on that notoriously slippery concept of authenticity to gain the trust and business of their target audience.

The power of authenticity

Today, beauty consumers have never been more educated about what they are putting on their face or more demanding about the quality. It’s why it matters that Pharrell Williams collaborated with his longtime dermatologist, Dr Elena Jones, for his skincare brand Humanrace. It’s why Halsey prefaced the announcement of her makeup brand About-Face in January by establishing her credibility. “Many of you know I’ve done my own makeup for a long time,” she wrote on Twitter. It’s also why actress Millie Bobby Brown drew criticism after posting a skincare tutorial in which she seemingly didn’t actually apply any of the products to her face. Brown issued an apology a few days later, writing, “I’m still learning the best way to share my routines as I get to know this space better—I’m not an expert.”

Eyebrows were also raised when Jennifer Lopez recently said that her age-defying skin was the mainly the result of years of olive oil use—despite selling a new line of skincare products (her multitasking serum costs $118). Followers were skeptical of these claims, with some even suggesting the singer had had Botox, to which Lopez responded: “For the 500 millionth time. I have never done Botox or any injectables or surgery!”

At the other end of the spectrum, Victoria Beckham established her credentials as a serious player by partnering with industry favorite Dr Augustinus Bader for her first skincare launch. “We tend to think of celebrity brands as inauthentic partnerships—traditionally, that is often what they were,” says Sarah Creal, co-founder and CEO of Victoria Beckham Beauty. “Celebrities can no longer slap their name on something and not have their communities realize that’s what’s happening. Those who are in it for the short term or inauthentically won’t last—consumers are savvy.”

A long-time beauty executive, Creal met Beckham at Estée Lauder, with whom the designer launched a capsule cosmetics collection, and was drawn to her passion and vision. While she says there is “no doubt” the former Spice Girl is a celebrity, they don’t consider Victoria Beckham Beauty a celebrity brand, but rather a bona fide indie startup. “Having Victoria as a partner obviously shines a light on the brand that we wouldn’t have otherwise, but we still have to stand up to the scrutiny and credibility that any new beauty brand would need to.”

The importance of quality over influence

Celebrities undeniably wield great influence over their following, but if they want to convince consumers to buy their products, this credibility and, most importantly, gold-standard quality, is non-negotiable. “People aren’t just buying into the face—they equally expect the product to work as hard as any other brand they’d engage with,” says Victoria Buchanan, senior futures analyst at strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory.

The audience agrees. “[I think some] products by celebrities are bad quality because it is believed that people will buy them regardless,” says Marion, a 17-year-old gen-Z consumer from Toronto. “But the product itself should be more important than the celebrity or advertising.” It’s quality that she cites as the reason for buying the few products from celebrity brands that she’s purchased—a Rare Beauty highlighter with good reviews, a Fenty concealer because of its range of shades.

While a celebrity might make consumers aware of a brand (they’ll pay close attention if it’s someone they’re a fan of), it’s rare that they would buy a beauty product because of the name alone. On the whole, they remain wary of products, particularly when it comes to skincare, do their own research, and always listen to expert advice.

Like all trends, the celebrity beauty bubble will eventually burst. The sharp decline of celebrity fragrances following its 2011 peak shows what can happen when consumers move on from a category. Nothing lasts forever and we’ve already seen a gradual shift towards hair brands, such as Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Anomaly, and sexual wellness products via Cara Delevingne and Dakota Johnson.

When that moment comes, those brands left standing will be the ones that have established their authenticity and credibility, played to the strengths of their creators’ personal ethos and identity, and, above all, proved their quality. As noisy and loud as your social media presence might be, in the end, nothing talks like results.

VOGUE article

The 13 Best Mascaras, According to Allure Editors

While some have lash extensions, many of us will forever keep tubes of mascara in stock. With that in mind, ALLURE editors and thousands of reviewers rounded up their absolute favourite mascaras of all time, with brands ranging from drugstore gems like Maybelline New York to Sephora darlings Too Faced and Anastasia Beverly Hills. They’ve also got the luxury market covered.

Discover all the best and boldest mascaras that give us lashes with the most volume, curl, and length each and every day.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Mascara

“There really isn’t a better way to put it: Anastasia’s Lash Brag Mascara (a 2020 Best of Beauty winner) hits different. Way different. This mascara’s visibly chunky formula and curvy, dense brush can surprisingly pull off lashes that are thick and voluminous, long and wispy, or anywhere between — and not all mascaras can do that without clumping or flaking away. With a couple of swipes, the formula builds itself both upward and outward, so I get big, fanned-out lashes that practically hit the ceiling.”

$25 (Shop Now)

Tarte Maneater

“The formula of the Tarte Maneater Mascara is on the drier side, so you can easily build up lash extension-like volume and definition (and you can sneeze right after swiping it on without creating a Jackson Pollack painting on your under-eye area). Plus, this 2020 Best of Beauty winner has a cylindrical brush lined with tiny bristles that evenly coat even the thinnest of lashes.”

$23 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Bambi Waterproof

“One of the most exciting things about L’Oréal Paris Bambi Waterproof is the so-called ‘wide-eye brush.’ It has a combination of short and long bristles, which are supposed to ensure you grab every lash – no matter its length — on each swipe. It’s perfect for days when you want your makeup to look as natural as possible and there’s nary a clump to be found once it’s applied. No wonder it won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award.”

$10 (Shop Now)

Gucci L’Obscur Mascara

“Never in my life did I think I’d be in a position to say my favorite mascara was one made by Gucci, but here I am, living large. Label and aesthetically pleasing pink-and-gold packaging aside, when I first tried Gucci’s L’Obscur Mascara, I was immediately drawn to the formula, which is made to lengthen and define — rather than thicken — my wispy lashes. I typically only need a coat or two to see immediate natural-looking length and never have to worry about annoying clumping or mid-day smudge. Gucci, you made a damn good mascara.”

$35 (Shop Now)

KKW Beauty Mascara

“Never say Kim Kardashian doesn’t have talent because she did the damn thing with the KKW Beauty mascara. Just one coat separates each lash, making them look full, thick, and dramatic. No primer needed.”

$18 (Shop Now)

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

“The only mascara that gives me that lift and volume closest to what my beloved lash extensions do is the Thrive Casemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara. It contains polymers that wrap around each lash to lengthen and strengthen, plus castor seed oil and shea butter to deeply condition each hair. Two coats and your eye area is instantly opened. I always get compliments about how long my lashes are when I use this.”

$24 (Shop Now)

Wander Beauty Mile High Club Mascara

“When it comes to wearability, the formula in the Wander Beauty Mile High Club Mascara doesn’t smudge or flake — even after a full day of work followed by a gym session. If you’re going for drama with little-to-no effort, then this mascara is a dream. Lift? Check. Volume? Definitely. Length? Oh, yeah, my lashes were practically touching my brow bone by the time I was done.”

$26 (Shop Now)

Maybelline New York Falsies Lash Lift Mascara

“Something about the combination of the Maybelline New York’s The Falsies Lash Lift’s hourglass-shaped wand and lightweight, not-too-wet formula replaces the need for a lash curler, extensions, and falsies. After sweeping it through, my lashes are instantly lifted upward and volumized like a lash enhancement. The dip in the middle of the brush also makes adding mascara to your lashes as mess-free as possible.”

$10 (Shop Now)

Colourpop BFF Mascara

“When I want to add a little color to my look but am short on time, I always reach for Colourpop’s BFF Mascara. By applying just one or two coats (I start at the root of my lashes and wiggle the brush slightly from side to side as I swipe), you get a ton of color payoff. I find that my eyes are instantly brightened up, and I look more awake within seconds. It’s basically an all-in-one eye look. My personal fave color is Blue Ya Mind, though the brand’s classic black (called Black on Black) is a great staple.”

$8 (Shop Now)

Tarte Sugar Rush Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara

“The Tarte Sugar Rush Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara gives my lashes length, volume, and makes them look super fluttery. I love to use this alone or layer it, specifically with the Milk Makeup Kush Mascara.”

$23 (Shop Now)

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

“It’s fitting that one of my favorite makeup brands of all time makes one of my favorite mascara brushes ever. I love how thin and easy to maneuver it is, and the formula is perfect for everyday wear. For nighttime, I just add a second or third coat and the Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara looks great without being clumpy, thanks to how fine the bristles are.”

$28 (Shop Now)

Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

“My eyelashes are naturally pretty long, albeit blonde, so I don’t really love wearing mascara all the time (mostly because I hate taking it off at the end of the day). When I do, however, I go all-out glam with the Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara because it makes my lashes longer, thicker, and just the right amount of obnoxious diva.”

$30 (Shop Now)

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

“My all-time favorite mascara, the Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara, might be obvious, but it’s ubiquitously beloved for a reason. Maybe I should’ve started with this, but I’m actually partial to the waterproof formula. It helps hold my lashes in place long after I’ve given them a good curl. It checks all the boxes: providing mega-volume without the clumping, inky-black color without the smudging, and just the right amount of length. I’m not much of a mascara girl, but when I am feelin’ it, this is the one I always reach for.”

$23 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The Prettiest Nude-Pink Lipstick for Every Skin Tone

Finding the perfect pink lipstick can be a balancing act. I’m not talking about your bright fuchsias or orchids or Barbie pinks — I mean those soft, subtle pinks that are almost nude but not quite. The kind of pink you wear when you want people to notice how put-together you look without thinking you spent a whole lot of effort or time. That pink.

With soft pinks especially, it’s important to take your specific skin tone into account, otherwise, you might end with a lip that’s way lighter or darker than you wanted. According to bi-coastal makeup artist Lavonne, the selection process thankfully doesn’t have to be too difficult. “When I look at depth and undertones for a soft-toned petal pink lipstick, I start by looking at the natural color of the lips,” she explains to Allure.

With that perfect shade in hand, application should be a breeze. “I will choose a concealer to neutralize any blue, yellow, green, or purple [undertones] in the lips. This way I have an even canvas to work with,” Lavone explains. “I choose a lip liner to complement the skin tone and then blend it into the lip before applying lipstick.”

To simplify your search for that petal-soft shade, ALLURE editors have broken down the best nude pink lipsticks based on your skin tone below.

Deep: Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick in Retro Rose

Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick is every bit as comfortable as it sounds, thanks to its frictionless formula that’s packed with reparative castor seed oil. Retro Rose, shown above, is a glossy and sheer muted rose tone that looks stunning on deep skin. 

Buy on their website $22

Deep: L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain in I Rule

If you’re the type who likes super-matte lip that could last a zombie apocalypse, L’Orèal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain is exactly that. When applied on deep skin tones, its deep mauve shade I Rule transforms into the perfect soft pink that’s not too light or ashy. 

Buy at ULTA $12

Deep: Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment

If your skin tone looks best when paired with cooler tones, try Juvia’s Place The Nude Velvety Matte Lipstick in A Mauve Moment. With just a hint of a purple undertone, this velvety matte lipstick brings full-color payoff with just one swipe. 

Buy at ULTA $14

Deep: Uoma Beauty Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam

Uoma Beauty’s Badass Icon Matte Lipstick in Miriam might look brown at first glance, but when swiped across the lips, its true neutral pink hue comes to life. And if you’ve tried any of the brand’s other lipsticks, you’ll know this one comes with the same suede-like finish and comfort level. 

Buy at ULTA $24

Deep: Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake

With a comfortable formula that lasts way longer than you’d expect for a cream, Beauty Bakerie Cake Pop Lippie in Funnel Cake is a deep pink with strong peach undertones. And thanks to its smaller-than-average packaging, you can pop it in your pocket and take it everywhere with you. 

Buy on their website $10

Medium: Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Rebellious Rose

There’s a reason this shade of Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award. With sheer pigments in a classic muted pink shade, Rebellious Rose looks great on virtually everyone — but especially on medium skin tones with neutral or cool undertones. 

Buy on their website $32

Medium: MAC Matte Lipstick in Kinda Sexy

You can never go wrong with one of MAC’s Matte Lipsticks, especially if it’s in the shade Kinda Sexy. This long-wear matte is equal parts pink, peach, and nude, making it ideal for warm, medium skin tones. 

Buy at ULTA $19

Medium: Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme in Precious

This medium-toned rose shade called Precious from Milani isn’t extremely light or dark, a perfect middle-ground for any medium skin tone. What’s more: Amore Matte Lip Creme glides on as a thin liquid and dries down to a matte finish, which means it’s practically weightless. 

Buy on Amazon $16

Medium: Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in Nude Venus

The slightly glossy and lightly pigmented Nude Venus shade of Pat McGrath’s Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shines couldn’t make a more perfect neutral pink for medium skin — take it from Cardi B, who wore it in her infamous “WAP” music video. 

Buy at Sephora $36

Medium: KKW Nude Crème Lipstick in 3.5

OK, so KKW Nude Crème Lipstick in 3.5 leans a little more into nude lipstick category than it does pink — still, with strong pink undertones and a super comfortable cream formula, we’d be downright silly not to give it an honorable mention. 

Buy at ULTA $18

Medium: Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse in Seduction

A Best of Beauty-winning formula, Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lip Mousse matches even the most high-end lipsticks in terms of pigment, comfort, and overall quality. The shade Seduction might look like a warn nude at first glance, but its soft pink hue will be revealed the moment you swipe it onto your lips. 

Buy at ULTA $10

Light: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

If you ask around long-term beauty aficionados, you’ll find that few lipstick shades get as much talk as Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Matte Revolution Lipstick (a Reader’s Choice Award winner). And it’s no wonder, considering how pretty this muted light-pink with peach undertones looks on fair skin. 

Buy at Bloomingdale’s $34

Light: Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lip Colour in Ferveur

Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lip Colour in Ferveur won a Best of Beauty award in 2019, thanks to its orange-pink tint and the glossy, slippery formula that feels just like a hydrating lip balm. 

Buy at Nordstrom $38

Light: Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Babe

Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Lip Color in Babe has subtle blue undertones, which pair perfectly with skin tones that have cool or neutral undertones. Even better, this balm-like formula contains reparative vitamin E for added nourishment.

Buy at Nordstrom $29

Light: Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick in Honeymoon

When Huda Beauty named this lipstick formula Power Bullet Matte, it really was not kidding because this formula is as matte as they come — thankfully without sacrificing any comfort. The shade Honeymoon, above, gets its slightly dusky quality from cool lavender undertones. 

Buy at Sephora $25

ALLURE article