In this time marked by personal branding, many celebrities and influencers have launched spinoff makeup and skincare lines attached to their names and careers. At least ten new celebrity beauty brands have been announced or hit the market just in 2022, and it makes sense. The beauty industry is worth a whopping $511 billion (about Dhs 1 trillion), and everyone wants in on the cash-grab. Top and mid-tier talents are cranking out new beauty lines at breakneck speed instead of relying solely on music, films, sports, or social media content for capital.
Enter the torrent of celebrity-endorsed beauty brands. Heavy hitters, like Kylie Cosmetics (worth $1.2 billion, Dhs 4.4 billion) and Fenty Beauty (worth $2.8 billion, Dhs 10 billion), have inspired industrious celebrity crews with their success. New companies are launched steadily with bald enthusiasm, despite most of them falling short of projected expectations. Why?
“Because they can,” Janet Milner-Walker, the founder and managing director of the beauty brand management company Bespoke Advantage, shared with Grazia. She notes that “celebrities already have an existing audience, following them across social media and hanging onto their every word, so it does seem like a logical step to launch a beauty brand.” With skincare and wellness companies commanding such high margins, beauty brands are an attractive proposition for their potential to generate passive income and, ultimately, more wealth for celebrities.
On the flip side, launching a beauty brand is also an opportunity for celebrities to do good. Milner-Walker pointed out, “Rihanna and Fenty Beauty stand for inclusivity and diversity, and Charlotte Tilbury partnered with Women International to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives.” With most millennial and Gen Z consumers supporting purpose-driven brands, those motivated by solid beliefs and values have a fighting chance of succeeding. Compounded with a loyal fanbase built on authenticity and transparency, you have a cult following.
“I have definitely gone out of my way to buy celebrity products,” actress, model, and influencer CC Mason shared with Grazia. Like many consumers, her “first celebrity-based purchases were perfumes,” specifically “Britney, JLo, and Lady Gaga.”
Mason looks for quality equal to the money she spends on her makeup and finds that “celebrity makeup brands often mark up the prices because they have a famous name attached to the product, which makes it a lot more challenging to get bang for your buck.” Her two-hundred thousand followers come to her for beauty suggestions ranging from high-to-low price points, so getting quality for your spending is critical to her recommendation model.
No one wants to feel like they’ve overspent on a product that doesn’t deliver what it promises, so Mason is grateful she can also watch other influencers test out products. “Most of the time, I end up thrilled that I didn’t have to spend the money on a product that doesn’t work,” she shared. Although she’s found that, “Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore are both solid choices.”
“None of [the celebrity beauty brands] are particularly impressive at this point,” Dr. Shereene Idriss shared with Grazia. She’s a board-certified dermatologist, the founder of Idriss Dermatology in NYC, and the creator of the #Pillowtalkderm series on Instagram. As a general rule, Dr. Idriss doesn’t recommend any celebrity-related brands to her clients. “Unfortunately, I just think there has been such an influx in the market of celebrity skincare brands that these brands’ authenticity and credibility are now lacking,” she shared.
The influx of players within the industry also causes homogeneity in the market–everything’s been done before. “They all have started to look alike and sound alike, and they are all basically marketing the same hopes and dreams backed by some famous face,” Dr. Idriss said. However, she does not believe that products created by celebrities are unsafe or ineffective. She notes that “they probably do have merit, but what makes them stand out over the rest is the big question I cannot answer.”
We asked another board-certified dermatologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, what he thought of celebrity beauty brands. He promptly let us know he’s working on a collaboration with one right now. So, the reviews are admittedly a little mixed, but one notion stands out above the rest: if you like a particular celebrity or the values baked into a celebrity-backed company, then there’s really no harm in supporting it.
“Obviously, if you are in complete adoration and in awe of a certain celebrity and you want to support that celebrity by buying their brand, by all means, go ahead,” Dr. Idriss encouraged, “but is it something clinically backed that I think is medically indicated?” For that, she says, “there are a lot of other brands on the market that do have a ton of merit.”