By: Anna Cox
The age of celebrity beauty brands has hit an all time high in the past five years, with famous people slapping their name on brands centered around makeup, nails, hair, and skin care. The popularity of these brands is undeniable, but being beautiful does not mean that you are qualified to make a beauty brand. Some of the brands that these celebrities make are not only obvious cash grabs, but poor quality.
In November 2021, Ariana Grande released her own brand of makeup called R.E.M Beauty and the anticipation by fans and makeup lovers was high. With a lot of talk in anticipation of its release, Grande’s brand was predicted to be extremely successful in the upcoming year. As people started to receive their packages with the products they selected inside, the reviews were not good. Many thought that the drop was underwhelming and did not live up to the hype that had been created for it in the months prior.
This was the same case with Stranger Things actress, Millie Bobby Brown. On August 26, 2019, the young actress released her own brand of skin care and makeup called Florence by Mills, with the about page of her website saying, “Mills made Florence to create better options for us and our friends.” The issue with this brand is not that the products are necessarily bad, but they are actually good alternatives for teens who want natural beauty; but the price does not allow for that. The quality of the makeup does not live up to the high price tags, with inexpensive brands, like E.L.F, giving customers the same quality of Florence by Mills for a fraction of what Millie Bobby Brown is charging. And, while these brands may not be the best at providing what they promise, the faces behind the brands care about their success, consistently posting promotions on their brand and personal social media.
The same cannot be said for most celebrity beauty brands. In December 2021, former rapper, and now self proclaimed “punk-rock” singer, Machine Gun Kelly released a brand of nail polish called UN/DN Laqr. The musician has not posted any promotion for the brand since its release four months ago. And, not only does he not promote the brand, the brand itself is pointless. First of all, wearing nail polish does not mean that you have to release a brand of nail polish. Second, he marketed this as “gender-neutral” nail polish, but nail polish does not have a gender. If anything, telling a man who wants to wear nail polish to just go get some OPI at his local Walmart does much more for expressing gender neutrality than paying $18 for one bottle of black nail polish.
A similar case is seen with Priyanka Chopra, who released a sustainable hair-care brand in January called Anomaly. Although the products are on brand, her advocacy for sustainability and “only clean ingredients” do not support the brand at all. She may do the occasional mention of one of her products in an instagram story, but other than that, she does not promote Anomaly. There are few celebrities that actually care about the brands they created.
Selena Gomez and Rihanna are some of the only celebrities that have unique brands that they care about. In 2021, Gomez released Rare Beauty, named after her 2021 album. Rare has seen immense success with her products, revolutionizing the way that people approach “natural makeup”. The branding of the products are personal to her as well, with the packaging being easy to open for people with physical disabilities, as Gomez has lost strength due to her lifelong struggle with Lupus. Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017, and she has been able to keep consistent customers and success. Fenty was notably one of the first major brands to create a diverse shade range, with an initial selection of forty shades. These brands differ from other celebrity beauty brands due to the theme being unique and on brand, unlike Ellen DeGeneres’ ironically named skin care brand Kind Science.
Celebrities will always latch onto the popular product or trend that consumers love, like the Reality TV craze of the 2000s, but that does not mean that they do a good job of pretending to be interested in these things. Makeup lovers are also asking celebrities for these brands a lot, on account of the fact that they are conventionally attractive. But being pretty does not mean that you will be good at creating beauty products.