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If you’re sick of reading the seemingly endless stream of celebrity beauty brand announcements, we don’t blame you. But if you can park your scepticism for just one moment, you’ll discover that a select few are actually pretty good.
It’s no secret that celebrity beauty brands are everywhere right now (cough Brad Pitt cough), but we’ll be honest with you, they’re not always worth the hype. While the packaging may be pretty and the advertisement campaign budgets through the roof, unfortunately, some celebrity beauty brands are mostly style without any real substance.
But every now and then an A-lister will launch a brand new beauty brand that will break through to rival its non-celeb cult counterparts. Take Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, a brand that changed the game when it came to inclusivity in beauty, or Harry Styles’ Pleasing, which is breaking gender-stereotype barriers – some celebrity beauty brands really have earned a place in the beauty sphere.
Now, it would be remiss not to add that these new brands are being added to the already gigantic pile featuring Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty, Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, Gwyneth Paltrow’s divisive Goop, Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, Millie Bobby Brown’s Florence by Mills, Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern and Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace. And that – by no exaggeration – is just the tip of the big name beauty iceberg.
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In fact, it seems that in recent months we’ve reached a kind of cosmetic twilight zone, with anyone upwards of 500K followers branching out into the beauty realm, even if they land on deaf (or more likely, sceptical) ears.
Some celebrity beauty brands deserve our collective eye rolls. A very small handful, however, are genuinely good enough to sit shoulder-to-shoulder (or bottle to bottle?) with the more respected beauty brands already lining our shelves. But which, you ask? Let us run you through the best celebrity beauty brands out there as well as the standout products from each.
Quick disclaimer: Ellis Ross’ Pattern would make the list if it was available here in the UK.
Jonathan Van Ness knows good hair. With 15+ years as a professional hairstylist in New York and Los Angeles, JVN has the craft and credibility to back up his goods. Working with some of the world’s top chemists, he made it his mission to discover new ingredients and innovations and bring the best-targeted haircare to his clients… enter JVN Hair.
JVN Complete Pre-Wash Scalp Oil
Perfect for those with thinning hair or a dry, itchy or flaky scalp – this pre-shampoo scalp oil helps hydrate the scalp while promoting stronger, shinier, longer and healthier-looking hair.
Shop JVN Complete Pre-Wash Scalp Oil at Space NK, £24
JVN Complete Hydration Kit
Want to try out the range but not sure where to get started? This complete hydration kit is for you. Containing the bestselling shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and styling cream – expect smoother strands and more-hydrated locks in just a matter of washes.
Shop JVN Complete Hydration Kit at Space NK, £16
With Fenty Beauty, Rihanna didn’t just add to the beauty industry, she revolutionised it. Proving to the archaic big name brands that inclusive shade ranges aren’t just possible, they’re necessary and involving a full spectrum of faces in her campaigns, she’s set the new (and very welcome) standards for anyone wanting a slice of the beauty pie.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Available in a whopping 50 shades, this foundation goes on smoothly and then does not budge.
Shop Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation at Harvey Nichols, £27
The non-sticky lip gloss
The Rihanna look in a single product, Gloss Bomb is a non-sticky lip gloss laced with iridescent shimmer.
Shop Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow at Harvey Nichols, £17
The pigment-packed cream blusher
It isn’t just foundation formulas that missed the mark, colour products like blushers have long failed to deliver the pigment payoff required on darker skin tones. Not Fenty’s. It applies bold, meaning you can either blend it down to a subtler finish or build it up for greater intensity.
Shop Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Crush on Cupid at Harvey Nichols, £19
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Launched in the US in September 2020, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty has garnered a loyal following of TikTok users and celebrity make-up artists, championing the idea of natural beauty and a love for imperfections.
Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
Add a natural flush of colour to your cheeks with this radiance-boosting liquid blush. Its lightweight formula is ultra-blendable, giving buildable, long-lasting colour that doesn’t budge throughout the day.
Shop Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush at Space NK, £19
Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara
Perfect for full, va-va-voom lashes, this volumising mascara grabs onto every single last lash, lifting and lengthening from every angle. The formula is also enriched with castor oil to help strengthen eyelashes over time. Winner.
Shop Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara at Space NK, £19
Victoria Beckham Beauty
After the a successful beauty collaboration with Estee Lauder, Beckham decided to recruit Sarah Creal, then an executive at conglomerate, to collaborate on a new venture: Victoria Beckham Beauty. Hiring Creal was her first clever move, utilising the latest advancements in skin and make-up technology was her second, thus cementing the brand’s position as a serious and worthy player. So much more than a bog standard product in flashy packaging, each and every formula puts performance as its top priority, from the hi-tech moisturiser that feeds skin health, formulated by none other than Dr Augustinus Bader to the unbelievably buttery texture of her lipsticks.
Victoria Beckham Beauty Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer
Formulated in collaboration with stem cell and biomedical scientist Dr Augustinus Bader (yes, the man behind that cult moisturiser), VB’s version utilises the same skin-healing science just with added illuminating qualities. It comes in a neutral shade as standard, but to really ramp up the glow, this gold-tinted version is everything.
Shop Victoria Beckham Beauty Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer at Cult Beauty, £92
Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash Mascara
Apparently, mascara topped the list of product requests received by the team at Victoria Beckham Beauty, and at the beginning of this year, they finally landed on a formula worthy of release: Future Lash. With a skinny and slightly curved brush, the result is understated (so not one for you if you prefer your lashes big and bulky) with a formula that pretty much refuses to turn clumpy.
Shop Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash Mascara at Victoria Beckham Beauty, £26
Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick in Girl
Paying homage to Beckham’s old school Posh years, this glossy lipstick comes in eight spectrum-spanning nude shades plus one modern, subdued red.
Shop Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick in Girl at Cult Beauty, £38
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Keys Soulcare is a pure manifestation of founder Alicia Keys’ approach to beauty. To her, it’s all about rituals; moments dedicated to caring for yourself and that shines through in all her products. The textures are a joy to use, each and every formula smells great and she’s even brandished them with smile-inducing mantras and affirmations.
Keys Soulcare Sacred Body Oil
Its products like this that take the chore out of full-body hydration. Rich, decadent and containing a blend of jojoba, marula and baobab oils, this silky body oil leaves limbs gleaming.
Shop Keys Soulcare Sacred Body Oil at Harrods, £25
Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask
Built on a base of manuka honey, this charcoal mask is designed to calm skin, purge pores and amp up hydration.
Shop Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask at Harrods, £28
Keys Soulcare Be Luminous Exfoliator
Powder skincare products are everywhere right now, offering a more sustainable alternative to their water-logged counterparts. This powdered face scrub uses teeny, tiny micro granules to gently flick away dead skin cells without upsetting the fresh skin below.
Shop Keys Soulcare Be Luminous Exfoliator at Harrods, £22
Founded to create boundary-pushing, joy-led products, Harry Styles’ beauty brand takes inspiration from anything ‘pleasing’. Speaking about the launch in November 2021, Harry said: “When we decided Pleasing would make beauty products I wanted to be sure they were something I would use. I didn’t want to make products to mask people, I wanted to highlight them and make them feel beautiful”.
Pleasing Shroom Bloom Acid Drops Lucid Overnight Serum
Blending natural malic acid (derived from apples and upcycled hibiscus acid), plus aloe to hydrate skin and lock in crucial moisture – this glow-giving serum brightens and gently exfoliates, revealing the radiance underneath.
Shop Pleasing Shroom Bloom Acid Drops Lucid Overnight Serum, £27
Pleasing Shroom Bloom Polish Set
Harry is known for his penchant for nail varnish and the Shroom Bloom collection doesn’t disappoint. Including Sprouting (a pale green opaque gloss formula), Tender Bud (a mushroom beige opaque gloss formula), Vine Ripe (a vibrant red opaque gloss formula) and The Whole Dewniverse (a sheer holographic bio-glitter formula) – apply alone or mix and match for a truly unique and personalised effect.
Shop Pleasing Shroom Bloom Polish Set, £50
Jessica Alba’s brand Honest Beauty gains its brownie points through its practicality. Each of the products are undeniably simple in formulation, but so many of them offer multiple uses, are engineered for on-the-go application or build two products into one package.
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
Cleverly, one end of this wand houses a volumising lash primer while the other contains a lengthening mascara.
Shop Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer at Cult Beauty, £19
Honest Beauty Magic Beauty Balm Stick
The versatility of this solid balm moisturiser knows no bounds. Use it on lips, cheeks, elbows, heels, or anywhere skin has started to feel a little dry and flaky.
Shop Honest Beauty Magic Beauty Balm Stick at Cult Beauty, £20
Honest Beauty Lip Crayon-Lush Sheer in Bordeaux
It may look pretty pigmented in the bullet, but this lip crayon goes on incredibly sheer, leaving little more than a hint of colour.
Shop Honest Beauty Lip Crayon-Lush Sheer in Bordeaux at Cult Beauty, £16
Another celebrity who knows a thing or two about beauty: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Calling upon decades of industry experience, Rose Inc is Rosie’s namesake brand that fuses efficacy and ethics in all its formulas – offering patented botanicals, clean ingredients and sustainable solutions.
Rose Inc Hydration Replenish Microencapsulated Moisturizer
This clever moisturiser features microencapsulated technology that delivers a burst of intense hydration and powerful actives with every use. Ideal for dehydrated, stressed and congested complexions, the unique microspheres help to keep ingredients in their purest form until released upon application.
Shop Rose Inc Hydration Replenish Microencapsulated Moisturizer at Space NK, £53
Rose Inc Skin Clarity Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser
If you’re after gentle but effective exfoliation, this is the cleanser for you. Pomegranate fruit enzymes help dissolve debris, while jojoba beads work to polish the skin’s surface. Perfect for oily skin, visible pores, uneven skin tone and areas of congestion – it leaves your complexion feeling smoother, softer and more refined.
Shop Rose Inc Skin Clarity Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser at Space NK, £29
Created by singer Ariana Grande, REM Beauty’s main mission is to empower its customer. Inspired by the transformative power of make-up and fuelled by her passion for product, REM Beauty offers high-performing eye, face and lip products that are accessible to all.
REM Beauty Midnight Shadows Eyeshadow Palette
The standout product of Ariana Grande’s REM Beauty? The eyeshadow palettes. With a mix of six mattes and shimmers, each shade is buttery and blendable – giving gorgeous colour payoff and long staying power.
Shop REM Beauty Midnight Shadows Eyeshadow Palette, £23
A three-part skincare system founded by designer Stella McCartney, the range comprises a cleanser, cream and serum – all refillable. Based on the idea of skin sustainability, McCartney champions a stripped-back approach to skincare with a laser-like focus on strict green standards.
An efficacious 2-in-1 cleanser that melts away make-up while also thoroughly cleansing the skin, the lightweight formula is vegan, cruelty-free and gentle enough to use on the eye area.
Shop Stella Reset Cleanser, £50 (£38 per refill)
Images: courtesy of brands
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