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Money grabbing scheme or passion project? With celebrity makeup brands, it's easy to tell

It's clear Rihanna's makeup line Fenty Beauty is a passion project and not just a money grab like some other celebrity beauty brands. – Photo by fentybeauty / Instagram

With the imminent release of Hailey Bieber’s new beauty company, Rhode, many are questioning whether this is a passion project curated for her fans in mind or if this latest celebrity makeup brand is a quick cash grab.

At least, it certainly reopens the floodgates of many consumers being skeptical of if celebrities have innocent intentions with their supposed innovative makeup products.

Arguably one of the best celebrity makeup companies currently is the holy grail that is Fenty Beauty, created by none other than the queen herself, Rihanna. In 2017, Rihanna shocked the world with her astonishingly inclusive collection of makeup products.

Making it a priority to allow anyone to wear her products, Rihanna introduced her Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation with a 50-shade range. Rihanna quickly found her niche for Fenty Beauty: inclusivity, something needed in the makeup industry at the time. 

Too many makeup brands were insensitively releasing foundations with 20 shades, such as YSL, Tarte and Beautyblender. Rihanna became a trailblazer in the makeup industry for inclusive makeup, emphasizing that no one is left out.

In terms of Rihanna’s avid involvement in this makeup empire, she hasn’t released music in six years to focus on managing her companies, such as Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty. Other celebrities owning similar brands seem to only focus on their music or acting and put minimal effort into the products they're releasing just to get money from a popular industry.

Recently, we've seen celebrities such as Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga release makeup brands that seem underwhelming and not personalized to the celebrity that consumers are buying from. 

With R.E.M Beauty, a makeup company by Grande that was released in 2021, many fans were slightly disappointed with the bland products and basic packaging. The eyeshadows were not pigmented, and the brand just simply didn’t scream Grande. 

Unlike Rihanna, Grande has an active career in music and is currently pushing out songs regularly throughout the year. It almost seems impossible that she could put an equal amount of effort, if any at all, into this company when she has so much more going on in other areas of the entertainment industry. 

Haus Laboratories, Gaga’s self-proclaimed step into the makeup industry, came at a time when celebrity makeup brands were nothing new. Gaga even admitted to how oversaturated the industry has become, stating, “The last thing the world needs is another beauty brand. But that's too bad." But she's right — so why would she make one?

Gaga’s brand, similar to Grande's, seemed nothing like the aesthetic of the celebrity that it represents. Usually, fans want to have some sort of element of the star that they are buying from. Everyone knows that they probably weren't the most hands-on, but the least they can do is make it mirror somewhat the vibes of the celebrity. 

Not only was Haus Laboratories characterless but the promos were also too avant-garde and not how an average person would wear makeup. Consumers couldn’t relate to the looks and couldn’t picture themselves in these products portrayed so out of touch.  

Haus Laboratories could’ve been a hit as Gaga is known for her makeup, but it just seemed like she didn’t have any input on the products or the promotion of the products. 

It feels like all these celebrities, who we’ve never heard of their passion for makeup, coming out with makeup brands seem to just be oversaturating an already crowded market. As more celebs come out with makeup companies, it just begins to seem less and less genuine. They're just seeing a popular market and slapping their name on some eyeshadows just to make a quick buck. 

Other celeb companies, such as JLo Beauty and Kesha Rose Beauty, are even more forgettable, with no obvious passion put into the products. Nowadays, when releasing makeup products, it has to be innovative.

Everything has already been done before, so one can almost eye roll at these celebrities' claims of never before seen products. Their laughable attempt at a makeup company will ultimately fail when it becomes obvious that there wasn't any thought in its creation. 

When stars release makeup, a majority of the time fans question why they are creating makeup in the first place. Many of them have never been known for makeup besides just wearing it on stage or in their latest movie, so it almost seems random whenever a celebrity does so. 

Selena Gomez, pop star and star of the hit childhood series, "Wizards of Waverly Place" released her makeup line, Rare Beauty in 2020, exclusively at Sephora. Needless to say, the products are to die for, such as the liquid blush and weightless foundation (which has caps that are easy to open for people with Lupus, a disease that Gomez suffers from). 

Although the brand is personalized, Gomez is not known to be the most passionate makeup lover. It seems a little convenient that once the makeup industry is booming, she all of a sudden needs to create a makeup brand.

Although it was confusing for the singer to release such products, what Gomez did well was connect with her customers and fans. She collaborated with YouTube influencers such as NikkieTutorials and Hung Vanngo to demonstrate the effectiveness of her products. 

Everyone knew that it was Gomez’s brand, and it was evident that she put time and effort into not only the creation of the products but also the promotion. Other celebrities just had their name on the products and took a few promotional shots with an intricate eyeshadow look, whereas Gomez put in the work to convince customers that the products worked. 

One of the most well-known celebrities to release makeup products is Kylie Jenner with her cosmetic line, Kylie Cosmetics. This brand was created in 2014 after controversy and attention surrounding Jenner’s drastic lip fillers at the age of 17. 

The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge plagued the internet, with many young adults sucking on a cup to get big lips that mimicked Jenners’. Jenner saw this as an opportunity and created the Kylie Jenner Lip Kits as her first product in her line. 

They were an instant success, with all of her Lip Kits selling out in minutes. Since then, Jenner has bled into every other makeup product imaginable from foundation to highlighter. She even delved into the world of skincare, which was also extremely successful.

Jenner was the clear face of the brand, and people bought the products because it was hers, not necessarily due to how good the quality was. In recent years, the company has dwindled in popularity. 

This is due to the fact that she released too many products for people to keep up with. Despite a majority of her customers being fans, it became nearly impossible for people to keep up with buying all her products. 

Fans noticed that not all the products could possibly have that much effort put into them, and ultimately, the initial hype of the company went down dramatically. 

Some other notable makeup companies that are effective, connect with their audience and exemplify passion from their creators include Florence Mills by Millie Bobby Brown and FLOWER Beauty by Drew Barrymore. 

For example, with Florence by Mills, the makeup is accurately targeted at a younger audience of tweens and teenagers. Florence by Mills and FLOWER Beauty both provide drug store prices with quality products that consumers enjoy. 

Regardless of the fact that it doesn't necessarily keep up with the latest trends, FLOWER Beauty isn’t for just Barrymore's fans, but the average consumer looking for good, decently-priced products. 

Barrymore and Brown know their consumers, and the celebrities backing these products have apparent control and drive for the company that is representing them. 

Makeup lovers can sometimes be overwhelmed with the number of celebrities coming out with products. It's hard to decipher their intentions upon release, so it's extremely important to take into consideration a celebrities' effort for the company. Currently, with so many stars doing the same thing, they need to prove themselves in the industry to flourish. 


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