Why celebrity makeup brands feel so passé

hailey bieber rhode skincare brand

Slapping a celebrity or influencer name on a product just isn’t enough anymore to convince people to buy it. Recently, Selfless by Hyram, the skincare brand founded by influencer Hyram Yarbro in partnership with The Inkey List, and Item Beauty, a makeup brand launched by TikToker Addison Rae, will no longer be sold at Sephora. While Item Beauty still appears on Sephora’s e-commerce website at discounted prices, Selfless by Hyram can no longer be purchased online via the LVMH-owned specialist beauty retailer.

I’ve been thinking of a few reasons why such celebrity endorsement no longer holds such power…

Firstly, thanks to social media and countless TikToks and YouTube channels that uncover the brand partnership process, the everyday person is becoming more aware of the exchange. Joe Bloggs knows that in reality, Beyoncé can live without that perfume and honestly she probably only ever wore it to a launch. Emma Watson is on the poster for Prada’s latest fragrance because it promises £25 million that year aside from her film roles. That’s all cool and okay but it fails to translate Watson’s conviction onto a potential consumer. 

Product over Person
Again, thanks to TikTok, Instagram and YouTube accounts, high def phone cameras and clips on LED lighting, the showcasing of a good product matters more than the face it’s being put on. As consumers, we can check out ten short form content videos demonstrating a product on six different skin tones before we press ‘add to basket’. This is empowering the consumer to make more informed decisions and prioritise quality. So what Selena Gomez wears that red lipstick by Rare? What if it’s a cakey lipstick? What if the colour shade won’t match your undertones as a redhead or a dark skinned black woman? Consumers are being empowered regarding their consumption abilities and we are here for it. 

A Big Following Isn’t Enough to Translate into Direct Sales
The market has become crowded as a plethora of influencer-founded brands have boomed in recent years. YouTuber Michelle Phan counts over 8.74 million subscribers and runs Em Cosmetics, a multi-million-dollar beauty brand that she first launched with L’Oréal in 2013. Influencers Tina Craig, Marianna Hewitt and Jen Atkin have founded premium beauty labels U Beauty, Summer Fridays and Ouai, respectively. Celebrities including Jared Leto, Kate Moss, Hailey Bieber and Brad Pitt have also been cashing in with their own skincare and makeup brand launches. A new generation of TikTok-born beauty brands, such as Refy and Youthforia, are also emerging. Part of that is due to the relatively low cost of entry: anyone can set up a website, and many influencers and celebrities already have the relationships necessary to build a brand. 

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