When Brad Pitt dropped his Le Domaine skincare line, I hit breaking point. Posting to my Instagram stories, I wrote: “This is it: I’m at peak celebrity beauty brand fatigue.”
I had dozens of replies from fellow beauty editors and friends agreeing with this standpoint, marking a very clear shift in the industry. We are tired, we don’t need a load more brands, and in the current financial (and environmental) climate, we don’t really need them to be coming from celebrities; it just feels pretty out of touch with what’s going on in the world RN.
But whatever you think about celeb beauty brands, they exist, and many seem defiant to stay. And there are certainly some very good ones – ones in fact that I enjoy using and recommend on a weekly basis to friends and readers alike.
There have also been some more positive developments as of late; think Dua Lipa investing in Dizziak, a beloved (and still fairly new to the industry) haircare brand that undoubtedly will thrive from both the financial gain and celebrity endorsement.
When it comes to existing celebrity lines, it’s about knowing what’s worth investing your cash in. Many brands – IMO – are just ‘more of the same.’ What I mean by this is usually you can find a more affordable (and often better) alternative for many of these products. That said, there are a few special ones, and I’m here to reveal which they are, no BS.
Bear in mind, I have tried to make the below list as comprehensive as possible, but you may notice several brands missing, such as Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Beauty, Scarlett Johansson’s The Outset, Jennifer Aniston’s LolaVie, and Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories. This is because many are still unavailable in the UK; I will be updating this list as and when they do find their way over here.
Looking for more celebrity beauty content?
- 6 of the best Rare Beauty products
- Why Pattern’s hairdryer is a curly-girls dream
- What is it really like to do makeup for the Oscars? 3 makeup artists reveal all
What’s the deal? One of the better-known, most recognisable celebrity beauty brands, Fenty was launched in 2017 by Rihanna. A trailblazer in diversifying the makeup space, Fenty was lauded early on for creating a foundation with shades to suit all skin tones. It has since launched into skin, body and fragrance.
What’s worth your cash? Kind of everything. Fenty hasn’t really put a foot wrong since launching. But my personal favourites are the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, £18, Boots, the PRO FILT’R Hydrating Foundation, £30, Boots, and the Sheer Shiny Lipsticks, £20, Boots.
What to avoid: I’d say the main things I could live without sit in the Fenty Skin line. I’m not by any means saying the products are bad, I just personally feel I have found better when it comes to skin, and believe RiRi’s brand excels overwhelmingly in the makeup arena instead.
The final verdict: This one is beauty editor-approved, and for good reason. If you want to invest in a celebrity beauty brand, Fenty is a solid choice.
What’s the deal? Selena Gomez launched her brand Rare Beauty in 2020. It had long been teased on social media, and promoted through its ‘your natural beauty enhanced’ messaging. It began in the U.S. and came to the UK shortly after.
What’s worth your cash? There is lots to get excited about at Rare. My favourites are the TikTok-viral Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, £22, Space NK, the Kind Words Lipsticks, £19, Space NK, and the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer, £24, Space NK.
What to avoid: The collection is strong, so if you’re interested in trying things out, there’s little I’d tell you to actively avoid. The Light Touch Weightless Foundation was something I was very excited to try but did not live up to my expectations sadly, as it does not provide enough long-lasting coverage to suit my preference. So this would be the only thing I’d perhaps dissuade you from investing in straight off.
The final verdict: Rare Beauty is a solidly good makeup brand, and there are lots of things to invest in here. I am a big fan of Selena Gomez and believe in her integrity as a brand founder, so would recommend the line.
SKKN by Kim
What’s the deal? Kim Kardashian presented her newest brand SKKN in 2022. The trending ingredients, chic packaging and ‘cool girl’ promo gained traction, while on the flip-side, many were not a fan of the extortionate price points and the brand was even called out for greenwashing.
What’s worth your cash? I’ll be honest: given the current cost of living crisis, I would dissuade you from spending this amount of cash on your skincare, particularly when there are so many amazing affordable options out there. If you really want to try Kim’s range, the Face Cream, £93, SKKN, is a lovely product.
What to avoid: As mentioned, there are affordable alternatives for most of Kim’s line, so there is no need to fork out for the pricey serums, toner, or oils.
The final verdict: Truthfully? Don’t spend your money here. I am a huge fan of Skims, so if you want to get in on one of Kim’s many brands, start there. For skincare, opt for another celeb brand like Honest or just pick up affordable alternatives.
What’s the deal? Kylie Jenner quickly made a name for herself through her original Lip Kits, which fans flocked to the internet for in their millions, helping the young beauty entrepreneur become ‘the youngest self-made billionaire ever’ according to Forbes. Since, she has launched lots more makeup, skincare products and a baby line, and often invites other members of her family in for limited edition ranges.
What’s worth your cash? As someone with continually dry lips, I really like the Lip Oil, £24, Boots, although I acknowledge it is a bit of an investment. If you love a matte lip, you can’t beat the OG Matte Lip Kits, £28, Boots, and the Pressed Powder Eyeshadow Palettes, £24, Boots, have beautiful shades and are fairly good value for money.
What to avoid: The Kylie Skin collection, which I would not personally use due to certain ingredients being included. I also think they are overpriced and there are much better alternatives on the market. Beware of the highlighters too; they’re extra glittery.
The final verdict: Kylie Cosmetics has never really grabbed me, but I’m not sure I’m really the brand’s target demographic; the products have always seemed to be aimed at a slightly younger audience with its pink packaging and youthful formulations. There are a couple of fun things to try, but all in all, it’s not one I’d place at the top of my list.
What’s the deal? Launched in 2022, Pattern is the brainchild of Tracee Ellis Ross. The brand was quickly embraced by the industry for its ability to provide “products to meet your hair in whatever stage it’s in,” and has a wide range of options for curls, from cleansing to styling.
What’s worth your cash? The entire line has quickly become beloved. Our contributing writer Olivia McCrea-Hedley loved the Pattern Leave-in Conditioner, £25, Cult Beauty most, along with all of the tools, shampoo and conditioners, and the Hydrating Mist, £18, Boots.
What to avoid: As our writer’s full review shows, there is not an outlier in this range; pretty much everything is worth giving a try.
The final verdict: Unlike other celebrity beauty brands, Ellis Ross’ Pattern actually filled a gap in the market, creating products for curls that had perhaps not been made as well (or as extensively) in the past. Friends and colleagues of mine with curly hair have only sung the line’s praises to me, and from an aesthetic POV I can’t get enough of the bright yellow packaging and generous product sizing. Read our writer’s full review of the line here.
What’s the deal? Jessica Alba’s beauty line actually first launched way back in 2015, but streamlined its options later on for a re-launch, and only hit UK stands in 2019. Honest sells skincare and makeup.
What’s worth your cash? I have tried a few things from the brand – some of which I really enjoyed using. The Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer, £19, Cult Beauty is a great mascara that provides a 2-in-1 priming option, making it good value too. I’m also a fan of the Calm and Nourish Rich Melting Balm, £35, Niche Beauty, and the Tinted Lip Balms, £10, Cult Beauty are great for that ‘no makeup makeup’ vibe.
What to avoid: There’s nothing from the brand I actively dislike; just things I have a lack of real strong feelings for, such as the setting powder (had better), and the vitamin C, which I believe comes with unclear messaging on the packaging (what percentage and type of vit C we are dealing with is hard to decipher for the average beauty consumer).
The final verdict: Pick and choose with this one. I’d say it’s a brand I’m happy to dip into, with a few core heroes.
What’s the deal? Keys Soulcare was launched in 2020 by Alicia Keys. It centres around core values including self-care, self-confidence and self-love. Each product features an affirmation on its packaging, proving this is a real ‘beauty meets lifestyle’ brand.
What’s worth your cash? My absolute favourite product is the Sacred Body Oil, £25, Keys Soulcare, which is ultra-nourishing and makes you feel like you’re at a spa. I only wish it would come in a larger size, as it’s easy to get through quickly! On the whole, Keys really excels IMO in bodycare, so I’d also recommend the Body Cream, £35, Keys Soulcare and Body Balm, £30, Keys Soulcare.
What to avoid: I certainly wouldn’t say you should ‘avoid’ the skincare, but I feel the brand performs most strongly in body, meaning I would invest here rather than anywhere else if you have to choose.
The final verdict: Invest in the bodycare, which is divine and will make you feel like you’re at a spa. As per the brand’s goals, the body buys are great additions to your collection for a real self-care moment.
What’s the deal? Queer Eye star and hair stylist Jonathan Van Ness (known fondly to many as JVN) created his brand in early 2022. The collection is “sustainable, [with] science-backed formulas,” and its products are all silicone-free and centre around its ‘hero ingredient’ hemisqualane
What’s worth your cash? The Complete Pre-Wash Scalp Oil, £25, Space NK, is a brilliant scalp treatment, and the Complete Airdry Cream, £23, and Complete Instant Recovery Serum, £25, both Space NK are beloved styling additions.
What to avoid: If you are going to funnel your money into one area, make it styling, which I think is where this brand does its best work. The shampoos and conditioners, while effective, are not worth £18 each if you ask me.
The final verdict: I like this brand, but it doesn’t give me some of the special excitement others may do. As someone who’s never watched Queer Eye though (I know, don’t @ me), this is perhaps to be expected! For those who are big fans of Van Ness, this is a comprehensive line worth giving a good go. I’d recommend the styling products most, as mentioned.
What’s the deal? This one belongs to Ariana Grande, and first launched at the end of 2021 in the U.S. and early 2022 for us Brits. Products are released in ‘chapters’ and so far have consisted largely of makeup.
What to avoid: I wasn’t a fan of the mascara which I found smudged throughout the day, and the lip gloss has a *lot* of glitter in there.
The final verdict: I’ll be honest: r.e.m Beauty doesn’t do much for me, but there are some pretty makeup options to pick up if you’d like to give it a go or are a big Ariana fan. I think if the singer had chosen to lower her price points slightly to become a budget-friendly brand (Drew Barrymore ‘Flower’-style), she could have been onto something here and filled a gap in the already-very-oversaturated celeb market.
What’s the deal? Launching in 2022, S’able Labs is launched by husband-and-wife duo, Idris and Sabrina Elba. The collection is genderless and uses the “best in ethically sourced African ingredients,” says the brand.
What’s worth your cash? The Essentials Discovery Kit, £45, S’able Labs, gives you an opportunity to try each of the core products in mini sizes, for less.
What to avoid: I don’t personally like the texture of the cleanser, and find the moisturiser to be overpriced at £50.
The final verdict: I like the premise of the brand and the fact that it champions brilliant ingredients like baobab, but I feel S’able Labs entered the market at a moment when the beauty industry (and wider world) was already taking a collective sigh that acknowledged just how oversaturated celebrity skincare already is. The discovery kit is a great idea for weekends away and for trialling the products (and something few other celeb brands have done off the bat), but I can’t say there is one product that really wowed me considering the higher individual price points.
What’s the deal? Many may not realise that Kora Organics was one of the earliest celeb beauty brands of these modern times. Miranda Kerr launched Kora in 2009 in Australia, and it came to the U.S. in 2017, and the UK shortly afterwards. It’s a skincare range that hones in on key trending ingredients such as turmeric.
What’s worth your cash? If you want to try the brand and don’t know where to start, the Turmeric range (the Glow Foaming Cleanser, £38, Sephora, and Glow Moisturiser, £54, Sephora, in particular) is a good entry point. The products boost glow and give skin a healthy appearance.
What to avoid: Unfortunately, Kora suffers from something many of these celeb brands do: overpriced labels. Even the Turmeric range which I like comes in at £54 a pop for the moisturiser. This was perhaps deemed mid-range when it launched, but these days it’s on the higher end of many people’s budgets. For this reason, you may find yourself out-priced from some formulas, and there’s nothing I’d root for wholeheartedly that’s worth maxing out your credit card for.
The final verdict: As mentioned, I find the brand to be a bit spendy on the whole. The Turmeric range is where to invest if you have some extra cash.
What’s the deal? Rosie Huntington-Whiteley created Rose Inc. in 2021 off the back of her already-growing beauty platform and community, which arrived in 2018. It centers around makeup, but there are a few skincare options too.
What’s worth your cash? The Satin Lipcolour Rich Refillable Lipsticks, £22, Space NK, are beautiful in texture, colours and packaging. I’m also a big fan of the Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Colour, £25, Space NK, particularly in the stunning ‘Ophelia’ shade. Lastly, I really like the finish of the Softlight Luminious Hydrating Concealer, £24, Space NK.
What to avoid: The Tinted Serum is not a winner IMO; it provides little to no coverage, so only works if you have picture-perfect skin already. I also could live without the skincare, and think Rose Inc. does makeup better.
The final verdict: I actually really like Rose Inc. as a brand; the packaging is chic and Insta-friendly, the colours are pretty and many of the formulas are of high quality. I think Huntington-Whiteley’s clear passion and enthusiasm for beauty shines through her products, unlike some other founders who seem to have just thrown their hat in the ring and created a line just because.
Victoria Beckham Beauty
What’s the deal? After conquering the fashion industry, Victoria Beckham set her sights on beauty in 2019. The brand started with some eyeshadow bricks and quickly grew into a comprehensive line that features nearly everything you’d need in your makeup stash.
What’s worth your cash? Lots – this is a celebrity beauty brand full of delights. The Satin Kajal Liners, £26, Victoria Beckham Beauty, are beloved for a reason; silky, long-lasting and with some gorgeous colour options. I adore the Posh Lipsticks, £37, particularly in the nude-pink and red hues. And finally, the Future Lash Mascara, £29, is great for natural, glossy lashes.
What to avoid: Controversially, I think the priming moisturisers and serum are not worth the cash. They are good products, but are seriously overpriced. I could also live without the Lid Lustres, but I’m not a fan of glitter.
The final verdict: I root for this brand to succeed as I think it’s high quality and does makeup exceptionally well. Yes it’s expensive, but if you can afford to treat yourself to something a little spendy, this is worth investing your money in.
The final verdict: which celebrity beauty brands are worth it?
As I’m sure you’ve realised, celebrity beauty branding is a saturated space. While some are better than others, if I had to pick just a few to recommend, I’d say Fenty and Victoria Beckham Beauty for makeup, and Pattern for hair. That said, special mentions have to go to the body products in Alicia Keys’ Keys Soulcare, as well as Rose Inc. and Rare for more pretty makeup finds.