From Rhode skincare by Hailey Bieber to Alicia Keys’ Soulcare, it seems as though every celebrity has decided to jump on the skincare line bandwagon in recent years. But are celebrity skincare lines any better than other ranges or are they just another glitzy way for celebrities to make bank? Here’s my opinion as a doctor…
First and foremost, the skin is an organ, the same way that your kidneys and liver are both organs. Would you trust Kim Kardashian with your kidney function? No? Well, you may not want to be so trusting with your skin either – and here’s why.
A significant part of the branding and appeal that comes with celebrity skincare is the glamorous look and smell of their products – and ‘glamour’ isn’t an ingredient that you want when it comes to skincare.
For example, Fenty Skincare by Rihanna is a beautifully presented line with fragrance-rich formulas and lots of connections to her Baijan roots. The pros to the line include the huge emphasis on diversity and inclusion, with marketing targeted to include everybody. It also contains SPF that is coral-reef friendly and refillable packaging.
However, the most notable con is the fragrance element. Fragrances are well known to irritate the skin’s barrier and potentially lead to allergic reactions, dermatitis, redness, hypersensitivity and blemish-prone skin. And this line is full of them. It’s important to note that even natural scents (i.e. those derived from the natural Baijan fruits and flower extracts) can still be irritating to the skin.
In short, when it comes to your skin, you want each ingredient to be contributing to fantastic-looking skin, instead of a fantastic-smelling product.
So, should you trust celebrities on their skincare knowledge?
JLO recently came under fire for less-than-adequate skincare knowledge. She highlighted the importance of cleansers giving her a ‘tight’, ‘squeaky clean’ feeling, which is contrary to advice that most skincare brands and experts will give about cleansers not being too stripping.
What this highlights is that celebrities are not skincare expects, aestheticians or dermatologists. Their knowledge isn’t gained by years of experience. And furthermore, their beautiful, bouncy skin isn’t usually a result of them using their own skincare products; even if they do use said products, they will do so alongside a team of derms and other experts to keep them looking their absolute best.
It’s therefore important to take what celebrities are telling you with several pinches of salt, as they are leveraging their platforms to increase their sales, as opposed to truly understanding the skin.
Are celebrity skincare brands all bad?
Whilst some people may doubt the legitimacy of Kylie Jenner’s skincare knowledge, they can’t deny the billion dollar name that has created the line and the subsequent million-dollar minds that are creating the products.
Celebrities like the KarJenners are able to create skincare lines that undergo extensive research and development, which can result in innovative formulations and a level of quality and efficacy to their products.
What they can’t afford is to produce low-quality, unsafe products that would damage your skin along with their name and reputation. For this reason, certain celebrity skincare lines are known to be overcautious with their active ingredients, choosing to value less risky, safe formulations over products that are more effective and pack a greater punch. Scarlett Johansson’s The Outset line, for example, focuses on super gentle formulations that work on re-enforcing the sensitive skin barrier. This is however often at price points that don’t reflect a reduction in the potency of active ingredients.
Other brands I would recommend include Hailey Bieber’s Rhode. The line is science-based, with clinical trials that highlight the efficacy of the products. It moves away from the traditional celebrity approach of using natural or low impact ingredients but instead focuses on barrier-boosting ingredients such as niacinamide, peptides and squalene, in concentrations that have a proven efficacy.
It also uses fragrance-free, lightweight formulas that are likely to sit on the surface of the epidermis and nourish the skin. The website and branding focus on consumer education and of all the celebrity skincare lines out there, Rhode may actually assist your skin in looking like its celebrity creator!
Another notable mention is Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace line, which is a gender-neutral brand that emphasises simplicity and effectiveness. The line includes a rice powder cleanser, lotus enzyme exfoliator, and a moisturiser with SPF.
The benefits of this line include dermatologically tested formulations that are all about skin-minimalism and stripping back to the essentials of skincare: cleanser – treatment – moisturiser and SPF. This approach not only prevents skin irritation, but also brings all genders into the skincare fold with a simple but effective routine.
The thrills and sparkles that are attached to celebrity skincare lines do not necessarily equate to healthier, more nourished skin, which is the goal that we should all be striving towards when it comes to our skincare.
Science and a strong evidence base should take priority. While there’s no massive harm in trying the skincare of a much-loved celeb, I would always recommend brands with a long track record and a dedication to efficacy to take priority.