Beauty moguls or celebrity fads?

Be it Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta or Sunny Leone, it’s fashionable for celebrities to launch their own beauty brands. And why not? Working with some of the best teams including makeup artists, hairstylists and dermatologists, celebs probably have what it takes to put their best foot forward to brand their beauty secrets, making them accessible to the world.

Many of these celebs have been challenging beauty norms by shaping positive conversations about self-acceptance and mental health through their brands. Tennis player Naomi Osaka’s ‘KINLO’ combats the myth that people with darker skin tones can’t get skin cancer and, therefore, don’t need sunscreen. Selena Gomez’s ‘Rare Beauty’ promotes self-confidence. Katrina Kaif’s ‘Kay’ talks about inner beauty and strength, while Priyanka Chopra’s “Anomaly” is focused on affordably priced, performance-driven formulas.

But are these brands actually good? Or are they just talk and money-making moves?

Lubna Khan, brand strategy consultant, shares her thoughts on why celebrity-owned or celebrity-led beauty brands are exploding today. “There’re many beauty brands in the market now and it’s easy to assemble ingredients and formulations without elaborate legacy infrastructure. Celebrity links help provide attention, media coverage, hype and excitement around the brand, cutting through the clutter and encouraging the all-important product trials,” she points out.

Are they into it?
However, the likes of actor and entrepreneur Sunny Leone, who has brands StarStruck, Lust, etc., are not the brand face but the owner of most of the stuff their brand creates. “I’ve sat through every single formula testing for StarStruck Cosmetics. I am a 100%-owner of her products with no outside investors and take that responsibility very seriously,” states Sunny, who also points out she doesn’t classify this said explosion of celebrity brands as just a trend. “It’s been going on forever. When somebody loves or wants to invest their time and build something, they do it — whether it’s a celebrity or not. This has been happening for generations, across every decade, with people developing enormous brands.”

Lara Dutta, whose company Scentials Beautycare and Wellness Pvt Ltd has launched its skincare range, called Arias, also seems very clear why she’s playing the field. “I’ve been in the industry for a long time, working with the best brands and best makeup artists.

But these products are expensive, costing around three to four thousand rupees, and women tend to apply much less of it than needed, and hence don’t get results. And because they have used so little, some products even expire,” says the Bollywood actress. “So, I decided to launch a brand that’s affordable and really works.”

What’s their lead?
Celebrities, by virtue of their job, are well versed in beauty and grooming. But is a line designed by a celebrity really better than regular products? Also, do celebrities really ‘design’ them?
It seems Sunny Leone, who owns eight companies and eight different brands of product lines, does. For one, she says she doesn’t send out a single product to the public, which she wouldn’t use herself.

“Everything from the design, artwork, packaging, containers, marketing, look and feel of the entire cosmetic line with over a hundred and fifty products now, for all these things, it is Daniel [her husband] and me who are making these decisions sitting in our office for the last three years,” says Sunny Leone. “I’m involved in the company on a daily basis. Every aspect of this brand is a part of me and I understand it carefully before involving myself in it. I swear by the products we make and Daniel often says it seems to be my stamp of approval.”

Worthy of the public or just a fad?
Lubna believes that ultimately, customers will decide whether these products are worth using or if celebs are merely rushing to create products that aren’t authentic or needed. “Brands have always been sold on the intangible mystique and emotion just as much on the tangible ingredients and formulations. Celebrities provide that emotion, injecting more of their own story, personality, beliefs and aura of confidence into a brand they own as compared to another they endorse,” adds Lubna. “And as celebrities understand the power of their own personal brand, marketing it through beauty products is a lucrative way of making that brand accessible yet aspirational.”
So how would you know that if these celebrity brands offer something valuable and if you’re buying a quality item and not just paying for a trendy product with a celebrity name attached to it?

“Products need to work and deliver on their promise, or the backlash can be crippling. The internet and social media now amplify word-of-mouth, so if a product fails, plenty of people will talk about the failure online. When a beauty product is trashed, the celebrity owner also takes a hit,” Lubna assures.


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