December 6, 2022

Help! We are knee-deep in the celebrity beauty brand era, with no end in sight. No one asked for this, but here we are, confronted with every convenient origin story (“No one was making the perfect [insert cream] I was looking for, so I decided to make one myself.”), and the inevitable three to seven products that follow. It’s confusing out here, because does anyone really want a Lisa Rinna lipstick? And who’s buying a Carmen Electra moisturizer? DJ Khaled CBD???

Listen, not everyone can be a Fenty or Victoria Beckham Beauty. But there are a handful of other brands that aren’t completely embarrassing. You might even drum up the nerve to make a hate-buy. Or, at the very least, add to your celebrity brand burn book. Below, pick your poison.

The founder: Harry Styles
Harry Styles is the pre-flop Justin Timberlake of our time. You like him, your baby cousin thinks he’s cool, your mom knows his name. Pleasing, with its psychedelic packaging and mushroom-inspired bottles is capital F Fun, which is also a little like being a Styles fan: a bit playful but mostly earnest. There is merch and skincare, but just stick to the nail polishes. Each bottle will be a tiny treasure on your Top Shelf.

The Brand: Rhode

The Founder: Hailey Bieber
You used to roll your eyes every time she came across your Instagram feed, but OK FINE, her Starface-meets-sexy relatable IG high jinks wore you down. Plus, you’ve been influenced, and are always up for supporting a good PR campaign when you see one. Beauty editors love to interview her, and Justin Bieber just plain loves her, so let go and get glazed. After all, the lip treatment is pretty good.

The founder: Pharrell Williams
Aha, you’re a smart one. You’re betting your hard earned cash money on the celebrity with a proven track record of really great skin. His secret sauce is a robust cleansing routine, which he shared with ITG several years ago, and is evidenced by his skincare line that’s 50-percent exfoliators. The Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator is the most amenable cost-per-wear option in this pricey brand, which is chock full of glycolic acid and rice powder to physically and chemically smooth skin. Refillable and designed by your art school bestie, the packaging is also thankfully not an eyesore.

The brand: SKKN

The founder: Kim Kardashian
You guyyyys, maybe give this one a chance. For one, Kim Kardashian’s skincare line was developed alongside Joanna Czech, to whom anyone should trust their face wholeheartedly. And while it’s true that Kim may be known for 12 other things ahead of skincare (a low-alcohol beverage line would go gangbusters at the supermarket, for instance), you can understand the throughline. Truthfully, the most interesting SKUs reside in the home accessories collection. Who amongst us doesn’t dream of a brutalist trash can wastebasket? Anyone?

The brand: SKN

The founder: Lori Harvey
No, not SKKN… SKN by Lori Harvey came first. Aside from their shared beef with vowels, Kim and Lori’s brands couldn’t be more different. Lori Harvey is known for her skincare, for better or worse. It was a mere six months ago when she shared her dark marks solution via greek yogurt and set Tiktok afire (really though, the criticism was a bit over the top…there are bigger enemies than DIY dairy masks). She’s always had great skin in general. Products-wise, her niacinamide cream is the most interesting. A solid comfort as the temperatures drop but your pores appear to grow.

The founder: Brad Pitt
Ha! Made you look. Can you believe this actually exists?

The founder: Tracee Ellis Ross
She kind of thought of everything. From the conditioner bottle that’s twice as large as the shampoo (because you go through the moisturizing stuff twice as fast), to slightly textured packaging that’s easy to grip in the shower. If you’re a person with curly hair, you know that Tracee Ellis Ross is precisely the celebrity entrepreneur you can get behind.

The founder: Drake
It makes sense, sort of. Aren’t music and candles both, ahem, vibes? A smarter strategy might have paired the scents with his albums, but celebrity beauty brands as a whole aren’t inherently smart. For the most part, they are just kind of…there.

Photo via ITG