In 2022, we don’t need tabloids to teach us how to copy our favorite celebrities’ beauty looks—we can just shop their brands. Over the past few years, numerous Hollywood stars have taken a break from the entertainment world to develop makeup and skincare lines, leveraging their high profiles and sizable fanbases to gain publicity. From the blockbuster 2017 debut of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, to Lady Gaga’s 2019-launched Haus Laboratories, to Kim Kardashian’s and Hailey Bieber’s recent skincare ventures, the celebrity beauty bandwagon isn’t slowing down. But as more and more A-listers join in on the trend, skeptics are beginning to ask: when will the bubble burst?
To answer this, we have to rethink the question. The idea of a celebrity beauty “bubble” assumes that brands founded by stars occupy a distinct category within the broader beauty market, and are competing for a finite group of consumers. The thinking goes that when the space becomes crowded enough, consumers will grow fatigued, spelling trouble for once-buzzy companies.
The problem with this line of thinking is that celebrity-led brands are hardly homogenous, and neither are the consumers who buy them. Brands that enter the market with a unique mission and value proposition—such as Fenty Beauty’s inclusive complexion products, or Rare Beauty’s emphasis on self-acceptance—don’t need to worry about other entrepreneurial stars taking their market share.
However, to sustain momentum, celebrity-founded brands also need to play by the same rules as traditional makeup and skincare companies, and win over the beauty influencers who are increasingly shaping consumer behavior in the creator economy. While an A-list founder may guarantee a splashy debut, the celebrity brands that see continued success assemble loyal communities of advocates, who can be counted on to carry their message after initial launch hype subsides.
Let’s take a look at some of the celebrity-fronted beauty brands dominating online conversation right now, and the influencer marketing strategies they’re using to steal the show.
Backed by a Hero Product and Loyal Fanbase, Rare Beauty Races Ahead
Anyone wondering if celebrity beauty brands’ moment is over need only look to Rare Beauty for proof that stars still have skin in the game. Launched in September 2020 by actress Selena Gomez, the brand has established itself as a leader in the creator economy thanks to its versatile products and mental health-focused messaging. Rare Beauty closed H1 2022 with $135.1M in Earned Media Value (EMV), enjoying respective 58% half-over-half and 56% year-over-year increases. Meanwhile, the brand’s community of 42.1k advocates represented a healthy 35% HoH expansion.
Rare Beauty’s success can be attributed to the enduring popularity of a hero product, as well as an ongoing commitment to celebrating devoted fans. A sizable $23.2M EMV of the brand’s H2 haul came from content featuring the Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, which earned mentions from 1.6k creators. Not only did the blush—noted for its lightweight, blendable color and easy application—generate over $10M EMV more than any other Rare Beauty product, but it also saw mounting enthusiasm, roughly doubling its H2 2021 figures of $10.1M via 870 creators.
Apart from organic excitement surrounding a creator-approved product, Rare Beauty has benefited from actively nurturing relationships with its champions. In June, the brand invited longtime advocates like TikTok beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira to meet Gomez in person at an LA event, inspiring a flurry of high-energy “get ready with me” videos. Moved by the opportunity to meet a star, several attendees increased their content creation: Mikayla, for example, drove $964.6k EMV via 10 posts in H1, up from $446.7k via five mentions of Rare Beauty in H2 2021.
An Inclusive Brand Identity Fuels Fenty Beauty’s Momentum
If the surge in celebrity beauty launches can be traced back to one brand, it’s Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s makeup brand took the beauty community by storm when it hit the market in fall 2017, with creators rushing to try out the inclusive, 40-shade Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. Since then, Fenty Beauty has debuted a number of other blockbuster products, including the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, which generated $15.7M EMV from 1.5k creators in H1 2022 as the brand’s No. 1 offering.
Much initial hype about Fenty Beauty surrounded its inclusive products and messaging, and the brand has been applauded for pushing the broader beauty industry to better serve consumers with darker skin tones. Even as other brands have followed Fenty Beauty’s lead by expanding their shade ranges, the brand remains a go-to for many Black makeup creators: in H1, content tagged #BlackGirlMagic and #MakeUpForBlackWomen garnered $4.4M and $4.2M EMV, respectively, across 554 and 1.3k posts.
Notably, Fenty Beauty’s bold, playful eye and lip products have also emerged as a fixture in avant-garde makeup looks, helping the brand capitalize on the #EuphoriaMakeup trend. In H1, a total of 495 creators shouted out Fenty Beauty in looks inspired by the hit HBO series “Euphoria,” with mentions of #EuphoriaMakeup accruing $7.0M EMV. The brand as a whole closed H1 with $162.4M EMV, a 4% HoH uptick.
SKKN by Kim, RHODE Seize Celebrity Skincare Opportunity
While many of the biggest-name celebrity beauty brands, like Rare Beauty and Fenty Beauty, focus on makeup, June 2022 brought two star-studded skincare launches: SKKN by Kim, led by Kim Kardashian, and RHODE, founded by Hailey Bieber. The two hotly anticipated arrivals made a grand entrance, ranking No. 1 and No. 2 among June’s Top 10 EMV-driving skincare brands with $15.5M and $8.6M from 604 and 926 creators.
SKKN by Kim’s performance was bolstered by endorsements from other members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, with Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner proving the brand’s four most impactful advocates. Kris, who ranked as SKKN by Kim’s No. 1 EMV-driver, contributed a sizable $3.9M—25% of the brand’s total—across 70 posts celebrating her daughter’s achievement.
Meanwhile, Rhode held a splashy LA launch party that saw appearances from prominent beauty influencers such as Wendy Ly and Mariale Marrero. But while the brand put creators at the center of its promotional strategy, its founder’s celebrity connections certainly didn’t hurt. The highest-earning piece of content about Rhode came from pop star Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber’s husband, who praised his wife in a single Instagram post worth $233.4k EMV.
It may feel like the market is saturated with celebrity makeup and skincare brands—and it’s true that more and more stars are trying their hand as beauty entrepreneurs. But while a celebrity’s name is no guarantee of success, brands that couple an A-list founder with an effective influencer marketing strategy remain well-positioned for continued growth in the creator economy.
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