Halsey is the latest celeb to toss her hat into the beauty ring.
The singer, whose real name is Ashley Frangipane, revealed her clean, vegan and cruelty-free line, called About-Face Beauty, on January 4 via Instagram. The direct-to-consumer range goes on sale January 25.
She joins an ever-growing list of actresses, singers and social media stars who believe they can deliver something missing from the beauty landscape.
In the past six months, Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Emily Ratajkowski and Selena Gomez all launched beauty collections.
They follow in the footsteps of entries over the past few years including Rhianna’s Fenty (now in skin care), Lady Gaga, Taraji P. Henson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Millie Bobby Brown (who recently purchased a majority stake in her brand, Florence by Mills, from Beach House), Jewel and of course Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian—among others.
What’s behind the star-wattage rush to the category?
For many, like Jennifer Lopez, it is a dream they’ve had for years and now social media makes it easy to market directly to fans. For Taraji, it was a chance to solve a problem she viewed in hair care for damaged tresses from wearing protective hair styles.
Then, there is the revenue.
According to Tracy Holland, Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Hatchbeauty Brands, consumers are willing to plunk down money for products from a favorite star. There is also lessened risk for brands to partner up.
“I believe celebrity brands are going to continue to be prominent and ‘in demand’ from the consumer’s perspective. The reality for brand owners is [that] marketing to the end user is increasingly more difficult. Launching with a celebrity partner targets the end consumer, and cuts competitor brand noise,” Tracy said.
Halsey is pulling out all the stops to ensure success. She has credibility from being a self-taught makeup artist and a makeup junkie who has long concocted her own blends and done her own makeup.
Fortifying that, About-Face was developed in conjunction with two beauty veterans—Dineh Mohajer and Jeanne Chavez. Together they launched disruptive brands including Smith & Cult, Goldie and Hard Candy.
The team devoted more than two years to create the 40 SKU collection across 10 categories, including beauty tools and cosmetic bags, with prices ranging from $17 to $32.
The positioning could resonate with consumers who have passed up buying makeup. With sales struggling, Halsey is appealing to consumers who aren’t as concerned with hiding flaws but want cosmetics for self-expression. “I have always stood firm in the belief that makeup is about feeling cool—not looking perfect,” she said in the brand’s trailer.
An example of About-Face’s perspective is an Anti-Valentine’s Day limited matte lip collection in Halsey’s favorite shades that celebrates what she calls the most important form of love, self-love.
“Makeup is art and art is about happy accidents, not any one ideal of perfection,” said Halsey, who has the title of Founder and Chief Creative Officer of About-Face, said. “I always feel the most free when I am creating looks without following any rules. The beauty industry has norms, but I want to encourage people to challenge those standards and allow things to be imperfect and fun.”
About-Face is also offered via an exclusive year-long partnership with Ipsy.
While makeup languishes, skin care is booming. Enter Jennifer Lopez and her chance to bring a decades-long dream to fruition. JLo Beauty (created along with Ascendant Beauty LLC, a joint venture of Guthy-Renker and BRX GR LLC) debuted via social media and a performance on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. The segment was introduced with the 51-year-old star riding the New York Subway adorned with posters for the brand. Launched January 1 on its own site, the eight-piece collection rolls out to Sephora and Amazon today.
Pharrell is also banking on his ageless skin with Humanrace, which bowed in November. Created with dermatologist Elena Jones, Humanrace includes a Rice Powder Cleanser, Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator and Humidifying Cream priced from $32 to $48; it is sold as a set for $100 (it currently sold out online).
More celeb collaborations are expected in 2021, especially as an engine to get beauty sales back on track. But not all are destined to be blockbusters.
Partnerships with prominent figures come with a caveat, Tracy warned. “We learned in 2012 from the collaboration with Salma Hayek and CVS, [that] the halo effect from celebrity brand collaboration can be misdirected if marketing and promo is not aligned with talent’s objectives for the brand.”