True Kardashian historians will recall that Kim Kardashian West, along with her sisters, have served as the face of many cosmetic brands over the years, from beauty behemoth Estée Lauder to Fusion Beauty to Rodial’s Nip + Fab. Kim, the beauty nucleus (beau-cleus?) of the family boasts a resume that leads off with her short-lived role as a beauty editor at OK Magazine nearly a decade ago, culminating into her current 101 million-deep Instagram following. This trajectory anoints her, inarguably, the influencer of influencers. And on Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT, Kim’s own makeup line, KKW Beauty, launched–and sold out–in minutes. So, the question isn’t why she finally created her own makeup range, especially after the roaring success of that of her younger half-sister, Kylie Jenner. It’s what took her so long? Kim’s beauty vision clearly resonates with today’s beauty consumer and is likely to do well for a variety of reasons.
After Kylie’s success peddling a matte ‘90s lip look with sold-out Kylie Lip Kits, this past April Kim dipped her toe into creating a lipstick collection in partnership with Kylie. Perhaps it was then that she came to the conclusion the world needs more of her signature aesthetic. In fact, Kim told WWD that she’s using the success of the KKW by Kylie Cosmetics crème lipstick set as a litmus test.
Also indicative of success of future KKW Beauty items is the ubiquity of Kim’s signature beauty look: matte foundation, sculpted brows, full nude lip, contoured cheekbones, a deeply bronzed eye and false eyelashes to the sky. Whether you’re a fan or not, you know the look when you see it.
As contouring is the key to Kim’s makeup ethos, it’s only natural that her inaugural product is a Creme Contour & Highlight Kit. It contains two dual-ended creme formula sticks and a dual-ended tool for blending — think a sponge and kabuki brush hybrid, housed in a millennial pink KKW Beauty pouch. The three-piece set will be available in four shades. The contour stick features two complimentary shades and the highlight stick boasts a matte and a shimmer side.
But according to WWD, Kim is progressing toward a lighter, more natural look — think less obvious cheek sculpting, without giving up on it completely. And it makes sense: Newton’s third law says that for every action, there is a reaction, and this move for Kim is aligned with that. Her choice of creme formulas yield a more natural finish than matte iterations. In fashion, hemlines and pant silhouettes change every few years, creating the need for a full wardrobe refresh. Think of this as the beauty equivalent. If Kim is lightening her makeup load, surely the masses will follow. The on-trend, photo-friendly pink packaging and, of course, Kim’s gigunda social media following, is icing on the cake.
Lastly, Kim’s longtime makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, has channeled his talent into a series of makeup workshops and partnerships with big brands such as Anastasia Beverly Hills and Laura Mercier with fantastic results. Those brands cater to an older demographic than that of Kylie’s brand, and KKW Beauty can also slide into that niche. Compared to Kylie’s line, Kim’s offerings are more complexion-focused, packed with anti-aging formulas and come in more neutral hues to serve those on the older end of the millennial spectrum, in addition to Gen Xers. Perhaps it’s time for some of the focus in the beauty industry to shift back to this oft-overlooked audience, who is still pretty social media savvy.