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Is the celebrity beauty brand boom bust?

It seems like every day another celebrity is launching a beauty brand. Just last week, John Legend announced the launch of his new unisex skincare line.

How much is too much? According to Business Insider, as many as 25 celebrities and influencers have launched beauty or skincare products over the course of the last three years.

As this number grows, consumers are feeling fatigued.

“When I see a celebrity beauty brand, I just don’t buy it,” Anya Dua told The New York Times. Dua is the founder of Gen Z Identity Lab, an online platform for Gen Zers to discuss what’s important.

Some brands are struggling to fight through the noise.

Sephora is reportedly dropping Addison Rae’s Item Beauty and Hyram Yarbro’s Selfless by Hyram beauty brands from its shelves. The brands, both started by social media influencers, weren’t connecting with consumers, an industry source told Business Insider.

Morphe, which used social media influencers to promote its beauty products, announced that it was closing all of its US stores earlier this month, according to Bloomberg.

  • According to parent company Forma, revenues tied to social media stars Jeffree Star, James Charles, and Jaclyn Hill fell by 66% in 2021 to $32 million. (For context, partnerships with Star and Charles helped the brand rake in $400 million in 2019.)
  • It’s important to note that Morphe cut ties with Star after he was accused of using racist language in 2020 and with Charles after he was accused of sexual misconduct in 2021.

So, is the celebrity beauty boom over? Yes and no.

Brands like Fenty Beauty and Rare Beauty will most likely continue to drive sales, but the days of every influencer and their mother launching a brand may be numbered.

Even the Kardashians may be wearing out their welcome. At a recent Marketing Brew event, Amanda Goetz, founder and CEO of House of Wise, shared, “Every single Kardashian posted our product on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Zero sales. Zero.”

The foundation: While celebrity beauty brands existed long before the Kardashians graced TV screens, it’s safe to say that Kylie Cosmetics has set the scene for the modern celebrity beauty brand.

The company, which launched in 2015 and was bought by Coty in 2019, led to Kylie Jenner being named the “world’s youngest self-made billionaire” by Forbes (though that title was later revoked) and set the stage for an onslaught of celebrity beauty brands.

Now, celebrity beauty brands are so ubiquitous that websites have to create guides to keep track of them all.

At the top, you’ve got Fenty Beauty, which also put founder Rihanna on the billionaires list and made the case for more inclusivity within the beauty industry. Forbes conservatively estimated that Fenty Beauty was worth $2.8 billion in 2021, which has no doubt grown along with the beauty industry in 2022.

Climbing up the ranks is Selena Gomez’s company, Rare Beauty. Despite being less than three years old, the brand has gained a massive following on social media, with 3.7 million followers on Instagram and 1.2 million on TikTok (not to mention the #rarebeauty hashtag has over 2.8 billion views on TikTok).

The takeaway: Though the beauty industry managed to stay recession-proof in 2022, this year, growth will see a big slowdown, with retail sales of cosmetic and beauty products growing just 1.8% (compared to about 12.1% last year), according to our forecast.

Celebrity brands that want to get a piece of the industry’s nearly $90 billion in sales aren’t just competing with each other, they’re competing with brand juggernauts like L’Oréal and Coty.

Celebrity brands must have something other than a big name to connect with audiences. With Gen Z leading the way, the next phase of beauty will likely be driven by authenticity and relatability.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.