Are Any Celebrity Beauty Lines Actually ...Good?


If the 2020 news cycle hadn’t already zapped every morsel of life from my sweatpant-clad, seasonally depressed body, celebrities got whatever was left. And I used to love celebrities! I loved their silly little Instagram captions and their silly little Gucci-wearing toddlers. The best! Then, at some point this year, I got sick of watching them traipse around my travel wishlist via private jet, moan from the Architectural Digest spreads they call chez moi, and put their wealth and platforms to use to... promote newly-launched beauty lines. Sometimes eponymous, sometimes sneakily disguised, everyone has a beauty line nowadays. Yes, even Anthony Hopkins. Even Eleven from Stranger Things. I’d list everything that’s launched in the past couple years, but frankly there are too many and so few that are noteworthy.

In the interest of fairness, I’ll admit that’s just a cursory review.

I’m sure that deeper dives into celebrity lines would surface some true winners. They were made by real cosmetic chemists, after all—no matter how involved a celebrity claims to be, they leave the formulating to the pros. (Like, there’s no way Lady Gaga’s whipping up mass-market eyeshadow in her guest bathroom, you know?) And I’ll be the first to 'fes up to using some celebrity beauty products: Rihanna’s bronzer, Drew Barrymore’s lip mask, Venus Williams’ sunscreen… I’ve heard good things about Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair care, and great things about Ariana Grande’s fragrance (supposedly a dupe of Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge at less than a third of the price).

But honestly, good products seem beside the point. It’s more like how my roommate is adamant about not wanting to have kids—not because she doesn’t like kids, but because lots of kids already exist. Instead of birthing another business venture into the world, couldn’t celebrities just, uh, keep doing whatever they were doing before 2020? Give shine to the makeup artists, hair stylists, chemists, dermatologists and, ahem, surgeons who actually contributed to this visual symphony! And why, when they do branch out into beauty, must they always launch with a million SKUs? The spaghetti thrown at a wall approach is not really the most efficient (or sustainable).

Anyway, that’s my take. But maybe it just feels like I’m getting pummeled by celebrity beauty because I’m hyper aware each time another one’s been catapulted onto the interwebs. I’m curious, though, if folks whose job isn't to keep up with this stuff are feeling the fatigue too. Are any celebrity products really amazing? Or should they all go back to making mid-priced alcohol? Let’s hash this out in the comments—if there’s a celebrity-backed product you do love, please cite your sources.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG