Will we ever see an end to nepo-beauty lines?

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Words: Eva Lopez-Lopez (she/they)

Lately it seems like everyone who has a minimum claim to fame is launching a beauty line: MGK, J-Lo, Halsey, Selena Gomez, Harry Styles, the list goes on. Why is this phenomenon on the rise and, more importantly, will it ever stop? 

Modern beauty lines have been forced to reinvent themselves. Whilst celebrities were once commercial faces that appeared in a 30 second spot on television, nowadays they fully endorse the product as if it were their own creation and integral part of their brand. Although I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when this shift began, Kylie Jenner’s infamous lip kits in 2015 are undoubtedly a pivotal historic moment. It gave her her own spotlight away (but not too far) from her family, and brought her even more fame and economic success – all in one makeup brand launch.  

However, this isn’t a completely new phenomenon. I remember as a kid, celebrities marked their fame by releasing a fragrance. I have a vivid childhood memory of hunting down Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck perfume at the mall. When found, I would spray my wrists and wish I had more pocket money to buy it. Now I admit that even if I had made the purchase, I would have rarely used it, fearing I would be left with no more Taylor-branded fragrance to secure our connection. From the dawn of celebrity culture, the pinnacle of stardom came hand in hand with the release of a beauty line or fragrance. 

As is abundantly obvious, companies that sell beauty products and cosmetics are trying to sell much more than just a product. When they have a celebrity as the representative of that brand, they are selling their image and lifestyle. The  implication is that if you buy their products, you could also be as successful, rich and good looking. Despite our lack of complete naïveté, the general idea that some of that ‘coolness’ that some celebrities exude will ‘trickle down’ to us still sticks.  I’ve found myself considering the purchase of  a Rare Beauty liquid blush, despite the fact I’m not that into makeup in the first place and I have never bought a makeup product over £15 . 

It appears  these products are part of a never-ending cycle: a celebrity falls from grace, a new one rises and with its stardom comes the launch of a new beauty line. This is not just a marketing ploy, but also displays that celebs are not pretty and brainless faces: they are entrepreneurs. It’s the law of the jungle and if you want to be remembered as a celebrity, you must have at least one side-hustle. Some opt to write self-confessional memoirs and others launch a makeup line. It is no longer enough to be one thing, celebs must build empires. But why is this  desirable? Why does a millionaire want to start selling lipsticks to their sixteen-year-old fanbase? I guess they believe in the process of creating community through merchandise (in the end, these makeup lines are similar to the t-shirts and tote bags they sell at concerts), but I have to advise that community and kinship will grow weak if the only thing nurturing them is commercial products. We must ask ourselves if it is merely greed that drives these campaigns. 

Whether celeb-endorsed or not, in the capitalistic hellhole we live in, companies will only continue to launch product after product which claim to be the solution to our unhappiness. I must ask, does this Selena Gomez lipstick have a particular mind blowing shine to it? Don’t I already have an identical shade in my vanity gathering dust? Perhaps we need to better consider the quality of these products and the conditions in which they were produced, especially if they were released in a rush to promote a new celebrity project.

Honestly, I don’t think the end is in sight for these celebrity beauty launches. In a society dominated by the culture of the side-hustle even celebrities are feeling the pressure to branch out and maximise profits. After all, it’s the logical evolution of stardom, right? 


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