It seems like every celebrity has at least one side hustle these days, from Mint Mobile, Ryan Reynold’s phone carrier empire, to… whatever it is that Gwyneth Paltrow is doing over there at Goop. Some celebrities prefer to remain in charge of their brands, while others build ‘em up only to sell to the highest bidder later on, as with Dr. Dre’s Beats by Dre or Casamigos, the tequila company founded by George Clooney.
For more than a decade, the best way for a pop star to supplement her income was by developing a line of fragrances—just ask Britney Spears, whose Curious perfume sold over 500 million bottles. Nowadays, more and more celebs are jumping on the beauty and skincare bandwagon. What’s remarkable is that both men and women are getting in on the action. Oscar-winning actors and platinum recording artists—as well as a certain “self-made billionaire” who is only famous for being famous—have all made their mark on the beauty industry. These are the best and worst of the celebrity brands.
Kylie Jenner – Kylie Cosmetics
Let’s get Kylie out of the way first, shall we? Kylie Lip Kits, which were originally sold directly to fans on Instagram, were an overnight success in 2015. Just four years later, she sold her majority stake in the company to global beauty brand conglomerate Coty for $600 million.
There are quite a few almost sheepish positive reviews online for Kylie Cosmetics, as beauty bloggers and fashion writers admit that the products are—gasp!—actually pretty good.
Brad Pitt – Le Domaine
I don’t necessarily think of Brad Pitt as having a great complexion. However, the newly minted Oscar winner’s latest project is Le Domaine, a skincare line that’s made from olive oil and wine production remnants from his own vineyard. Pitt’s skincare offerings are on the high end of the price spectrum, with an $80 cleanser and a $310 moisturizer. Considering the drama surrounding Chateau Miraval at the moment, it’s a strange time for Pitt to be launching a skincare brand so enmeshed with his vineyard.
Jessica Alba – Honest Beauty
Jessica Alba founded The Honest Company in 2012 with a line of baby products. Since then, she’s expanded the company to offer cleaning products and beauty essentials. It’s a billion-dollar business these days, and you can find Honest products on the shelves at Target and other retailers. Her brand is all about clean, natural, “honest” ingredients. They’re also relatively affordable and widely available. The company is not without controversy, however, with several scandals and lawsuits in the last decade.
Halsey – about-face
In 2021, Halsey launched the beauty brand about-face. Halsey is known for bold looks, so it makes sense that about-face offers highly pigmented liquid eyeshadow and something called “Fractal Glitter Brow,” for those days when you want glittery pink eyebrows. In addition, the products are all vegan. Many of them are currently sold out, unfortunately.
Travis Barker – Barker Wellness Co.
Once Travis Barker married into the Kardashian family, it was inevitable that he’d spin up some kind of lifestyle brand. The legendary drummer, who is known for being almost completely covered in tattoos, sells CBD-infused wellness and skincare products, including this $90 eye serum. This seems like kind of a stretch, honestly, and I’m not sure how Barker Wellness will fare in an already oversaturated market.
Tracee Ellis Ross – Pattern Beauty
Tracee Ellis Ross has fantastic hair, which is her company Pattern Beauty’s best advertisement. Her haircare line is designed for curly, kinky, and coily textures, as well as locs, and by all accounts, it’s good stuff. “Pattern” refers to curl patterns, and the company offers a range of products for different number types of curls instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. This might be the best celebrity brand for natural hair on the market.
Karamo Brown – MANTL
Queer Eye star Karamo Brown’s beauty company is especially for bald and proud folks like him. He wanted a range of products that would work on both his face and his scalp, but he became frustrated at the lack of options. That’s why he founded MANTL, a company offering a moisturizer, cleanser, blotting paper, and sunscreen. There’s not necessarily anything groundbreaking here, but it’s nice that there’s a product line out there specifically for bald men to care for their skin and scalp.
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Selena Gomez – Rare Beauty
Like many of the new generation of celebrity beauty entrepreneurs, Selena Gomez wanted to create a brand that’s eco-friendly and gender-inclusive. “I wanted the brand to be there for girls and guys and whoever to feel like it’s OK to not look like everybody else,” she said during a press preview in late 2021. The prices are reasonable compared to some of the premium celeb brands on this list, and part of the proceeds go toward mental health charity.
Other than Fenty—which we’ll get to soon—Gomez’s Rare Beauty might be the best-reviewed celebrity beauty brand. It seems like everyone is raving about the high-quality products. You can do a whole face of makeup with everything from primer to lip color.
Harry Styles – Pleasing
Musician and actor Harry Styles is already about as famous as it’s possible to be, but that doesn’t mean he’s above a side hustle. He launched “life brand” Pleasing in 2021 with a limited collection of nail polishes and serums. The original collection played off of Style’s love of pearls with pearlescent polishes and glimmering highlighters. Since launching Pleasing, the product line has expanded to include apparel and accessories, along with a new collaboration with fashion designer Marco Ribeiro. Naturally, everything tends to sell out, with the nail polishes, in particular, being presented as collector’s items. I guess that’s one way to get people to pay $20 for a bottle of polish.
Taraji P. Henson – TPH by Taraji
Taraji P. Henson is getting back to her roots (pun intended) with her haircare line. She did hair for extra money during college, and now that she’s an award-winning actress, she launched TPH by Taraji. The brand’s focus is on scalp care, especially for people with weaves or protective styles. The product line has gotten good reviews on Amazon, but some negative opinions are floating around as well. Proceed with caution—but at least none of it will set you back more than $10-$15.
Ariana Grande – r.e.m. beauty
Ariana Grande models all of the makeup from r.e.m. beauty, which features pearly highlighters, pastel eyeshadow, and fluffy lashes. It does not feature fluffy brows—oh no, for brows, you need her la la laminate clear eyebrow shaping gel. You can also recreate her signature cat eye with the At the Borderline Eyeliner Marker. The products are priced low, presumably to appeal to Grande’s younger fans, whose allowances won’t stretch much farther than $19 eyeliner. Many of the products are named after her songs or reference her life.
Drew Barrymore – Flower Beauty
Drew Barrymore might come from an elite Hollywood dynasty, but her beauty products are available at Walmart and CVS. The bargain price point is the main draw, along with the “cruelty-free” formulas. Check out this fun story about Byrdie makeup maven Chloe Burcham getting a full Flower makeover from Drew Barrymore herself! The result is a shimmery face, slightly clumpy-looking lashes, and a semi-matte lip. The reviews on Ulta are generally positive, with lip colors rated higher than foundation, powder, or highlighters.
Lady Gaga – Haus Labs
For someone known for her theatrical makeup, Lady Gaga’s beauty brand is surprisingly wearable. The brand advertises itself as both clean and futuristic, with “patent pending complexes and propriety ingredients that deliver skincare benefits without compromising performance.”
The products are grouped as Lip, Face, Eye, and Brow, and the prices are comparable with department store brands like MAC. Most of the makeup comes in a wide range of colors to match your skin tone and hair. However, the lipsticks are somewhat limited. The Hy-Power Pigment Paint, which includes hydrating squalane and hyaluronic acid, offers a bigger palette to play with. You can slap it on your eyes, cheeks, and even lips for the look of your dreams.
Rihanna – Fenty
Rihanna’s Fenty empire includes the popular subscription-based lingerie line Savage X Fenty and the very popular Fenty Beauty. The cornerstone of her business is inclusivity. You won’t find many brands that offer as many different shades of foundation as Fenty Beauty. Currently, there are 59 shades to choose from in the Pro Filt’r Matte Longwear Foundation line, with more being added regularly. According to Allure, the best picks are the foundation, the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, and the Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush. Most of the makeup skews toward the matte end of the spectrum, which may be disappointing for fans who prefer the dewy complexion inspired by K-beauty trends.