Singer and fashion icon Lady Gaga last week joined the ranks of celebrities such as Rihanna and Kylie Jenner who’ve tapped into the lucrative beauty industry.
Her new venture, Haus Laboratories, features a very Lady Gaga-esque line-up of provocatively named lip liners, all-over shimmer colours and glosses.
“This isn’t just make-up. It’s a battle. A battle for your life. And I hope this make-up inspires you as much as make-up did when I fell in love with it and it helped me discover myself,” Gaga wrote on Instagram.
Here are all the celebrities — plus the prolific Kardashian-Jenners — who’ve poured their creativity into the world of beauty.
Why it’s special: Championing women of colour
Long before Fenty Beauty released a make-up line that celebrated a variety of skin tones, Iman Cosmetics was fighting the good fight for women of colour. Founded by the iconic Somali-American model and wife of late singer David Bowie, the brand at its core caters those with darker skin tones, offering foundations and concealers, apart from lipsticks and blush, all suited for a wide range of shades. The seed for the brand was planted after Iman, while at work as a model in 1975, was asked by a make-up artist if she had brought her own foundation. “Now, every brand has 40 shades of foundation, but Iman Cosmetics was one of the first that changed the way we think about make-up,” she told Porter Magazine in 2018. “That will be my legacy, and I am very happy to be remembered that way.”
Founder: Jessica Alba
Why it’s special: Clean and green
When ‘Fantastic Four’ actress Alba became a mum in 2008, she was inspired to release a line of non-toxic home and baby products under a brand called The Honest Company. Her empire ventured into beauty in 2015 and has stuck to the same principles as its original brand — creating safe products free from potentially harmful chemicals — while developing cosmetics that are mainstream, not ridiculously overpriced and for the everyday make-up lover. Its line features lipsticks and foundations, apart from skincare and bodycare. One thing that makes the brand really stand out is its minimal and modern aesthetic that does not scream ‘crunchy nature hipster’.
Founder: Miranda Kerr
Why it’s special: Home-grown organic skincare
While I’m yet to be convinced that ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are more than just buzz words in the beauty industry, I still kind of wish I had model Miranda Kerr’s entire line of products, which are certified organic and free of ‘toxic ingredients’. Kora Organics, founded by the former Victoria’s Secret model in 2009, is wholly made in her country of Australia and the skincare comes highly recommended by beauty editor and bloggers. A quick glance of the product line and it’s easy to see why her face oils and masks are often seen gracing Instagram and magazine pages — it’s classy, elegant and bubbly, with effective ingredients that any skincare enthusiast would gravitate towards.
Goop by Juice Beauty
Founder: Gwyneth Paltrow
Why it’s special: Luxurious and effective
If you’re an alkaline water drinking, ashwagandha eating, rose quartz clutching wellness mama, then who better to buy skincare from than the wellness queen herself, actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow? While the small line of products — which includes a balm cleanser, a face oil and moisturiser, among other things — has that Hollywood price mark-up, it’s reassuring to know it’s a collaboration with popular but niche organic skincare brand, Juice Beauty. So, it’s not like you’re getting carrot juice in a jar — it’s real skincare.
Founder: Drew Barrymore
Why it’s special: Fun and affordable
Like its founder, Flower Beauty is cute and lovable right from the get go. There’s nothing pretentious about it, or its philosophy — all it is well-priced make-up that’s vegan and cruelty free, with a lot of playfulness thrown in. Founded in 2013, Barrymore knew from the start that she wanted to keep prices low and put more effort into formulating good quality products. “I think no matter what your personal economics are that every woman deserves to feel good about herself. And more expensive formulations just work better, so we adjusted our margins and spent more money on formulations than on marketing and advertising and we crossed our fingers that the consumer would find us,” the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ actress told Harper’s Bazaar magazine earlier this year.
Founder: Kylie Jenner
Why it’s special: Millennial power
When Jenner launched her beauty brand in 2015 with her own money, she was just selling lip kits — a set of a liquid lipstick and lip liner. Little did the young reality TV start know she was changing history. Now, Kylie Cosmetics, of which she has a 100 per cent stake, sells lipsticks, eye shadow palettes, blush and more and is valued at a whopping $900 million. Her combined earnings makes 21-year-old Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. The star also recently launched a skincare line targeted at millennials, which had everyone in a frenzy.
Founder: Kim Kardashian West
Why it’s special: Chic and cool
Love her or hate her, Kardashian West is one woman whose make-up is always flawless. So it was no surprise that she would launch her own make-up line after doing a lip kit collaboration with half-sister Kylie Jenner. KKW Beauty kicked off in 2017 with its own starter product — a highlight and contour stick to mimic Kardashian West’s chiselled features. Like Kylie Cosmetics, KKW Beauty harnessed the power of social media to do her sales for her, and her sticks sold out in no time. The line recently launched, to much acclaim, body foundation and a new collection called Soo Fire.
Why it’s special: 40 foundation shades
The excitement for singer Rihanna’s beauty brand was like no other, which social media and traditional media going nuts waiting for it. Once it arrived in September 2017, it was like nothing that had come before, one reason being that it launched with 40 shades of foundation (it has now gone up to 50), setting a trend for the rest of the make-up industry. Rihanna was vocal about wanting to create an ultra inclusive line that everyone could use — as reflected in her marketing and advertising. Now, the brand that also features eye shadows, lipsticks and bronzers has proved to be a favourite among make-up artists and regular folk. There seems to be no stopping Robyn Rihanna Fenty on her path to world domination, as in May she signed a deal to launch a fashion label with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group.