Our writer Ellen shares her thoughts on celebrity beauty ranges and whether they’re worth your money…

The year is 2010. Walking into a beauty store, you’re greeted with the faces of Beyonce, Paris Hilton, J-Lo, Kylie, Katy Perry, Britney, Gwen Stefani… each with their own fragrance to flog.

Fast forward another decade and the marketplace for celebrity beauty brands has exploded. It feels like literally everyone and their dog has a beauty range. For many celebs, we’ve moved beyond the world of fragrance and into skincare and makeup ranges. 

At the end of November 2021, Harry Styles launched his own brand, Pleasing, which kicks off with nail polishes, a primer serum and a dual-purpose eye and lip oil. It sort of makes sense for Harry. He’s all about breaking down gender barriers and has often been spotted with painted nails himself. 

But with the likes of DJ Khaled and Ellen DeGeneres also releasing skincare lines in 2021, you start to wonder whether things have gone too far. 

Personally, I’ve always felt a sense of distrust towards celebrity-backed products. Image over content often seems to apply. Maybe if I was a bigger fan of the person putting out the skincare line, I’d think differently, but mostly it seems to be celebs jumping onto the latest trend to make money. 

When Millie Bobby Brown launched her Florence by Mills range you could probably hear my eyes roll. Despite being targeted at teens of a similar age to Millie (15 at time of launch), we’re talking £34 for a tub of gel eye patches. 

At 15 I was buying my skincare from Poundland; at 25 I’d still be reluctant to spend £34 on anything. I’m not meaning to single Millie out; I just remember the controversy when it was revealed she was faking using her own products in a skincare tutorial. If you won’t put your product on your own skin, why would I buy it? 

This brings me on to one of the main reasons I’m dubious about celebrity beauty brands; your favourite celeb probably isn’t really using the products they’re flogging. 

Whenever a celebrity releases a range of skincare, they act as if they’ve been using it for years and that it’s the sole reason for their immaculate skin. Do we really believe that a multi-millionaire chooses to use a £15 product on their face? Most celebrities now will be spending thousands on high-end beauty products, facials at luxury spas and cosmetic procedures from top plastic surgeons. Is their skin smooth from their £20 toner, or was it from the Botox? 

But is it all bad? 

There’s no denying that some celebrity brands aren’t bad at all. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty foundations inspired long-term change in the makeup industry regarding the standards of what is an ‘acceptable’ shade range when she released a revolutionary 40 shades at debut. Fenty products are now beloved by makeup users worldwide, due to the quality and diverse shade choices; not just because Rihanna is involved. 

I have to admit my dislike of celebrity beauty brands has softened this year, particularly after trying out Alicia Keys’ skincare range Keys Soulcare. Alicia is all about no makeup, natural ingredients, and self-care, so it makes sense for her to release a skincare line. There are affirming mantras on each bottle. It all ties together and works in the context of the brand she’s already made of herself. 

Should you buy celebrity skincare? 

Honestly, some products really aren’t that bad, but it’s a case of working out which are worth it. I’d always recommend waiting for reviews to see how the products hold up when tried by regular people. 

For me, the tell is usually the extent to which the celebrity is used to market the product. If the celeb in question is plastered all over every advert, it’s probably not that good. 

Take Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore, for example. I love Flower Beauty, it’s affordable and decent quality makeup. Of the 30 most recent posts on the brand’s Instagram, Drew Barrymore only features in one post. The focus is on the quality of products; Drew’s involvement is not presented as the most important aspect of the brand. 

By contrast, since launching Kind Science, which is co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres, approximately a third of the images posted to the Instagram profile for the brand are of Ellen. 

Likewise, going back to Florence by Mills, Millie Bobby Brown has featured in 8 posts, pretty much unrelated to the products, on the brand’s Instagram in the past month. 

I think the bottom line is – with all skincare and beauty products – it’s always worth doing your own research and review reading to work out if a product is worth your time. Consider the ingredients and if these will be beneficial or harmful to your skin. 

If the brand these products come from happens to be owned by a celebrity, that shouldn’t stop you from buying them. But if the only reason you’re choosing a product or buying it on launch day is because it’s associated with a famous person, maybe it’s time to rethink before both your bank balance and skin are crying.