Can Selena Gomez Change the Celebrity Beauty Game?

Can Selena Gomez Change the Celebrity Beauty Game?

As I'm sure we're all aware by now, Selena Gomez is latest in the long line of celebrities launching into the beauty space. Announced through Instagram yesterday, Rare Beauty — a nod to her latest album Rare — has been two years in the making and is positioning itself as a breakthrough beauty brand that will challenge existing conventional standards.

While it's unclear what exact products will be part of her initial launch, Gomez has filed for a cosmetics trademark under her name that would include fragrances, bath items, skincare, hair care, soaps, moisturizers, cleansers, incense, nail products, essential oils and other beauty goods.

"I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand," she says on Instagram. "I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and just start embracing our own uniqueness. You're not defined by a photo, a like or a comment. Rare Beauty isn't about how other people see you, it's about how you see yourself."

But let's be honest, at this point, declarations of boundary breaking products that champion "individuality" are far from "Rare" and are generously sprinkled over celebrity-endorsed press releases. Capitalizing on identity and uniqueness has almost become the defining characteristic of modern marketing.

Beauty, especially, has almost reached a point beyond saturation with nearly every business launching its own lines, claiming to be different from the other. And why not? Beauty is big money. Four out of five American women follow beauty industry trends and regularly use fragrance products. The cosmetic industry is growing faster today than ever before with an estimated market value of almost $805 billion by 2023. The inimitable success of beauty influencers and YouTubers alone who command millions in followers and rake in enviable revenues is proof enough.

The recent boom in skincare and "natural" beauty has been instrumental in giving the industry this massive monetary push, along with the ever-growing obsession with Kardashian-adjacent features and, in turn, the countless makeup lines promising Kim's lifted eyes, Kylie's pouty lips and more.

No surprise celebrities, too, want a piece of the action. Even Rob Lowe has a skincare line, which — no offense — makes no sense. Oh, and the First Lady of the United States owns a now defunct caviar skincare line.

More recent surprise beauty drops include those by the likes of Millie Bobby Brown, Drew Barrymore and Kesha. And sure, they're all great but whenever a new celebrity starts shoehorning "be yourself" like it's so unheard of, it somehow feels gimmicky.

Every now and then there's an exception to the rule. Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, for instance, has not only lived up to its claims of being different, but has completely transformed the industry standards with its diverse range of shades and push for inclusivity. There's also Lady Gaga's Haus Labs' which has been immensely popular with its dramatic range of products and highly pigmented formulas. Still, only a small pool of celebrities have been able to truly carve a niche within a market flooded with new names on the daily.

This isn't to dismiss Gomez's claims, but rather question —and hope to see— how is she going to stand out in an industry where claims of being "unique" are not a trailblazing feat but quite simply, mundane.

"We've hired talent that brings decades of beauty experience from leading prestige and professional makeup brands to execute Selena's vision," Rare Beauty's Chief Executive Officer Scott Friedman told WWD, adding that the brand's "mission" is to spotlight conversations around self acceptance and mental health. "We will work to help people get more access to support and services. We want to help people feel more authentically connected to one another and less alone in this world."

It's an interesting proposition, and feels authentic to Gomez's own publicly acknowledged struggle with mental health including depression and anxiety. It's also fairly unheard of for a beauty brand to align itself with issues concerning mental health even before its launch. So perhaps, Gomez will bring something new to the increasingly stale and almost repetitive discourse around beauty. Here's hoping! In the meanwhile, stream Rare.


Rare Beauty will be sold exclusively at Sephora in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and its own web site.

Photo via Getty