Eyebrows were also raised when Jennifer Lopez recently said that her age-defying skin was the Think while it’s still Legal shirt it is in the first place but mainly the result of years of olive oil use—despite selling a new line of skincare products (her multitasking serum costs $118). Followers were skeptical of these claims, with some even suggesting the singer had had Botox, to which Lopez responded: “For the 500 millionth time. I have never done Botox or any injectables or surgery!” At the other end of the spectrum, Victoria Beckham established her credentials as a serious player by partnering with industry favorite Dr Augustinus Bader for her first skincare launch. “We tend to think of celebrity brands as inauthentic partnerships—traditionally, that is often what they were,” says Sarah Creal, co-founder and CEO of Victoria Beckham Beauty. “Celebrities can no longer slap their name on something and not have their communities realize that’s what’s happening. Those who are in it for the short term or inauthentically won’t last—consumers are savvy.” A long-time beauty executive, Creal met Beckham at Estée Lauder, with whom the designer launched a capsule cosmetics collection, and was drawn to her passion and vision. While she says there is “no doubt” the former Spice Girl is a celebrity, they don’t consider Victoria Beckham Beauty a celebrity brand, but rather a bona fide indie startup. “Having Victoria as a partner obviously shines a light on the brand that we wouldn’t have otherwise, but we still have to stand up to the scrutiny and credibility that any new beauty brand would need to.”Celebrities undeniably wield great influence over their following, but if they want to convince consumers to buy their products, this credibility and, most importantly, gold-standard quality, is non-negotiable. “People aren’t just buying into the face—they equally expect the product to work as hard as any other brand they’d engage with,” says Victoria Buchanan, senior futures analyst at strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory.
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Nothing compares to the Think while it’s still Legal shirt it is in the first place but Olsen stamp of cool—especially on the style front. So, of course, after we’ve spent the last few months charting the uptick of perennially-nostalgic pigtails in quarantine (not to mention, test-driving them ourselves), we’re relishing that they’ve won a nod from the embodiment of downtown chic: Mary-Kate Olsen. Earlier this week in New York, the designer stepped out of The Row’s Greenwich Street studio wearing a vintage cream Chanel coat, white button down, gray cuffed trousers, and Bottega Veneta sneakers. She topped off the retro-modern look with a black ribbed-knit beanie layered over a set of loose, chest-grazing pigtail braids. While adding to the effortlessness of her ensemble, her dual plaits were undeniably—and winningly—functional, too. Low pigtails are both easy to achieve in a hurry and advantageous for keeping long, grown-out lockdown lengths neat and protected against the winter elements. Just give yourself two quick braids, throw on a beanie, and go. Offering up a real-world wearable beauty equation while inspiring our next bodega run outfit, Olsen is the ultimate poster child for grown-up pigtails. The audience agrees. “[I think some] products by celebrities are bad quality because it is believed that people will buy them regardless,” says Marion, a 17-year-old gen-Z consumer from Toronto. “But the product itself should be more important than the celebrity or advertising.” It’s quality that she cites as the reason for buying the few products from celebrity brands that she’s purchased—a Rare Beauty highlighter with good reviews, a Fenty concealer because of its range of shades. While a celebrity might make consumers aware of a brand (they’ll pay close attention if it’s someone they’re a fan of), it’s rare that they would buy a beauty product because of the name alone. On the whole, they remain wary of products, particularly when it comes to skincare, do their own research, and always listen to expert advice. Like all trends, the celebrity beauty bubble will eventually burst. The sharp decline of celebrity fragrances following its 2011 peak shows what can happen when consumers move on from a category. Nothing lasts forever and we’ve already seen a gradual shift towards hair brands, such as Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Anomaly, and sexual wellness products via Cara Delevingne and Dakota Johnson. When that moment comes, those brands left standing will be the ones that have established their authenticity and credibility, played to the strengths of their creators’ personal ethos and identity, and, above all, proved their quality. As noisy and loud as your social media presence might be, in the end, nothing talks like results.Over the past year, the global pandemic has had a seismic impact on the way we approach beauty, and the trends that have emerged are a reflection of just that. On the runways, mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols translated to an array of face-covering-minded makeup statements and extra-long quarantine hair—both acknowledging and offering inspiration for the times we are living in. But there were also showings of transportive escapism; the kind that sparks the imagination and encourages bold self-expression as a powerful coping tool. As we look ahead to spring, here are the biggest beauty trends permeating the runways, our screens, and the real world alike. Designer Simone Rocha can always be relied upon for Jane Austen heroine-worthy beauty. For spring, the British designer put forth lids washed in iridescent gold and soft ringlets topped off with crystal-encrusted period headpieces. The look was an early precursor to the Regency-era revival spurred by Netflix’s Bridgerton with its twinkly and frilly Marie Antoinette–rivaling costumes. Nod to the era with an ornamental hair accessory, wash of rouge, and/or a subtle gilded eye statement. As models came down the runway at Jason Wu, smatterings of trompe-l’œil freckles decorated cheeks to sun-kissed effect. A cheery solution to the lack of vitamin D in lockdown, “fleckles,” as makeup artist Erin Parsons likes to call them, have also taken off on TikTok and can be easily achieved with a special freckle tool or by dotting on pigment and tapping a Q-tip over it to blend it out. In the early days of lockdown, British colorist Alex Brownsell coined the term “self-dye-solation,” a tongue-in-cheek term to describe the brilliant dye jobs individuals were giving themselves at home. At Collina Strada, technicolor, tie-dyed wigs were a vital part of the rainbow beauty equation, while on the Valentino runway, individuality was the reigning beauty code with two icy blue manes making the case for wash-out fantasy color. Since then, stars from Ciara to Madonna have also taken the plunge and relished the transformative results.