Sizzle This: Is Celeb Beauty Brands’ Faux Self‑Love Taking Us Back?
In ‘Sizzle This,’ The Swaddle team adds to the noise around the pop culture moment of the week.
Many of Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty products were sold out within minutes of releasing in India. Her beauty line is famous for encapsulating the brand’s values — self love, embracing imperfections, and empowerment. Her products are considered good, though, because they do what every other good beauty brand does: make us prettier as per conventional standards. When we buy them, do we also buy into the messaging that beauty is the path to being a better, healthier person? Everyone has hot takes about Rare Beauty’s India launch. Here are ours:
SM: Take me back to the time when Son Pari sold Vicco Turmeric – the only celeb skincare era I endorse.
HK: The notion of a beauty brand championing inner beauty baffles me, and I’m usually not one to get too invested in these brands because it’s simply a form of celebrity endorsement that gives me the ick. Authenticity sells, and ultimately all brand messaging boils down to commodification. I think beauty products should be chosen based on whether they’re free from animal cruelty, whether they’re made with ingredients that don’t carry side effects, and whether they make us feel good about ourselves – not which celebrity gets their name associated with the brand.
DR: I’ll have a take on it when I have enough disposable income to afford it… still doesn’t mean I’m gonna buy it, though; I’d rather burn my money.
AB: Regardless of how much beauty brands preach self-love, empowerment, and embracing imperfections, they’re still selling products at sky-high prices.
We’re so desperate for validation about our consumerism that we’ll buy into the clever marketing, calling it ethical consumption. Make-up might be a form of creativity and self-expression, but it still stems from societal pressures on women.
Let’s not delude ourselves: Rare Beauty and its ilk are still make up brands whose main priority is to line their pockets and make money—releasing in India is a smart tactic which gives them access to (arguably) the world’s largest domestic market.
AP: I’m not sure how much of our excitement for ‘Rare Beauty’ comes from genuine interest or being fans of Selena, and how much of it comes from an aspiration to be like one of the foreign TikTok GRWM people. I think this raises questions about what’s aspirational now, and how the bar is lower than before, but oh so expensive.
DD: Rare beauty’s so-called mission of self love, embracing imperfections, and empowerment isn’t so rare at all, these have just become buzzwords for an honestly very tired campaign. Having said that I cannot wait for Indian girlboss influencers to give their reviews — I’ll have my popcorn ready.
SR: It is not possible/justified to sell ideologies. Moreover, it still promotes a capitalist agenda hidden behind the messaging. Makeup alone cannot promise the values they promote.