Don’t Trust Celebrity Brands. Try These Brands Instead
Another day, another dollar — but only if you “get your ass up and work.” At least, that’s the world according to reality star and business mogul, Kim Kardashian. The entrepreneur is once again under fire for her newest venture, SKKN.
SKKN is a luxury skincare brand with a high price tag to match. Separate from her makeup brand, KKW Beauty, SKKN is a 9-step skincare routine that claims it will give you Kim’s glowing skin.
Kim announced the new venture on Instagram saying: “I’m excited to finally introduce to you SKKN BY KIM, a rejuvenating nine-product skincare ritual that I have developed from start to finish.”
Ms. K continues: “'I’ve been so privileged to learn about skin and skin care over the years from the world’s top dermatologists and estheticians. Every bottle from my new line is filled with the knowledge I’ve accumulated along the way.”
The line promises to provide its customers with all the best that science and skincare have to offer. The refillable packaging has a neutral, minimalist design. SKKN’s formulas are clean, science-backed and designed to nourish all skin types, tones, and textures at all stages of maturity,
But as with anything the Kardashians touch, it’s already been called out for being problematic. Many were affronted by its outrageous price tag. Sure, SKKN products are definitely not as accessible as other brands, but fear not Kimmie-Fans. If you can’t afford Kim’s latest venture, Kylie’s got a skincare line at a more modest pricepoint — so we can keep it in the family.
However, the real controversy came from multiple Black-owned brands claim the branding and name choices of the Kardashian counterparts are suspiciously similar to theirs.
Most notably, Cydnie Lunsford — owner of a New York-based spa and beauty center SKKN+ — issued a cease and desist letter against Kimmie’s skincare line that’s currently under review.
“I have painstakingly built my successful small business with my own sweat equity, hard work, and research,” Lunsford said in an email to Complex. “It’s clear that I established my brand first. As a young Black woman, my mission with SKKN+ is to provide quality skincare and curated fullbody experiences to enhance each client’s self-care regimen. The (+) represents a hands-on transformative aesthetic experience that elevates the body, mind, and spirit.”
This is absolutely consistent with the Kardashians’ culture-vulture tendencies. They’re known for blatant cultural appropriation, and stealing from cultures and brands — specifically from Black women — while profiting off the fruits of other people’s labor.
Yet, despite the controversy, SKKN is set to launch on July 21st. Like the cockroach genus, the Kardashian empire is impossible to eradicate.
But how long can this celebrity-dominated beauty culture last? With the rise of TikTok, customers are more likely to buy things they see reviewed by real people on their FYP. And turn their noses up at influencers who are sponsored to promote products that may not work — Kendall Jenner and Proactiv … we’re looking at you!
The latest trend is the rise of celebrity-adjacent brands. Rather than taking advice from your favorite star, take advice from the team that creates the looks your favorite star loves.
More and more, we’re seeing celebrity-adjacent individuals become celebrities themselves and launch their own brands — that actually draw from years of work, experience, and expertise. For example, instead of buying J-Lo’s olive oil-based skincare, why not buy skincare products formulated by dermatologists and estheticians trusted by your favorite celebs?
Stop pinning that celebrity’s outfits to your Pinterest board. Find out who their stylist is and explore that person’s entire portfolio for even more inspo.
Dermatologists are creating brands based on the skincare routines they’ve crafted for their celebrity clients.
Here are some of the most reputable brands helmed by the creatives who launched the aesthetics we love:
Victoria Radford is a celebrity makeup artist and skin expert driven by a fearless approach to beauty. Her skincare and makeup lines work together to give her clients a glowing visage. Radford Beauty is driven by results. Radford says she drew from her years of experience to create the line, sharing: “I learned early on that not every natural ingredient is good for skin, nor is every synthetic ingredient bad. To me, clean beauty is about finding the best ingredient for the best outcome.” Try Radford’s products for real results.
Shani Darden's simple yet seriously effective routine features her cult-favorite Retinol Reform serum. From general upkeep to red carpet treatments, Darden is responsible for the most discerning A-list faces — Say, Jessica Alba, Shay Mitchell, and other Hollywood power players. Her skincare products are legendary — especially power tools like the LED Mask.
Celebrity esthetician and trusted skincare expert, Renee Rouleau formulates skin care products based on nine unique skin types. Backed by science, her nine skin type theory personalizes her clients’ experiences. Simply take a quick quiz, discover your skin type, and craft your own individualized Renee Rouleau ritual that addresses your precise needs.
Maeve Reilly, also known as @StyleMeMaeve on Instagram, is one of fashion’s most iconic stylists. Responsible for Hailey Bieber’s trend-inspiring street style and Megan Fox’s statement pieces. Grab a taste of her styling talents by getting gear from The Local Love Club and by watching her fabulous YouTube videos for styling advice.
Oribe Canales has been doing hair for fashion shoots and celebrities since the 1970s — working with legends like Diana Ross, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell. His Miami salon is a haunt of Jennifer Lopez and now his hair care line is an industry fave.