Kim Kardashian West knows how to use Instagram. That's clear from her more than 144 million followers and perfectly curated feed. While she is the queen of the "flawless" selfie, Kim Kardashian West's biggest insecurity — her psoriasis — has made its way to her Instagram account many times. But the beauty mogul has taken that insecurity and made it part of her brand.
Kardashian West's KKW Beauty may be one of her most successful endeavors among her many businesses. However, the cosmetics brand, much like its creator, hasn't been immune to criticism. From critiques that the products' shade ranges aren't inclusive to fan complaints that collections aren't restocked enough, KKW Beauty has often come under fire. One of latest uproars over the brand revolves around the launch of body makeup, and what such a product means within the context of societal beauty standards.
When Kardashian West announced the body makeup in June of this year, the news soon sparked a storm of tweets accusing Kardashian West and her brand of promoting unrealistic beauty standards for women. For the KKW Beauty creator, though, the creation of her body makeup isn't about perfection. The launch of the body foundation, she says, stems from her experience with psoriasis. In an interview with Bustle, Kardashian West explains that she sees the use of her KKW Beauty product as making herself and others feel more confident on days when they don't feel so great about their skin not to live up to an unattainable beauty standard.
"Some days, I feel great and some days, I just don’t want the distraction," Kardashian West says. "People with autoimmune issues, it goes up and down, and your skin changes. So does your attitude about it. Sometimes you feel really confident and you don’t need anything. Sometimes, you just don’t want that distraction."
Kardashian West explains that out of all of her KKW Beauty products, it's her body foundation that she can't live without.
Kardashian West explains that she has never seen her body makeup as an everyday necessity — and that's certainly true. Body makeup, like any makeup, is not something anyone actually needs to survive. But on the days when Kardashian West's psoriasis flares up — causing redness, irritation, and itching on her skin — she likes to have the option to cover it with makeup.
While there is valid criticism that can be made about body makeup and the ways it can work to uphold unattainable standards, the choice to wear it is ultimately personal. Some people are simply not ready to embrace their psoriasis outbreak or the scar they've always hated, and Kardashian West says she knows this first-hand.
"I’ve seen so many amazing people who have been so generous to post and share their stories, and talk about skin issues that they’ve had," Kardashian West says. "People who never felt like they could wear a skirt or shorts again being able to cover their leg and feel confident about that made me feel really happy."
Kardashian West's body makeup isn't the only KKW Beauty product that has, in part, been informed by the reality star's fans. On July 19, the new KKW Sooo Fire Collection launches, and the vibrant red, orange, and gold tones are markedly different from Kardashian West's typically neutral looks.
The addition of new bold hues harkens back to the KKW x Mario palette collaboration, where Kardashian West and long time makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic added a pop of bright blue to the otherwise neutral palette. Fans really loved the pop of color, according to Kardashian. Now, she's giving them even more.
The KKW Beauty creator tells Bustle that she wanted something fun for summer, and that meant a collection that's more vibrant. For her, that was the fiery tones of Sooo Fire. Kardashian West says that the collection may be more colorful than previous neutral leaning collections, but she's made sure that it has shades to both blend with and use in neutral looks.
Much like the confidence boost she hopes fans receive from her body foundation, Kardashian West wants fans to feel glamorous in the new Sooo Fire Collection. She explains that she and her makeup artists have done different looks with the palette, and she always feels, "super glammed up" when wearing the products. The beauty mogul says she hopes the fun of the collection speaks to her fans in a similar way thanks to the bold color story.
"I think to have that [colorful] glamour all the time, outside all of the neutral looks I do, it’s just a different feeling," she tells Bustle, "It feels fun."
KKW Beauty isn't immune to criticism, and while Kardashian West never appears concerned with the backlash she faces, the entrepreneur has acknowledged some valid criticisms more recently. In July of this year, Kardashian West announced her shape wear line, Kimono. Almost immediately, there was backlash. The new shape wear creator came under fire for both her use of the word "kimono" — and her attempt to trademark the word — given a kimono's cultural significance within Japanese culture. While at first Kardashian West said she would not be changing the name, following the critiques from fans and even from the mayor of Kyoto, Japan, Kardashian West decided to rebrand.
While in the past the KKW Beauty founder and social media star hasn't consistently responded to valid critiques of her brands, with Kimono, she explained that she has been "listening, learning and growing" from the experience and clearly, she has taken the feedback seriously.
As for the critiques of KKW Beauty's body foundation, the founder says the end goal isn't creating the illusion of "perfect" skin. The beauty range takes from Kardashian West's personal beauty wants and desires, while still thinking of her fans as well. Kim Kardashian West is using her own experiences to create products that resonate with her fans. And with KKW Beauty raking in $100 million in 2018, clearly it's working.