In 2021 alone, J.Lo launched an olive oil-themed skincare brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones debuted a range of eyeliners and mascaras, and Alicia Keys created a clean skin care-slash-candle line called Keys Soulcare. And literally since I started writing this piece, Harry Styles has dropped colorful nail polishes that look like chic butt plugs, and Ariana Grande revealed her space-themed R.E.M. Beauty. While some celeb beauty endeavors might be shameless attempts to cash in on a rabid fanbase, others have knocked it out of the park (see: RiRi’s Fenty Beauty and Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty). But if you, like me, are willing to do pretty much anything a celebrity tells you to do, it’s more important than ever for someone to find out which A-list endeavors are worth trying and which ones aren’t.
That someone is me. Ahead, I test and review four of the buzziest (and most random) celebrity beauty offerings. Read on for my honest thoughts.
Lisa Rinna’s Rinna Beauty
That’s right, Lisa Rinna, the owner of reality TV’s second most famous set of lips, has her very own beauty line. It consists solely of lip kits in various shades (yes, Rinna Beauty actually calls them lip kits) — and the brand’s latest launch is the Big Stick Energy Lip Enhancer and Pumped Up Lip Enhancer Oil. The lip duo claims to imbue your pout with moisturizer and volume, creating a “fuller, more powerful look that instills glamour, confidence, and style.” So my expectations were high: After all, why wouldn’t I trust Lisa Rinna, self-proclaimed “lip pioneer,” to make my lips gigantic?
My initial impressions of the Big Stick Energy Lip Enhancer, though, were more LSE (Little Stick Energy) than BSE. The first time I used it, the entire lip balm broke off into my hand. Once I shoved it back in and applied it, the plumping sensation only amounted to a small tickle — I tend to prefer my lip-plumping products to impact a strong burn, like the cinnamon-y feel of that 2000s lip-plumping holy grail, Lip Venom. The accompanying lip oil did add a layer of shine that gave the illusion of Rinna-esque lips, but I’m not sure it gave me any additional volume. I kept reapplying both items throughout the day, hoping to magically sprout Rinna-sized smackers, but it never happened. Sadly, all I was left with by the end of the day was a super dry pout. Like, planet Arrakis-level dry. Nevertheless, anything from Rinna Beauty would make a campy gift for the RHOBH fan in your life.
Who It’s For: RHOBH stans whose lips believe that Erika Jayne is innocent.
Confession: I know very little about Halsey. But I do know two things: The singer 1) painted a self portrait while singing one time on SNL, and 2) has a newish beauty line called About-Face. I’ve been intrigued by the brand for a minute, drawn into its fun branding, left-of-center products (A glittery brow gel? Something called a fractal glitter eye paint?), bold shade range, and cyber-grunge ’90s aesthetic.
I got my hands on the Matte Fluid Eye Paint and the Shadowstick — as a bold eyeshadow lover and liquid eyeshadow connoisseur, those felt easiest to work into my routine. About-Face products are not for the faint of heart. The matte fluid eye paint is like Glossier Skywash’s very aggressive, very horny, very loud younger sister. Meaning: It’s dangerously pigmented — after slathering my lids with the doe foot applicator, I had to do a lot of micellar water-soaked Q-Tip shaping to get everything looking neat and clean. It’s super long lasting, too — for the premiere of a new show I wrote on (Sex Lives on College Girls, check it out on HBO Max!) I coated my eyelids in Replicant, a beautiful teal hue, and topped it with my signature Amy Winehouse-tribute black eyeliner. What resulted was a thick shellac that stayed put on my oily lids all night and brought me so many compliments. It was an iconic ’60s-inspired glam moment, and I can’t wait to try more shades (it comes in a ton of gorgeous and unexpected colors).
The Shadowstick delivers the same color pop, albeit in a less intense formula. Its twistable crayon format is slightly more blendable and user friendly, and potentially more versatile (it could be used as an eyeliner or an eyeshadow). In particular, I’ve been enjoying the shade Butterfly Collective, a matte tangerine that feels ideal for a funky fall look.
The products have the convenience and ease of a “no-makeup makeup” brand, with the bold attitude of an ex-raver doing fire sticks at Burning Man. If you’re a color-lover like me, About-Face is definitely worth checking out.
Who It’s For: Club kids who love convenient “swipe and go” makeup but think Glossier or Rare Beauty are too basic.
Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Baby
I’m an unabashed KardashJenner consumer. Over the years I’ve bought Good American jeggings and multiple Kylie Beauty and KKW beauty products, and my genitals are gently draped in Skims underwear more days than not. So naturally, I’ve been eyeing Kylie Jenner’s new line of baby lifestyle products, formulated by a team of chemists who “specialize in baby care development” to be vegan, hypoallergenic, and free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and gluten. I try to use products that meet those standards, plus I had a fetish for using Johnson and Johnson baby lotion in high school — so I knew I had to try Kylie Baby.
I focused on the moisturizing lotion, which is made with glycerin, avocado oil, and sunflower seed oil and claims to moisturize and soften without feeling greasy. I tried to imagine I was Stormi — very rich, wearing Nike Dunks and toting around a tiny designer bag — and slathered the fragrance-free lotion all over my body. The moisturizer, however, was more watery than what I prefer from a body lotion, and it could have been more fragrant. I’m not technically a mom, but I can imagine the ritual of rubbing a fragranced, pink glob of god-knows-what into your baby’s nascent pores. And there’s the packaging — the muted tones of millennial pink and baby blue feel a little uninspired. We get it — it’s for babies, you don’t have to be so on the nose about it.
Who It’s For: Babies/adults with sensitive skin who follow multiple Kravis Instagram accounts.
Ellen Degeneres’ Kind Science
That’s right, the embattled daytime talk show queen just released a skin care line called…Kind Science. Ellen’s no stranger to slapping her name on brands: She has a lifestyle brand that pumps out everything from whimsical dog tees to $4,000 chairs. I found myself intrigued by Kind Science, an “age positive” range made without fragrance, “harsh chemicals,” or “preservatives.” Say what you will about Ellen — she’s got a glow about her. It can’t all be from the dancing!
Kind Science is robust, covering all the bases in a skin care routine. Although I don’t necessarily count anti-aging as one of my main beauty concerns, I was impressed by the product’s ingredients, like the collagen-boosting, buzzy bakuchiol found in both the neck treatment and firming serum.
I was excited to try the neck moisturizer — as someone with neck creases that I suspect come from looking down at my phone 460 times a day, I’m obsessed with keeping them covered in lotion to prevent them from getting deeper. My first impression of the product, though, underwhelming. The jar felt notably small at 1.7 oz, especially considering it’s priced at a mid-range $38. The plastic tub was outfitted with a fake wooden lid, serving more “home goods section of your local discount department store” than “luxury celebrity skin care line.” The neck cream itself was also meh. I’m more than happy to skip it in favor of one of the many others I have lying around in the skincare graveyard that is my medicine cabinet. The brand’s micro-exfoliant was better — creamy but loaded with tiny volcanic sand and bamboo silk granules and brightening AHAs. I will be using it to exfoliate my knees in the shower. Thank you, Ellen!
Who It’s For: Someone with maturing skin who, for whatever reason, has absolutely no access to any information about skin care except what she sees on Ellen Degeneres’ Instagram.
Cult of Celebeauty is a beauty column from writer Caroline Goldfarb, who reviews the latest, buzziest, and weirdest celebrity-helmed beauty lines.