“I feel like my whole career has led me to this point,” Rosie Huntington-Whiteley tells me excitedly over a video call from London. She’s referring to the launch of Rose Inc., her highly anticipated beauty brand that was first announced last November.
With nearly 20 years in the biz — as a model, an actor, a businesswoman, and the founder of a three-year-old beauty website that bears the same name as her new brand — the English supermodel clearly knows her stuff. “I’ve worked almost every day since the age of 16,” she says. “I’ve always loved skin care and makeup. I’ve got acne-prone skin, so I’m always been on a quest to further manage it. As for makeup, I love the transformative nature of it. As a little girl, I’d watch my mother get ready for work or a big night out. I love how it can really change the way you feel and give you that added boost of confidence throughout your day.”
Naturally, then, Rose Inc. is the marriage of those two worlds she loves so much. The inaugural launch (yes, there’s more to come, as Huntington-Whiteley says she plans to “weave in freshness and newness every couple of months”) is called The Modern Essentials Collection, and features reusable cotton rounds made of organic bamboo, an alcohol-free toner with pink clay powder and squalene, a liquid concealer that comes in 20 shades, a brightening serum with sea fennel extract and vitamin C, a lip crayon, tinted and clear brow gels, a cream cheek and lip color, and two brushes. The products range from $18 to $72.
Sustainability and clean ingredients were key for Huntington-Whiteley, who decided to team up with Amyris, a biotechnology and science company, and Caroline Hadfield, the force behind clean beauty brands such as Biossance and Pipette. “Bringing a [clean] product line to the marketplace in 2021 is the responsible thing to do. For me, it was a no-brainer. ” She explains that the products are all vegan, non-comedogenic, and cruelty-free, with at least five “skin-nourishing” ingredients in each one. They also come in refillable packaging, recyclable glass bottles, and cartons printed with soy-based ink.
“It’s not been easy, as someone who loves a bit of a sparkle and a foil and an overlay and a sort of glamorous piece of packaging that feels really heavy and hefty,” Huntington-Whiteley says. “We had to really challenge ourselves and ask, What does sensual packaging look like from a sustainable angle? For me, it was always a less-is-more approach, going back to basics, and really focusing in on the beauty of minimalism.” Rose Inc., she adds, is a “fresh, modern approach to packaging that we don’t see a lot of right now.”
That unfussy approach is apparent in the products, too, as many of the cosmetics are formulated to be applied on different parts of the face. The cream Lip & Cheek Colors, which come in a pretty range of warm terracottas and deep reds, can be used on your eyes, too, Hadfield says, “or even a little bit on the forehead to give it some color. The pigments are just tremendous, and they allow for a lift of color on many parts of the face.”
Huntington-Whiteley adds that easy, multipurpose products are what consumers are craving post-pandemic. “I just think that’s the way people want to apply their products now. They don’t want to be told that they have to only wear it this way. I love very malleable products — products that are just easy to use, easy to build, and don’t require any skill.”
Though she’s worked on beauty collaborations in the past, now feels like the perfect time to introduce Rose Inc. to the world. “My twenties were all about saying yes to everything and jumping on a plane and running around like a headless chicken,” the 34-year-old entrepreneur says. “As you sort of mature and maybe when you have children, you get much more strategic with your time. You get much more aware of what works for you and what doesn’t, what beats your drum. I felt really that at this age, I wanted to be working on something very 360 — not just on the outside, peripheral edge of a brand. I really wanted to work on this as a founder. To be immersed and neck-deep in something. I feel quietly confident that we have a very fantastic brand.”