15 Celebrity Beauty Lines Through the Years
Before Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits were selling out just 30 seconds after its debut, celebrities like supermodel Iman and reality star Kat Von D were making waves with their own breakthrough beauty brands. But not every star’s foray into makeup is a success—take Jessica Simpson’s edible dessert-themed products, which were only available for two years before fading away, or the lawsuit-plagued Khroma Beauty, which the Kardashian sisters shuttered just a year after launch. Keep reading to find out more about 10 famous—and infamous—celeb-owned beauty companies.
Supermodel Iman debuted her evolutionary cosmetics line dedicated to women of color in 1994. At a time when finding a foundation shade darker than a paper bag was nearly impossible (not to mention getting the right undertone), IMAN Cosmetics was a major breakthrough.
Iman’s Second to None Stick Foundation shade range starts at a warm golden color called Sand 2, and extends to a rich, cool-toned mahogany called Earth 7. IMAN Cosmetics used to only be sold in JCPenney, but a partnership with Proctor & Gamble brought the range to major retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Duane Reade in 2004.
In April 2004, Jessica Simpson launched a line of edible beauty products shot through with shimmer and pumped full of sugar. The collection included delectable lip glosses, body washes, body glitters, lotions and perfumes that were a cult hit with young fans who wanted to smell and taste like cupcakes.
But legal trouble brought about the end of Dessert Beauty in 2006. (If you’re craving sweets-inspired beauty today, there’s always the ridiculously named but delicious-sounding Philosophy Pink Frosted Animal Cracker shower gel.
Kat Von D
Legend has it that tattoo artist and reality TV star Kat Von D got into the makeup game in 2008 because she was “so f—king bored” with the stuff that was on the market back then. She started filling that funky void with four red lipsticks, which sold out almost immediately.
Her Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick in the muted pink shade Lolita sparked such a cult following, there’s now a matching eyeshadow palette and liner. (In 2013, KVD Beauty was also one of the first brands to release the now-ubiquitous matte liquid lipstick.)
If KORA Organics products can make us look even half as radiant as Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr, by all means, sign us up. Miranda launched her vegan, cruelty-free and certified organic skincare line in 2009 in her native Australia. The collection is now available in 25 countries including the United States.
Before Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty (by Kim Kardashian West), there was Khroma Beauty. In 2012, reality TV sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian launched the line, only to pull it from shelves less than a year later because of multiple copyright infringement lawsuits.
The brand then morphed into Kardashian Beauty, which became best known for its black seed oil-infused shampoos, conditioners and hair mist. But that went defunct too: In 2016, the sisters were hit by a civil lawsuit from Hillair Capital Management. Hillair claimed to have put $10 million into Kardashian Beauty, but tried to get their investment back when the sisters stopped publicly promoting their own brand.
Drew Barrymore released her affordable, cruelty-free cosmetics line in 2012. Most products clocked in at under $15, and neutral colors reigned supreme. At first, Flower Beauty was only available at Wal-Mart and on flowerbeauty.com. Then in 2018, Flower expanded into select Ulta stores with a decidedly flashy new collection of metallic liquid lipsticks, glowy highlighters and bold, shimmery eyeshadow palettes. Drew admitted the brand’s colorful expansion was partly due to the rise of influencer culture. “When Flower started, it was more of a traditional, straightforward brand,” she told WWD. “We weren’t that Millennial brand or crazy color brand…but within a few years, social media, influencers, tutorial videos blew up.”
Jessica Alba branched out from Honest Company’s eco-friendly baby products to launch Honest Beauty in 2015. The collection includes sheer tinted moisturizers, glossy lip crayons, cream blushes and neutral eyeshadow palettes that promise to deliver pretty without parabens and other harsh chemicals. Jessica’s go-to? Her Magic Beauty Balm, which she uses to smooth flyaways, repair ragged cuticles and nourish dry lips.
When Eva Mendes launched CIRCA Beauty exclusively at Walgreens in 2015, fans were thrilled to support a Latina-owned collection with products priced under $15. But within two years, Walgreens abruptly discontinued the entire line. Commenters on the brand’s last Instagram post, a close-up shot of mascara and eye crayons, on May 16, 2017, demand to know when the brand will return. So far, crickets.
Nuance Salma Hayek
In 2015, actress Salma Hayek relaunched her CVS-exclusive line of hair, body, makeup and skincare. The brand’s Long Lasting Shadow Sticks were a major hit—at least at first. The collection has since quietly left CVS store shelves, but some Nuance hair and skincare products like are still available on Amazon and ebay. So if you’re a fan, go stock up.
The first Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kits sold out in 30 seconds during the November 2015 launch. The $29 kits came in three shades and included one matte liquid lipstick with a corresponding lip pencil.
The range has now expanded to include blush, eyeshadow and complexion products, and in 2019, Kylie Cosmetics became a billion-dollar company. That same year, Forbes named 21-year-old Kylie Jenner the “youngest self-made billionaire.” Nice work if you can get it.
Kim Kardashian-West welcomed her own eponymous makeup line in 2017, starting with a contour kit to mimic her sculpted cheekbones. The kits came in four shades and included a dual-ended contour stick, highlighter and brush. Twelve minutes into the launch, Kim tweeted, “OMG Medium has sold out! I can’t believe it! In just a few minutes!” Within an hour, only two shades remained.
Lady Gaga’s makeup line was released exclusively on Amazon in the summer of 2019. Those who expected products as outlandish as some of the singer’s outfits remember her infamous meat dress?
We were pleasantly surprised by the wearable liquid liners, lipsticks and shimmers in the collection. Of course, a brand by Lady Gaga wouldn’t make sense without some bolder options, like this bright red glitter lipstick, or these ornate face stickers.
Victoria Beckham Beauty
Many Victoria Beckham fans were initially drawn to her makeup line for its Smoky Eye Brick, a quad of shadows designed to mimic her signature smudgy eye. Also impressive: The entire range is cruelty-free and packaged sustainably with recycled cartons and biodegradable shipping materials.
Florence by Mills
Sixteen-year-old Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown launched her Gen Z-oriented makeup and skincare line in August 2019. The dreamy lavender packaging houses lightweight tinted moisturizers, sheer lip glosses and easy cleansers and moisturizers fit for sensitive teen skin. Most products are under $20, and the entire line is vegan and cruelty-free.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s Rihanna’s Fenty brand, which took the makeup world by storm with a whopping 40 shades of Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 2017. The cruelty-free foundations ranged from the palest possible shade designed for albino women to a deep neutral, and has since expanded to an incredible 50 different hues.
Fenty Beauty sold almost $600 million in products during the brand’s first 15 months. Fenty’s success truly sparked a new trend of inclusivity and variety in makeup and now other beauty brands are scrambling to keep up. All hail, Queen RiRi!