November 8, 2016
From trendy cookbooks to skincare lines, celebrity product launches are all the rage. These are different from the typical department-store collaboration of years past — or the Mary Kate & Ashley clothing line at Walmart that was, like, SO cool back in elementary school. In this modern iteration, many A-listers are fueling a newfound entrepreneurial spirit, stamping their name on high-end lines that seem to better match their own expensive tastes. And they’re placing a great deal of emphasis on their own role in developing these product lines.
I’m a product junkie, and I wait anxiously each month for my Birchbox subscription to arrive so I can try out the newest in hair, skin and beauty. While I’ll try out any brand or line that’s housed in places like Sephora at least once, I am particular about the quality of products that I put on my skin and hair – and in the past, celebrity products just haven’t made the cut. The difference in this new round of celeb collaborations? I actually believe these personalities are wearing and using the products they promote, and naturally, they prove it on Snapchat and Instagram.
Over the last year, I’ve given a number of these products a try, and some have even made their way into my daily routine.
Kylie Cosmetics – Kylie Jenner
Can you really start a celebrity product post without mentioning King Kylie? I purchased my first lip kits earlier this year, back when she only had three colors in her repertoire. Fellow Pony Sammie and I unboxed them at the Fast Horse office like it was Christmas morning, and I must say, I’m a fan.
I don’t wear lipstick every day by any means, but the matte look is fun when I want to amp up my outfit. It definitely has staying power, especially if I leave it alone without a balm over the top, but I usually put a layer of Chapstick or Vaseline over my lip kit because it can be a little drying. That said, I usually just need to reapply once later in the day. One word of caution: the colors are usually darker than you’d expect. For example, Dolce K is way too dramatic on my fair complexion for my taste, and the colors Candy K and Exposed (yes, I have a lot of lip kits) are probably the darkest I would go for lip color. Since you can’t try them on in a store anywhere, my advice is to play it safe and go with the lighter color if you’re debating over two shades.
TOMMYxGIGI – Gigi Hadid
This one still hurts my heart. The revamp of Tommy Hilfiger for 2016 was already exciting to me. Paired with my favorite model of the moment, Gigi Hadid? I was prepared to throw my savings away on it. Promotion and conversation around the TommyxGigi line started in 2015, and I had no clue what price point to expect. I was anticipating slightly higher that the main Tommy Hilfiger line, but I was especially nervous that it would fall below, being low-quality and cheapening not only the collection, but Gigi herself.
Boy, was I wrong. The sweaters and jackets that I had my eye hung out just below $500! I held onto my hope, deciding to splurge on one $300 sweater to see if it was really up to the hype. And while I was disappointed after trying it on, I was also a bit confused. The sweater shown in the Instagram above had no shape and went all the way down to my mid-calf, and while it can be a mixture of sizing and the fact that Gigi is maybe an inch or two taller than me, it felt like a totally different item than what I saw online. I haven’t given up total hope – she does have a holiday collection launching soon, and I’m keeping my eye on prices dropping.
Verdict: Pass, for now.
Good American – Khloe Kardashian
Khloe’s denim line, Good American, was one of the products this year that I was most excited to try out. Her ad campaign shows all types of models with various body types rocking ripped jeans much like the ones that Koko herself has been seen wearing in paparazzi pics for months. After my heart was ripped out by the the price point of TommyxGigi, I was prepared for Good American’s price point to break the bank as well. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that her jeans ran in the range of other high-end denim, and if the jeans really did all the promised they would, I figured I could justify the price tag.
The Nordstrom at Mall of America is one of the few stores in the country that carries them in-store. Good American’s big claim to fame is that they’re supposed to good on all body types, ultra high-rise and solve any problems you may have with waist bands not fitting your curves. I was sadly disappointed. While definitely comfortable and stretch, the fabric was so thin and didn’t match up to like the thicker denim from comparable brands. Plus, I still found there were extra inches in the waistline, which was the part of the Good American pitch I was most hopeful for. I wanted to like them, I really did, but I left Nordstrom empty-handed.
OUAI Haircare – Jen Atkin
I love, love, love trying hair products, and I’m rarely loyal to one brand. I usually use whatever I have from last month’s Birchbox and then repurchase the larger size of things that I really liked. However, when Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist to the Kardashians, Hadids, Chrissy Teigen and more, announced she was launching her own haircare line, I knew I had to try it. I stalked Sephora until they finally carried the product line in stores, and since then, I’ve incorporated a number of Ouai products into my daily routine. My go-tos: the coveted Ouai Texturizing Spray, the perfect mix between a dry shampoo and a hairspray; the Matte Pomade, which gives you the piecey, messy look without weighing your hair down; and the Repair Conditioner – it smells amazing and leaves my hair crazy soft.
Ouai also has an awesome website with a bunch of tutorials that help demonstrate the various ways you can use each product. If you need further proof, I was using the Texturizing Spray in an airport bathroom to refresh my hair after a long plane ride. A few minutes after spritzing my roots, a woman walked in and yelled across the crowded bathroom, “Oh my god, it smells amazing in here!”