Celebrity skincare: Is it worth the hype?

Stars are moving into the world of skincare - but is it worth it? Or should we save face and stick to the long-standing pros?

Hair & Beauty

It seems like a lifetime ago since we all got caught up in the hysteria surrounding the launch of Fenty Skin. Rihanna’s ever-expanding product line, an extension of her best selling make-up brand, has set the bar in the billion dollar industry that is celebrity skincare - but others have been quick to catch up.

The celebrity skincare bandwagon

Since the summer of 2020, we have witnessed the launch of skincare lines from a handful of prominent Black celebrities. Not only did the famously make-up-free Alicia Keys last year announce the inception of her lifestyle brand, Keys Soulcare, but the king of anti-ageing himself, Pharrell Williams, surprised the beauty industry with unisex skincare curveball, Humanrace.

What’s different about these brands?

You could be forgiven for snubbing earlier incarnations of celebrity merchandise; the noughties were rife with drugstore fragrances, often bedazzled with rhinestones and sprinkled with glitter (that’s not to say they didn’t sell, however. Beyoncé’s ‘Heat’ reportedly made a cool $400 million in worldwide sales). However, this generation’s offerings seem to come with a touch more integrity, possibly thanks to the transparency of social media. Rihanna is consistently posting product tutorials on her Instagram page, while Keys regularly takes over her brand’s social media channels to talk about her skincare hacks.

Worth the hype?

Of course, popularity and integrity are worthy characteristics of a skincare brand. But are the products actually any good? We look at the most popular Black celebrity skincare brands and if they match up to expectations.

Fenty Skin

Fenty Skin

It may be a bit young to be dubbed ‘the OG’, but Fenty Skin is likely to be remembered as the trailblazer for celebrity skincare. The line currently comprises four products: a cleanser, toner serum, overnight gel-cream and a moisturising sunscreen, starting from £20. All products are non-comedogenic and vegan, as well as being refillable to help reduce waste. But this seems to be the bare minimum for most socially-conscious skincare brands, so what about the nitty gritty? 

Some Fenty fans were put off by the use of fragrance (Barbados cherry, coconut and fig), as well as the appearance of a chemical SPF rather than mineral in the Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen. However, there were also those that praised the simplicity of the line, particularly noting the handiness of a double cleanser (oil-based and water-based) in one product. 

Overall, the products continue to receive rave reviews, and we predict another sell-out at the next product launch!

Keys Soulcare

Keys Soulcare

While Keys Soulcare is a lifestyle brand, its skincare products have been the talk of the town. Having launched with just two beauty products, the brand’s offerings match its ethos - simple and clean. And as many of us are guilty of buying multiple skincare products that are destined to be relegated to the back of our bathroom cabinets, it would be wise to minimise our beauty routines to just a few dressing table staples.

When the team behind Keys Soulcare say they use ‘clean’ formulas, they mean it. All products are free from 1,680 substances restricted by the FDA and European Union Cosmetics Regulation. These are replaced with a myriad of natural ingredients like manuka honey, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and backuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol.

The Skin Transformation Cream is the brand’s flagship skincare product. It’s rich and hydrating, despite its lightweight feel, and its gentle ingredients are ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, some reviews state that the cream needs help from a hydrating serum when used on particularly dry skin. The Obsidian Facial Roller is made with volcanic glass that is said to repel negativity; although this might seem a little too pseudoscientific for some, the roller is great for soothing puffy skin with its cold touch, and helping to improve blood flow to the skin.



Created by Pharrell Williams, Humanrace is made for ‘every human’. What does this mean? For starters, the brand’s initial campaign features male and female models of all ethnicities and ages. Meanwhile, its unique, gender-neutral packaging screams ‘inclusivity’ - even including braille for blind consumers. The lively green packaging of the products may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but it sure does distance itself from the notion of catering to a specific gender.

The range consists of a Rice Powder Cleanser, £25, Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator, £45, and Humidifying Cream, £37. All products have been designed in collaboration with experts such as Williams’ dermatologist of 20 years, Dr Elena Jones, and are designed to be used in a simple three-step skincare routine. The formulas include a host of natural ingredients, such as lotus leaf extract (an antioxidant) and snow mushroom extract. In addition, Humanrace has placed emphasis on their avoidance of plastic particles within the formulas, which can cause skin damage through microtears. 

For those who enjoy a full-on skincare routine featuring a plethora of serums, creams and oils with which one can slather oneself, this is not your jam. It is ideal for minimalists or those who love to travel, and certainly those who prefer a gender-neutral approach to skincare.

MIJ Masks

MIJ Masks

Two years in the making, MIJ Masks is the brainchild of presenter Maya Jama. Focusing on just one area of skincare – masks – this brand has been able to hone its formulas to create two products worthy of a place on your dressing table. The first is the Bio-Cellulose Face Mask, which is made with a carbon-positive fibre soaked with a serum containing moisturising and antioxidant ingredients. Hyaluronic acid, glycerine and grape extract are the stars of the show here.

Then there’s the Hydrogel Eye Patch, which applies to the delicate under-eye area and is designed to de-puff by cooling and nourishing. Again, this contains moisturising nutrients, plus added anti-inflammatory components for maximum benefits.

The mask and eye patches are £15.99 and £13.99 respectively, making these products the most affordable of the celebrity set. What’s more, having only launched in December 2020, the reviews are already favourable – the presenter even posted an Instagram snap of her nan wearing the eye patches in approval!

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