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Are Celebrity Beauty Brands Worth a Try?

Idris Elba, Hailey Bieber and Brad Pitt join the growing number of stars with beauty and skin care lines

spinner image Closeup on the faces of Idris Elba, Hailey Bieber and Brad Pitt side by side
Left to right: Idris Elba, Hailey Bieber and Brad Pitt
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images; ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Want to smell rich and famous? Buy a celebrity fragrance. Want to look healthy, feel red-carpet cool and glow with do-good vibes? Buy a celebrity’s namesake moisturizer, serum or body cream. At least that’s what actors, models and musicians are counting on as they churn out skin care lines from affordable to luxurious. Worth a try? Yes, but only if you…

spinner image Brad Pitt above his Le Domaine Skincare The Serum product, Gwyneth Paltrow above her Goop Beauty GoopGlow Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator and Hailey Bieber above her Rhode by Hailey Bieber Peptide Glazing Fluid
Top row, left to right: Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Hailey Bieber. Bottom row, left to right: Le Domaine Skincare The Serum ($352, le-domaine.com); Goop Beauty GoopGlow Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator ($125, goop.com); Rhode by Hailey Bieber Peptide Glazing Fluid ($29, rhodeskin.com)
Joe Maher/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Taylor Hill/Getty Images; Le Domaine Skincare; Goop; Rhode

1. Keep an open mind

This is no longer about famous faces just adding their names to big established brands for advertising benefits. The star is actively involved in the creation/development and ownership of a line with an up-to-the-minute point of view. Skin care brands by 50-something celebs such as Goop Beauty by Gwyneth Paltrow and Le Domaine by Brad Pitt are sure to grab our attention first (after all, they’re our peers), but don’t ignore those by younger stars such as Hailey Bieber whose Rhode Skin Peptide Glazing Fluid promises “glazed donut skin” for all. Every line has one product that will stop you mid-scroll and call out to your AmEx card.

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spinner image Michael Strahan above a bottle of Michael Strahan Daily Defense Face and Neck Moisturizer, Naomi Watts above a bottle of Stripes The Power Move Plumping Facial Serum and Scarlett Johansson above a bottle of The Outset Moisture-Boosting Oil
Top row, left to right: Michael Strahan, Naomi Watts and Scarlett Johansson. Bottom row, left to right: Michael Strahan Daily Defense Face and Neck Moisturizer ($14, riteaid.com); Stripes The Power Move Plumping Facial Serum ($85, iamstripes.com); The Outset Moisture-Boosting Oil ($44, theoutset.com)
Eric Canha/Cal Sport Media via AP Images; Jon Kopaloff/WireImage; Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic; Rite Aid; Stripes; The Outset

2. Make a personal connection

It’s what I call the “She’s like me!” factor. For example, Naomi Watts created her Stripes menopause-based brand after going through the hormonal ups and downs that resulted in parched skin. Scarlett Johansson, who suffered from sensitive/problem skin, launched The Outset and emphasizes a plant-based alternative to hyaluronic acid in every product. Vegan, cruelty-free and allergy- and dermatologist-tested, it’s also totally fragrance-free. Michael Strahan started his Daily Defense line for men to tackle his own mature skin issues — dryness, ingrown hairs, shaving and stubble care — and packaged the dermatologist-approved, hypoallergenic products in recyclable aluminum travel sizes with twist locks for no messy spills.

spinner image Idris Elba above a spray bottle of S’Able Rooibos Micellar Water, Jada Pinkett Smith above a bottle of Hey Humans Banana Aloe Hydrating Body Wash and Miranda Kerr above a bottle of Kora Organics Turmeric Glow Foaming Cleanser
Top row, left to right: Idris Elba, Jada Pinkett Smith and Miranda Kerr. Bottom row, left to right: S’Able Rooibos Micellar Water ($28, sablelabs.co); Hey Humans Banana Aloe Hydrating Body Wash ($8, target.com); Kora Organics Turmeric Glow Foaming Cleanser ($42, sephora.com)
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Monica Schipper/Getty Images

3. Like the “clean, green beauty” trend

Many “celebrity” brands are on the wellness/eco-conscious track and looking to connect with like-minded consumer-fans who want to delete sulfates, parabens, silicones and other potentially harmful ingredients from their regimens. Hey Humans by Jada Pinkett Smith’s sustainably packaged line includes everything from body wash to deodorant designed to reduce plastic pollution; S’Able Labs by Idris and Sabrina Elba is gender-free, ethically sourced, eco-responsible and uses recyclable, refillable packaging; and Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr uses verified organic ingredients and no potentially harmful ones such as sulfates and parabens.

spinner image Pharrell Williams above a jar of Humanrace Humidifying Face Cream, Alicia Keys above a bottle of Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum and Cindy Crawford above a bottle of Meaningful Beauty Cindy Crawford Youth Activated Melon Serum
Top row, left to right: Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys and Cindy Crawford. Bottom row, left to right: Humanrace Humidifying Face Cream ($52, humanrace.com); Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum ($26, ulta.com); Meaningful Beauty Cindy Crawford Youth Activated Melon Serum ($98, meaningfulbeauty.com)
Steve Granitz/WireImage; Theo Wargo/WireImage; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CELINE; Humanrace; Ulta Beauty; Meaningful Beauty

4. Check for expert input

You might ask, “OK, but what does so-and-so star know about skin care?” Well, they’re not alone in their kitchens mixing this stuff up. Every brand relies on research and development teams, science-backed ingredients and an advisory board of experts with beauty credentials. Some celebs team up with a personal pro. Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace line was created with dermatologist Elena Jones; Alicia Keys’ Keys Soulcare line with dermatologist Renée Snyder; and Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty with noted French cosmetic surgeon Jean-Louis Sebagh.

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spinner image Jennifer Lopez above a container of JLo Beauty That Blockbuster Cream with hyaluronic acid, Ciara above a bottle of OAM by Ciara Vitamin C Hydrating Cleanser and Kim Kardashian above a case of Skkn by Kim Eye Cream
Top row, left to right: Jennifer Lopez, Ciara and Kim Kardashian. Bottom row, left to right: JLo Beauty That Blockbuster Cream with hyaluronic acid ($59, sephora.com); OAM by Ciara Vitamin C Hydrating Cleanser ($28, oamskin.com); Skkn by Kim Eye Cream ($75, skknbykim.com)
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Unique Nicole/Getty Images; Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images; Sephora; OAM; SKKN BY KIM

5. Focus on ingredients proved to help mature skin

The idea of celebrity skin care for all is great, but the truth is 50-plus skin is very different from that of a 20-, 30- or 40-year-old. We’re dealing with decades of sun damage, lines, wrinkles, dryness, sag, dark spots and other pigmentation issues. To be clear, this is not about the age of the celebrity. It’s about choosing a brand and products that will live up to your expectations. You want fresher, more fabulous skin, not a more fabulous looking jar sitting on the vanity. Look for proven ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides and antioxidants to stimulate collagen growth, hydrate, plump up lines, brighten and protect.

spinner image Rihanna above a jar of Fenty Skin by Rihanna Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream with Niacinamide + Kalahari Melon Oil, Jessica Alba above a jar of Honest Hydrogel Cream and Taraji P. Henson above a jar of Body by TPH Softer Than A Mutha Body Butter Vanilla + Tuberose
Top row, left to right: Rihanna, Jessica Alba and Taraji P. Henson. Bottom row, left to right: Fenty Skin by Rihanna Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream with Niacinamide + Kalahari Melon Oil; Honest Hydrogel Cream; Body by TPH Softer Than A Mutha Body Butter Vanilla + Tuberose
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Sephora; Honest; Walmart

6. Can try one product at a time

The celeb angle can be tempting enough to provoke a spending spree of multiple products or even an entire regimen. In addition, the brand sites are direct-to-consumer and offer prepackaged bundles as incentive to buy more. Don’t. Find one “hero” product that can be swapped into your usual routine before adding more. It’s the only way to test a product’s performance and any allergic reaction or sensitivity. You might try Fenty Skin by Rihanna Instant Reset Brightening Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream with Niacinamide + Kalahari Melon Oil ($42, sephora.com) as a night cream; Honest Hydrogel Cream ($20, honest.com) for day; or Body by TPH (Taraji P. Henson) Softer Than A Mutha Body Butter Vanilla + Tuberose ($13, walmart.com) to soothe and rejuvenate flaky winter skin neck to toes.

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