Jared Leto says he’s not into skincare – while selling $97 eye cream

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In 2022, it seems like you’re more likely to see a celebrity announcing a new beauty line than promoting their next project. This year alone, Hailey Bieber, Gwen Stefani, Halsey, Ciara and Winnie Harlow have all dropped new brands. But it’s not just a women’s game – now men want a share of the $5 billion market too.

Last week, Jared Leto announced Twentynine Palms, “a line of 11 gender-neutral skincare, bodycare, and haircare products,” according to Vogue. Although the 50-year-old told The Shining that he’s “never really been into beauty products,” he showed off items like $47 hand soap and eye cream. at $97. Each product is made from “desert plants” such as prickly pear extract.

Although Vogue’s Liam Hess described Leto, 50, as having “the porcelain-smooth complexion of a Renaissance cherub,” some buyers remained less enthusiastic. “You can be gender neutral without spending $97 on a marketing ploy,” one person said. wrote on Twitter. “Anything beyond [$10] for a cleanser, that’s fucking ridiculous,” opined another one.

Kirbie Johnson, writer and host of the Gloss Angeles podcast, told The Guardian that cosmetics lines became the go-to for celebrities after Rihanna launched her own, Fenty Beauty, in 2017. (The brand, praised for its shade foundation line, has since catapulted the singer to billionaire status.) “Celebrities don’t do this out of the kindness of their hearts, to share their creativity,” she said. “They saw what Rihanna did, and they wanted a piece of the pie.”

Leto joins Brad Pitt and Travis Barker, who have launched their own respective lines in recent weeks. Pitt, who exhibits original sculptures in Finland, has embarked on something decidedly more commercial: Le Domaine, a “skin care line that combines science and nature.” According to British Vogue, the products are made from grapes harvested by the Perrin family, owners of a wine estate in the Rhône.

Pitt told Vogue that he created The Estate in part to emulate his ex Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop empire. “It’s exciting that you can, you know, explore other corners [of your creativity] like the old Renaissance artists in a way,” he said of the decision to peddle an $80 face wash and $385 serum.

And then there’s Barker, the head-to-toe tattooed drummer of Blink-182 and husband of Kourtney Kardashian. Less than a week after his wife announced her new position as “sustainability advisor” for fast fashion retailer Boohoo, comes Barker Wellness, a line of five CBD-infused products.

“Everything is vegan. It’s good. Rub it all over your body,” Barker wrote in an Instagram caption beneath a black-and-white photo of himself shirtless, biting into a tube of his $130 eye serum like it was a gag.

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While Kardashian proudly promoted Barker Wellness at her Nobu Malibu launch party, others weren’t quite so welcoming. Estee Laundry, an Instagram account with anonymous moderators who pose as beauty industry watchdogs, wrote in a post that they were “a bit confused by the celebrity skincare line of Travis Barker”.

One of the comments on that post read, “There is no one I care about LESS about skincare than Travis Barker.” Another predicted, “I’ll see this on TJ Maxx shelves in a year.” Pitt’s foray didn’t go much better either. “I will be successful and so will my bank account,” one person wrote. “Literally, who’s even buying this?” asked another.

Experts say they are skeptical of either man’s involvement with the brands. Product development consultant Rachel Weingarten said “some celebrities have no involvement” in their so-called passion projects. “Most of the time, [stars] have a meeting, brainstorm a few vague thoughts, and then are presented with several options. If they choose one, they think they designed it all.

Rihanna smiles in close-up in front of a flower background

Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Johnson, the podcast host, noted that the famous women behind brands — like Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber and Ciara — are all positioning themselves as experts in their fields who take authority over their businesses. Leto and Pitt, meanwhile, have openly described themselves as rookies.

“At least the women and Pharrell [who founded the skincare line Humanrace] put in the time and effort to understand this industry and what it’s gotten itself into,” Johnson said. “With Brad, it’s crazy that he’s doing all this splashy media for [Domaine]then pretend he doesn’t have a skincare routine.

Alfredo Mineo, a grooming and wellness writer for Vogue Mexico and Byrdie, said that despite huge celebrity followings, “skincare is a saturated space at this point, and the ship has sailed.”

But Griffin Wynne, a writer who covers shopping trends for HuffPost, thinks there’s an audience, at least for a brand’s initial drop. This success cannot always be sustained. After all, Rihanna was hailed for becoming the first black woman to run a fashion house under LVMH in 2019, but production was halted less than two years later.

“We’re in a prime time where ‘self-care’ means justifying expensive purchases, especially for body products,” Wynne said. “Sometimes an outrageously high price can tempt you into buying something because it feels like you’re making a big claim. So yeah, I think a man somewhere will buy it, or else ask his girlfriend to buy it for him.

Part of the clever marketing of these brands includes the idea of ​​creating “genderless” products that extend beyond a binary. It’s par for the course in 2022, as Harry Styles is leading a nail polish line and Lil Nas X has just been named the face of YSL Beauty.

“A beauty product has no gender, period,” Johnson added. “Anyone can use it, no matter how you identify it. Consumers are aware of this. The data backs it up: According to marketing firm Wunderman Thompson, 50% of Gen Zers “buy beyond their gender.” Whether they can afford to do that with Le Domaine or Barker Wellness remains to be seen.

As Wynne puts it, “There’s a proliferation of expensive no-sex products, but you know what else is no-sex? Vaseline, toothpaste and sunscreen. And – celebrities, take note – these don’t cost $385. .

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