About Face/ Sephora/ Rare Beauty
In the past five years, it seems like every single celebrity near and far has launched their own beauty brand. Even as someone whose job is to literally keep up with beauty releases, I sometimes find my head spinning. I have tried them all (I think) and, so far, there are three that stand out far above the rest: Halsey’s About-Face, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rose Inc.
Over the last few months, I have tried virtually every celebrity-created skincare, body care, and makeup product. My testing, however, did not include any fragrances or hair care products. Rare Beauty and About-Face are solely makeup brands (at least for the moment), while Rose Inc does makeup, skincare, and makeup-skincare hybrid products. Below is a thorough breakdown of each brand, their hero products, and a few pictures to illustrate their prowess. Before continuing however I would like to pour one out for Kim Kardashian’s currently shuttered KKW Beauty, which made incredible eyeshadow palettes and lipliners.
Courtesy Tamim Alnuweiri
Left: Rare Beauty foundation and blush. About Face eyeshadow. Right: Rose Inc Serum and lipstick. About Face eyeshadow.
About-Face by Halsey
If you are a friend or frequent reader, I am sorry you’re hearing (or reading) me gush about About-Face once more, but I have been wholly obsessed with Halsey’s makeup brand since its launch. I was introduced when a fellow beauty editor texted me that she had made it through an entire dinner without her Paint-It Matte lipstick coming off. I quickly got on the brand’s website and ordered three shades of Matte Fluid Eye Paint (Dionysus, the currently sold-out Replicant, and Cloned). Since then, I have either bought or been gifted every other About-Face product. I am not even slightly exaggerating when I say you can’t go wrong with anything from About-Face, but below are my top three favorite products.
Matte Fluid Eye Paint
Shop now: $24; aboutface.com
I have hooded lids, and although I have to keep my lids at least half-closed while the eye shadow dries, once it does, it is vivid, bold, paint that lasts until I choose to wash it off. When I want more subtlety, I use the confusingly good Fractal brushes to blend the liquid into a diffused, powdery look.
Fractal Glitter Eye Paint
Shop now: $21; aboutface.com
The best way to describe my ideal eyeshadow look is like one of Liberace’s opulent, kitschy capes. Glitter is, however, a finicky product; I constantly find it falling, difficult to apply precisely, and shedding throughout wear. About-Face’s glitter eye paint is a genius liquid formula that removes all of the mess, but is still one of the most pigmented and reflective glitters I’ve tried.
Light Lock Lip Gloss
Shop now: $13 (Originally $18); aboutface.com
The resurgence of lip gloss was another revived trend from the early 2000s that just did not speak to me until I tried Light Lock. It has absolutely no stick or tack to it — if anything it feels like a more viscous oil, and I can’t understand how it was possibly formulated. I use one swipe to layer on top of lipstick to give my lips dimension or two swipes for a stand-alone wash of color. My go-to shades are Playdate, Blame Game, and Wish You Were Here.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez
Right out the gate, Selena Gomez’s beauty brand Rare Beauty became an internet darling. But because I am an occasionally contrarian person, this meant it took me a minute to finally get around to testing the Rare Beauty products I was gifted. Now, all I have is regret that I didn’t listen to the TikTok teens and do it sooner. Like About-Face, you can close your eyes, pick a product and it will be incredible, but my two favorites are below.
Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
Shop now: $20; rarebeauty.com
This is the Rare Beauty product, according to TikTok. The cream brush comes in two finishes: matte and dewy. Cream blushes can be personally daunting because I find that they can be difficult to apply right and easily become patchy. This one goes on like a dream; I dab two or three very small dots on my cheeks and use my fingers to blend — I look vibrant, fresh, and healthy. I have six shades in my arsenal but Hope, Encourage, and Bliss are the shades I usually reach for.
Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation
Shop now: $29; rarebeauty.com
Holy hell, I can’t even remember the last time I was obsessed with a foundation. I have gone through two bottles since trying this, which is incredible because I also don’t remember the last time that happened, either. It feels like silk and offers the perfect amount of coverage — it’s somewhere between light and medium, enhances my complexion, and smooths over imperfections without looking or feeling like a mask over my face. And this is a slightly weird thing, but I also love the large doe-foot applicator, which ensures I get the perfect amount of product every time.
Rose Inc by Rosie Huntington-Whitley
To be honest, it took me a little bit to get into Rose Inc after being gifted the products. Initially, the products seemed too minimal. I understand they work on Rosie Huntington-Whitley, but what doesn’t? Over a couple of weeks, however, I began to reach for Rose Inc products when I needed a boost or a little zhuzh without having to commit to my full-fledged routine. These products are subtle, but they work. They feel like the French-girl equivalent of makeup — you know, that irresistible, effortlessly chic, done but undone vibe. Out of the three brands, this is the newest and the only one to have both makeup and skincare products. The ones I’ve been using over and over again are the tinted serum and lip crayons.
Skin Enhance Luminous Skin Tint
Shop now: $49; sephora.com
I was not sure what I was getting the first time I applied this. Still, for the sake of journalism and the scientific process, I persisted. This is what I — and truly, I think everyone — is looking for when they talk about an everyday tinted product. It’s minimal coverage and looks like the best version of your own skin. It won’t completely cover imperfections, but it doesn’t claim to. It’s just the perfect pick-me-up for days when your skin could use a boost.
Lip Sculpt Clean Moisturizing Pigmented Lipstick
Shop now: $26; sephora.com
The initial swatches I did of these lipsticks on my hand were deceiving. They looked overly glossy and the shades were too bright, but something happened when they made contact with my lips. It felt like the Lip Sculpt quickly absorbed and slightly changed my lip color rather than painted over it. There are currently only four shades, but I have been going with Sixteen and Beams.