Which make-up launches generated the most hype this year?
Well, we're officially at peak celebrity beauty brand. Every A-lister from Victoria Beckham, Tracee Ellis Ross, Millie Bobby Brown, Lady Gaga, Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer, to Cheetos (yes, of crisps) to Spongebob (yes, of Squarepants) brought out a beauty product this year.
We are fatigued with all the product launches. To whom do we owe the credit — or blame? Kylie? RiRi? Britney Spear's Curious? Last year, Britney launched her 22nd fragrance. “There’s been an explosion … there’s a brand launching a product every single week,” Manny Gutierrez, aka Manny MUA, told Business of Fashion.
Now that we're all much too busy to potter around beauty aisles trialling and testing, social media has become the main platform for breaking news of beauty launches. So what was unavoidable on your social media this year? Who cut through the noise?
The ones I recall being the most hyped this year came from fashion brands, collaborations, influencer launches and legacy beauty brands. There was surely an appearance or 20 on your Instagram feed of Glossier Play. You likely saw a few tweets or read a thinkpiece or two on Kim Kardashian's KKW Beauty body make-up. You definitely lusted over a Gucci lipstick, and I'd imagine you bought at least one of the biggest foundation launches of the year from either Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Urban Decay or Fenty.
Here's a round-up of 2019's most hyped products.
I don't think any product launch has inspired as many people to DM and WhatsApp me looking for insider information as when Glossier announced Play, a new sub-category brand in February. After much time lost reading Reddit threads and deep-diving into Glossier's trademark applications, Glossier Play, we finally learned, is the brand's "dialled-up beauty extras and Glossier’s take on colour make-up." Colour cosmetics make-up, according to NPD Group, is set to take up 14.2% of beauty by 2020. There were four new products, 28 shades and two tools, and a whole lot of Instagram posts. Check out the full collection here.
Cast your mind back to June, where my social media feeds were heaving with the metallic pink, winking eye and glitter of the Lancôme x Chiara Ferragni collaboration. Forbes’ most powerful fashion influencer collaborated with the brand for her first make-up collection with eight products designed around Chiara's signature golden glow, including the sell-out Face and Eye Palette, €70. With three brushes and thirteen mix and match shades of lipsticks, eyeshadows, blush, highlighters and lipgloss, it was one of the best palette launches of the year.
Between the Christmas collection, the Hot Lips 2 lipsticks, the Glowgasm highlighter palettes, it's impossible to pick just one standout Charlotte Tilbury launch of 2019, but there's no doubt that the Airbrush Flawless Foundation was the most hyped. Skincare meets make-up in Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation, €40. It has more benefits than you'll believe — skin is moisturised for 24 hours, boosted in hydration by 216%, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles by 22% and protects skin against pollutants. It comes in 44 shades with all the under and overtones, lasts perfectly for up to 16 hours — I mean it — and feels like nothing on the skin. It’s a natural matte finish and one pump stretches for your whole face, meaning you’ll get a long time out of this bottle, plus it is sweat, humidity and waterproof. Truly flawless skin that gets better with every use: Tilbury outdoes herself once again. Apply it once, watch it stretch all over your face with just one pump and not budge all day, and see your skin improve over time.
Having vanquished the worlds of both music and film, in September, Lady Gaga's Haus Laboratories became the first major beauty brand to be sold exclusively on Amazon. “I have a platform in the world," Gaga told BoF. "God gave me this voice for a reason, I don’t know why, I ask myself that question all the time, but I’m sure as hell not going to put out a beauty brand that is going to drive insecurity and fear into people. This is about liberation.” Her new limited-edition Haus Laboratories Sparkle Lipstick is already No. 1 on Amazon's list of bestselling lipsticks.
After the sell-out success of her Estée Lauder collaboration, Victoria Beckham stole Lauder's head of global make-up development and marketing and made her the co-founder and CEO of Victoria Beckham Beauty, which launched in September with an 11-piece smoky eye collection. The direct-to-consumer cosmetics and skincare line made headlines again with its primer created in collaboration with Augustinus Bader, and there's plans for product ranges designed to appeal to a younger consumer, more frequent product drops and a fragrance line in 2020.
Urban Decay had massive launches this year, from their brow collection, Stay Naked foundation and sell-out Game of Thrones collections, but surely, Naked Honey was their most hyped launch of the year. Earlier this year, the beauty cognoscenti mourned the loss of the world's most popular palette, the Urban Decay Naked Palette, the legend that started it all. Naked spawned a million copycat palettes but their buttery mattes and shimmers could never be truly replicated. Naked has had a facelift and is back and better than ever since September 13 in the new iteration, Naked Honey, with the honeyed gold and creamy browns we all know and love.
Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation
What did we do to deserve a foundation launch from both leading make-up artist icons Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath in one year? Pat McGrath, the real self-made beauty billionaire, whose first product, a gold pigment called Gold 001 sold out in five minutes flat set the beauty world alight with news of her long-awaited foundation. Of course, the launch came with much hype and excitement, Instagram Stories and headlines buzzing to have the ability to cheat her iconic catwalk dewy glow. The sheer serum-textured foundation works on any skin type, has 36 shades and is weightlessly light but buildable to medium coverage.
Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson Conspiracy Collection
Let the records show that 2019 was the year where YouTubers entered the mainstream celebrity. Have you ever been curious about how make-up is made, from conception to creation? YouTube documentarian Shane Dawson and beauty YouTuber and cosmetics creator Jeffree Star have created a video series together where they collaborate on a make-up collection. Social media stars with millions of fans but without any real business accumen have had to get smart quick — a few years ago, as Jeffree Star reveals in the series, beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials collaborated with a brand on a collection where she accepted a flat fee of $50,000. The brand went on to sell over $10 million worth of her products, meaning she made 0.005%. The series is a fascinating insight into the social media beauty world, lifting the curtain on the beauty industry, like how much it takes to make an eyeshadow palette, how long it takes, negotiating with retailers and the Wild West world of being a young star with millions in income and fans who have to learn on the job. The Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson Conspiracy collection was released last month and crashed the shopping platform Shopify and every website hosting the collection and completely sold out 1.1million palettes.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel
What was the biggest launch from Anastasia Beverly Hills this year? They released an excessive amount of incredible launches, from the Luminous Foundation to the beautiful palettes like Riveria, Alyssa Edwards and Jackie Aina, but the one I am asked about most often, that I couldn't be without, is Dipbrow Gel. It is the easiest way to achieve DIY brow lamination — all it requires is a light-handed swipe and your brows are brushed up, tinted, fluffier and thicker. It hasn't left my handbag since it landed on the beauty desk.
KKW Skin Perfecting Body Foundation
Just like all Kardashian news, the KKW Skin Perfecting Body Foundation went from initial, immediate backlash, ("Hard pass. God damn the work to take it all off before bed so it doesn’t destroy your sheets... I’d rather just make peace with my million stretch marks and eczema. Taking off my mascara is enough of a pain in the arse. Save money and time and give yourself a damn break,” says Jameela Jamil) and then we had the backlash to the backlash from the more considered opinions. "My scars and my weak circulation are things that I have made peace with, but for the days where I want to wear a skirt with a slit, I’ve got a choice in whether I let that purple show or not," wrote our incredible contributor Louise Bruton. "Wearing make-up on your face or on your legs or your arms or the small of your back doesn’t mean that you’re handing your free will over to the evil CEOs of the beauty industry. Or to the Kardashians, for that matter." Read her piece here.
MAC Viva Glam 25 Lipstick
It's been twenty-five years and $500 million raised since the launch of the MAC Aids Fund, and MAC are marking the anniversary and achievement by bringing back the original shade of Viva Glam from Ru Paul's campaign, housed in limited edition Dorothy red glitter. There's been 25 campaigns and 28 celebrity spokespeople. Provocative talent has always led the VIVA Glam campaigns, but never more so than the very first spokesperson, Ru Paul. "Frank Toscan wanted the VIVA Glam spokespeople to be representative of MAC's motto — all ages, all races, all sexes," Lesley Keane told us at the MAC World Aids Day party. Read more about the incredible power of this lipstick and when RuPaul came to Dublin here. If you're in the market for a new, perfect red lipstick or would like to own a piece of beauty history, may I direct you to your nearest MAC counter, where 100% of the price of your lipstick will help the lives of those affected by HIV.
Did we miss your favourite, most-hyped launch of the year? Let us know in the Facebook comments.
Photography by Victoria Beckham.
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