Not so long ago, almost every A-lister had a fragrance to hawk. But with perfume sales taking a hit during lockdowns there’s a new celebrity project in town — skincare ranges. And famous faces on both sides of the pond are cashing in.
Kim Kardashian and model Hailey Bieber have launched their own lines in recent months. Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Skin, actress Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty and singer Rihanna’s Fenty Skin are already firm fixtures in Boots.
This month came the biggie: Cosmoss by Kate Moss, a ‘curated collection’ of self-care ‘rituals’ from the supermodel, which includes face cream, cleanser, face oil, scented mist and some tea bags. These ‘uplifting and inspiring’ products are high-end — with prices to match.
In the same week, Kate’s best pal, fashion designer Stella McCartney, also announced a new skincare line.
Kate Moss attending the exclusive debut event of her new Beauty & Wellness Brand Cosmoss by Kate Moss in Harrods
Stella by Stella McCartney is vegan, sustainably made — and costly.
All of which begs the question: during a cost of living crisis, is celebrity skincare really worth splurging on? We put the A-list brands to the test…
SELF-CARE TREAT AT SUPERMODEL PRICES
Cosmoss by Kate Moss (from £20, cosmossbykatemoss.com)
Cosmoss by Kate Moss (from £20, cosmossbykatemoss.com). This range prides itself on being ‘uncomplicated skincare’ with six products forming a dawn-to-dusk wellness routine
The range: This range prides itself on being ‘uncomplicated skincare’ with six products forming a dawn-to-dusk wellness routine — energising Dawn Tea (£20 for 20 tea bags), Sacred Mist (£120), calming Dusk Tea (£20), Golden Nectar CBD & Pro-Collagen Oil (£105), a Face Cream (£95) and Face Cleanser (£52).
The credentials: Key ingredients are CBD (cannabidiol) in the oil for balance, while the cream and cleanser contain bakuchiol (a retinol-like plant extract) for rejuvenation and an Icelandic moss which, the packaging boldly claims, is an ‘effective anti-ageing moisturiser’ that can ‘rejuvenate the skin by 20 years in our weeks’.
The products: I tried the Dawn tea — a punchy but rather sour start to the day with tangy hibiscus and rosemary.
I got on better with the cleanser, a recyclable tube of thick, nourishing cream smelling of rose musk, which was surprisingly effective at removing eye make-up.
The collection reminds you to take care of yourself in small ways, with sensorial treats and proven natural ingredients, but the prices seem rather steep.
Verdict: Beautifully barmy.
STELLA’S CLEAN, GREEN, LEAN REGIME
Stella By Stella McCartney (from £38, stellamccartneybeauty.com)
Stella By Stella McCartney (from £38, stellamccartneybeauty.com). The responsibly sourced, natural ingredients come in reusable, recycled glass jars with refill pouches tucked inside
The range: It features just three products — a serum, cleanser and moisturiser. The responsibly sourced, natural ingredients come in reusable, recycled glass jars with refill pouches tucked inside.
The credentials: The range’s fragrance — a mix of clove leaf, pine and eucalyptus — was created by cult nose Francis Kurkdjian. The emphasis is on bringing skin back into balance rather than nuking wrinkles. But you can layer your favourite exfoliators and retinols into this clean regime of concentrated, go-further products.
The products: The Alter-Care Serum, £110 (£90 for a refill), is a hero product; a hydrating, milky lotion that goes on your face, neck and around your eyes alone, or underneath moisturiser. It comes in a 50ml container, which feels like a better investment than the standard 30ml pots.
Verdict: For clean queens with deep pockets.
SHARING THE LOVE: THE COUPLES’ RANGE
S’Able Labs (from £28, uk.sablelabs.co)
The range: From actor Idris Elba and his model-actress wife Sabrina comes this genderless skincare range modelled by couples including the Elbas (S’Able, if you hadn’t guessed, is Elba’s backwards). There are three products — a hybrid serum/toner, a moisturiser and an exfoliating cleanser to brighten and tackle pigmentation.
The credentials: The range is laden with proven actives, such as tranexamic acid to reduce hyperpigmentation, skin barrierbuilding niacinamide, and the power antioxidant and brightening combination of vitamin C and ferulic acid.
The products: All are impressive, hard-working and decent value, especially the Qasil Cleanser, £28, which left my skin bright and bouncy and with a gorgeous earthy smell.
Verdict: Sharing is caring — simple and effective.
NATURAL PRODUCTS ON A BUDGET
Honest Beauty (from £16, boots.com)
The range: Actress Jessica Alba’s skincare range is part of her global megabrand Honest, and offers everything from retinol to eye creams, vitamin C serums and clay masks, mostly under £30.
The credentials: The products are gently effective and free from a ‘no’ list of supposedly ‘controversial ingredients’, such as parabens and mineral oil.
The products: The Hydrogel Cream (£25) is a personal favourite of mine, a day or night formula that starts as a rich cream but magically turns watery as you rub it in, adding deep hydration without feeling oily. It’s loved by beauty editors for its excellent skin-quenching ability.
Verdict: Beauty that’s bang on the money.
POSH’S IMPRESSIVE PLUMPING PRIMER
Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader (from £58, victoriabeckhambeauty.com)
Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader (from £58, victoriabeckhambeauty.com). There are two skincare products in the range
The range: There are two skincare products: Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer, which starts at £58 for a 15ml bottle, and Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum, £105 for 15ml.
The credentials: Victoria scored a coup linking with stem cell expert Professor Augustinus Bader. His patented Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8) skin regenerator has earned him global acclaim. It’s in both products.
The products: I tried the Golden version of the moisturiser, which gives skin a wash of bronze and contains papaya enzymes to brighten, plus ingredients for plumping and firming.
As a primer, it gives ‘grip’ to your make-up and the bronze pigments perked up my midlife skin. Poundfor-pound it’s ‘cheaper’ than Bader’s — his The Cream is £215 for 50ml, while Posh’s moisturiser is ‘only’ £140 for 50ml.
Verdict: Impressive and good under make-up.
SIMPLE SERUMS FOR ALL AGES
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rose Inc (from £24.50, spacenk.com)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Rose Inc (from £24.50, spacenk.com). The uncomplicated skincare collection includes two face serums, an eye cream, a gel moisturiser, a cleanser and toner
The range: Model Rosie’s uncomplicated skincare collection includes two face serums, an eye cream, a gel moisturiser, a cleanser and toner.
The credentials: The products aren’t rammed full of active ingredients — apart from the Skin Resolution Clarifying Toner (£24.50), which contains salicylic acid to unclog pores and niacinamide to minimise oiliness and redness.
The products: This is lightweight skincare for all ages. My teenage daughter, who’s spot-prone like Rosie, liked the gel moisturiser. My drier skin preferred the Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum. At £53 it’s most expensive item, but the minerals gave my dull complexion an instant radiance.
Verdict: Balancing and glow-giving.