Style / Beauty & Wellness

The Most Profitable Beauty Brands Started by Musicians

The major success of musician-owned beauty brands is significantly driven by increased brand awareness, inclusive core values and authenticity to the individual.

Jun 17, 2024 | By Larissa Fay Wong
Photo: Fenty Beauty

With the rise of social media and celebrity culture in the last few years, it is unsurprising that musicians are expanding their reach beyond the recording studio and into the beauty and cosmetic world. The GBP 358.4 billion industry is growing rapidly, and more public figures are investigating ways to take advantage of its massive potential. Rocketed by these musicians’ stardom, these celebrity brands were massive successes despite big players in the competitive market like beauty giants L’Oréal and Estée Lauder. Along with celebrity business ventures, these individuals contribute their style, fanbase and life experiences to create a brand synonymous with their image and intended audience. From Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty to Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, LUXUO ranks the most profitable musician-owned beauty brands and explores the factors behind their success in an ultra-competitive market.

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Fenty Beauty by Rihanna (GBP 477.3 million)

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has been at the top of their game since their launch in 2017 and has grown exponentially ever since. She is now the most successful musician-turned-beauty entrepreneur and the most profitable celebrity beauty brand, earning a whopping GBP 477.3 million in revenue as reported by Upbeat Agency. While Rihanna is of music icon status, the reason for her success is primarily due to the brand’s core mission of “inclusion for all women and skin types”, taking on a different approach from many celebrity brands at the time by focusing on diversity and consumer needs rather than her star power. As probably one of the first beauty brands to release an extensive foundation shade range with over 40 shades, its target audience was all-encompassing and appealed to the mass audience. The focus was also on increasing brand awareness by empowering underrepresented target audiences like minority women with fewer options in the beauty world, instilling an excellent brand image and reputation.

Additionally, Fenty Beauty produces quality products that are highly accessible to potential consumers and reasonably priced. These are fundamental factors of a successful brand that drive sales and increase the likelihood of customer loyalty. Rihanna has since expanded the brand to include Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin, Fenty Fragrance, and most recently Fenty Hair.

r.e.m beauty by Ariana Grande (GBP 70.3 million)

r.e.m beauty was launched in 2021 by chart-topping popstar Ariana Grande, with its first launch debuting makeup staples like eyeliner, eyeshadow and lip products. The campaign stood steadfast to the star’s style, opting for a retrofuture-centric, dream-like and retro-inspired style, much like her “Sweetener” album from which the brand name originated. The brand is all about dreaming and limitless possibilities of one’s creativity, as well as an emphasis on being vegan and cruelty-free presented the star’s vision for the brand to encourage creativity, inclusivity and self-expression. Well-known for her makeup looks, Grande’s distinct aesthetic was used as a marketing tool to catch the attention of her millions of fans worldwide. Additionally, social media marketing in the forms of makeup tutorials and images on the brand account made clever use of Grande’s influence to increase brand awareness, which then translates to engagement, media attention and higher revenue.

The brand has since expanded to complexion products like foundation and concealer, following in Rihanna’s footsteps by launching an impressive 60-shade spectrum. This resulted in racking up more than a billion views of social media platforms and GPB 70.3 million in revenue in 2023, surpassing the profitability of Selena Gomez’s rare Beauty, as per Upbeat Agency’s report.

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Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez (GBP 60 Million)

Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty has been one of the most talked about beauty brands since its launch in 2020 with an impressive GBP 60 million in revenue in 2023 . The brands name was inspired by Gomez’s song “Rare” and its motto is “beauty for all”. The brands has always promoted the idea of breaking unrealistic beauty standards, empowerment and placed significant focus on the important of mental health and self-acceptance. The encouraging message is seen all throughout the brand, through packaging, product names and campaigns. Brand image and core values are strengthened through charitable work with 1% of Rare Beauty’s yearly revenue goes to the Rare Impact Fund, which aims to enhance mental health support in marginalised areas. Personal touches were incorporated to be more inclusive and unique, more specifically, Gomez’s experience weak hands from her experience with Lupus prompted her to design packaging that caters towards physically disabled individuals. This became her unique selling point which allowed the brand to fostering a more meaningful connections by empowering an underrepresented population. Gomez is typically at the forefront of the brand, to not only increase brand awareness through her massive following but also to promote the core values of the brand.

The brands marketing is also effective in driving sales through conveying the brand message of empowerment, inclusivity and empowerment through product names. Rare Beauty’s shade names like “Happy”, “Believe”, “Joy” portray a sense of positivity and confidence that comes with the product, presenting the brand as an entity that is uplifting and empowering. Social media has been a huge contributor to Rare Beauty’s increasing sales and positive brand image, resulting in numerous products reaching viral status. With the massive population of Selena Gomez fans and successful influencer-generated content, younger audiences frequent engagement on social media largely contributed to the success of the brand through a rise in brand awareness. While the products were of good quality and at a reasonable price point, positive brand messaging had set Rare Beauty apart from competitors, with frequent promotion on social media that portrayed the brand as a safe space for all to feel confident in. Parents are also more likely to purchase a Rare Beauty product for their child due to the empowering values they promote, thus appealing to all age ranges and an expanded audience. Furthermore, this strategy works effectively in driving sales as in this day and age, consumers place heavy importance on purchasing products that align with their values, opting for brands with more ethical reputations and prioritise inclusivity.

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Haus Labs by Lady Gaga (GBP 59 to 79 million)

Haus Labs by Lady Gaga has had major success through science-backed formulas and social media attention. The brand was launch in 2019 by music icon Lady Gaga and co-founder Ben Jones, themed around supercharged artistry and futuristic approach in science-backed formulas that are sustainably made. While not as available in as many locations as Fenty or Rare Beauty, Haus Labs made between GBP 59 to GBP 78 million pounds in estimated revenue in 2023 as reported by BeautyMatter. The success of the brand is mainly attributable to the authenticity of its founder, Lady Gaga, who has been a strong advocate for empowering underrepresented populations, inclusivity and the freedom to express one’s creativity.

Haus Labs regularly draws attention to their unique formulation processes that use proprietary HausTech Powered Innovation harmoniously merged science and skincare to create products that perform well as makeup and is good for skin health. The brand’s virality on social media platforms like TikTok are significant contributors to the massive sales of the brand’s viral best-selling foundations and overall success of the brand. While the star is typically seen at forefront of the brand’s social media, Haus Labs influencer collaborations were 50% made up of micro-influencers (10k-100k followers), 38% macro-influencers (100k to 1M) and 6% celebrities. The focus on smaller influencers gives the brand credibility, aligns with the inclusive values of the brand and provide more relatable reviews for the general public.

About-face by Halsey (GBP 16 to 24 million)

About-face was founded by musical artist Halsey and focuses on embracing the message of self-expression and individualism. Built to embrace multi-dimensional beings, About-face is all about the idea of breaking the mould, encouraging users to create art with the products. This is appropriately on brand for brand founder Halsey, who has been known to preach the importance of inclusivity and freedom for one to creatively express themselves as they wish. About-face’s portfolio of products feature foundations, lip products, eye liners, eyeshadow and most notably her line of blushes in a wide variety of shades. Packaged in what appears to be a futuristic theme with shimmering chromes and smooth silhouettes, the brand’s products are favourites within the experimental beauty community.

With the brand’s 2023 revenue amounting to about GBP 16 to 24 million, Halsey had found significant success despite being unavailable in countries outside the United States. This success could partly be attributed to her star power or increased credibility from multiple beauty awards won for the brand’s eye products. However, the brand has found a community of experimental beauty lovers that embrace the artistry that comes with makeup, making up most of their consumer base. Given that most beauty brands opt to sell more conventional shades, About-face set themselves apart by producing shades of different vibrant spectrums to cater to gap in the market and the demand for more colourful options in the beauty community.

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