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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Through product lines and sponsorships, social media influencers and celebrities are taking over the skincare industry

Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez and countless others have established themselves in the multibillion dollar industry, setting standards for beauty as they go

Have you ever wondered how your favorite celebrities and social media stars seem to look younger as they age? Some say it’s simply makeup or a healthy lifestyle while others credit their talented plastic surgeons and dermatologists.

Either way, there is no denying that skincare has become a universal commodity. No matter the age, at some point in our lives we have all used a lotion, sunscreen or face wash—and the most adept skincare enthusiasts have their very own 10-step process.  

A study by Statista found that 52% of Americans use skincare products daily, with 62% of U.S. consumers using anti-aging products.

The skin care products market is predicted to be worth $183.03 billion by 2025 with an increasingly high demand for natural, herbal and organic products. 

Not only that, but as of 2020, the U.S. skincare market is valued at $39.2 billion. It is safe to say, regardless of how many products we use or how much we spend on them, the skincare industry has become a staple in American culture. 

So it comes to no surprise that an ultra-wealthy celebrity like Kylie Jenner, the infamous self-made billionaire, was one of the first big celebrities to jump into the skincare game with Kylie Skin—a simplistic skin care line with products ranging from a foaming face wash to a sunscreen oil. Her most affordable skincare product is only $15 and her most expensive product is $36. Her skincare line has garnered both positive and negative reviews but was described as “pleasant and easy to use” in Harper’s Bazaar with a one-size-fits-all approach. 

In 2019, Jenner sold the majority share of both Kylie Skin and Kylie Cosmetics to Coty, an American multinational beauty giant which owns CoverGirl, Rimmel and Sally Hansen, for $600 million, solidifying her name in the skincare industry. Yet, many of Jenner’s products are not geared towards anti-aging or reversing the proverbial clock. 

Lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet develop naturally as by-products of sun exposure, age and the frequent use of facial muscle that create grooves within our skin for the lines to develop. There is nothing wrong with attempting to stall the caress of time on our faces. 

But there is a potential issue when celebrities try to profit off these insecurities by selling skincare lines and products that are marketed as the “reason” for their youthful appearances. It’s almost become an accessory to their fame. 

One such powerful and affluent celebrity is Jennifer Lopez who says it’s olive oil, good genes, hydration and sunscreen that keeps her looking so young at 51. It makes one wonder if somehow the fountain of youth runs throughout the filtered water of Los Angeles?

In an interview with ELLE Magazine back in December of 2020, Lopez denied ever having gotten fillers or even botox to maintain her looks. 

In addition, when she announced her JLO Beauty brand on Instagram many of her fans were quick to accuse her of using cosmetic procedures to maintain her looks in the comments, to which she responded with, “LOL that’s just my face!!! ….For the 500 millionth time… I have never done Botox or any injectable or surgery!! Just sayin’ 😊.”

Yet, many supporters and fans have been left confused by this claim as these mundane, every-day things cannot be the only the secret behind her “JLO-Glow” (which is something fans can now buy for an easy $118) that keeps her looking like she is in her 30s rather than her 50s. JLO Beauty product prices range from $38 to a whopping $176, with olive oil touted as the “miracle ingredient.” 

Even prominent dermatologists and plastic surgeons took to social media to denounce Lopez’s claims. Medically-trained skin experts were also skeptical about how only good skincare practices, a healthy diet and exercise, olive oil and sunscreen afforded Lopez her famous glow. 

In addition to celebrities promoting their own skincare lines, social media stars have been part of the skin care sponsorship game as well. A prime example are the sponsored posts for Curology, the dermatologist-founded, no-appointment-needed prescription skincare company geared towards Gen-Zers. Curology offers personalized skin care products for acne-related skin issues with a business model that offers one-on-one virtual consultations, without ever having to leave your house or pay the exorbitant price of seeing a dermatologist in office. 

YouTube star Emma Chamberlain, with 9.86 million YouTube subscribers, and skincare influencer Hyram Yarbro, with 4.35 million YouTube subscribers, are a few of the most influential social media stars who have been sponsored by the skincare company. Millions of their young subscribers have been exposed to the company’s familiar YouTube ad that highlights “pay[ing] only $4.95 for shipping and handling” for a one-month supply of a custom skin care regiment. 

In many of these sponsored posts and videos, the social media stars often credit Curology for changing their skin or being a great option for people struggling with acne. Yet it is not usually disclosed if it was solely Curology that helped their skin or if they have used dermatologists and other skincare products as well.

There seems to be a lack of transparency in famous people’s endorsements of products—we don’t really know how much they like something, or how effective it really is. Celebrities and influencers typically neglect to mention other reasons they look the way they do, including world-renowned dermatologists, plastic surgeons, facialists, estheticians, personal trainers, nutritionists and private chefs.

 Not to mention, they often have easy access to the latest stuff, usually in the form of free public relations boxes. And if they aren’t sent products, they also have the financial means to afford supposedly “magic” creams. One such example is the Creme de la Mer which comes at the hefty price tag of $1290 for a measly 250 mL, and happens to be a fan favorite of incredibly famous celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian and Kate Moss, who have promoted it on their social media pages. 

This should remind regular consumers that it’s not just water, good genes or buying our favorite celebrities’ most promoted skincare brands that will help us look as young or as flawless as them. The rich have access to the best doctors, most luxurious skincare items and live lifestyles that allow them to look as good as they do. 

The skincare industry can feel inundated with so many opinions, celebrity influences and countless products to try. However, we have to remember that beauty is subjective, aging is natural and celebrities don’t actually have all the answers. Even if we slather ourselves with olive oil, drink gallons of water, cover every inch of our bodies with sunscreen and use all the celebrity skincare lines, aging simply does not stop, no matter how much celebrities make it look like it does. 
Written by: Muhammad Tariq — arts@theaggie.org

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