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Why Seemingly Every Male Celebrity Suddenly Has a Beauty Line

Evan Mock, Harry Styles, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and many more famous men are banking on the blurring gender binary, or simply the novelty factor, to propel their brands to the top of a crowded market.
Evan Mock is the latest male celebrity to venture into beauty.
Evan Mock unveils Good Weird.

When Evan Mock seeded his new brand, Good Weird, to friends, the actor, skater and Calvin Klein ambassador included smooth silver tubes of bronzer and under-eye gel, plus a tiny toy skateboard.

“It’s a reminder to have a good time,” said Good Weird co-founder Jonathan Wormser. “You never know, that skater you like could be rocking some beauty products. Any dude could.”

While Good Weird is the newest brand centred on a gorgeous male celebrity, they’re certainly not the first. As the men’s skincare market hit $13 billion in 2022, famous faces vied for a spot on the playing field, with celebrity plays by Harry Styles (Pleasing) and Machine Gun Kelly (UN/DN) in the cosmetics realm and a bevvy of others in the serum-and-cream game: Pharrell (Humanrace), Jared Leto (Twentynine Palms), John Legend (Loved01), Idris Elba (S’able Labs) and Brad Pitt (Le Domaine).

By blurring boundaries while blurring pores, the men’s celebrity beauty category merges three growing sectors: the boldface beauty market, the DTC skincare boom and the expansion of men’s lifestyle products well beyond shaving lotion and SPF.

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“The binaries between female-oriented beauty versus male-oriented beauty are increasingly eroding,” said Larry Milstein, co-founder of youth culture consultancy firm PRZM. “There’s an opportunity for brands with a wider sense of gender identity to break through, not just with Gen Z — though they’re taking the lead — but also with Millennials and Gen X.”

No male star-fronted beauty line has found the runaway success of Rihanna (Fenty Beauty) and Selena Gomez (Rare Beauty), or even smaller by widely distributed lines from Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Scarlett Johansson.

For male celebrities, the beauty category is still wide open. And while Hollywood hype has created considerable scepticism and fatigue around some actresses’ product launches, along with grumbles and memes from beauty watchdog accounts like Estée Laundry and Trend Mood, famous men still have the advantage of newness on their (very well-moisturized) side.

Skin in the Game

For those who master the one-two punch of quality marketing and quality product, personal care can be a very lucrative enterprise. (Just last week, L’Oreal pledged to buy Aesop, whose cleansers and lotions are favoured by male stars like singer Troye Sivan and Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, for $2.5 billion.)

“Celebrities already have the ability to generate a large amount of excitement in a short amount of time, so when they create a skincare brand, it already has a large component of creators and media activating around the business, which can go a long way, at least at first,” said Milstein.

That’s why when Brad Pitt launched his Le Domaine skincare line — which features a $352 serum and $242 cream infused with grapevine extracts from renowned French vineyards — he secured an unsurprising rush of press coverage, including a Good Morning America segment and a Vogue feature, along with tacit approval from celebrities like Kate Hudson, who wore the line’s serum on her “Glass Onion” press tour. Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams mobilised his communities on Instagram (14.5 million followers) and TikTok (1.1 million followers, with 7.2 million likes), at the launch of Humanrace, the skincare line that sold out of its “Three Minute Facial” routine on the same day it debuted in November of 2020. (It is back in stock today, and retails for $110.)

The fact that Humanrace was co-founded with his personal dermatologist, Dr. Elena Jones, added credibility, said Sean Thielen, the 28-year-old co-founder of Koji, which links lifestyle creators with e-commerce opportunities.

“For men, it still feels super-intimate to talk about personal care routines,” he said. “When there’s that boost of real science and real expertise, it makes men much more willing to click the link, if not to buy, then at least to keep exploring.”

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It remains to be seen whether that exploration will lead to brand longevity. When Jared Leto launched his prestige skincare brand Twentynine Palms in October 2022, he garnered acclaim from industry press and fans. Today, the brand’s Instagram has been dormant for over a month, and products are currently not available for sale on their site. Requests to the brand were not answered at the time of publication, though two products remain available on Goop.

The Color Story

Colour cosmetics for men is a much smaller space, though that hasn’t stopped celebrities from pioneering the category. When it comes to digital domination, nothing can yet touch Pleasing, the joyful, deliberate collection of lacquers, pigments, and potions (including a gold-shimmer eye serum pen) from Harry Styles. At the start of 2023, the brand clocked $61.3 million in Media Impact Value per Launchmetrics, with dedicated fans collecting products the way Carmen Sandiego collects passport stamps.

“A line like Pleasing has a double advantage because Harry Styles is so beloved, and because for male celebrities, they have an advantage right now in the beauty market in that it’s still under-saturated for them,” said Euromonitor research analyst Olivia Stelmasczyk, “It’s not another actress with a beauty line geared to just young women. It’s something newer.”

Thanks to that combination of novelty and notoriety, Machine Gun Kelly’s nail lacquer line UN/DN continues to make gains in the nail care space by partnering with male style icons; in summer, NBA star Jalen Green’s upcoming collaboration will go live. UN/DN CEO Candy Harris credits UN/DN’s appeal to the new ways people think about gender.

“Masculinity is becoming more of a spectrum, for the better,” she said. “Beauty products are also going beyond the beauty aisle and into venues for music, art, sports … For someone like [Machine Gun Kelly], it’s like nails are a springboard or a gateway to many, many other future products.”

Pleasing and UN/DN are relying on high-pigment hotness to draw men in; Good Weird, meanwhile, wants to make “no-makeup makeup” a thing for all genders, but definitely for dudes.

“The foundation of Good Weird’s mission is that beauty is for everyone,” said Mock from Los Angeles.

Chief executive officer Stephen Yaseen said the brand was not necessarily for makeup enthusiasts, but for “people who were makeup-curious.”

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To that end, Good Weird’s two tinted skin balms also include shea butter and squalane oil for moisturising; their bronzer contains sunflower extract as a skin-smoothing agent.

Mock added, “Everything is very functional and approachable, so friends of mine that are not as familiar with the beauty space find it fun and non-intimidating to get into.”

Market analysts think it’s a good move. Stelmasczyk noted that TikTok’s “For You” page can pick up the hybrid products as both skincare or makeup, driving a boost in awareness for younger men.

“They’re not seeking out makeup,” she explained. “It just happens organically on their account—and therefore, it feels more natural and accepted.”

The Brotherhood of Future Beauty

For those looking to bet on the future of famous men making face creams, Milstein said their greatest strength could also be their biggest weakness. “Beauty is one space where we’ve seen such a saturation of celebrity,” he explained. “What’s interesting about Gen Z is, as a whole, the peer-to-peer kind of weight is so much bigger than the idolisation of one person.”

At the same time, thanks to social media and interconnected fan bases, people often think of celebrities as their peers, or at least their group project leaders bringing scores of like-minded people together.

“The most successful celebrities in the female beauty space, like Selena Gomez, certainly position themselves as a peer,” said Euromonitor research analyst Julia Yang. “Highly choreographed videos don’t work like a simple ‘get ready with me’ TikTok can.”

The men’s brands of tomorrow will lean into the emotion of that secondhand connection, whether it’s in person or online. But that growth, especially in the realm of male celebrity, isn’t happening overnight.

“Is it commonplace in the market for men to shop in the beauty space?” Yang asked. “Not yet.”

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Editor’s Note: This article was amended on April. 10, 2023, to amend Jonathan Wormser’s last name.

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