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Exclusive: Halsey Launches a Second Beauty Brand

The new line, called AF94, launches at Walmart this month and targets Gen-Z with products priced at $10 and under.
Halsey launched her first beauty brand, About-Face, in early 2021.
Halsey launched their first beauty brand, About-Face, in early 2021. (Courtesy AF94)

The celebrity beauty brand space is more crowded than ever — but Halsey believes there’s room for one more label.

On July 25, the musician — whose off-stage name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane — is debuting their second beauty brand, AF94, which will sell at Walmart, the brand’s exclusive retail partner, as well as on its own website.

AF94 will be a diffusion line of About-Face, Halsey’s first brand, which launched in January 2021. AF94 products include face stickers, cream blush sticks, volume mascara, eyeshadow crayons and biodegradable makeup remover wipes, all for $10 or under.

Halsey is launching this venture with full knowledge of how packed the celebrity beauty space is. They have seen the fierce competition About-Face is up against: In June, the brand slashed its prices in order to differentiate.

“The customer is fatigued and I don’t blame them,” Halsey told BoF. “The celebrity beauty brand market is entirely oversaturated.”

Still, they believes beauty shoppers are still looking to explore new labels. The 27-year-old musician, who hit it big with songs like “Bad at Love” and “Without Me” before finding global audiences by working with BTS and the Chainsmokers, recently developed a younger audience after taking a role in the animated film “Sing 2.” They believe their younger fans are especially interested in experimenting with products that come at a lower price point.

Halsey referred to About-Face as “artistry makeup,” and said AF94 is meant for more entry-level shoppers. (The two brands were developed and are operated by the same team, which includes Jeanne Chavez and Dineh Mohajer, the co-founders of 1990s beauty favourite Hard Candy.) The new line is rooted in the “beige-y, brown, mahogany grunge world,” although it includes colourful items like hot pink lip gloss and teal gel eyeliner — a nod to the neon trend that’s dominating beauty right now.

AF94 was developed with Gen-Z in mind, and takes inspiration from late 90s and Y2K beauty. Pop culture moments that served as inspiration include “the glitter nail polish from the poker scene in ‘The Parent Trap’ and the turquoise from the [cover] of Gwen Stefani’s Tragic Kingdom for No Doubt,” they added.

While beauty consumers have plenty of options for mauve eyeshadows and pink lip glosses, Halsey said the About-Face team developed AF94 to be fun and accessible, making some products multi-use, like the label’s cheek stick, which doubles as a lipstick.

Walmart is betting the label will take off with young shoppers, said vice president of beauty merchandising Creighton Kiper. The company is rolling out special AF94-branded shelving units for its beauty aisle, and will also place promotional signage in other parts of its stores.

“The reality is, a sea of products exist, but… Halsey has a really strong connection with our customer base, and she’s also really hands on,” said Kiper. “The customer has an insatiable appetite for new, better-quality product all the time, so [we’re] presenting this for [them] to experiment.”

Halsey said that positioning About-Face as direct-to-consumer made them realise the limits of the model, so with AF94, they pushed their team to work with Walmart. It’s a shifting attitude that’s appearing all across retail, where even the most popular DTC brands are now experimenting with wholesale. In beauty, many labels are gunning for partnerships with the likes of Walmart, Target or Ulta.

“I’m finishing a tour in the US right now, playing in Arkansas, Alabama… and seeing my fans dress to the nines, wearing crazy makeup, and I want to give them products where they can walk into a store and get,” they said.

In the last few months, the celebrity beauty space has seen an influx of newcomers, with Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson all launching new lines. Halsey, who famously does their own makeup for album cover shoots and red carpet events, said their track record for knowing beauty sets them apart and they intend to show their millions of followers on social media how to use AF94 products.

“I can show people how I use the products, mix the colours, and how they inspire me … we’re not just using my face as a form of advertising,” they said. “It’s not ‘Look at this makeup someone else did.’ They can look at me as an artist and the way I actually engage with the products.”

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