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The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Not Everything Needs to Be a Ponytail

From Paris, with anxiety.
Mac Cosmetics
MAC’s new MACximal Silky matte lipstick debuted globally on March 1, and includes 40 shades. (Mac Cosmetics)

Welcome back to Haul of Fame, the weekly beauty roundup of new products, new ideas and a rare reason to ignore the runways.

Included in today’s issue: Ashley Tisdale, Augustinus Bader, Batiste, Benefit Cosmetics, Bread, Byredo, Cay Skin, Charlotte Tilbury, Fable & Mane, Glazed, Gucci Westman, Hard Candy, Kristin Ess, La Mer, Lisa Eldridge, Mac Cosmetics, Make Beauty, Monday Haircare, Naked Sundays, Odele, Peach & Lily, RMS, Seaweed Bath Co., Snif, Sofia Richie Grainge, Sugarlash, Versed and cookies.

But first…

I just saw the new John Galliano documentary, High and Low, out March 8. It’s got some blunt-force footage of the designer imploding, along with imagery — some known, some not — of his most transcendent runway shows, with moments so sopped in beauty that you don’t even know where to look. The gorgeousness just splats off of every model; it almost feels like a waste of magic.


When I chatted with the director, Kevin Macdonald, he wondered why fashion always had to have a darkness to it. “Doesn’t everything beautiful have to be a little bit scary?” I asked back. After all, once something is deemed “beautiful,” it has a deeper power, and anything powerful can command some kind of control.

That idea of control — who has it, who wants more — has been spinning through my mind this Fashion Month. It seems every show has bound up the hair like it’s a pile of iPhone cords they’re trying to stash in a drawer. Balmain and Saint Laurent and Fforme showcased tight little hats that suctioned hair to the skull; Dior, Tory Burch and Gucci just slicked the hair back with a plasticine sheen. Faces have been mostly bare with hardened, strictly-shaped eyebrows; occasionally we get a monochrome slash of lipstick that plays off the colour story of the clothes (hello, Dries Van Noten!) but for the most part, the beauty looks on the catwalks are super-tight and over-disciplined. That’s why they’re looking a little scary: There’s too much control in the design, and paradoxically, that control is robbing the beauty of its power.

I think that’s why everyone’s talking — at least in the fashion girl group chats — about the Undercover show that took place on Feb. 28. The clothes by designer Jun Takahashi were great. The beauty, likewise, felt like an easy exhale. Girls had their hair down, a little in their face. There was mascara, pink lip balm, eyeglasses and nobody needed a five-second “aesthetic” because they all had a soul and a damn cool pair of pants. In a very real sense, it was the exact opposite of Pat McGrath’s recent masterwork for John Galliano’s Margiela couture show. The skin was not a luminous mask that could be peeled off like a butterfly sac; the models could not be severed from their onstage characters like an Oscar winner off-duty. Everyone retained their own eyebrows. At Undercover, an embrace of wrinkled brows and windy frizz was a part of a woman’s social clout. In doing so, it made beauty a natural force instead of a sales pitch. Ironically, that often sells more products.

What Else Is New?


Seaweed Bath Co. is launching five suncare products this March, including a sheer face serum, an “invisible” mineral sunscreen with reportedly no white cast, a jelly scrub and a serum stick for easy application. The line will roll out at Whole Foods, which is a very smart place for an SPF line that contains microalgae and seaweed extracts, but costs far less than an Erewhon haul. (Each product is $19 to $30.) If you’d rather pick up your beach-inspired sunscreen at Target, Naked Sundays launched on Feb. 26 with two products: its CabanaClear Water Gel Serum SPF 50 and Cabana Crème Hydrating Sunscreen Moisturiser SPF 50. And for the Sephora crowd, Winnie Harlow’s line Cay Skin debuted its Mo’Bay mineral sunscreen drops on Feb. 27.

Peach & Lily introduced its Super Oasis Concentrated Serum and Ultra Plush Rich Cream on Feb. 22. They used TikTok Shop to do it, which is very interesting since so much of their visual messaging involves people with visible wrinkles and grey hair. Not quite TikTok’s core demo, but cool!

La Mer’s new Moisturising Fresh Cream hit Bergdorf Goodman on Feb. 23; it’s formulated with a lighter texture for oilier skin, though it still claims the firming and youth-boosting benefits of the original formula. (Are we still using OG La Mer on sunburns, by the way, or was that just a naughty aughties thing?)

There was a time I could not escape Versed on Instagram; its ads for retinoid eye balm followed my every “like.” Apparently, I wasn’t the only one; Versed claims it now sells one of its core retinol products every minute. On Feb. 27, the brand launched Press Restart, a retinol body butter with “texture reforming” benefits. If those deliverables are real, they will not need ads on Instagram, because everyone will be talking about it.

Makeup line Make Beauty dropped a Subversive plumping peptide serum on Feb. 27. I’m not sure what’s subversive about wanting plumper, smoother and more elastic skin, but I do love the metallic blue bottle they’re using.


Everyone, welcome RMS to the skincare category! They’re debuting three new products, including a Kakadu beauty oil, Kakadu luxe cream and a Super Serum hydrating mist.

Charlotte Tilbury’s new Magic Hydration Revival Cleanser launched on Feb. 29; it “keeps skin 2x more hydrated for up to 24 hours [and] reduces the look of pores,” which seems clutch when you’re aiming for Tilbury’s famous “flawless” aesthetic.

Hair Care

Target wants to be your one stop shop for hair. Kristin Ess launched her Softening Collection there on Feb. 25. It’s meant to help tame “rough, dry, or over-processed hair,” though it still maintains the $13 price point for shampoo and conditioner. (Its hair mask and oil are a little more, but nothing is over $20.) Just down the aisle, Odele dropped its Scalp + Body Scrub and Cream Pomade on Feb. 25, too. The formula includes oak moss, as in the green stuff that forms crusts on forest bark. I feel like this should ensure fairy princess hair, since they’re scraping this ingredient off their homeland, but will report back. And for the trifecta, Glaze introduced their Super hair glosses on Feb. 26. Guess we’re gonna need a bigger Target cart.

On Feb. 22, Augustinus Bader introduced The Rich Shampoo & The Rich Conditioner, which is “clinically-proven to restore dry or damaged strands” while boosting hair shine by 81 percent. I’d normally think those claims are very lofty, but AB results are no joke, which might be why the duo’s price point is astronomical. The new hair duo retails for $60 each.

Also on Feb. 22, Bread launched its new hair foam, a weightless mousse meant for touchable, moveable style. A day later, R + Co dropped its Chainmail thermal styling spray, which locks down the efforts of flat irons and blow dryers for longer, healthier hold.

Monday Haircare released seven new formulas on Feb. 27, including a curl shampoo and conditioner, leave-in conditioner and body wash. Everything is under $10.

Olympic gold medalist Sunni Lee is the new face of Batiste; her partnership comes with the launch of two new products: a sweat-activated and a touch-activated dry shampoo.

Feb. 27 brought Sexy Hair’s new blowout spray and cream to New York. I have tested it and can confirm, it kept my blowout very smooth during this week’s rainstorm.


Prefer more va-voom? Fable & Mane’s new Moisturising Volume Spray debuted on March 1; it uses wheat starch and rice extracts to thicken strands.


Cat Eyes never die. On March 1, Sugarlash Society launched a Cat Eye Starter Kit, which includes individual tufts of lashes meant to recreate the fluffy Priscilla Presley effect.

Then on Feb. 22, Lisa Eldridge debuted a Kitten Lash mascara and Kitten Flick eyeliner, which “glides over liquid and powder shadows” to create a very defined fine line. It’s very cool that Eldridge can promote her own products while being the global creative director of Lancome; I’d kill to see the clauses in those non-compete contracts. But when you’re as talented (and nice!) as Eldridge, smart companies will do anything to keep you on board.

To frame those eyes, Benefit Cosmetics released their Precisely, My Brow Full-Pigment Sculpting Brow Wax at Ulta Beauty on Feb. 26. Their range of shades is astonishing — 12 in all, including grey, which is great.

On Feb. 27, Westman Atelier introduced its Lip Suede Matte franchise, a ten-shade array that’s the brand’s first “true” lipstick. Going with the velvet-finish trend, MAC’s new MACximal Silky matte lipstick debuted globally on March 1, and includes 40 shades. The formula can be used as a true matte lip coat, or to “casually stain” lips if you’re using deeper colours.

Hard Candy has teamed up with Girl Scouts of America on a line of makeup inspired by Thin Mints and Trefoil cookies. The partnership has a fair amount of nostalgia, and I can see current tween Girl Scouts being psyched on it, too. But here’s something fun: The brand’s formulas are becoming an underground hit with cool adults because the colour pay off is so legit. I spotted model Lauren Chan wearing the pale blue eyeshadow during Fashion Month and it stayed put, even through the Prada party!


Snif is taking some of its signature scents and applying them to its first-ever laundry line. On Feb. 23, it debuted a detergent and a “scent booster” based on their popular fragrance, Sweet Ash. Also in Snif land — its newest perfume is called Vanilla Vice, and since Tom Ford recently dropped Vanilla Sex and Boy Smells introduced their Vanilla Era candle at Sephora this week, I must ask: Are we all really excited to smell like cake frosting again? Or is this best left to eighth grade dances?

Speaking of eighth grade, everyone’s tween idol Ashley Tisdale is now grown up and running a personal care company called Being Frensche. On Feb. 27, she introduced her first eau de parfum, Palo Santo Sage, for $29.99.

Happy Anniversary, Mojave Ghost! The Byredo fragrance, which definitely does not smell like vanilla, is ten years old. On March 1, the brand celebrated with a new campaign starring Amelia Grey Hamlin and shot by Harley Weir.

And Finally ...

The author Colleen Hoover now has a manicure line with Olive & June. Fans have some thoughts. Actually, “Did they read her book?” seems to be the main question.

In This Article

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