Is Beauty Influencer Brands Leaving Fashion?

Is Beauty Influencer Brands Leaving Fashion?

Are beauty-influencers losing their power? Many creators, after years of creating content that felt more human than the glitzy celebrity campaigns, have started their own brands to monetize their fan base. There are some signs of a change.

Sephora will not be selling Selfless by Hyram, an influencer-founded skin care brand in collaboration with The Inkey List and Item Beauty (a makeup brand created by TikTokerAddison Rae), effective immediately. Although Item Beauty is still available on Sephora’s ecommerce site at reduced prices, Selfless by Hyram cannot be bought online through the LVMH-owned specialist retailer in beauty.

Morphe in Los Angeles, a makeup company once valued at $2B, has shut down its US physical stores. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Forma Brands was the parent company of Morphe. This week, Forma entered into an agreement with a group secured lenders to acquire it.

Yarbro claims Selfless will not be closing down and that the brand intends to grow and announce new partners. Sephora was chosen as its exclusive retailer partner by the brand in June 2021, following Yarbro’s successful skin-care vlogger career with 4.56 million subscribers on YouTube and TikTok’s 6.1 million. Selfless claims its products are gentle and non-irritating, with lower levels of chemicals than other brands. Selfless also promotes social consciousness by forming partnerships with nonprofits like Rainforest Trust or Thirst Project.

Yarbro stated in an email that the priority is to keep the product line accessible and continue its mission for social change. Sephora is closing down Selfless by Hyram products due to retail changes and direction shifts. Sephora has been a great partner and we owe a lot of our success to their support, including the Sephora corporate team and beauty advisors. Sephora did not comment.

Comparison of millennial beauty to TikTok beautify

You’ll notice that most beauty products use a sans serif font, have kitschy names, and a vibrant millennial pink palette if you scroll through Instagram. TikTok’s most popular products, however, are affordable, easily accessible and not exactly adorable. Are we seeing the end of shelfie?

Item Beauty is, however, suspending all operations. Rae (TikTok’s star) launched the brand in August 2020. The platform currently has 88.9 millions followers. Item claims it is a “clean beauty brand with lush ingredients,” which helps consumers attain a “natural look.” It launched in August 2020, and was available for purchase via an online site. In August 2021, the brand entered an exclusive partnership agreement with Sephora. Sephora launched the brand, allowing fans to see it in person. This was also one of Sephora’s most Gen Z-focused and influencer-led brands.

Rae posted the following on her Instagram Stories: Rae said, “As many of you know Item Beauty will end its exclusivity and Sephora will take a break while I reimagined my journey in Beauty to ensure it reflects who I’m today.” She also shared a code for a 40% discount on Item Beauty products. When contacted by, she declined to respond further.Vogue Business.

James Charles hosts a Morphe Event in 2018.

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

After TikTok users claimed that they received inventory discounts and closure notices in the last minute, rumors began to circulate about possible Morphe store closings.

Morphe was founded in 2008. It partnered with influential people to offer their fans discount codes that they could use to buy a particular item at a lower price. Morphe began to form deeper relationships with influential influencers like Jeffree Star or James Charles. These would promote products online and make appearances in person that attracted so many people that American malls had to close. According to Bloomberg’s December 2021 presentation, revenues topped $400 million in 2019. After Star was accused by racism and harassment in 2020, and Charles was involved in claims of sexual misconduct in 2021, Morphe cut all ties to both.

Star responded to Star via YouTube. The video is titled “Doing what’s right” and he talks about how important it was for his brand to be inclusive. Charles also replied via YouTube in “Doing What’s Right” where he reflected on his behavior and apologized.

Forma Brands explains that the priority is now to concentrate on e-commerce, wholesale and other forms of e-commerce.Vogue Business. Morphe stores in the USA will continue to be open. Forma spokesperson: “We think this shift will position Morphe in the wider beauty landscape and better reach our customers wherever and whenever they shop.”

It is not enough to have a large fan base.

These changes point to an industry which has for many years been influenced by influential people.

Yarbro said that influencers can turn followers’ feedback into products tailored to emerging trends because of the intimate relationship they have with them.Vogue Business Klarna Beauty Forum September 2021. He said, “I was able take all of the concerns and requests and everything that I saw in my community as well as what people needed but could not find within the industry.” He said, “Which I believe is the strength of influencer brand–is their ability to take what they see online and make products that truly reflect that discourse.”

The market is becoming saturated as many influencer-founded businesses have exploded in the last few years. Michelle Phan, YouTuber with more than 8.74 millions subscribers, runs Em Cosmetics. This multimillion-dollar beauty company was launched by L’Oreal for the first time in 2013. Tina Craig and Marianna Shewitt have created premium beauty brands U Beauty, Summer Fridays and Ouai. Brad Pitt, Kate Moss and Jared Leto have all launched their own makeup and skin care brands. There is also a new breed of TikTok-born beauty brand, Youthforia and Refy. It is partly due to the low entry cost: anyone can create a website. Many celebrities and influencers already have the connections necessary to establish a brand.

Anna Vale is a global consultant in beauty and communication and a adviser. “The latest news shows that having large fan bases isn’t sufficient,” she says. The public is becoming more cautious about misinformation and sponcon as well as questionable marketing tactics. Kantar Worldpanel’s strategic insight director Maya Zawislak agrees. She has questioned some celebrity and social media influencers about their launch of beauty brands, despite not indicating an interest in this category. Consumers are getting more educated and spending time researching products to ensure they’re accurate before purchasing.

Callout culture and celebrity betting has made them more risky, according to Olivia Tong (managing director equity research), who specializes in personal care and beauty for Raymond James. She says that the internet allows everyone to know everything so even if they do something wrong it can be corrected. Morphe, their top stars and other key figures were affected by this. “They were growing too quickly and then the world changed and consumers’ expectations changed. The result is that brands can become too tied to creators.

Tong states that there have been “a few success stories” not tied to any one person. The average person doesn’t associate with a person. [those brands].”

Cosmoprof 2018: Jeffree Star takes photos of herselfGetty Images

More influencers will be able to start their own businesses as the creator economy develops. Tong says that the problem is keeping their relevance while growing up. “The beauty industry loves newness so there will always be rotation about who is next It influencer. A portion of the market will continue to gravitate towards influencer brands. People don’t enjoy the same things they like when they are 15”, she says.

The challenge for existing influencer brands is growing their business amid stiff competition and high interest rates. Kantar’s Zawislak says that larger beauty conglomerates have greater brand recognition and higher budgets in a time of rising costs. According to Kantar’s 2022 data, around half of all women worldwide purchase skin products because they are familiar with the brand. This is especially true during financial uncertainties.

Influencer-led beauty brands are facing a steep climb, both new and old. Tong says that it will be more difficult to fund these brands and get them to expand beyond the first tranche of funding.

This is the story Original version: Vogue Business. For the Vogue Business newsletter, Register here.

Learn more from this author

Star Power, major deals, and new retail models: The Year of Beauty

The Growing Backlash against Celebrity Skin Care Brands

Dig Influencer Trust Issue – And the Beauty Brands That Are Trying To Save It

Continue reading