Welcome to Haul of Fame, a roundup of the biggest beauty moments of the week, what they mean for the industry at large … and why we’re putting tofu in our hair. Yup, we are.
Included in today’s issue: Hannah Lux Davis, Petra Collins, Sofia Coppola, Lush, Scarlett Johansson, Colin Jost, The Outset, Nicole Richie, Tanologist and tramp stamp tattoos. But first…
I got an email this week that I can’t stop thinking about. It was hyping Charlotte Tilbury’s new-ish Magic Water Cream, which is 1) actually great 2) positioning itself as “the must-have celebrity beauty secret.” But the only “secret” celebrities keep about their beauty routines is plastic surgery. Everything else, they can (and do) monetise — or if it’s something super-cheap like Vaseline or super-niche like Ceremonia, they name-drop it in interviews for “I’m so grounded” vibes or deep cool cred.
At this point, Charlotte Tilbury, with its Nicole Kidman co-sign and its billion-dollar revenue reports, is as much of a “secret” as Bradley Cooper’s dating life. What’s more, the idea of a “beauty secret” in general is kind of extinct. When it comes to “this skin cream actually works,” sharing is caring … and it can also make us lots of money on social media.
But gatekeeping is still a reliable strategy for desirability, and knowing something before anyone else — or tagging a generic swipe of moisturizer with #IYKYK — is still a kind of currency. So where are we finding actual beauty secrets these days?
The answer, increasingly, is music videos, which are experiencing a resurgence thanks to Spotify’s video function, TikTok, Instagram Reels and several young female directors turning the medium into a moving mood board.
At the top of that list is Hannah Lux Davis, who’s behind Doja Cat’s new “Agora Hills” video, Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie World” and the iconic visuals of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next.” Davis began her career as a Hollywood makeup artist. Her tightly cropped shots of Ava Max’s spider lashes and Ice Spice’s two-tone lip liner in videos have become part of her signature — while also being accidental ad campaigns.
For instance, Doja’s “Agora Hills” debuted on Sept. 22, a week that coincides with a 140 percent spike in Google searches for “Coquette” aesthetics, a.k.a the baby pink lips, frosted shadow and hair bows seen in Davis’s close-up shots.
Filmmaker Petra Collins has made similar magic with Olivia Rodrigo, helping turn the pop princess into a beauty template in videos like “Good 4 U” and “Bad Idea, Right?” with her lingering shots of Rodrigo’s pastel-rimmed lids and Pixie Stix hair. Would Rodrigo have gotten her Glossier deal in 2022 without Collins’ positioning? Maybe? But it wouldn’t have seemed as authentic. You can’t buy that kind of framing.
Of course, the OG of girl world, Sofia Coppola, still has much to teach us about “beauty secrets” going from a film set to a beauty shelf. A rare collaboration between Half Magic, the “Euphoria-esque” makeup line by A24 and makeup artist Donni Davy, and her film “Priscilla” debuted earlier this month. It’s an eye kit that retails for $49 at Ulta Beauty and A24′s merch shop, promising to instruct you on the “secrets” of Priscilla Presley’s signature cat eye. Shhh, don’t tell!
Plus: This Week’s Launches
I cannot stop laughing at these Lush Screamo bath bombs, which arrived at my local store yesterday. I was there to pick up more Tofu Cream Shampoo, which has a quiet fan club on Reddit because of its ability to strengthen curly hair. Yeah, it’s good.
Scarlett Johansson roped her husband, Colin Jost, into a beauty tutorial for her skincare brand, The Outset. She walks him through their new Spa in a Box set which launched Oct. 23. When she suggests she’ll buy him some moisturizer for Christmas, he protests, “But I got you four cars last year!” It’s cute.
Nicole Richie is the face of Relevant Skin, the new brand from Thirteen Lune’s Nyakio Grieco. Their tagline is “Clean, Inclusive Beauty,” which I think is a little funny when paired with a gorgeous, thin, cool member of the Hollywood establishment. Still, Richie is radically honest about her fascinating, and sometimes very hard, life experiences, and she has a lot of goodwill among millennials for being both fabulous and real. Seems like a promising move.
Goop is getting a CFDA Innovation Award next week, which means I will be testing waterproof mascara so I can cry tears of awe when Gwyneth Paltrow struts past me at the awards ceremony without so much as a glare.
Tanologist is now available at Walmart, making its founder, 25-year-old influencer and makeup artist Lottie Tomlinson, a stealth mogul to watch. Tomlinson is little sister to One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, but she’s long impressed beauty insiders with her willingness to start from the bottom. (She apprenticed at a London salon at just 14 and worked her way up to being Selena Gomez’s makeup artist, among other pop beauties.) Tomlinson also has a slew of online fans, thanks to her easy resemblance to actress Margot Robbie. I do not use self tanner, but if I did, I would absolutely trust Lottie Tomlinson with a formula that makes people jealous of my (imaginary) beach days on Instagram.
Inkbox has partnered with Travis Barker on a line of temporary tattoos that launched on Oct. 24. One is a modified tramp stamp — something coming back into vogue — or at least, back into Teen Vogue. My students at The New School claim they’re cool again, too. Maybe something to do with Blumarine and Diesel’s low-rise denim supremacy …
A young woman named Stella had a Glossier-themed Bat Mitzvah at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. Mazel tov to all, especially the graphic designer who redid all the logos.
And finally… I said there were no beauty secrets left anymore, but I actually have one. Can you guess which OG supermodel is finally in talks to create her own beauty empire? She’s building a team with the absolute best. This could be a big one.