Beauty and mental health might appear like two totally unrelated topics, but they are more intertwined than we realize. In the filtered era of social media, it is easy to fall prey to unrealistic beauty standards. Every day, we are bombarded with a slew of seemingly “perfect” photos of celebrities, influencers, and even our friends, which – studies have shown – has played a mammoth role in aggravating critical self-perception. If left unchecked, this critical self-perception can easily manifest as mental health issues like diminished self-confidence and the desire to “fix” oneself.
To battle the unrealistic beauty standards and encourage embracing one’s individuality, superstar Selena Gomez launched a unique beauty brand – Rare Beauty – last year. While the cruelty-free brand launched in the latter half of 2020, it has only just entered the Middle Eastern market this month with a much-anticipated launch across all Sephora stores.
To celebrate the launch of the brand in the Middle East, Savoir Flair sat down with Gomez to discuss her unique beauty brand, her relationship with makeup, and how she aims to create a conversation about important topics surrounding mental health and beauty through her brand.
Scroll down to read Savoir Flair’s exclusive interview with Selena Gomez.
You’re open about the “beauty myth” and its impossible standards. What are some of the challenges you face in tackling this myth through a beauty brand? What do you hope to change?
There is so much pressure in today’s society to look a certain way, and it’s been amplified by social media. With Rare Beauty, we aim to reduce this pressure by creating a safe space in beauty and encouraging each other to have positive conversations around self-acceptance and mental health.
You first sat in a makeup chair at the age of 7. That’s practically a lifetime of having your makeup done by professionals. What did you learn along the way? How has your relationship with makeup evolved?
I’ve been fortunate to have learned from some of the best makeup artists in the world. I have learned many tips and tricks, but it definitely took some time to gain confidence in my abilities and realize that makeup is an accessory and something to have fun with – it’s not something you need to feel beautiful. It took me time to be comfortable with that, but now I embrace no-makeup days as much as full glam days.
What are your essential products from Rare Beauty that you wear every day or can’t leave home without?
I actually created the Rare Beauty ‘Blot & Glow’ Touch-Up Kit specifically to bring with me everywhere I go. It’s the size of an iPhone and holds blotting papers and a puff filled with radiant powder so you can blot away oil and then add a touch of powder. The radiance powder is amazing because it doesn’t make you look flat or cakey. I also wear blush almost every day – I love how it instantly makes me look more awake. One dot of the ‘Soft Pinch’ Liquid Blush is all you need, and it lasts all day.
For the hot and humid climates of the Middle East, what are some essential products by Rare Beauty that make sense the most here?
All of our products are weightless, and I love that you can barely feel them on your face – so important in the heat! I think everything is long-lasting, but I would recommend the ‘Blot & Glow’ Touch-Up Kit for on-the-go and our ‘Soft Pinch’ Liquid Blush or the ‘Stay Vulnerable’ Liquid Eyeshadows – they go from cream to powder and don’t budge.
Before you launched Rare Beauty and you were looking at the beauty market, what did you feel was missing? What niche does Rare Beauty fill?
My goal was to create more than a beauty brand – I really wanted to create a brand that changes the conversation around beauty. With Rare Beauty, we want to celebrate the things that make us unique while removing the pressure to look “perfect” by society’s standards, especially when it comes to beauty and makeup. There’s no one way to apply makeup – wear it however makes you feel the best!
There is a very well-researched theory of depression that says the further away your real self and your ideal self are from each other, the more depressed you become. One way to bring your real self and your ideal self into alignment is by improving your physical appearance. This is one way that beauty has big mental health benefits. I love that the focus of Rare Beauty isn’t “fixing” a problem but rather helping individuals look their best so they can feel their best too. Why was this an important cornerstone on which to build your brand?
Makeup is a fun accessory – I don’t think it’s a tool to “fix” yourself or make you look like someone else. It was so important to me that Rare Beauty encourages everyone to accept themselves exactly as they are. We couldn’t do it without our amazing global community — they have been doing an incredible job of joining us and changing conversations around beauty by promoting self-acceptance and creating a safe and encouraging space for everyone.
Fresh finishes and adjustable coverage are the basis of Rare Beauty’s formulation. You’re not trying to mask what makes people unique. In the R&D process, how many trials did you do to get the coverage just right? How involved were you in the R&D?
Product development is one of my favorite processes, and I’m very involved in it. I absolutely love working with our head of product development through every stage. From ideation to trying formulas and swatching shades — I will try them on at home and send video messages and feedback to the team while we’re all working remotely. The foundation was one of the most challenging products because I wanted it to feel weightless – no one wants to feel like they’re wearing a heavy mask, so we did many rounds to get it just right, and I love how it turned out. I can wear it for a full day on set and not feel it at all.
What has your progress been with the Rare Impact Fund?
The Rare Impact Fund is Rare Beauty’s initiative to help bring awareness and resources surrounding mental health to underserved communities. Our latest campaign, ‘Mental Health 101’, is focused on bringing education surrounding mental health into schools. If I had the same education regarding mental health that I did with any other subject, my journey with mental health would have been different. I want to share this knowledge with young people today.