But are any of them actually good? Jezebel spoke with Dr. Michele Farber, a board-certified dermatologist with New York’s Schweiger Dermatology Group, to get some insight into how legitimate these brands are. We sent her links to products from four different celebrity brands to analyze the ingredients of face masks, toners, cleansers, and more. And it’s important to remember that no matter how good a product looks in a celebrity’s Instagram feed, it most certainly won’t work for every single skin type.
“In general, and this applies to all skincare, you’re going to have to tailor it to [what] your skin is like,” Farber says. “More sensitive skin types won’t tolerate certain things, people who are breaking out won’t tolerate certain things.”
The beloved Fenty beauty brand’s skincare line is pretty minimalist compared to its makeup offerings. Jezebel sent Farber the ingredients for Fenty Skin’s cleanser, a refining toner/serum, and a moisturizer. The cleanser looked fine to Farber, but she pointed out that it includes some fruit extracts. “You want to be careful with allergic reactions,” she says. The toner and serum combo got a thumbs up for including gingko and antioxidants, as well niacinamide which helps with redness and acne-prone skin.
But while the moisturizer with SPF doesn’t raise any red flags, it’s important to consider its $35 price tag. “You certainly don’t need to spend that much money,” Farber says. “Some people won’t use [sunscreen] unless it’s an elegant formulation so in that case, spring for it.” But if you’re going to mix and match high-low products in your routine, moisturizer shouldn’t be the one you drop cash on. “Your vitamin C and your retinol are where you should spend money on skincare,” Farber says. Basically, the Fenty skin line-up might look nice in your shelfie but don’t be afraid to save CeraVe for your moisturizer.
Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown’s skincare line has a plethora of serums and pretty masks, and Jezebel sent Farber the list of ingredients for the line’s face wash, toner, and peel-off mask. Some of the ingredients in the face wash got the greenlight from Farber, like lactic acid for those who can tolerate it, but she noted that the witch hazel in the peel-off mask could be super drying for those who don’t have average to oily skin.
And as for the toner? “I think it’s pretty meh,” Farber says of toner in general. “I’m not sure what it is adding in your routine.” If you’re going to build out your skin routine, investing in a good moisturizer, gentle exfoliators, good sunscreen, and a Retin-A should be your focus.
Jezebel sent Farber links to three popular products from Kylie’s skincare line: a face wash, a hyaluronic serum, and a face moisturizer. Farber liked that the serum had ingredients like glycerin and niacinamide, both hydrating elements, but noted that the number of fruit extracts could irritate the skin. The perfume in the brand’s face wash, while OK for the average person, could cause break-outs in users with eczema or dry skin. And even though the shea butter in that face moisturizer might be a familiar ingredient, it’s best for the body as opposed to the face. “It’s going to be a nice hydrator, but I would not put that on my face if I broke out at all,” Farber says.
Madonna’s flashy skincare line MDNA has some of the priciest products of the lines listed here (the face wash alone is $50, compared to Kylie Skin’s $24 formula and Fenty Skin’s $25 bottle). But are the products worth it? Looking at the brand’s clay mask, face wash, and eye serum, Farber says the mask might be good for acne skin once or twice a week, and the turmeric in the face wash is a good anti-inflammatory ingredient. But the under-eye serum isn’t a necessity. “Some people live and die by them,” Farber says. “And there are other people who think if you’re using your regular skincare, especially with sunscreen and hydrating that area, that’s okay. The chamomile in MDNA’s formula can help with dark spots and puffiness, Farber says, which is a nice addition.
The issue isn’t that celebrity skincare is any less effective than other skincare brands, it’s that customers might trust celebrities over qualified professionals. “You want to make sure you’re getting it from the right source,” Farber says. “More than just celebrity, I think influencer skincare as a whole is something to be careful about because you want to make sure that someone’s educated.” So load up on your favorite celeb’s brand all you want, but seek out the ingredients that work for you rather than assume a one-fits-all formula will get your skin as beautiful as Rihanna’s.