Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty is here, so we tried it — and so did these influencers

Ari Bines
·7 min read

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Forget the age of celebrity perfumes. The current way for stars to plug in to the beauty industry is with full beauty brands of their own. With Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez recently hitting shelves, beauty lovers are once again debating which celebs are really here to change the beauty game.

The Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez brand has been a long time coming. The first announcement of its existence began all the way back in February. And though people have had thoughts on the intentions behind celebrity beauty brands, Gomez’s brand actually offers something different from the other quirky or niche celebrity drops.

Rare Beauty’s initial lineup features complexion, eye, brow and lip products. The base items include the Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer, the Always An Optimist 4-In-1 Mist, and 48 shades of the Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation and Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer. The other items in the line focus on pops of color in eight shades for With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm, eight shades of the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight, 12 shades of the Lip Souffle Matte Lip cream and four dewy and four matte shades of the Soft Pinch Liquid Blush. Plus, the line also features a double-sided Brow Harmony Pencil & Gel, a Blot & Glow Touch-Up Kit and three tools.

Oh, and every product is under $30.

A Rare Impact

In addition to being a budget-friendly brand, Rare Beauty has already established itself as a brand with a purpose. In July 2020, the brand announced the Rare Impact Fund, an effort to raise $100 million in the next 10 years to support mental health services while destigmatizing the discussion around mental health.

“Starting with our very first sale, 1 percent of annual Rare Beauty sales will go directly to the Rare Impact Fund,” the brand wrote on Instagram. “The Rare Impact Fund will help support the local, national and global organizations that have a direct impact on the well-being of this amazing community.”

The tie between makeup and mental health is personal for Gomez, making this a partnership that actually makes sense. Gomez explained in an interview with the Gloss Angeles podcast how she had to redefine her relationship with makeup to benefit her own well-being.

“I definitely have moments where I don’t feel pretty,” she said. “I could have makeup all over me and it wouldn’t make a difference. That’s when I realized my relationship may not have been the healthiest with makeup.”

I Tried Rare Beauty For Myself

I got my coffee and headed to the nearest Sephora to snag the Rare Beauty items I was most excited about: the primer, foundation, concealer, the blush, the liquid highlighter and the mist.

Shop: Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer, $14-$26

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

As someone who’s makeup-obsessed, I like to use a brand’s primer along with its foundation. I will say this is one of the few primers that I would actually wear by itself, just for the glow alone. I did use my Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF 30 a few hours before apply the primer, but the effect it gave still seems authentic.

At first, the primer goes on a bit silver-toned, but it doesn’t leave behind any kind of silvery cast. Instead, you get a gorgeous, natural glow.

The Rare Beauty Foundation and Concealer

Credit: Ari Bines
Credit: Ari Bines

I was surprised at how easy it was to find my foundation shade. Using Sephora’s Shade Finder, I referenced my Fenty Beauty foundation shade (445) and ended up with Rare’s 500N. Influencer and YouTuber TooMuchMouth explained in her review that she found her Rare Beauty foundation shade by referencing her shade in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation. Regardless, there are several ways to find your shade — and this hack works for the brand’s products.

Shop: Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation, $29

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

The foundation, which is a buildable medium coverage, is truly weightless. And to be honest, the first time I tried it, it felt like I didn’t even put anything on my face. I could wear just this without really looking like I was wearing a layer of foundation, but still get the coverage I want.

Shop: Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer, $19

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

What’s great about the Rare Beauty line is that there are also 48 shades of concealer to accommodate the foundation shades. I actually bought two of these (one for a natural look and one for brightening). After applying both, I thankfully didn’t experience any creasing or caking.

Rare Beauty Blush And Liquid Highlighter

Credit: Ari Bines
Credit: Ari Bines

One thing I love about the products is how multi-use they are. Obviously, the glow you see above is the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight that I tried in the shade “Flaunt,” which is one of the more universal highlighter shades. I recommend applying it with a brush so that you can gradually build it up. But it blends out like butter.

Shop: Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight, $22

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

The blush shade “Lucky” looks intimidating at first, but it blends out into a soft berry shade. Using the blush on the eyes also makes me want to buy the other shades to use in a multitude of ways, to be honest.

Shop: Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, $20

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

Topping off my look with the Always An Optimist 4-In-1 Mist, I did have an added glow, which I don’t think was necessary considering the dewy finish of the foundation.

Shop: Always An Optimist 4-In-1 Mist, $24

Credit: Sephora
Credit: Sephora

I will say that if you get oily quick, you may want to tread lightly with this one. As a normal-dry skin girl, I don’t mind it as a pick-me-up throughout the day. But Nyma Tang mentioned how this was the one product she regretted putting on. Oil slick in .5 seconds!

The Feedback So Far

Though some may disagree, I think the line is coming at a great time even with quarantine, as this is the kind of light, easy makeup that makes sense right now. Easily finding my foundation shade was a relief as a brown skin girl, and I didn’t have to “make it work” as Tim Gunn would say.

Credit: Ari Bines
Credit: Ari Bines

Rare Beauty feels like a more elevated version of the “makeup, no makeup” trend — especially where complexion items are concerned.

As a Black woman, finding lightweight complexion products that still give my hyperpigmentation the coverage I want comes a dime a dozen. However, this is the kind of formula I’ve been waiting for. The application process can be as glam or as simple or whimsical as you want it to be without taking up too much time or effort. Plus, getting ready for a video call took up to 10 minutes when I applied the look in the first photo.

What Influencers Think

Some influencers have already tried and offered their take on the brand, too. Beauty influencer Alissa Ashley said she was “really, really impressed” with the line. Other creators, like RawBeautyKristie, said she gives it 7 and a half out of 10 in her review, saying she likes it better than Glossier but experienced some minor personal dislikes when it came to application. And Nyma Tang said she likes the line overall and thinks there is a “uniqueness in the products.” That’s saying something in a saturated beauty market.

As someone who doesn’t go super hard with my day-to-day makeup looks (anymore), this is one brand I’ll probably be reaching for throughout my quarantine video calls.

If you liked this story, you may also enjoy checking out Topicals, the WOC-owned brand addressing skin conditions.

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