Look like a star: celebrity cosmetic brands

Speculation may run wild about her personal life, but one thing is certain – actress Jennifer Aniston has great hair. Yet she has been mindful to not simply endorse a haircare line for the past decade, but to invest financially and become the co-owner of Living Proof, an MIT-formulated haircare range.

“When I was filming in humid North Carolina, I brought Living Proof’s No Frizz line down with me,” she says. “I wasn’t convinced my hair was going to stay smooth, but it did.”

So what is the value of megastar Aniston to the brand? Hard to say, but according to WWD (Women’s Wear Daily), Living Proof’s sales hit around $100 million in 2013.   Essentially it is two brands colliding into a power-combination.

Actress Katie Holmes has invested in Alterna Haircare and Elle Macpherson owns The Body range of beauty tools. The Flower beauty range, owned by actress Drew Barrymore, eschews advertising because she commands magazine covers; she launched the range on the January 2013 issue of US beauty behemoth Allure.

Supermodel Miranda Kerr owns Kora Organics make-up and skincare that contains the relatively unknown noni berry native to her homeland Australia. Joan Collins launched her Timeless Beauty range this year with a classic quip: “No one is born glamorous, but anyone can acquire glamour.”

The implication of all of this is buy the product and look like the star.

But what’s the difference from a simple “face-of” appearance, such as Cate Blanchett’s deal with SKII?

“If celebrities are investing their own money, they are doing it for themselves and it shows they believe in it, whereas simply endorsing a brand is much less commitment,” says Nicole Tyrimou, beauty and personal care analyst at market researchers Euromonitor.

The implication is buy the product and look like the star

“The most successful has been the model Iman because she saw a gap in the market for foundations for women of colour.” Iman is also a rarity in that she put her name to the brand. Others don’t because they see it “as a separate business investment that will have longevity”, says Ms Tyrimou.

“Having a celebrity attached to a brand may work in other industries, but in beauty I don’t think it adds credibility,” says Gail Federici, chief executive of Federici Brands, including Time Bomb and formerly John Frieda. Yet singer Lulu is the face of Time Bomb?

“At the beginning, Lulu asked our chemist to make some products for her – her needs were the impetus,” says Ms Federici. “Lulu goes on QVC because she knows the brand inside out, and her passion and authenticity is palpable. But I want the products to speak for themselves.”

In addition, celebrities do not come without the need for damage limitation. Actress Sharon Stone was dropped as a face of the cosmetics arm of Christian Dior when she shared her honest views on Tibet in 2008, just as the company was expanding into China.

One irony is that Aniston recently revealed she hated the Rachel haircut that made her hair famous in TV hit Friends. But very possibly, Living Proof could be a better investment for her twilight years, rather than relying on ageist Hollywood studios.