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Rare Beauty's rapid rise to success

Sophie Smith
28 March 2024

Selena Gomez is said to be exploring the potential sale of her popular beauty brand, Rare Beauty, which has amassed a large following since its debut almost four years ago.

As rumours of a sale swirl, TheIndustry.beauty takes an in depth look at the beauty brand's rapid journey to success.

Rare Beauty launched in September 2020, exclusively through its official website and in Sephora stores in North America.

As with many celebrity beauty brands, the business quickly captured the attention of consumers and has continued to do so, becoming one of the most viral brands in the category.

Its early success was not only driven by its association with Gomez but also by its refreshing approach to beauty.

Rare Beauty

Gomez created Rare Beauty to challenge the beauty myth of physical perfection. It is all about using makeup as a tool for celebrating what makes people different, "owning what makes you rare".

The brand aims to create a "safe and welcoming space" in the beauty industry that supports mental wellbeing across age, gender, sexuality, race, and physical or mental ability.

"These products aren't about being someone else, it's about being who you are, whether that's rocking a full face of bold makeup or barely any makeup at all," said Gomez at the time of its launch.

"Makeup is something to enjoy, it's not something you need. I want every person to feel beautiful exactly as they are."

Through social media, authenticity, and Gomez's vision, Rare Beauty set out to transform the beauty industry into a place for self love, self-expression and empowerment.

Social media has played a particularly large role in the success of the business, with many viral moments on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram further increasing brand awareness and product sales. With founder-led content, makeup tutorials, and product reviews - all in keeping with the brand's overarching inclusive ethos - Rare Beauty has built a loyal community of makeup enthusiasts and self-expression advocates.

space nk

In 2022, the brand launched in the UK and Ireland, exclusively in-store and online at Space NK. Following sell-out success at the British retailer, it later expanded to Sephora UK.

Priced at £31 and under, Rare Beauty's products fit alongside the likes of MAC Cosmetics, Benefit, Clinique and NARS, but has been winning over customers with its sleek brand image and viral product portfolio.

From a bestselling Soft Pinch Liquid Blush and Positive Light Liquid Luminizer to a Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick, the brand's products are often in high demand, especially as the dewy makeup trend continues across social media.

Rare Beauty

It has also expanded into new categories, having launched bodycare for the first time in December 2023 with a new range centred around self-comfort. The collection aims to "calm, nourish, and protect with hydrating formulas and uplifting scents that help you feel good in your own skin". It marked the first venture for Rare Beauty beyond cosmetics.

Other highlights include a number of pop-up experiences, having opened activations in London over the years, most recently the 'Comfort Club' at 40 Earlham Street to celebrate the launch of its bodycare range, as well as some branded apparel, such as hoodies, t-shirts and bags.

After reportedly reaching $400 million in annual net sales for the 12 months ending in February, other recent news suggests that Gomez is now weighing the sale or an initial public offering for her cosmetics brand, after it was valued at $2 billion.

The actress-turned-singer is understood to have hired advisers to assess offers for Rare Beauty.

However, no matter the outcome, she plans to stay heavily involved with the business - something fans of both Gomez and Rare Beauty will likely be pleased about!

Rare Beauty in brief

2020 - Selena Gomez launches Rare Beauty with a range of cosmetics.

2022 - Rare Beauty debuts in the UK at Space NK.

2023 - Rare Beauty enters bodycare with a line-up of four products.

2024 - Rare Beauty mulls potential sale.

Price positioning: £31 and under.

UK availability: Space NK, Sephora, and via its own website.

Reported annual sales: $400 million for the 12 months ending in February.


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