Rare Beauty ‘for Everyone’ but Worried It ‘Wasn’t Going to Sell’

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The brand’s creator tells PEOPLE that “challenging the norms” in the beauty space made her nervous

Two years into Rare Beauty and Selena Gomez has a lot to be proud of.
The brand, which launched in September 2020, has 5 million social media followers and counting and includes a portfolio of products that continues to grow — with everything retailing for $30 and under, making it affordable and approachable for a wide variety of people. But for Gomez, one of her proudest accomplishments isn’t necessarily one that’s quantifiable.

“What I’m most proud of is the conversation that we’ve created in the beauty space,” Gomez, 30, tells PEOPLE exclusively at a press event celebrating the brand’s newest launches. “I feel like we were challenging the norms and I really wanted to create a brand that was for everyone.”

But creating a brand that felt approachable to everyone — no matter skin type, age, color or ability — was a daunting task that made Gomez nervous. “I thought that wasn’t going to sell,” she admits. She was happy to be proven wrong, though, saying that in the two years Rare Beauty has been in business, she’s seen that people “enjoy that you can dress  up or down.”

“They’re not super over the top,” she says, meaning you can layer them to create exactly the look you’re going for, whether it’s subtle glam to go to the office or ultra shine for a night on the town.

“What I love about my products is that you really don’t need a necessary order,” Gomez shares with the group during a presentation of Rare Beauty’s new products. “You can always add, and you could always take away. … Whether I want to do a full face or if I just want to keep it natural.”

Gomez’s go-to is the tinted moisturizer — which she tells PEOPLE is the product that most embodies Selena Gomez — the bronzer stick, blush and highlighter. The effortless look is the “Selena Glow” at Rare Beauty headquarters and can be built up with more highlighter for an even more shimmery look.

The shimmer can be achieved with Rare Beauty’s newest offering, the Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter. The silky smooth formula glides on skin for a dewy finish — and doesn’t leave streaks, which Gomez was very adamant about.

“I love highlighter, but I did not want that really overdone,” Gomez shares with the group. “That’s why you could continue to cake [Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter] on if you want, because I love it. I just don’t like when it’s like a stripe. That doesn’t sit well for me.”

The way Gomez imagines layering her highlighters is a common thread through all of her products, including another new one, Positive Light Under Eye Brightener. The under-eye brightener can go on under your concealer, over your concealer or just with a dab of highlighter and blush.

“I’ve tried it every which way and it’s worked really well,” Gomez shares. “It seems to be melting with my products really well.”

The brightener comes with a unique metal-tip applicator that also cools the under-eye area, which Gomez thinks is pretty neat. “It’s super easy, very light,” she says of the new product. “It is going to brighten the under-eye look, and sometimes that’s all I need, is just a little bit of this.”

These new products are part of Rare Beauty’s Spring 2023 collection, along with some more treats to come. Gomez says she’s been enjoying going to the factory where her products are manufactured, seeing how it all comes together, and looks forward to continuing on with what she’s created. And perhaps most importantly of all, to her, is the continuing conversation around acceptance in the beauty space and further opening up the talk around mental health and self-love.

“That was another challenge that we threw in there,” she says of rolling mental health into her brand and creating the Rare Impact Fund, which provides access to mental health services. “I’m noticing other brands getting on board with mental health, too, and I’m really, really excited about that. If anything, that’s the most important part of my brand.”

 

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