Scarlett Johansson is adding “founder” to her overflowing résumé.
After announcing the new venture in June last year, the Marvel superstar has officially shared a first look at her skincare brand, The Outset.
Fans finally caught a glimpse of the six-piece, clean cosmetics line on The Outset’s official Instagram page, which launched earlier this week with a string of minimalist promotional shots and behind-the-scenes teasers.
Discussing the launch with Vogue for their March issue, Scarlett — the cofounder and face of the brand — opened up about what inspired the venture and what makes The Outset different from the cluster of well-established skincare brands.
“I’ve been the face of several luxury brands throughout my career, and all of those experiences were really wonderful. But — how do I put this? I guess I always felt like I was sort of playing a character in those campaigns,” she said. “As I evolved, I wanted to create and represent a brand that was true to me.”
As Scarlett explains to the writer, her philosophy for The Outset is keeping it simple and prioritizing “clean” formulas with a less-is-more approach to skincare — which, to some fans, feels a little ironic in the overcrowded field of celebrity beauty brands.
Scarlett follows in the footsteps of countless celebrities who have recently swapped their day jobs for the world of entrepreneurship. In the past year or two, we’ve seen the launch of beauty brands from the likes of Harry Styles, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Machine Gun Kelly, Ellen DeGeneres, Hailey Bieber, Jennifer Aniston, Billie Eilish, Addison Rae, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
After the launch of The Outset this week, fans gathered on Twitter to discuss Scarlett’s venture, with many feeling a little exhausted by the arrival of yet another celeb-founded beauty line.
“Isn't there anything else that celebrities can launch? Skincare is over-saturated,” someone responded.
“I want celeb skin care lines to stop,” another wrote, likening the trend to the influx of celebrity fragrances that dominated the 2000s and 2010s. “It’s the new perfume but worse.”
“So sick of celeb skincare lines can we come up with something else,” added another.
Interestingly, fans seemed to take issue with the prospect of a skincare line a little more than the usual makeup brands. They were quick to note that celeb skincare brands hinge on the promise that the products will give you the same polished skin as your favorite celeb, who likely achieved their glow with the help of the world’s best dermatologists and specialist procedures.
“I’m tired of random celebrities releasing a skincare line when we all know they don’t use that and have access to ridiculously expensive skincare treatments,” someone wrote on Twitter in response to Scarlett’s announcement.
“celeb skincare brands are so truly bizarre bc never have i looked at a celebs skin and thought anything other than thousand dollar treatments were responsible,” agreed another.
“celeb skin care lines are insane to me like. they have DERMS and SURGEONS,” added someone else.
“You really think celebrities who afford high end facials and high end skincare age well because of products that they just recently got someone to make…,” quipped another user.
Despite that, one person highlighted that for the most part, fans will be happy to buy into their favorite celeb’s new venture, whether or not it actually makes “sense.”
“Each time a new celeb makes a skincare line I always think are people serious & yes people will buy anything if their fav celeb is attached without thinking ‘does this make sense,’” they said.
Other fans called celebrities’ creativity into question, accusing them of mass-producing lackluster cosmetic lines for monetary gain without actually adding any value to the market.
“Like I get it they wanna have brands outside of [whatever] they do but it’s so cheap and easy to get someone to mass produce skincare (and alcohol, i’m looking at u random celeb alcohols) and slap a celebs face on it,” someone said.
“The lack of creativity that famous ppl have is worrying. Since Rihanna launched Fenty all of them are doing the same,” someone else agreed, mentioning Rihanna’s billion-dollar Fenty empire, which — unlike other celeb brands — has been duly credited with changing the face of the industry with its unprecedented 50-shade foundation range.
“They also release the same kind of merchandising with the same style. It's getting boring, they're supposed to be artists and artists are supposed to be creative,” they went on to say.
That isn’t to say that Scarlett’s line isn’t creative or something she’s not truly enthusiastic about — she said herself that The Outset is a lifelong “passion project.” But that doesn’t erase the issue of the climate crisis and the risk that bringing yet another line of products into the world will only add to the buildup of single-use waste that threatens the environment.
“I’m so serious when I say this: Society has progressed past the need for celebrity skincare lines,” writer Sophie Ross said on Twitter.
“And if you do start a skincare line, as a celebrity, you should be contractually obligated to never talk about the environment, sustainability, or climate change ever again,” she added.
Of course, a family who are no strangers to criticism of this kind is the Kardashian-Jenner clan, whose various cosmetics businesses encompass all things from makeup and fragrances to sun protection and skincare for both adults and babies.
One particular strand of the Kar-Jenner empire that came under fire recently was Kylie Jenner’s billion-dollar company, Kylie Cosmetics.
After launching the brand in 2015 with a trio of lip kits, Kylie has since become known for creating themed collections throughout the year. And despite the historic success of these special editions, this year’s Valentine’s Day bundle fell a little flat for some fans.
The collection — which consisted of a pressed powder palette, blush sticks, a highlighter, two matte lip kits, a lip gloss set, false lashes, and a lip balm set — was heavily criticized and accused of being “wasteful” after fans noticed that it felt a bit too similar to her past collections.
“is it really necessary to release new makeup collections EVERY year for EVERY holiday? at this point ur selling the same colors in new packaging. so wasteful. this is a subtweet to kylie cosmetics. I see the same thing recycled every holiday,” one person tweeted, calling out the repetitive and “wasteful” releases.
Likewise, many others accused Kylie of literally repackaging her existing products for the Valentine's Day collection, adding that they were growing tired of the “recycled” launches.
“Does anyone even buy Kylie cosmetics anymore… she keeps dropping these pallets. I’m starting to think she’s recycling,” someone said.
“Kylie why does your new collection look like the same recycled colors?” another asked.
Kylie didn’t respond to the backlash. However, the surge of criticism surrounding celebrity ventures speaks to a changing landscape in which the tide might have turned for celeb beauty brands.