Rare Beauty and Rare Rumors


Annali Snyder, Writer

What happens when praise is undeserved? 

Makeup brand Rare Beauty, at its launch, was praised extensively because of its accessible packaging. The ball on the top of their tube-shaped components was said to be made specifically for individuals who have limited mobility in their hands, so they would be able to more easily use the products. 

Sounds amazing, right? Accessibility for everyone is something that we should all be working towards. But this story proves that, as consumers, it is essential to do our own research. 

It turns out the idea that the packaging was made more accessible was simply a rumor. Nowhere on Rare Beauty’s website is there a mention of the packaging design in regards to ease of use. And yet, on every Rare Beauty brand review on Youtube, there are countless comments about the packaging, praising the brilliant and thoughtful design. 

How did this happen? Why did it happen? Let’s find out. 

On September 3, 2020, Selena Gomez’s cosmetics brand Rare Beauty was launched and became an instant hit. It was marketed as a lightweight, natural makeup that’s meant to enhance your natural beauty. This modern and youthful take on cosmetics, along with Selena Gomez’s notability as a musical artist, drew a lot of positive attention. However, there had been some discourse before the launch. Public opinion of celebrities starting their own cosmetics lines has generally been negative, as it’s seen as a cash-grab and without passion. This seemingly died down as the launch approached, and with how Selena Gomez appeared to show genuine excitement about her new brand. 

Selena Gomez has been relatively open about her Lupus, an autoimmune disease that often affects the joints and skin. So, when the first pictures of Rare Beauty were released, the characteristic ball on the top of the thinner components was assumed to be connected to Gomez’s mobility issues. This is obvious in the comments section. Here are some comments from Youtuber RawBeatyKristi’s Rare Beauty review:

“I love how the products seem to be formulated for those with Lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Cream-based, lightweight products to prevent skin rashes. Easy open packaging so you can do your makeup even during a flare-up. Wonder if they tried using hypoallergenic ingredients too?”

“The products are made for people with weak and shaky hands so each product is easy to open and you don’t need to use too much pressure to use.”

“I saw another comment about this brand on another video that I thought I’d share here: -the packaging of the foundation/concealer has a ball on the top to help people with arthritis (since Selena struggles with that bc of Lupus)”

That last comment is perhaps the most illuminating. One person said it and it spread like wildfire.

Later in September of 2020, Rare Beauty released this statement in regards to the packaging: “Each rare beauty product was designed to Selena’s personal preferences to emphasize ease of use. While we’re thrilled to hear that some individuals with dexterity challenges find the design helps them open and use our products more easily, we have not conducted official testing on the packaging for these claims.” 

So why did everyone believe these rumors? My best guess is a combination of general optimism, Gomez’s good reputation, and lack of education of low mobility accessibility. These were the perfect set of circumstances to create such a wide-spreading rumor that nobody bothered to fact check. 

Too often are we to assume the worst of corporations, but this situation shows that the reverse may also be true.