As Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and nearly every member of the Kardashian-Jenner cohort have made clear, if you've got enough star power, launching a beauty brand is a pretty great way to leverage your celebrity into an empire.
Seven years ago, however, that career leap was far from foolproof. Back when Jessica Alba was looking to create an all-natural, non-toxic, and cruelty-free beauty brand of her own, there was just a handful of celebrities who had ventured into beauty — and even fewer who had done so successfully.
But, given Alba's personal dedication to clean beauty, she felt it was worth the risk. "When I founded Honest 7-and-a-half years ago, nobody was talking about clean, nobody was talking about safe ingredients, no one was even questioning the impact of ingredients or products on your overall health," Alba tells Refinery29. "I've always had a passion for clean beauty because I have terrible allergies. I have very sensitive skin, so I was always looking out for cleaner products. I didn’t want to sneeze or have a rash."
In her own quest for clean, non-toxic beauty options, Alba realized that there was a huge gap between products that were safe and products that really worked for her beauty needs, which involve things like 12+ hour days on set. "I found there was a huge gap in clean color cosmetics in terms of performance and payoff, and especially the pigment options," Alba says. "It’s sad, what was available to people."
So that's why she decided to create Honest Beauty — which ended up being not so big of a risk after all. The company is now worth an estimated $1 billion, with offerings that have extended from skin care to color makeup to, most recently, 7 completely non-toxic and vegan liquid lipsticks. For this launch, Alba was particularly thoughtful about creating shades that will work as nudes on various skin tones, which range from her own go-to (a shade called BFF) to deep mauve.
Alba says her mother, who she describes as a "full face of makeup" kind of woman, told her one thing about beauty growing up that she recalls to this day: "You've only got one face. Invest in it." It's a piece of advice that she's already passing down to her children, Honor, 11, Haven, 8, and Hayes, who's one-and-a-half. "I put sunscreen on them when they’re exposed to the sun all day," she says. "I talk to my daughters about skin care, and they use the Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil in the morning before they go to school."
Speaking of Alba's kids, she recently got three tattoos in their honor: each of their zodiac signs' constellations, inked across her left arm. They're her favorite of her tattoos thus far, but almost by default. "I do have a few tattoos, and I regret one of them... maybe two," Alba says. One of them is what she calls "kind of a tramp stamp," a bow on the middle of her lower back; then there are the flowers she got right in the middle of her neck, which she regrets to this day. "I got it when I was, like, 17 and I’m so irritated that I got it," she says. "I got it lasered many times and it’s not coming out."
Needless to say, her latest ink carries a lot more sentiment than the rest. "I really wanted to think about what would be meaningful over time, because when you get something when you’re 17 and now you’re 38, you’re like, Hmm, don’t know if that’s too meaningful," Alba says. "But for that one, the kids are forever."
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