I met Hailey Bieber in a suite at The 1 Hotel in Brooklyn where planters hung from the wall and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked the Hudson. She's wearing a black vest with razor-thin pin stripes and black platform Mary Jane heels, which make her a lot taller than I thought she'd be. "It's the shoes," she laughs when she stands up to greet me. We sit down — her on the low, leather couch and me on a butterfly chair facing her.
Like many of us, Bieber has experienced transformation over the past few of years. "A lot has changed in my life," she says. "I got married and life changed really fast." During the pandemic, she built a YouTube channel where she interviews celebrity friends, like Kendall Jenner and most recently Ayesha Curry, from inside her bathroom turned production studio. Plus, her interest in skin-care — the education and routine— has led her to try her hand at designing and curating her own brand, a label she's named Rhode (her middle name — it's in her Instagram bio).
"It's a very scary thing to do, to let people in," she says. "There's a lot about being in the public eye that makes you want to be reclusive. For me, that just didn't work because there's just too much conversation going on all the time. It's either that I'm completely reclusive — I don't ever open my mouth or say anything — I can't be defensive all the time, because that doesn't work either. Or, I can choose to open it up and be like: This is me, welcome. If we relate, then cool; if we don't, then cool."
"It's either that I'm completely reclusive — I don't ever open my mouth or say anything — I can't be defensive all the time, because that doesn't work either. Or, I can choose to open it up and be like: This is me, welcome."
So, she's sharing — while remaining conscious of her mental health and wellbeing. "Sometimes it's therapy. Sometimes it's the support from the people who really know you and who can speak truth into your life," she explains of the practices that keep her grounded and feeling supported. "I also think that faith is really important. I have to literally give it to God every single day. I'm not in control of anything. I learned that recently with my health. [Editor's Note: Back in March, Bieber shared that she was hospitalized after experiencing stroke-like symptoms.] We don't control everything that's going to happen. I don't control people's opinions about me. I don't control the narrative of my life."
How Hailey Bieber gets good skin
What Bieber chooses to control is how she shows up in the world and with her new project, Rhode, it's not something that she thought up a month ago when an investor came to her. Instead, to explain it, she reaches back a little further to her upbringing.
"I've always been into skin care, since I was a teenager," she says. "Beauty and wellness was prominent in my household. My mom is from Brazil and she's always been invested in taking care of herself. I watched her my whole life take really good care of her skin in the sun, wear SPF everyday, moisturize. I think just growing up watching her, watching my Grandma, the both of them together [were] so invested in skin care and beauty and they definitely instilled [that] in me."
When Bieber grew up, she started to think about her skin care as a habitual form of self care, like a meditation or a therapy session. "I'm obsessed with the routine of skin care: skin care in the morning, skin care at night, facials, masking, tools. For me, that's self care," she says. "I invest a lot of my self care into skin care. I get asked that question all the time: 'What do you do for self care?' I'm like, honestly, I find so much comfort in the routine, taking a bath or doing an at-home facial or my skin care."
Bieber's not blind to the fact that she does have really good skin. In fact, she leans into it and understands that the access to Joanna Czech (whose facial would cost you over $700) is a privilege. "It's funny, people say all the time, 'Of course she has good skin, she sees facialists and gets all this stuff done.' For me, your skin is like anything else on your body, it takes consistent routine. I would rather get facials for any extractions because I am a picker — I have to tie my hands behind my back to not pick my face — I would rather let a professional do it. I get facials for the health of my skin. I get my makeup done all the time and travel and all that stuff. I understand that having access to a facialist and dermatologist is such a privilege. I don't shy away from that."
On creating Rhode
Still, creating own label of skin-care products had always been a vague idea — like, that would be cool — but it took the rest afforded by the pandemic to put it into action. "It had always bee a dream of mine," she says, "but it felt so far away for such a long time. I didn't know where to start and I didn't have the time. I didn't even know who to go to ask, 'Hey, I want to start a skin-care line, how do I even do that?'"
First, Bieber started trying all the skin care she could get her hands on. "During the pandemic was the time that I was like, okay, this is the time to take a deep dive. I already knew what I liked. I was always interested in reading about skin-care ingredients, why they do what they do, efficacy," she explains. "I was trying everything, the most expensive stuff, the cheapest stuff, everything in between. I was really able to pin down what my favorite things were. That's how I realized how much I love niacinamide. That ingredient was changing my skin, brightening, smoothing — I could see it for myself. What I realized is that most of the stuff that I was using, pretty much all the stuff that I was using, was not expensive."
Then the aim became creating an affordable range of "curated" and "staple" skin-care products, not unlike a capsule wardrobe, which pulls in Bieber's style. "That's how I curate my closet: I want the perfect pair of jeans, the best T-shirt, the best leather jacket, the best blazer," she explains. "Skin care is about staples as well: One great hydration serum, one great moisturizer, one great lip product. You don't have to oversaturate your routine or the market."
The serum is a gel base that can be used morning and night. It's hydrating, made with peptides, marula oil, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. The way I use it — and Bieber, too — is to do a double cleanse and then apply the serum straight to damp skin before moisturizer. The Barrier Restore Cream is the moisturizer, also really simple and gives you a nice dewy and hydrated base for sunscreen and makeup.
My personal favorite Rhode product is the Peptide Lip Treatment, which comes in three flavors: watermelon, unscented, and then a Salted Caramel that tastes like a cinnamon roll (that's Bieber's favorite as well). What's great about it is that it leaves your lips hydrated and shiny for hours, like a gloss but better. "I hate a lip product that you put on and then it dries up in an hour," Bieber says. "This is a good coating of hydration. We added the peptides to keep the lips plump. I'll do lip liner and just that, and it's a really nice sheen."
How Hailey Bieber does her makeup
On the topic of makeup, I'm curious what else Bieber uses on the day-to-day. "The most important part of makeup is the skin-care base," she says. "As much as I want to do a full beat, I'm not good at it. I'm not bad at it, but I can't do crazy stuff. I'm a minimal makeup girl, I always have been: a little concealer, brushed-up eyebrows, a cheek. If I had to pick my four to five must-haves, it would be: a great concealer, a cheek tint, something that gives a flush, an eyebrow gel, and a little lip liner and balm."
Hailey Bieber's signature nail secret
Before we leave I have to ask about the most subtle part of Bieber's look: her sheer-glitter chrome fingernails. "I'm about the reveal my secret to you. Everyone has been asking," Bieber laughs. "I do one thin layer of a color and then I rub chrome dust over it. Well, my nail artist Zola does. I also like mixing my own colors. I was into jelly colors for awhile, so taking a deep purple and thinning it out with a clear polish so it would look like purple jelly. Right now I have a chrome obsession — it works on every color." Thoughtfully chic, definitely Bieber's point of view.
For more on Rhode, listen to the full Hailey Bieber interview on Gloss Angeles: