“I Do My Best To Ignore It”: Selena Gomez On Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Photo: Courtesy of Rare Beauty.
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When Selena Gomez announced that she was launching a beauty brand in February 2020, it came at the end of a decade that had seen countless celebrities do the same. But with Rare Beauty, Gomez achieved something many others had failed to do: authentically merge an altruistic mission with products that actually perform. 
Rare Beauty is universally beloved, as proven by the more than 400K overwhelmingly positive videos dedicated to the brand's products on TikTok, which have amassed billions of views. And as the brand's popularity has soared, so has its dedication to starting conversations about mental health.
It's sewn into the DNA of Rare Beauty and that’s because of the passion Gomez herself has for the mission. When launching the brand, she simultaneously unveiled the Rare Impact Fund, an initiative that aims to make mental health services and education more accessible to young people around the world.

I think unrealistic standards of beauty affect everyone. I was feeling so much pressure to look a certain way, and I saw my friends were, too.

selena gomez
“Mental health is really at our core and I'm so proud that 1% of all Rare Beauty sales globally go to the Rare Impact Fund,” Gomez tells Refinery29. Earlier this year, the brand's range was expanded to include its first collection with a more overt link to this mission. The body care collection, Find Comfort, is built around the concept of self-care rituals — including a calming aromatherapy pen and a hand cream with packaging that doubles as a hand massager. 
The link between a beauty brand and conversations about mental health is more obvious than you might initially think, especially when you consider this 2022 report, in which ​​80% of teenage and adult respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their body image had a negative impact on their mental health. “I think unrealistic standards of beauty affect everyone. I was feeling so much pressure to look a certain way, and I saw my friends were, too,” says Gomez. “Having this conversation in the beauty space is so important.”
“I wanted to change the way we talk about both beauty and mental health. I hope all of our products capture this ethos,” says Gomez, who adds that everything from the uplifting shade names (Hope, Joy, and Worth are just three examples) to launching with an inclusive shade range (both the foundation and concealer come in 48 shades) were designed to do just that. To that end, Gomez explains how she navigates these societal pressures herself. “There is a lot of noise out there and I do my best to ignore it; I’m really grateful to have wonderful fans and an amazing community," she says. “My hope is that we all create a safe space to be ourselves, to be vulnerable, and to challenge unrealistic standards of beauty.”
At the time of launch, Gomez explained that she didn’t want Rare Beauty to be a makeup brand that people used to change what they look like. "I'm so excited to release beauty products that not only feel great, but also celebrate what makes each of us rare," she said. "These products aren't about being someone else, it's about being who you are, whether that's rocking a full face of bold makeup or barely any makeup at all. Makeup is something to enjoy, it's not something you need. I want every person to feel beautiful exactly as they are."
This is something Gomez herself has learned after spending decades in the public eye and she admits that her relationship with makeup has evolved between then and now, as a woman in her 30s. “It’s become a lot healthier as I’ve grown up,” she admits. “I used to want to wear makeup to look older or look more like other people. Now I have a lot of fun with makeup — doing my friends’ makeup or my own. I want to accentuate the features that make me unique instead of covering them up.”
Now, her makeup routine changes depending on what she has on that day. “It always depends on if I’m filming,” she says. On off-duty days, she favors a more pared-back routine that incorporates the newest addition to the Rare Beauty line, the Soft Pinch Luminous Powder Blush. “I love a simple routine on days off,” Gomez says. “I’ll dab on a little Positive Light Under-eye Brightener, Perfect Strokes Mascara, and then add some color and glow with the powder blush, topped off with the tinted lip oil.”
Rare Beauty’s liquid blush range in particular has been a runaway success, amassing 129.5 million video views on TikTok alone, so the recent launch of the brand’s first powder blush is an exciting one for blush lovers everywhere. 
Powder complexion products have been largely absent from the range until now — except for the Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter and Always an Optimist Soft Radiance Setting Powder — but don’t expect a matte blush here. “It was really inspired by two of my favorite products — Soft Pinch Liquid Blush and Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter,” explains Gomez. “I like to say this product is like if they had a baby — it combines the pigment of liquid blush with the glassy sheen of the highlighter.” Gomez admits that just like its cream and liquid predecessors, “a little product goes a long way.” As big fans of a pigmented formula, this thrills us.
Rare Beauty has become synonymous with luminous complexions and authentic social impact, but at its centre is another undeniable fact: the products are just really damn good.
This story was originally published on Refinery29 Australia.

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