The jars and tubes on my bathroom counter this summer had the potential to get me in very big trouble if anyone were to spot them. For weeks now, I have been in possession of nearly every single top-secret product in Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty line, which won't be available at Sephora and rarebeauty.com until this Thursday, September 3. Luckily for me, I got to let my thoughts on the collection spill freely with one of the only other humans on the planet who's also gotten to try every single product: Selena Gomez.
Before we even started talking about the products, Selena wanted me to know that the line's true mission is beauty — but the real beauty that comes from embracing your looks, rather than feeling the need to doctor and conceal them with filters on your feeds. "With social media, it's obvious to say that there's such a huge misconception of beauty. There's just so much pressure," Selena says.
To help ease that stress and the other emotional burdens of our modern age, Rare Beauty has established the Rare Impact Fund, which has pledged to raise $100 million for mental health services for individuals in underserved communities. To do this, the company will donate one percent of all sales, from the time the very first product is sold, to the fund.
"Beauty doesn't have to be defined by a like or a comment, or your body," Selena says. "The whole time we were creating [Rare Beauty], we were always under the notion that this was going to be also about mental health and creating a safe place for people to connect."
But this isn't just a new beauty brand with a solid mission — it's also really freaking good makeup. Alongside her chief product officer, Joyce Kim, Selena spent two years fine-tuning the 12 formulas, 100-plus shades, and three tools that Rare is launching with.
One of my favorites in the extensive lineup is the Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer — it made my skin look glowy and slightly brighter, thanks to reflective properties (that don't go chalky on brown skin). In fact, it made my skin look so much better that I skipped foundation entirely the first time I tried it.
Which brings me to another point: I usually skip foundation and concealer because it's really, really hard for me to find a spot-on match for my yellowish-greenish-brownish skin tone (which they call "olive," in polite circles). But the 200C shade of the Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation and Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer blended perfectly over my reddish spots and acne scars, while brightening my skin tone a bit.
Many foundations that target my skin tone are heavily yellow or orange, to try to match the skin's natural warmth, but the secret — that Rare is clearly in on — is actually adding a bit of pinkness to balance it out. And there are 47 other shades where my perfect match came from, so I'm not the only one who's going to find a winner.
The Soft Pinch Liquid Blush is so textureless and pigmented that it looks like you're really flushing with color. (I like the dewy shades for beach days and date nights; the matte ones are dreamy for photo ops and professional settings.) The With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm comes in a flattering range of colors (there are eight); the deeper ones deliver a real wash of color, which is great for naturally washed-out looking lips like mine. The Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream is blurry-pretty, super-pigmented lip color.
My personal favorite shade is Inspire, a punchy tomato-red that Selena tells me she wore in her recently-released Past Life music video. The Positive Light Liquid Luminizer adds a glowy hit of shimmer to cheekbones and collarbones — the luminous finish is ultra-pretty, but the coppery shade I got wasn't my favorite (there are still seven more for me to get my hands on, though).
Rare Beauty is also launching with a handful of tools (a multi-faceted blending sponge, a foundation brush, and a concealer brush) and two eye products: the Brow Harmony Pencil & Gel and the Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner. Since COVID-19 swept the globe and face masks became part of our daily wardrobes, "it's all about the eyes and eyebrows," Selena says.
The retractable brow pencil is creamy but not smeary and lets you build thickness or add length to arches. The liner is a finely pointed black felt tip pen that's easy to control even if you're normally liner-challenged. "It's one of my favorites," Selena says. "It stays pretty straight and it's smooth. Plus you can create thin or thick lines."
Last, but not least, Rare offers the Always an Optimist 4-in-1 Mist (which includes brightening niacinamide and hydrating hyaluronic acid) to set or refresh makeup, and a Blot & Glow Powder Puff — an ingenious slip-in-your-bag puff that comes pre-filled with a mattifying powder.
"The number one thing I would deal with, when I was out and about or at dinner with my friends, was getting oily," Selena says. "I've had both [a powder and a puff] in my purse before, but [I wanted] a thing that was just all-in-one."
And truly — in just a few pats down the center of my forehead, nose, and chin — my skin looked non-greasy and softly blurred. Now that's a filter we can get behind.
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