Image Courtesy of Moon Juice
April 15, 2024

Are Celebrity and Influencer-Led Wellness Brands Worth The Hype?

New celebrity and influencer-led wellness brands are popping up left and right. How do we know which brands will deliver?

The word wellness has departed from its inherent meaning of well-being, body awareness, and personal health goals. Now, when we think of wellness, we think of clean beauty brands, self-help products, and even magical healing properties. COVID-19 brought forth this new wellness wave with at-home pilates YouTube videos and mental health counseling rising in 2020. Four years later, however, wellness encapsulates a sort of beautiful physicality. We’re not just doing pilates, we’re also wearing Sporty & Rich tennis skirts or Alo Yoga leggings while doing it. New celebrity brands are popping up left and right, blending the worlds of fitness and fashion while marketing a healthful glow. But will these fashionable brands promising long-term wellness benefits be here to stay? How do we know which brands will deliver on their promises?  

Celebrity Wellness Brands Aren’t New

Gwyneth Paltrow is the patron saint of celebrity wellness brands. Paltrow established the lifestyle brand Goop in 2008, beginning as a newsletter providing wellness advice, and later evolving into an all-encompassing shop for ways to make your life better. Advertised on the official Goop website as “An indispensable resource for finding products, tools, tips, and experts to bring more agency, depth, and joy to life,” Paltrow’s brand is known for its kitschy sexual products — like a Yoni Jade Egg that encourages a total-body connection, or the infamous Goop x Heretic This Smells Like My Vagina candle that “lifts the spirit” (NOTE: I once had the pleasure of burning this candle and while it has delightful notes of geranium and grapefruit, I cannot say that it lifted my spirit).

Image Courtesy of Goop

Despite the immense success of the brand within the wellness space, Goop has been met with criticisms — a product of Paltrow’s ownership and her celebrity status. Consumers find it hard to trust the marketing of celebrities, who often spend astronomical amounts of money to improve their appearances in a way that a $40 facial moisturizer could never accomplish. When it comes to celebrity brands, customers are wary of false promises.

The semantics of “clean” beauty often allude to an impossibly unblemished life of exercise and beauty. There are products infused with crystals that suggest intrinsic healing properties, or branded with words like “glow,” “stem-cell,” and “age-defying,” as seen on the packaging of model Miranda Kerr’s cruelty-free and organic skincare brand, Kora Organics. Kourtney Kardashian’s vitamin and supplement line Lemme, launched in 2022, even asserts the vitamin’s role in your daily routine as a “divine part of your everyday life” on its official website. These products, as advertised by celebrities and influencers alike, grace themselves with a holy, otherworldly capability to heal the body from the inside out. In actuality, we know that these products are rarely miracles and instead simply aid in de-bloating our stomachs or brightening our skin — and nothing is wrong with that. In fact, it’s why we’re buying them.  

A New Wave of Wellness Brands

A highly anticipated wellness brand is model Bella Hadid’s mysterious forthcoming business endeavor, Orebella. Not much is known about this unreleased line of products, but as of April 2024, it’s been teased on Instagram that they have the power to “reveal your alchemy.”  Hadid has since revealed some behind-the-scenes details of her creative process, involving an aura study and a sage cleansing before ideating on the products. It’s been speculated that Orebella will consist of traditional beauty products with an emphasis on spirituality and healing. Per Glamour, “Orebella’s trademark application from 2022 indicated that the brand will sell a variety of scented products, including fragrances, scented oils and lotions, and hair care products, as well as fragrance diffusers and scented candles.”

Image Courtesy of Orebella/Bella Hadid

This aligns with Hadid’s own medical struggles with Chronic Lyme disease and also establishes a sort of brand ethos, as Hadid clearly has a personal investment in the efficacy of her products. Sure, we can trust Bella Hadid, but how can we guarantee that we’re buying from brands that care about the health needs of their customers? How do we separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to all of these wellness brands? 

The Global Wellness Wave

It seems that the wellness wave is here to stay, at least according to experts. The Global Wellness Summit annually forecasts the upcoming trends and fads in the field — analyzing health data from climate changes, to mental wellbeing, to sports statistics. The 2024 report predicts a rise in thermoregulatory skincare targeting anti-pollution, dubbed “geoskincare,” due to the effects of climate changes on our bodies. Antioxidant ingredients like Vitamin C, retinoids, ferulic acid, and niacinamide all have anti-pollutive qualities, as seen in products like Drunk Elephant’s D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops and Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Pollution Drops.

Similarly, the weight-loss drug epidemic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. GLP-1 weight-loss drugs, like Ozempic, are becoming more accessible due to newer, cheaper forms hitting the market – and it’s predicted that around 70 new drugs are in development. Accompanying this rise, wellness experts are hoping to create a more sustainable, ethical, and honest relationship with the weight-loss drug users’ body image and weight.

Image Courtesy of Sporty & Rich

We often buy products because we hope that they’ll fill some void in our lives, and companies market to this desire; what makes a brand successful is its ability to create a solutions-oriented line of products that addresses specific concerns within a market gap — while doing it better than any competing brand out there. It’s important to consider what trends you’re participating in and whether or not they make you feel good. After all, isn’t that the point of self-care? Exercise in Outdoor Voices, drink Moon Juice supplements in your coffee, or decompress with a LESSE face mask before bed, but make sure that you trust the brands that you’re letting into your routine.

Erica DeMatos

Erica DeMatos is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts who finds herself interested in the art of listening more than that of speaking. She searches for meaning in everything and is most interested in memoirs, diary entries, words written in sharpie on bathroom stalls and other shared secrets that were once held close to the heart. When she is not writing or reading you can find her at the beach, no matter the weather. You can read more of her fashion writing in HALOSCOPE magazine or whimsical daydreams on her Substack @ericadematos.

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