Rosie Huntingon-Whiteley: “The margins on my skincare brand are excellent”

Model and actress Rosie Huntingon-Whiteley was named “the most beautiful woman in the world” about ten years ago. Today, she wants to take a slice of the beauty market with her brand Rose Inc.

“All my life, I took advantage of the fact that they didn’t expect much from me”. Once again, the detractors of the model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley will have to admit that they underestimated the Briton. Her Rose Inc beauty label is only celebrating its first anniversary, but it’s already well established.

It takes a while to find a picture of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on the website of her Rose Inc cosmetics label. the “Editorial” section. She also appears in the tutorials with some of her famous friends, where she gives beauty advice and recommends products from her brand, but also from other labels. In fact, the 35-year-old actress/model/entrepreneur hasn’t made it any easier: unless there’s specific research, you’re hard to imagine she’s behind it all.

Although her international profile opens doors for her, she wants the products in her cosmetics line to speak for themselves. As you would expect from a woman who has been voted “the most beautiful in the world”, the emphasis is on “glowing” and “glossy”. Like “Skin Enhance,” both skincare and makeup, which gives the most beautiful, fresh glow we’ve ever tested. But also the lovely sheer lip and cheek shades, some in the perfect deep pink. All presented in a minimalist and almost disturbingly light packaging, designed to be very easily recycled. With Rose Inc, Huntington-Whiteley has managed to brilliantly create a label that relies on her beauty, but which would have conquered its place in the cosmetics market without her name.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has decided to get into the beauty business by offering a skincare range that emphasizes “glowing” and “glossy”.
©Benjamin Vnuk

beauty boom

Rose Inc celebrates its first anniversary and it’s a success. The company employs 44 people based in California and London, the city where, after spending eleven years in Los Angeles, the beauty settled with actor Jason Statham, his son Jack and their baby Isabella. His company Rose Inc is also active in New York and San Francisco. “Time zones are perhaps our biggest challenge,” says Caroline Hadfield, the company’s president and CEO, looking back on that first year. Rose Inc products are carried by Net-A-Porter, Sephora, Space NK and Liberty. Magazines love it: 93 percent of products available on have 4.5 stars or more. “Since the launch of the label, expectations have been exceeded every quarter,” says Hadfield.

Huntington-Whiteley is one of many celebrities to have launched a line of beauty products in recent years. Selena Gomez did, Hailey Bieber, whose Rhode Skin brand just launched and sold out in just three days for some products, too. Other celebrities who have beauty in their skin: Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams and Harry Styles. And, more recently, Brad Pitt, Kate Moss and Stella McCartney. All these beautiful people participate in the beauty boom.

Today, we talk a lot about natural components, pure formulas and rituals. Skin care is now between beauty and well-being: it is no longer just about coquetry, but also about health.

In the past, to improve their income, stars preferred perfumes and make-up. Today, it’s skincare products. The reason is obvious: in 2021, the market weighed in at a whopping 130 billion euros worldwide. And according to Grand View Research, more than 5 billion euros will be added to it in 2022.

That’s not all: we talk a lot more about natural components, pure formulas and rituals, so much so that the field of beauty has moved to the intersection of beauty and well-being: it is not It’s no longer just about coquetry, but also about health. The formulas of the face creams are the result of clinical trials and Nobel Prize-winning research. Launching a skincare product therefore seems to be a more cerebral activity than lending your face to a perfume.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley moved to London after living in Los Angeles for eleven years.
©Benjamin Vnuk

glory and beauty

Skincare products give more space to a star’s personality. Like the creative and confident Alicia Keys, who combines her belief in self-care with her love of ancient rituals to sell her Keys Soulcare line. Humanrace is the brand of Pharrell Williams: very cool, with gender-neutral and refillable jade green packaging. Harry Styles offers Pleasing, with a psychedelic nod and a selection of decidedly esoteric products: mainly skincare products, but also sweatshirts, T-shirts, bandanas and nail polish. The Outset, Scarlett Johansson’s skinscare label, exudes the simplicity of someone who’s represented other luxury brands for years and is finally claiming their less complicated market share. Kim Kardashian’s new skincare line, SKKN By Kim, offers a nine-step concept inspired by her own daily routine, far more expensive than other celebrity labels: 684 euros.

Other celebrities are filling the gaps in the market in a targeted manner, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty or Pattern, the hair care products of actress Tracee Ellis Ross, with which the daughter of Diana Ross intends to “meet the needs of people with hair kinky, frizzy and curly”.

Idris and Sabrina Elba have also launched a new range, S’ABLE Labs, through which they intend to draw more attention to “A-Beauty”, beauty products and African superfoods, which enjoy less much attention than Korean labels. “Some communities are still underrepresented and underserved by the beauty and wellness industry,” says Sabrina Elba. “We are convinced that S’ABLE Labs will seduce them.”

©Benjamin Vnuk

lingerie line

The range of skincare products bearing the name of a personality is so vast that Huntington-Whiteley hesitated for a moment, even if she understands why so many famous faces want to get started. “Historically, collaborating with other brands has always been a little extra money for celebrities. But there is always an end. Some partnerships, on the other hand, are truly genuine. I have known several in the past.”

Indeed, her lingerie line for Marks & Spencer celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, making it the oldest such collaboration in the UK.

“On the other hand, some collabs are anything but authentic,” she continues. “At the end of the day, they are not satisfactory for either party. Add to that the fact that it is now much easier to create your own label, so that you are not limited by a brand or a contract: you then own your own identity. There are also plenty of investors who want to work with celebrities because a familiar face can give you a head start as a business.”

And if you do it right, it can also pay off financially. “At the end of the day, beauty is an extremely interesting sector,” says the entrepreneur. “The margins are excellent. If you have a quality offer and a solid founder or a credible celebrity, and if you address a real community, your brand can become very important. Even if your name is not Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, it allows you to run a healthy and successful business.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is the partner of English actor Jason Statham.
©Getty Images

Frustrated journalist

Like other major cosmetics brands of the past decade, such as Goop and Glossier, Rose Inc started with editorial content: skincare tips, makeup tips, makeup tutorials, beauty or profiles of interesting women and their relationship with cosmetics. Huntington-Whiteley claims to be a magazine addict and always knew there was a frustrated journalist in her. Creating his online platform also gave him time to figure out how to build a brand, find the money to invest and increase his authority in the industry.

Huntington-Whiteley’s reputation is crucial to the success of Rose Inc. Money and know-how pumped into the products come from biotech company Amyris, which owns a wide range of cosmetics brands, including hair care from Jonathan Van Ness and the Brazilian-inspired skincare and bodycare line of Francisco Costa, the former designer of Calvin Klein.

Some celebrities have launched a beauty line in response to their particular skin problem, such as Hailey Bieber or Alicia Keys, often as part of a “confession”. For example, Rose Inc’s skincare products stem from the skin issues of Rosie, who has suffered from acne throughout her adult life and understands “the struggle, the challenge and the emotional side one faces then”.

A few years ago, a beautician recommended that she avoid products with components that clog pores at all costs. She then obsessively checked the ingredient lists of everything from coconut oil to seaweed to wheat germ, and the quality of her skin improved markedly. When she was still regularly active as a model, she brought her own foundation, and the makeup artists she most often worked with had a special kit for her. At Rose Inc, everything is non-comedogenic, even the makeup. “When we create make-up, I see it primarily as skincare and I apply the same rules,” she explains.

Cult product

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s label owes its success above all to this crossover between skincare and make-up, a positioning that could well become a niche, which would make the brand’s success last. “Skincare products are one of the hardest categories to gain credibility,” says Hadfield. “But it works: The Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum was our best launch yet and it’s on its way to becoming a cult product.”

To celebrate the brand’s first anniversary, a new collection for the eyes has been added: a shiny and “pure” black mascara (one of the most difficult products to make pure), a “Micellar Cleanser” to remove mascara , as well as six eye shadow duos.

And Rosie is working on other skincare products, with a very meticulous approach. “A famous face can persuade a customer to buy the product just out of interest, because he’s a fan. I myself have made purchases this way. But it’s the brand’s products and ethics that keep this customer coming back. I wanted to build a brand that people who know nothing about me, who have never heard of me, can turn to. What I really like is that Rose Inc products are said to be ‘really good’. Or a ‘I was pretty impressed’ testimonial: that way of saying ‘quite impressed’ always makes me smile, because it implies that he didn’t really expect the product to be that good.”

Doesn’t she find it frustrating to constantly have to prove that she can do more than give her name to a label? She laughs. “No way. All my life, I took advantage of the fact that not much was expected of me.”

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