Rare Beauty arrives in India

Despite steep prices, Selena Gomez’s make-up brand’s products sold like hot cakes within a few minutes of being launch in the country.

Published - June 16, 2023 06:32 pm IST

For three years, Indian make-up enthusiasts watched influencers in the U.S. rave about the natural flush Rare Beauty’ Soft Pinch Liquid Blush gives, the radiant glow of the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer and the vibrant colour and comfort of the Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream. But on June 15, the brand, founded by singer, actress and producer Selena Gomez, was launched in India. 

The products, available at Sephora, went live on Sephora.nnnow.com at midnight, although the site began hanging and the traffic led to the site crashing. Many users were disappointed to find that most products were sold out by the time Nnnow’s website was back. The brand’s best-selling and viral Soft Pinch Tinted Lip Oil sold out within 15 minutes.

In-store shoppers had better luck, although many said that they arrived at the mall early in the morning, to beat the crowds. In Chennai’s Express Avenue mall, shoppers flocked around the Rare Beauty display, leaving all other aisles empty, and salespeople shuttling between customers. 

“People will finally stop wearing ashy foundation. That’s all we’ve grown up with. If you go to Health and Glow, the akka is like, ‘buy the porcelain shade.’ I’m glad people now have a chance to buy from an inclusive brand and find their shade [the suits their skin tone],” said Nitika Kurian, an independent artist, in Chennai.  

Gomez’s persona and mission is also a big reason behind the brand’s popularity. The former Disney star is not just a recognisable face, but one that the target consumer grew up with. Gomez is also outspoken about her mental health struggles and has long advocated mental health. “[Rare Beauty] talks about Mental Health, which is paramount in today’s age and age,” said Mumbai-based make-up enthusiast Poorna Govindasamy. Rare Beauty donates one percent of its profits to the Rare Impact Fund to expand mental health services in underserved communities. The messaging carries through in her products as well. “You actually see on their products, there’s always a good play on wellness, like their face mist is called Always and Optimist, the bronzer is called Warm Wishes.” 

Despite the hype though, many shoppers were disappointed with the prices, which start at ₹1,500 for a mini-sized mascara, (which retails for $11) and go up to ₹3,900 for the tinted moisturiser and foundation.“The calculator is not really math-ing with the prices,” said Kurian. “Since [the lip oil] is $20 I thought [the price] would sort of be equivalent.” The lip oil, however, is over ₹700 more than the dollar price.

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