Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is one of those striking supermodels you can’t help but stare at in awe—whether she’s bare-faced or completely dolled up on the cover of a magazine, she’s a rare beauty head to toe. And after 20 years in the business, starring in campaigns for some of the biggest names like Victoria’s Secret and Burberry, as well as beauty brands (more on that below) where she learned from the top makeup artists, she’s ready to join the big leagues with a brand of her own, Rose Inc. Here, the British model and actress shares the inside scoop on her first of many collections, launching in pre-order today, and so much more.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did the brand come to be?
“I launched Rose Inc. the content platform—the editorial site you see today—back in 2018 after about a year of working on it behind the scenes. For me, it was all about building a community around beauty, cementing my authority within the beauty industry and trying to get across my passion to my audience. We launched in 2018, and pretty early after that, I set about trying to find a partner to launch beauty with. I had many, many different meetings with various investors, and nothing felt quite right. A lot of it was about a white labeling scenario or raising a load of money and then kind of being overwhelmed as to what to even do with that. I knew that I wanted to be really strategic and I wanted my brand to really stand for something. I think we all know the beauty industry, in terms of product, is completely oversaturated and it’s hard for things to really cut through all the noise. And the things we do see cutting through have a very different point of view, and so that was something I really felt sure about.
At the same time, I was also working with Amyris as the spokeswoman for Pipette, which I signed on to in the early part of 2019. I was a new mom—my son was about 18 months old—and I finally felt that there was a skin-care brand focused on mother and baby that really spoke to me. Being a new mom, you’re kind of overwhelmed with everything out there in the marketplace and you feel like you don’t know what ‘natural’ means versus ‘clean’ and all that, and I felt like a lot of the brands were really ‘crunchy’ and I didn’t really want them in my bathroom.
I was blown away with what the Amyris team was doing with Pipette, so I met with them about partnering on my brand and we talked for hours about all the things it could be. We met again in the late summer of 2019, and they asked me to bring a few benchmarks of products I really loved. I turned up to the meeting with two suitcases of makeup, which to me was ‘a few benchmarks’ (laughs). That’s me just having had 20 years of makeup put on my face and experience with it, and pulling together my hero products over the years.”
You also worked with Hourglass. Were any of those products included in your benchmarks?
“Hourglass has been one of my favorite brands for as long as I can remember—probably about eight or nine years now. I remember first trying the products that were used on me by a makeup artist and being so blown away by them. And then to become the face of the brand was really so special because at this point in my career, I only work with brands I feel very aligned with in terms of values, but also with products I really love, use and endorse. But that one was particularly meaningful to me because I really just love everything Carisa Janes [founder and CEO] has built over the years, really methodically and slowly—I think she’s an incredible businesswoman and I really look up to her. I think our products at Rose Inc. are really different, and that was really important to me. There are learnings everywhere you look in the marketplace—what to do and what not to do. However, when I look at a brand like Hourglass, I think of it being a product-first brand with amazing formulations, but also a brand that stands for something. That’s very much the stance we have at Rose Inc.”
Tell me more about the Rose Inc. mission.
“We are a brand that cares and wants to do the best it can for the environment and our customers. We think of ourselves as being ‘transparent’ versus just being ‘clean.’ We have clinical trials on all of our products, and all of our packaging has a really high standard in being as eco-friendly as possible, which has been incredibly challenging, but also hopefully really rewarding. We’re quite innovative and really holistically thinking about the brand in all aspects. We are also vegan and cruelty-free, and all of the color products contain beneficial skin-care ingredients as well, so they’re multipurpose. There’s a lot of care and integrity that’s gone into building the brand over the years.”
How is beauty perceived differently in the U.S. vs. the UK?
“In terms of aesthetics, when it comes to the way I see women in the U.S. wearing makeup versus the UK, it’s pretty similar, and in terms of trends, because of social media, we see them much more globally now. But I think it’s interesting that when we talk about ‘clean,’ it means something very different here versus there. We already ban about 1,500 ingredients in the UK, and we’ve done that for a long time. In the U.S., we’re a bit further behind.”
Speaking of “clean,” what does that term mean to you and the team at Rose Inc.?
“As a brand launching in 2021, although we’re clean, we’re not going to be using that as our big buzzword. That’s table stakes—it’s 2021. We’re much more innovative than that, and we’re really thinking much more 360. Overall, transparency is so important to us, and we’ve seen that as the evolution of the common word ‘clean’ now. Our website has all the nitty-gritty details of every single ingredient we’re using in our formulas, and full packaging breakdowns of the materials we’re using and how to recycle them.”
OK, I’m on the edge of my seat. Give me the scoop on all the newness.
“We’re launching with our Modern Essentials collection, which is four makeup products and two skin care. All of them have hard-hitting ingredients, including Amyris’s proprietary vegan squalene, and for us, even with the makeup, it wasn’t just about putting color on your face or camouflaging. For example, even with our concealer [Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer], we thought about why people are putting concealer on in the first place, so we have ingredients in there like fig buttercup extract that actually reduces redness and improves skin tone over time.
With our lip crayon [Lip Sculpt Amplifying Lip Color], it was about not just color pigmentation, but also smoothing and plumping effects with hyaluronic acid. We have amazing clinical results based on actual instrument measurements—someone measured the users’ lips with calipers—that shows a 50-percent increase in plumpness within one hour. There’s also a cream blush [Blush Divine Radiant Lip and Cheek Color] and brow gel [Brow Renew Enriched Eyebrow Shaping Gel] in four shades. For the two skin-care products, we have our Radiant Brightening Serum and an AHA toner [Skin Resolution Clarifying Toner].”
Did you create this collection based on the products you use personally in a normal day?
“Basically, yes. These are the four color products that really make a difference in my day. Like if I could only use four products, these are what I would use: a concealer, a cheek, a brow and a lip. They can carry me through the day and I can get out the door with just these products on, or I can wear them over other products. These are the essentials you’ll always see in my handbag. When it comes to the skin-care products, I felt like, well what are the two products I see instant results from? A great AHA toner because I have acne-prone skin, so I have to use something resurfacing on my skin every day, and then a serum that’s incredibly plumping and hydrating to the skin instantly, but also works as a bit of primer and moisturizer. It’s a bit of a three-in-one. We’re going to launch more products too, but these six really add value to your day.”
I didn’t hear you mention mascara, which is a must-have in my routine because my lashes are so light. Do you usually go without mascara?
“I actually really am quite happy to not mascara on day to day. If I’m going to meetings or events or things like that, I’ll put mascara on and maybe a bit of eyeliner and I love it. But day to day, if I’m running around or doing more casual Zoom calls, I just want my skin to look amazing. And maybe it’s because I have acne-prone skin, but for me, that’s the ultimate luxury for me, having beautiful, radiant, glowing skin. Skin is more of a focus for me. Also, sunglasses hide a multitude of sins.”
Do you plan to launch a mascara at some point?
“Yes, we are launching it in 2022, but it’s a hard one to get right so we wanted to push it off the launch time a little bit and give ourselves some more time to really nail it.”
You mentioned you have acne-prone skin, but you can use your AHA toner every day. Is it super gentle?
“Yes, it’s gentle enough for daily use, and the key beneficial ingredients include our squalane for weightless hydration, salicylic acid derived from willow bark that we’re really excited about, and mandelic, lactic and glycolic, and tartaric acids. I’ve come to the conclusion that my skin sort of has a sluggish cell turnover, so using exfoliating acids helps encourage cell turnover but they have to be gentle enough. I’ve used plenty of things over the years that get the job done, but then I got really dry skin. This is gentle, but deeply powerful. And there’s a detoxifying, calming pink clay that sits at the bottom of the bottle, and you shake it to disperse it into the liquid—it’s a really oddly satisfying moment.”
I’m also curious about the lip-plumping crayon. You already have perfectly plump lips that I’m sure many women would dream to have (including me!), so was that something you wanted to make, or were your fans asking for that?
“You know it’s funny because I find the plumping from this product to really be the hydration of it. It has this lovely velvet-matte finish to the color, but at the same time it has a very buttery, rich texture, so it almost feels like a creamy balm. It looks really beautiful and expensive across the mouth for an effortless look. I called it Lip Sculpt because when you really take the time to apply it and kind of layer it up, it really defines your lips and sort of sculpts your lips to make them a more prominent feature. Also, all the colors are named after words that have come out of some of my favorite female artists’ sculptural work.”
Do you have a favorite shade?
“I love them all—they’re like my children—and there’s a place for them because they’re really versatile, but I think my favorite is Abstract [pictured below]. I call this product ‘the bottom of a handbag lipstick’ because I think it’s one of those things you can pull out and apply no matter where you’re going, what you’re wearing, you don’t have to think about it too much—I don’t know about you, but I have like 50 lipsticks at the bottom of my handbag. The colors work across all skin tones beautifully, too.”
Sign-up for exclusive purchasing begins today on RoseInc.com and products will be available for purchase to Rose Inc. registered members between August 24 and 26. The brand will also exclusively be available in the U.S. at Sephora, Sephora.com and Roseinc.com on August 27.
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