Brand to Capitalize on Nicole Kidman's 'Hair Wellness Journey'
Slap "wellness" after anything, shove it in a bottle, and sell it for $48. Now, are any celebrities still available to sell this stuff?
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You’d be forgiven, in the sixth month of 2022, for thinking there are zero remaining celebrities to attach to a beauty product line. In that case, please step right up to Nicole Kidman. You know her as the massively famous star of shows like Big Little Lies and The Undoing, and films like The Stepford Wives and Moulin Rouge, but she is also — you probably didn’t know, but WWD is here to tell you — a “wellness advocate.” She called WWD from Nashville to explain why she’s now fronting hair products. It all started because she wanted to “back a few companies.”
“Obviously not a lot,” she continued. “I don’t have an enormous amount of time. And I’m really, really, really careful. I wanted ones that were contributing to the world, making the world better and helping people in our world.”
That criteria in mind, she chose Vegamour, which WWD calls a “wellness haircare company.” They sell two fluid ounces of “scalp detoxifying serum” for $32 and one fluid ounce of “advanced hair serum” for $64. Like many of you, I had not heard of this brand prior to Kidman getting involved, but its seems to revolve around a promise that its products will make hair grow faster and thicker and maybe the name is a combination of “vegan” and “amour.” The website has a tab that reads “science” and copy below that that reads, “No one thought it was possible to make high-performance hair products without harmful toxins and undesirable side effects.” (Except that… most of us did?) "We combined the superpowers of science and nature and made it happen.” A terra cotta color scheme appears behind close-up images of dew on leaves. You’ve seen this movie before, and no, we’re absolutely not getting through this post without the word “sustainable.”
Kidman apparently spent part of a pandemic quarantine testing out Vegamour products. She claimed they helped her “weak” hair strands, which she described as “stressed” from wearing “tight, tight ponytails,” swim caps, clips, and wigs. Vegamour was started in 2016 by Daniel Hodgdon, who said Kidman’s values “aligned” with the brand.
“…She’s passionate about the same things that we are: hair wellness, ingredient integrity, and the importance of clean, plant-based, efficacious products that work. Throughout her career and life [she’s] been through a hair wellness journey of her own and is hoping to share her story with the intention of helping to inspire and educate others…”
Hodgdon goes on to boast of “efforts to support biodiversity and sustainable sourcing practices.” His next big business move is to bring to market an “age-defying innovation that is both a proactive tool to preserve hair’s natural pigment as well as renew color” and says the company will “continue our expansion into the hair wellness category, with a focus on both prejuvenation” — which is not a word — “and rejuvenation.” So if you thought the pandemic era embrace of naturally gray hair was here to stay, well, lol. Vegamour will take, what, like $128 from you to disabuse you of that notion? (Since the products aren’t yet out, we don’t know what they’ll cost but I’m extrapolating based on existing prices.)
Earlier in Back Row: Kate Hudson’s Absurd Empire
Kidman, of course, joins a long list of celebrities — including Kate Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Victoria Beckham — who back a beauty line or product. As I type, Kim Kardashian has just Instagrammed some photos of herself wearing T-shirt scraps to alert us to her new skincare line SKKN (guess she’s apparently not a vowels advocate). Her nine-product line is made with “science-backed ingredients” that are “clean,” which distinguish it neither from any other celebrity skincare line nor the banana bread you made last weekend. In a statement provided to WWD, Kardashian said, “In all of my business endeavors, I’ve been fueled by my passion to fill gaps in the market with expertly crafted and universally loved products that are performance driven…” She told the New York Times for a promotional story about these lotions, “If you told me that I literally had to eat poop every single day and I would look younger, I might. I just might.” Yet, she also cited her long struggle with psoriasis as part of the inspiration for making these products “clean.” (I have long struggled with psoriasis, too, including terrible flares after giving birth to my two kids, and tried tons of treatments — even stupid things on Pinterest that I would never believe work, but this is how desperate I was — and the only thing that has improved it in a long-lasting way has been receiving light therapy treatments in a dermatologist’s office twice a week; someone like Kim Kardashian, who lives in a house the size of a large university building and who has the money to buy her own light box, could probably do this treatment at home.)
Both Kidman’s hair stuff and Kardashian’s skin stuff, like so many beauty lines already on the market, play into the pervasive notion that we women are not only aging, insecure, and mediocre- or bad-looking, but also vessels for toxins of which only these products can rid us. The marketing of today’s beauty products now too often implies that we are sponges that have absorbed the garbage ingredients of our average existences, which don’t involve spending quarantine looking for beauty lines to invest in or, at any moment in time, getting expensive elective cosmetic procedures to make us look younger and more beautiful. In order to buy into this marketing, we have to somewhat buy into its suggestion that we have turned ourselves into walking chemical waste repositories with unsurprisingly wrinkled, dehydrated skin and thinning, graying hair as a consequence. And on top of this, we’re not making the world a better place because we thought we might save a few bucks and buy a couple of regular old $10 Herbal Essences or Neutrogena products at Walgreens instead of Vegamour’s $74 shampoo and conditioner set or SKKN’s $95 face oils.
I guess you have to hand it to these companies. We’ve long known that insecurity sells. So does fear — that we have, by not being “conscious” or “sustainable” or vegan enough, made ourselves nothing but unclean and unwell.
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