Put on the map by beauty YouTubers, BH Cosmetics is now going the traditional celebrity route by teaming up with “High School Musical” alumna Ashley Tisdale on a new collection launching globally in May.
In development for a year, the Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale collection is priced from $9 to $18 and contains two eye shadow and blush palettes, six lip glosses and six cheek and lip tints. BH Cosmetics has largely sold its merchandise online to date, but is in talks with major retailers to introduce the collection in bricks-and-mortar.
“The cool thing about Ashley is she’s been in the [entertainment] industry since she was a kid, so she’s been in the makeup chair for many years,” said Reed Cromwell, director of product development at BH Cosmetics. “She knows makeup and she knows texture. It was a match made in heaven. It wasn’t just a celebrity coming to put their name on something. She’s challenged me to come up with new ideas and innovation.”
As she’s grown up in front of and behind the camera, 30-year-old Tisdale, who recently marked the 10th anniversary of “High School Musical” by reuniting with members of the original cast, said she’s become more confident about expressing her opinions to shape products. For her initial meeting with Cromwell, she brought an Elle magazine cover featuring a model wearing a black-and-white T-shirt capturing the beachy vibe she wanted for her BH Cosmetics collection, but not the color. She favored rose gold as a prominent shade for the packaging.
“I’m someone who loves makeup — I love doing my own makeup and getting my makeup done — and I had specific ideas for what I wanted the palettes to look like so they would represent me,” said Tisdale. “I love the whole California beachy look, and I love glowy bronze. I think makeup is supposed to illuminate you. Hence, the title Illuminate.”
To check that the rose gold on the boxes was right, Tisdale arrived at BH Cosmetics’ manufacturing plant at 6 a.m. on the day they were being produced to sign off on the shade. “It was good that I did because the first time they printed it, it was tad off, so they did another print,” she said. “There is a lot that goes into every detail.”
Speaking of details, Cromwell emphasized he and Tisdale concentrated heavily on the ultrafine textures and vibrant pigments used in the palettes. “Nowadays with social media, everybody who has a smartphone is able to review a product. It really needs to perform as promised. We wanted powerful pigments,” he said.
The glosses are designed to enhance lip volume without stinging and the cheek colors to provide color while allowing skin to shine through.
Unlike BH Cosmetics’ collaborations with social media influencers that last weeks or months and are limited to one product, the brand has a long-term relationship with Tisdale and will expand her collection across several categories. “We are bringing it on as a line that will continue for years,” said Cromwell. “For 2016, I really have to look at the key categories: eyes, lips and face to make sure they are covered. As we roll into 2017, you will start to see ancillary items coming out.”
With a packed schedule, Tisdale said she’s not looking too far out, although she mentioned skin care as a possible extension. The actress and singer has ventured into beauty before — she was the face of defunct tween retailer Club Libby Lu’s Pink Twinkle cosmetics in 2006, for instance — but said she’s become more open to opportunities her fame has generated lately. “When I turned 30, I had a moment where I realized that if I wanted to do something, I should just go for it,” she said. “In the past, I had fears. I would ask myself, ‘Am I ready to do a makeup line? Am I ready to do clothing?’ I never wanted to hurt my acting career, but now I realize you can do it all.”
Beauty is a good fit for Tisdale because she’s adept at doing it on herself. She watches YouTube videos for inspiration and education, and often handles her own makeup for events and the red carpet. “I’m not afraid,” she said. “Sometimes when you’re working with a new makeup artist, they might not know exactly what you like, so it’s easier to do it yourself. You know exactly how you want a certain eye and how many lashes you want.”
Beyond beauty, Tisdale has delved into producing and fashion, and hasn’t stopped building her acting resume. She is the creative director for a line of T-shirts from the apparel brand Signorelli, executive producer of the ABC Family show “Young & Hungry,” founder of the editorial Web site The Haute Mess and stars alongside Jason Biggs in the movie “Amateur Night” scheduled to premiere in May.
Acting remains Tisdale’s priority. She revealed she’s considering developing a show in which she’d star. Tisdale said, “I want people to see my range in acting. They know that I can do comedy, but I really think I want to find that role that showcases me in a different way.”