Scarlett Johansson is the latest celebrity embarking on a venture in the beauty industry.
The two-time Oscar-nominated actress revealed on Tuesday her clean skin care line, called The Outset, which is launching with five products meant to reflect Johansson’s own minimal skin care routine. For the venture, Johansson teamed with Kate Foster Lengyel, a beauty industry veteran who has worked in the beauty divisions of Victoria’s Secret and Juicy Couture.
“I entered this industry blindly in a way,” Johansson explained alongside Foster Lengyel at The Outset’s Flatiron office. “It’s very different from what I do in my other job, but I had worked for a long time as an ambassador for other beauty brands and I think as I got older in my late 20s, there was a turning point where I just felt like I was done representing other people’s ideal beauty standards and I felt like I had enough confidence to start something on my own that felt true to me.”
Johansson spent the last five years going down different avenues for the brand, working with various formulators and beauty executives until she met Foster Lengyel through mutual friends right before the pandemic hit. The two spent their time during quarantine brainstorming and figuring out their attack plan and were able to fast track their idea.
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The Outset is launching with five clean skin care products: the Gentle Micellar Antioxidant Cleanser, the Firming Vegan Collagen Prep Serum, the Nourishing Squalene Daily Moisturizer, the Restorative Niacinamide Night Cream and the Smoothing Vitamin C Eye + Expression Lines Cream. Products range from $32 to $54 and will be available on The Outset’s website before entering Sephora in April.
“We call it the classic white T of skin care,” said Foster Lengyel, who is the brand’s cofounder and chief executive officer. “It’s a universal staple in your wardrobe. It pairs with everything else and I think we understand from our conversations with consumers that they like to use a variety of brands, and so we wanted to create a brand that would play well with others.”
The Outset uses a signature Hyaluroset complex, a botanical alternative to hyaluronic acid, in all of its products to deliver lasting hydration, plumping and smoothing. The brand excluded 2,700 harmful ingredients from its products and looked to only clean ingredients.
“I was looking at all avenues,” Johansson said when asked why she chose skin care rather than another beauty category. “Like, I love color, fragrance and skin care. This is going to sound kind of esoteric, but I really meditated on it a lot and spent a lot of time thinking about it. I kept coming back to the idea of skin care because I had problem skin for a very long time that I felt self-conscious about. [Skin care] was just very much the base of the rest of my beauty routine and if I wasn’t feeling good about my skin, no amount of hair or makeup or glamour would make that feeling go away.”
The Outset centers on a three-step Daily Essential Regimen with its cleanser, prep serum and daily moisturizer, which mimics Johansson’s own daily routine. Johansson and Foster Lengyel felt it was important to offer basic daily essentials that would elevate and fit in with a customer’s daily habits.
Johansson’s skin care brand comes at a time of increasing activity in the celebrity beauty industry where many major celebrities have come out with their own brand over the last two years. This includes the launches of Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, Jennifer Lopez’s JLo Beauty, Jennifer Aniston’s LolaVie and Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty, among others.
For Johansson, she sees her skin care brand as unique to what’s on the market because it came out of her own necessity and offers a simpler solution for daily skin care.
“I can just speak for The Outset, which is it was such a labor of love,” she explained. “[The beauty industry] is a very crowded space, but in that space I felt like there was an opportunity to almost reduce the noise and make something that felt like it was an easy choice for people to understand and there was a transparency to it.
Unlike many other celebrities and their brands, Johansson opted to not use her name and didn’t have any intention of doing so from the get-go.
“I never thought about using my name,” she explained. “I wanted this line to stand on its own and I didn’t want it to feel like there was any sort of pre-existing idea of what it was going to be. That people could approach the line and take away what they will from it without my presence being there.”
The Outset was coined by Foster Lengyel after the two cofounders decided they wanted the brand’s name to reflect new beginnings.
The skin care brand is also rooted in sustainability. The Daily Essential Regimen products are all refillable. The brand aims to offer more refillable products as it continues to release new launches.
Johansson and Foster Lengyel explained that The Outset has a few more facial skin care products slated for release later this year and that they have their sights set on body care as their next category expansion.
“We have a lot of dreams for where we see our company going,” Johansson concluded. “I think it’s about getting this out there and then seeing how people use it, how they respond and opening up the dialogue and inviting a community of people to be a part of it. It’s very exciting to finally be sharing the brand with other people. It’s been such an inside operation for so long.”
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