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KathleenLights Leaps From Social Media to Selling Nail Polishes

The popular YouTuber's new brand KL Polish is the latest in a growing list of brands started by digital beauty influencers.

Kathleen Fuentes, the beauty influencer known as KathleenLights and frequent makeup brand collaborator, has decided to venture out on her own with a new nail polish line.

Launching officially on Dec. 5, KL Polish is beginning with six nail lacquer shades priced at $8.50 each, but is expected to expand beyond shades with a variety of nail products. KL Polish joins Zoella Beauty, Real Techniques and Barefoot Blonde Hair on the growing list of beauty brands spearheaded by digital personalities.

“A lot of times with brands, you don’t really know the face behind the brand. It doesn’t feel like a personal thing. When these YouTubers create their own brands, they start them in front of their audience. They see someone that’s relatable, and they watch them as they create their brand,” said Fuentes. “I would rather buy something from someone I love and watch on the Internet than from a brand I don’t really know.”

Fuentes, who has drawn 2.7 million subscribers and 256 million views on YouTube, acknowledged it might come as a surprise to some that she opted for polish and not makeup to commence her solo product career. In the past, she’s partnered on a highlighter palette with Makeup Geek, two liquid lipsticks with Ofra Cosmetics and a slew of items, including liquid matte lipsticks and eye shadows, with ColourPop, and was part of Benefit Cosmetics’ Cheekathon Blush & Bronzer Palette campaign.

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“I don’t want to commit to makeup right now,” explained Fuentes. “My mom came up with the idea of polishes. We were painting my nails in our kitchen. I told her I wanted to explore something on my own, but I didn’t want to do makeup. She was like, ‘Hello, you are painting your nails. Can you think of anything better than that?’ I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of it myself. I have always been obsessed with nail polish, and have bottles and bottles under my bed.”

Although she’s tried maybe thousands at this point, Fuentes complained she’s struggled to find polishes that stay put on her nails — and was firm about developing lacquers for KL Polish that did. “I wanted to have a long-wearing formula that was very opaque. It’s so frustrating when something chips the next day after you’ve spent 20 minutes doing your nails,” she said. Fuentes polled her Twitter followers to pin down the size of the polish brush, and the winner was a wide brush. “I totally agree with that, and I was a little afraid they wouldn’t,” she shared.

Kathleen Lights
Kathleen Fuentes, the influencer behind Kathleen Lights. ParisHelenaPhoto


Beyond perfecting the formula and brush, it was important to Fuentes to keep the price of her polishes down for her audience of principally 13- to 20-year-olds. “I wanted to make sure 100 percent that they were less than $10. I feel like paying more than $10 for polish is steep,” she said. “Not everybody wants to spend so much on polish, so I wanted to make it affordable for my subscribers looking for good quality nail polish.”

In early pre-sales, Fuentes’ polishes appear to have scored with her fans. The red shade Brick Sidewalk, the mauve shade Zoey and the mustard shade Caramello are already sold out. The first two Fuentes predicted would do well because they’re extremely wearable, but the success of edgier Caramello, her favorite, is a bit astonishing. “I don’t have any nail polish in my personal collection of hundreds that looks like that,” she said of Caramello.

Fuentes has big plans for KL Polish and is relying on input gathered on social media to help guide its impending introductions. She reported there’s high demand for a matte top coat, and she’s going to be tackling that project soon. She’s also working on nail-polish remover, and envisions tools and nail-care products in KL Polish’s future. She declared, “I don’t want it to be just colors.”