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Hailey Bieber rhode skincare
Courtesy of Rhode

Hailey Bieber: ‘I’m just a woman who’s infatuated by beauty’

As Rhode launches in the UK, Dazed Beauty caught up with Hailey Bieber to talk glazed doughnut skincare, expanding into make-up, and why she’s obsessed with pink blush

As I’m waiting to cross the road on my way to interview Hailey Bieber, a taxi plastered with her face drives past advertising her skincare brand Rhode. Earlier in the day, I overheard a graphic designer in the Dazed offices saying she had set her alarm to make sure she got her hands on the products when they dropped that morning. It’s clear Hailey Bieber is in the air, and if you’re not aware of her and her skincare brand, which is now officially available in the UK, you need to look up and listen.

Launched last year, Rhode debuted with a curated range of three core products: the Barrier Restore Cream, the Peptide Lip Treatment and the Peptide Glazing Fluid (which at one point reportedly had a waitlist of over 100,000 people). In a time when the market is saturated with celebrity beauty brands, Rhode cut through the noise and has been genuinely well received – praised for its authenticity, intentional curation of products and Bieber’s involvement and passion. 

Centred around plump hydration, the brand is part of the “glazed doughnut” skincare phenomenon that has seen everyone slugging on the occlusive layers for a look that is juicy, dewy and glowing. Rhode cemented Bieber’s position as the poster girl for the minimal make-up, dewy skin, and “effortless” beauty aesthetic that has dominated in the last year. For the Instagram girls who accessorise their slicked-back hair with understated gold jewellery, fluffy eyebrows and their best The Row trousers, Beiber is their idol.

While the “clean girl” make-up look that she has often been associated with has since come under fire for being problematic, the brand itself has gone from strength to strength. Rhode CEO Melanie Bender told Vogue Business in March that they crossed the eight-figure sales threshold in just 11 days of selling, and 36 units of the Peptide Glazing Fluid sold every second in past restocks.

Dazed Beauty caught up with Bieber while she was in London to chat about the brand, why dewy skin will always be timeless for her, and her beauty obsessions.

It’s almost been a year since you launched, how has the response been so far?

Hailey Bieber: It’s definitely been overwhelming in the best way. Of course, you never know what the response is going to be until it’s in the world and people get their hands on it. But I’ve been just super overwhelmed with gratitude and so elated with the response, and so happy with it and just happy that people are enjoying it and loving the products. I mean, everything that we do is for the consumer and the customer. And, of course, it’s a great feeling when people are happy.

Were you surprised by how positive the response was? 

Hailey Bieber: Yeah because a lot of the time you just never know. And I think it’s been overarchingly positive. My hope is the reason for that is because the product itself is great, and it’s really working for people and they’re just incorporating it and enjoying it and loving it in their day-to-day life. So I’m very, very thrilled, very happy.

I think one of the reasons people responded so positively is that it’s so well curated, with just three products.

Hailey Bieber: Totally, and that was something that was the goal from the beginning – the whole philosophy behind the brand is ‘one of everything, really good’. And having this kind of wardrobe-style skincare was something that made a lot of sense for me. I was talking about it when we were developing the brand like, ‘You know when you just find that really good leather jacket or the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect t-shirt, then you have the perfect outfit.’ Jeans, a t-shirt and a leather jacket, you can never go wrong. 

So that was kind of the same philosophy and idea that I wanted to put into the skincare. If you have a great moisturiser, lip balm and a great serum product you can’t go wrong. And then I started thinking about well, I’m someone who’s travelled a lot for my career. So, what is it that if I had to have a few things on the plane with me, what could I not live without? And it would be a great moisturiser, a serum product and a lip. And so as we continue to develop the line and curate the rest of the products, it comes from that same idea of, you know, what is that next thing that is part of the edit?

Why is skincare something you are so passionate about?

Hailey Bieber: I just love it. I’m such a nerd about ingredients and products and I just have always been very committed to skincare and really committed to taking care of my skin. And it is a commitment – having a routine and having that ritual it takes time to figure out. I just love the way it makes me feel, at the end of the day, clean face feeling like a dewy little glazed doughnut. I just love it. I don’t know what it does for my brain, I get like a serotonin boost. 

So I just have always loved it and I really wanted to bring something different to people and bring different products to the market. And it’s a lot of fun. I think skincare and beauty is fun, I’m having such a good time with it. I used to be a ballet dancer, so doing my make-up for performances and, you know, experimenting, there’s so much you can do with skincare and beauty. It’s a really fun community to be part of, it’s really creative and you can really connect with people.

My title at Rhode, other than being the founder, is creative director and it’s just been so much fun to take all these ideas that I have in my brain and watch them come to life from the packaging, to the formulas, to the imagery. I’m super, super, super involved in the product development and I think that’s probably why it takes so long for the products because I’m so so so picky about the texture and the feel and the ingredients and what it’s doing for the skin. You know, it’s my dream job.

I think you can tell that you’re very passionate about it. You mentioned that you wanted to bring something different to the market – what was that gap you wanted to fill? What did you think was missing?

Hailey Bieber: I think to be honest, there’s such great skincare that was already out there. But I think what I wanted to aim to do that was different was bring minimal, chic, affordable products that had simple, cool packaging but really, really great formula on the inside for a really affordable price. While also bringing people really cool imagery and a really cool feeling. My goal was that when people get their hands on the products they feel like they’re a part of the world of Rhode, and they feel like they’re part of something that is cool and fun and inclusive. 

Also that they’re getting great skincare and they fall in love with these products. I’m trying to create not just great products, but a feeling that I want people to feel a part of. They’re feeling me in this stuff. And they're feeling me in these products. And they’re feeling moved by the imagery. I think it’s so much deeper than just creating goop [laughs], although I want the goop on the inside of the bottle to be amazing. It’s like we’re creating a whole feeling and a whole world.

You said you wanted the brand to be affordable and accessible – why was that important to you?

Hailey Bieber: One thing that I’ve always noticed, with the products that I’ve tried and that people gravitate towards, is always like the simple, affordable stuff does the best job. A lot of expensive skincare is just marketing, you know, it doesn’t really cost that much to make the product. Of course, some raw materials that you have to use to develop a certain product are more expensive, which does make the price higher. But I want to develop products that don’t have to be that; they can still be great for the price that it is.

The brand is known for its signature “glazed doughnut” look. Were you worried to tie the brand to a trend, given how short the trend cycles are these days?

Hailey Bieber: [Dewy skin] is something I’m always going to live by. So either you gravitate towards it or you don’t, and that’s OK. I’m sure not every single person in the world loves having this dewy look, some people prefer more of a matte look. To each their own. 

So for you, it’s kind of a timeless concept.

Hailey Bieber: Yeah, to me the whole glaze thing is looking hydrated. And I think hydration doesn’t ever go out of style. We always need to hydrate our skin no matter what, hydration is always important.

What is a typical day for you?

Hailey Bieber: It’s different every day. I am never not talking to the team about at least one thing every single day. We’re constantly figuring things out, making decisions, especially because now the brand is launching in new places, and there are decisions and plans to make. I probably would say I go into the office at least a few times a month. If not, it’s a zoom call or a phone call. I try to always make myself available for the team when they need me.

How do you see the brand evolving? Do you have a dream for it?

Hailey Bieber: I think that the world of Rhode can be endless, but I think it will definitely develop into other categories in beauty: body, colour, that’s going to be the next evolution for us. And we’ll never not be focused on skin and making great skincare products. It’s just that I think coming from skin, you can branch off into other essential products that I think are needed and necessary.

What is your current beauty obsession?

Hailey Bieber: I love really baby pink blush right now, it’s what I have on my cheeks.

Who are some of your beauty idols?

Hailey Bieber: I have a few – love Rihanna, of course, her glam is just always amazing, she has beautiful skin. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is another beauty icon. Kate Moss. There are so many, there are so many amazing women that have come before me that are just going to go down in history to be forever iconic.

Would you consider yourself a beauty icon?

Hailey Bieber: I would not give myself that title [laughs]. I think I’m just a woman who is infatuated with the world of beauty and wants to continue connecting with people on that.

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