It is with so much excitement that I introduce Byrdie's first-ever "special issue"—a collection of in-depth product reviews and musings surrounding the highly anticipated launch of Hailey Bieber's beauty brand, Rhode. To celebrate, we dreamed up a shoot to showcase the very essence of Hailey: minimalist, stripped down, and breathtakingly glowy.
I encourage you to spend some time reading her thoughtful interview and scrolling though the images (and don't forget to check out what our editors think of her products). I am honored to have had the chance to watch it all come to fruition. It’s rare to describe a celebrity of Hailey Bieber’s caliber as graceful, kind, or soft-spoken. I’d describe her as all three. Please enjoy!
-Hallie Gould, editorial director
Since she began modeling in 2014, Hailey Bieber has established herself as a fixture in the fashion industry both on the runway and simply walking down the street. She’s a celebrated street-style star and has now become everyone’s resident dewy-skin icon. Bieber managed to carve out a meaningful space in a saturated, often noisy industry with a highly successful (and candid) YouTube channel and—drum roll please—her new beauty brand, Rhode. So, on the day of the brand’s launch, we’re here to celebrate Hailey Bieber as a bonafide business owner and entrepreneur alongside her other accolades.
Admittedly curious about what she’s like in real life, I waited for her in the lobby of a New York hotel. She, of course, emerged looking immaculate after an outfit change with the products from her new brand, Rhode, propped in front of her.
When meeting Hailey, her skin is the first thing you notice. It’s so dewy that it looks airbrushed. She told me that she hadn’t put foundation on today, and I immediately wanted her to spill all her secrets. “I’ve always loved the ritual of skincare,” she says. “It’s a big part of self-care to me.” Hailey says her ethos on skincare and her philosophy of beauty, in general, have changed in her mid-20s. Now 25, she says her skincare journey has been about discovering that “less is more,” although she’s quick to caveat that that’s a personal choice. “I know what I like and what works for me now,” she says.
Hailey says her relationship with skincare has been heavily influenced by the women who raised her. “I really looked up to my mom, and she always was very invested in skincare and body care, always keeping her face out of the sun,” she says. “I feel like I learned a lot from her and how big she was on hydrating. Every time I got out of the bath when I was a kid, I would just be slathered in lotion from head to toe.” Fittingly, Rhode, Hailey’s first step into the beauty world—named after her and her mom’s shared middle name—is big on deep hydration. “Who doesn’t want to look glazed and dewy from head to toe?” she says. "I want to look bitable."
Rhode’s branding hinges on being “an edited skincare philosophy” or “one of everything good.” Like Hailey’s own personal style, everything is stripped back and minimal. Launching with three initial products, including a Peptide Glazing Fluid, Barrier Restore Cream, and a Peptide Lip Treatment, Hailey says the product ingredients are why she doesn’t have to wear foundation. “These are the three main things I would die without if I didn’t have them with me on an airplane,” she says. “Like the perfect pair of jeans that you keep going back to or the perfect little black dress. I wanted to do the same thing with skincare."
Hailey says she kept her fans and customers top of mind at every step during the brand's development process. “I didn’t want to make a brand that only worked for me,” she said. “I wanted to know how to fill the gaps that people were looking for, and what people thought was missing or hated about celebrity brands.” Calling herself an “information person,” Hailey says she likes to “absorb everything”—like her quick-absorbing products—to give people what they want. “I’m a people pleaser to a fault, but in this scenario it really helped me. I’m not going to shove things down your throat and say ‘buy this because I’m a celebrity.'"
The entire product line is designed to set you on the path to “glazed doughnut skin”, something Hailey is known for perfecting. Over the past couple of years, she’s been carving out her space on the internet as a dewy skincare icon in her own right. Her Y2K-esque Coachella makeup from this year went viral, featuring a blue undereye liner with a cat-eye and loose baby braids. In a year where many complained that the celebrities attending turned up too casual, her look was all over TikTok, with creators attempting to replicate the effortless but fun style. “I’m very heavily on Pinterest and I just love looking for ideas, so then for that look, we twisted it and made it our own thing,” she says. “I didn’t even realize how much people were going to gravitate toward it."
In line with being a stickler for schedules and routines (which is more than helpful for skincare), Hailey describes herself as a “mood board person”. "Even with my wardrobe and the way I dress, I like to put vibes together and have it all organized,” she says. “I like to curate a moment, and Coachella was a really fun moment to do.” Hailey wore a tank top and jeans to Coachella, saying that, at this point, it’s about being comfortable, especially since she’s been going to the festival since she was 18.
Her meticulous curation and love for a stripped-down look have made Hailey somewhat of the mascot for TikTok’s “clean girl” beauty trend. Characterized by slicked-back hair, limited-coverage makeup, laminated eyebrows, and touches of refined jewelry, it’s a magnet for people who are attempting to look like an off-duty model. When speaking to Hailey, it’s clear that her being on back-to-back inspiration boards of the trend is due to how she is naturally, rather than something she has to work on. She explained how she’s never fallen asleep with makeup on before. (This is very impressive.)
"I cannot tell you one time that comes to my mind where I didn’t use a towel or a washcloth and some warm water [to clean my face] before sleeping," she said. When I asked her if she’d also do that when crashing at a party, she laughed and said that she’s also never done that before (again, impressive). Most of this she puts down to [craving structure], as opposed to being the poster child for any passing trends. “If people associate me with the clean or minimal aesthetic, then so be it," she says. "But my thing is just encouraging people to embrace what makes them feel good."
For Hailey, reaching her mid-20s has made her feel good, although she carries herself with a level of maturity that makes her seem older. “I really have never felt sexier in my life,” she says. “I’m in a phase where I feel more beautiful and confident than ever before just by letting my real skin show and my natural hair grow. I just want to be healthy." Hailey also dyed her hair back to her natural color last year, inspiring many to ditch the bleach. As a brunette, she says she feels like she’s really rediscovered her look.
Still, Hailey says she’s open to growth and change over time. “You find your thing and [a more natural look] is mine at the moment. But who knows? Maybe in three years I’ll have black hair and feel even better,” she says. “I want to continue to evolve, inside and out. I want to be able to continue to embrace where I’m at in every moment."
With Rhode, Hailey wants glazed doughnut skin to be accessible. The entire product range is under $30, something that was important to her. “Just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean that it works better. It really all depends on the formula,” she says. “When developing Rhode, I wanted to create this world that everybody has access to and feels welcome to."
When developing the formulas, Hailey says she had to go back and forth with the labs "so many times" to ensure the products could maintain their low price point. “They were like, ‘this is a really expensive formula; are you sure?’” she says. “They were surprised at how inexpensive I wanted to sell the products for, but that was exactly the point I wanted to make: democratizing really expensive skincare.” She also says the ingredients are ones she actually uses, including peptides (which plump skin) and niacinamide (which is incredibly restorative).
Down to the packaging design, Hailey wanted the products to feel "sporty and fun." "I want to be able to throw this in my bag and take it to the beach if I want to or use it after I work out. Bring it with you wherever." She’s hyperaware of celebrity beauty brands being an oversaturated market, but she hopes the product line will stand on its own. “If someone picked up Rhode and had no idea that that’s my middle name and they tried the product, liked it, and then happened to find out it’s mine, that would make me very happy,” she says. “In a world full of beauty brands, I think one that's affordable with great formulas that will bring a vibe to your bathroom speaks for itself."
Hailey has been dropping hints about Rhode for months, alongside building out her YouTube channel, with over 1.7 million subscribers waiting for her videos, ranging from “honest conversations to skincare routines". Despite this, she still suffers from imposter syndrome. “I feel grown-up in many ways and have been married for almost four years. I’m happier than I have ever been, but I still have moments where I feel very insecure and like I don’t belong anywhere," she says. "I feel like people don’t take me seriously, and this whole industry is very interesting. It feels like I’m living in a simulation sometimes."
When asked what she’d be doing if she wasn’t in the “simulation” that is being in the public eye, you can tell Hailey can barely imagine it. She mentions dancing, fashion, and even medicine, although says she wasn’t a “school person.” Considering how careful Hailey is about every element of her life and the fact that she’s a self-confessed “people pleaser,” it’s clear not having control of her own narrative online would be taxing. “This is the reason I started my YouTube channel so I could show my personality and have a platform where I have control of the content,” she says.
In April of this year, Hailey posted a video on her YouTube channel titled “telling my story”. The video setting was intimate, with Hailey sitting on the floor in a white tee with fluorescent yellow nails to discuss the journey she’s had with health issues this year. “I’ve gone through a lot of serious health issues over the past two months,” she says, speaking of the “mini stroke” she had while eating breakfast with her husband, Justin Bieber. She then had to get surgery to repair a PFO (a hole between the left and right atria in the heart) that had caused the issue. Since the surgery, Hailey has found it extremely difficult to not be able to be as active.
"My body is taking a little longer to heal than they thought it would," she says. "After they did the heart procedure, I’m always the person who’s in a rush to get back to things, but this has taught me that it’s not physically possible sometimes." Hailey says she waited two weeks after the procedure (following doctors orders) before she worked out, but she kept reopening the incision, so she’s been doing low-impact workouts like Pilates in the meantime.
When Hailey speaks about exercise, her face lights up. With a clear interest in health, she says she’s felt less confident recently since she hasn’t been able to keep her body strong. “I was a dancer when I was a teenager, so my body has always just been in strong form,” she says. “I love fitness, so the last couple of months have been a little hard for me because it’s such an important part of my routine and day.” After realizing she mentioned the word “routine” a dozen times in the interview, Hailey laughed. “I’m routine-obsessed, I think. If that wasn’t clear enough."
Finding comfort in order, Hailey has managed to manage her stress while also living a somewhat unpredictable lifestyle. “I think the least orderly part of my life is that we have to hop and move around, which is just constant,” she says. “I try my best to plan things out as much as I can and stay in the houses we’ve stayed in prior because I like consistency. I need to have my things with me.” Hailey says she’s been like this since she was a child, when she was a “pack rat”. “I’d always be packing little bags and putting things in places even though I had nowhere to go,” she says. “I would just like to keep little bags packed ready to go."
Hailey might not be able to control the scrutiny she receives on social media, but she can give herself the routine she craves in the skincare world, making the launch of Rhode seem fitting. A true routine enthusiast, Hailey made sure each product can be easily incorporated into your own. Rhode captures the essence of Hailey herself: reliable and considerate. (I know this because she offered her jacket after seeing a rip in my pants mid-interview.) With the launch of the brand, the model is eager for this to be her defining mark on the world around her.