After rising to fame as a Victoria's Secret Angel and trying her hand at acting in films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley brought her behind-the-scenes beauty knowledge to bear with the creation of Rose Inc. The digital platform keeps readers up to date on the best products and informed about what's in the creams, lotions, and potions we're putting on our faces. With all that under her belt, it felt like it was just a matter of time before the multi-hyphenate took on the challenge of engineering a product line of her own.
Well, that time has come. August 20 marks the release of Rose Inc. Beauty, which is led by CEO Caroline Hadfield (the powerhouse behind the brands Biossance and Pipette) and CCO Huntington-Whiteley. With a pedigree like that, it's hard not to get excited. We recently caught up with the Renaissance woman to find out her favorite products from the launch, her guiding motivation throughout the development process, and her number-one beauty tip (hint: it's already in your kitchen, and you should probably be having some right now).
You've been in the industry for most of your life at this point—first as a model, then launching Rose Inc. as an editorial site, and now producing your products. How has your experience in the industry informed your approach to skincare and beauty?
I have been quite open about the fact that I have acne-prone skin. I looked for solves for years and have tried just about everything in the book! When I was younger, makeup artists would pile on concealer and foundation to help cover my flare-ups, and I would do the same while applying my makeup at home. I tried using "clean beauty" beauty products as I assumed "clean" meant the ingredients would be more nurturing for my skin, but what I learned was that even "natural" ingredients, such as coconut oil and algae, could [negatively] affect my skin. As soon as I started using non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products, my acne became more manageable with less severe breakouts. I'm thrilled to say that all Rose Inc. products are non-comedogenic.
What has running Rose Inc. taught you about what people are looking for in beauty and skincare?
I launched Rose Inc. as an editorial site in 2018. Over the past few years, I have been able to study and review the data and statistics from the site, which has provided vital insight and informed many decisions while creating the product line. My general observation is that people are looking for products that make them feel beautiful in their skin, but that is, of course, very personal and entirely subjective. Some products transform and mask the way you naturally look, which can be amazing. But, the ones that are made thoughtfully, enhance your natural beauty, and fit seamlessly into your life and routine are the ones I believe the vast majority of people will go back to time and time again.
What drove you to take the next step into producing your own products?
I started in the industry at sixteen and have been in makeup artists' chairs since. All these years later, I have gleaned, learned, tried, and experienced firsthand hundreds if not thousands of beauty products and know what I want. For many years now, I have been committed and obsessive about learning. I'm constantly reading new reports, papers, and articles that give me an in-depth insight into all aspects of the beauty industry, from formulations to packaging to trends and data, along with the nitty-gritty business strategy required to run a beauty business.
I have worked to create products I truly believe in. I wanted to build a brand of products with innovation at the core of everything we do, transparent ingredients, sustainable solutions, and high-performance, non-comedogenic formulations. Founding Rose Inc. Beauty has not only been years in the making, but it also feels like my entire career has led me to this point and given me vast and unique experiences, education, and the insight required to feel confident and resilient to own this moment as I begin this new venture. I feel I'm truly beginning the next chapter of my career and that it's day one every day!
Why is transparency in beauty so important to you?
I've always sought to use and discover products that will give me the absolute best results, but I would say I really started to hone in on this much more after I had my son was born. I felt there was so much misinformation through the marketing jargon and, frankly, many lackluster brands with average products. What I really sought from a beauty brand was a focus on products first with innovative, luxury formulations. I wanted a brand that was transparent so that I could trust in their ethics as much as the performance of products.
What is your ultimate goal for the overall beauty industry, and how do you hope to use Rose Inc. to create that change?
I would love to see the way we think of "clean" being more defined. Over the past few years, there has been so much greenwashing as the "clean" category has become increasingly popular. Terms like "clean," "natural," and "green" aren't universally defined, which has led to confusion. With Rose Inc., we are thinking beyond "clean" and pushing to be "transparent," from packaging to formulas and ingredients.
What did the product creation process look like? Besides making the product clean and sustainable, what were your goals for the products?
Besides creating transparent and sustainable products, my goal was to create products that are affordable, obtainable, and enhance one's natural beauty instead of hiding it. I worked closely with my product development team to align on transparent formulas and packaging. The formulas are all non-comedogenic and use powerful botanical ingredients that are good for the environment, such as squalane and sugar cane. For the packaging, all products are either refillable or recyclable and use post-consumer recycled materials.
What are your favorite products from the line?
The Skin Resolution Clarifying Toner ($32) keeps my complexion smooth. One of my favorite features is pink clay powder. Its primary purpose is to clarify pores, but I love the moment of relaxation I get from tilting the bottle and seeing little pink waves undulate. Also, I love how powerful the Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum ($72) is! It creates a soft, smooth texture that helps reflect light, so my skin always looks radiant. And because I have acne-prone skin, this formula needed to be non-comedogenic. Finally, I wanted a concealer that does it all, and the formula for the Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer ($32) delivers. It was created to brighten, blur and contour while nourishing the skin, so it's rich in active ingredients. I love that the buildable formula easily minimizes the look of fine lines, redness, and discoloration. It's also long-wearing and comfortable, which is key. What more could you ask for in a concealer?
How do you incorporate these products into your beauty routine?
For days when I'm not out shooting, I keep my routine short and sweet. I use a simple cleanser to clean my skin and remove all traces of makeup and impurities from the day. Then I use our Rose Inc. Skin Resolution Clarifying Toner. My skin gets drier in the cooler months, so I use a daily exfoliator to help with cell turnover in autumn. Before applying my moisturizer and SPF, I use the Radiant Reveal Brightening Serum to add more hydration to my skin. Then I do my makeup. The Rose Inc. Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer is light and buildable; it gives me a luminous and natural-looking veil across my complexion while evening out my skin tone and providing coverage to any pesky blemishes or under-eye circles! Beyond that, the only makeup product I can't live without is my Rose Inc. Brow Renew Enriched Shaping Gel ($26). I first apply the tinted formula to fill in my brows and then the clear to lock it in place. It's my beauty secret for fuller-looking brows.
What are some non-obvious things that you see as essential to beauty and skincare?
One of the most life-changing things for me was reading a book called You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty by Dr. Batmanghelidj. He says many ailments, allergies, sicknesses and aches, and pains we experience derive from not being hydrated enough. I've tried drinking two to three liters a day, and the difference has been just enormous: my energy levels, my skin, my digestive system—it's endless. When I open my eyes in the morning, the first thing I do is glug it back, and it helps to get everything moving.
What else do you do to take care of yourself?
I've been exercising all of my adult life. My childhood was spent outdoors, running around and being active amongst the countryside. My mother has always been very active and fitness-focused and became an aerobics teacher in the '90s, so I grew up watching her as my role model. When I moved to the city, I realized I wasn't active enough, so, at around 18, I started going to the gym and working out. I've done it ever since. It's my meditation, the way I release, and the essential form of self-care for me.