We caught up with the Rhode founder about teenage skincare mistakes, being in sync with her audience, and what’s next for her skincare brand that’s now available in Canada.
As Hailey Bieber’s face pops onto my screen at the beginning of our Zoom call, I find myself going through a mental checklist of the details that make up her signature beauty look. Bare eyes? Check. Glowing skin? Check. Brown bob slicked down into a middle part? Check. Almond-shaped nails and ultra-glossy lips? Check and check. She has nailed the “model off duty” look. The 26-year-old model-turned-brand founder (and former FASHION cover star) is nine months into the launch of her brand Rhode Skin, her first foray into skincare. With a waitlist of over one million across its products (of which there are only a handful), it’s safe to say that the brand has, by all accounts, been a smashing success. Today, Rhode begins shipping to Canada, its first expansion outside of the U.S. market.
Proving that her commitment to minimalism is more than just an aesthetic choice, Bieber launched Rhode with only three products (five, if you count all three flavours of the Peptide Lip Treatment: Salted Caramel, Watermelon Slice and Unscented). “The beauty industry is very crowded,” says Bieber. “There are so many amazing brands [out there]. I wanted Rhode to be a brand that could put out that one really good moisturizer or that one really good lip treatment. We’re also conscious of not putting excess into the environment. These are things that are topics of conversation every single time we meet about a new product.”
Plus, through her years in the modelling industry, Bieber has learned the hard way that less is definitely more when it comes to skincare. “When your skin barrier is healthy and happy, your skin is healthy. But so many things can disturb your barrier, like travelling, the environment, and using harsh products. When I was a teenager, if I was having any sort of breakout, I thought throwing salicylic acid on it would fix it. You just want to get rid of it so you try to burn it off.” (Teen celebrities: they’re just like us.) “That’s why Rhode is so focused on hydration and a [healthy] barrier,” says Bieber.
Rhode Skin launched with a Peptide Glazing Fluid ($44), an instantly plumping and hydrating gel serum, Barrier Restore Cream ($44), a barrier-supporting cream moisturizer, and three Lip Peptide Treatments ($24 each). The entire lineup can also be purchased via The Rhode Kit ($142). “The idea behind the launch was, ‘What are the three things I couldn’t survive a flight without?” Bieber explains. “Or if I was stranded on a desert island and could only have three things with me, what would they be? That was the mentality for me.”
The clean, ultra-minimal look that Hailey Bieber has become known for is Rhode’s aesthetic as well, right down to the brand’s muted grey and white packaging. “My technical title at the brand is founder and creative director,” says Bieber. “Coming from the fashion industry, I’m obsessed with imagery, so things like [packaging and branding] took a lot of time because I’m so specific about the little details.”
So what’s Rhode’s secret to standing out in the ever-so-saturated beauty industry? “I feel like I’m in sync with my audience,” says Bieber. “Most of the products that are being developed or are in the pipeline for the next couple years are what people are asking for [right now]. So I’m like, ‘We must be in a good place.’ It makes me really happy because that’s such a big part of creating a brand for people who look to you for your style, or your skincare routine, or your aesthetic.”
So what’s next for the ultra-minimalist brand? Expansion and growth, of course. Expansion into new markets, and expansion into new categories, too. But don’t expect a massive explosion of product offerings from Rhode. “I think a 10-step routine is unnecessary,” says Bieber. “But that’s just me.”