Throw a lipstick tube into a crowd of celebrities and you’ll hit someone who’s launched a beauty brand.

Exaggeration? Maybe. But it’s hard to deny that celebrities have recently flooded the beauty market. It seems every big name has their own lip kit, concealer, or mascara. Some, like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty for a variety of skin tones, were created to fill legitimate gaps in the market. Some aim to deliver more options for already popular concepts, such as Drew Barrymore’s cruelty-free Flower Beauty. Still others struggle to distinguish themselves from the myriad of popular brands that were already well-established, like Sephora.

And even if you can get a bead on a brand’s unique value, how can you tell if it’s, y’know, any good?

Beauty writer Diandra Malivindi said it best: “At first, the fame-approved products were exciting, but now, their over saturation feels downright overwhelming.” When even those who research and write about beauty for a living admit to overwhelm at the volume of new celebrity lines, what’s the average beauty buff to do?

How to Evaluate Celebrity Beauty Brands

At the heart of this overwhelm lies the basic question: do celebrity beauty lines offer quality products, or are you just paying for the name?

Do Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba really have better moisturizers than your average drugstore? Will Alicia Keys’ “Soulcare” line actually nurture your “whole self”? Will Selena Gomez’ lip cream transform your next date? Is Haus Laboratories the last word on eyeliner?

To help separate the “Wow!” from the “Meh” in celebrity beauty, we shoulder-tapped Alyssa Hare, a Vagaro hairstylist who serves clients at Tribez Salon in Blackhawk, California. With over a decade of experience in high-end salons, Hare has done her homework on beauty products.

When it comes to finding quality products of any sort, Hare says, “My number one piece of advice is to ask your beauty provider. We are professionals. We went to school for this.”

Beauty service providers, Hare points out, have taken product classes and worked with countless customers of all hair, skin, and body types. This broad perspective helps them hone in on personalized suggestions for individual clients, whether it’s from the Jlo Beauty line or the Maybelline aisle at Target.

And, says Hare, your service provider is likely already using the brands they trust most, so they may be able to produce the product you need on the spot.

“I always defer to the in-house brands we carry” when clients ask for recommendations, she says, because “they’ve been around for years, they’re trusted, they’re constantly being updated and being tested by not only clients, but also stylists.”

Although she has built her career around haircare, Hare also fields client questions about skincare and makeup lines, and she tries products herself to see how they perform. When her clients ask for her opinion, they’re getting answers based on personal experience.

Beyond asking your service provider, here are a few other tips to evaluate a celebrity’s line of beauty products.

A woman applies lotion to her faceConsider the Brand’s Specialty

Some beauty lines offer a range of products, from skincare to makeup to hairspray. Others focus on just one goal, like shampoos or facial cleansers. Hare advises her clients to seek brands that specialize, as these creators may have deeper knowledge of the science behind their product.

Hare herself defaults to haircare-only names when selecting styling merch for her clients.

Check the Ingredients

You don’t need a chemistry degree to choose good products, but you do need basic knowledge of ingredients that nourish your skin and hair. A quick Google search will return plenty of informational sources on which ingredients to seek out, and which to avoid. Compare those lists against the celebrity product you’re considering.

Or, head to the app store on your phone and find one of the many apps built specifically to help consumers analyze the contents of their makeup, serums, and haircare favorites.

Hare also recommends comparing celebrity brand ingredient labels against drugstore brands. Higher cost doesn’t always mean better product; often, the ingredient lists between a celebrity and drugstore brand are quite similar, so what you’re really paying for is the celebrity’s name.

Check Product Reviews

Online reviews are a treasure trove of information if you know how to use them.

Try to find review sources like Amazon that aren’t curated by the company itself. Check the item’s average rating, and take the extreme reviews with a grain of salt. Every product will have some glowing reviews and some scathing reviews, but what is the most frequent experience?

Reviewers will often post pictures of the results they got at home, which is helpful in forming realistic expectations. Hare suggests looking for reviewers that appear to have skin and hair similar to yours. For example, if you’re a pale redhead in search of natural-looking concealer, 20 glowing concealer reviews from sun-bronzed brunettes won’t tell you much. Other pale redheads can give you a better idea of how the product works (or doesn’t) for your unique look.

What about the roundup lists and reviews that appear in online publications? Use them sparingly, says Hare. “Honestly, I used to read those lists and look into them, and many times after trying the products, I didn’t agree with the list,” she says. “But what I have found I usually agree with is a trusted source, a person.”

If you do want to add some listicle reviews to your research tool belt, you should default to sites that are more likely to be neutral, like Wirecutter and Consumer Reports. But be sure to verify their claims with real-life reviews and stylist expertise.

Two women look at beauty and wellness products in a store

Find Online Influencers

“Gone are the days of getting your product list from magazines,” says Hare. “It’s the time of TikTok and Youtube.”

Reputable online influencers can be a treasure trove of information about good products. One of Hare’s favorite influencers for haircare is Chris Appleton, who has styled celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and more. Because Hare loves his results with these celebrities, she trusts his opinion on which products work and which don’t.

Another tip: when an influencer gives a review, check to see if they included the hashtag #ad, or if they state outright in the review that this is an ad. Ads are less likely to be neutral viewpoints, so treat them accordingly.

Find Celebrities Whose Looks You Love

To get at the same information from a different angle, look to celebrities with hair and makeup you love and find out who handles their beauty routine. Then find that person online, even if they aren’t one of the most popular influencers, and see what they have to say about products.

Hare loves the makeup looks of Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. She follows their makeup artists to see what they recommend. It’s also important to find out whether the celebrities themselves use their own brand. “A lot of times I find that celebrities are not even using their own makeup on set,” Hare says.

And what are they using? Frequently, it’s the tried-and-true products that beauty service providers have been recommending for years.

Happy (and Smart) Hunting!

Don’t be swayed by celebrity brand names or write them off completely. At the end of the day, evaluate celebrity beauty products the way you would anything else: seek recommendations from the pros, find real people with beauty goals like yours, and experiment a little. See if you can get samples of the products you’re curious about, and try them before you commit.

The future of the celebrity beauty brand craze remains to be seen. The methods to find good product, however, remain the same.