Kim Kardashian is bringing back color cosmetics, introducing Skkn by Kim Makeup on Jan. 26.
“That’s my heart and soul and that’s where I started,” said Kardashian of color cosmetics, calling from her home in an exclusive interview prelaunch with WWD. She had just returned from a ski trip with her children. “With four kids, it is never chill,” she laughed, of the holiday break. “No, it was amazing. We skied. I’m glad they got that time in. But I’m very glad to be back to work.”
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Between shooting “American Horror Story: Delicate” — her biggest acting role to date — Kardashian has been expanding her beauty company, applying learnings from her previous endeavors in color.
“It’s always taking the expertise that I’ve learned for 20 years getting my makeup done almost every single day and making the most user-friendly products,” she went on. “And even having two previous makeup lines.”
It was in 2012 that Kardashian, alongside sisters Kourtney and Khloé, entered beauty by launching Khroma Beauty, later renamed Kardashian Beauty, with makeup and hair products. It was short-lived, and in 2017 — with Kardashian going solo — she introduced KKW Beauty and KKW Fragrance, with Coty taking a 20 percent stake in the business in 2020.
Kardashian shuttered both brands in 2022, with a plan to return with “a completely new brand with new formulas that are more modern, innovative and packaged in an elevated and sustainable new look,” she said in a statement at the time. It was reported last year that she was considering buying back the minority stake in her business from Coty.
The result was Skkn by Kim, a complete skin care line created with the help aesthetician Joanna Czech, unveiled in 2022.
Now comes makeup with a collection of lip liners ($22), lipsticks ($32) and an eye shadow palette ($50), all in shades of nude. It will be available at skknbykim.com.
“I think you just know how you want to make things even better,” she said of insights gleaned from the first time around. “The lip liner glides on a little bit better. Everything is in the minor details. As a perfectionist and in the lab…[I’m] trying sample after sample and making sure it’s perfection. So those little details, I feel like the customer will feel the elevation.”
She described the texture of the products as “velvety mattes.” The lip liners promise long-wear, with a formula that blends and glides on easily. They come in 15 shades, from Light Beige to Deep Chocolate. The lipsticks, in 10 colors, offer full-coverage with a “smooth” and “blurred airbrushed finish.” Hues range from Light beige to Rich Mahogany. And the eye shadow palette, with 12 nudes from “matte creamy beige” to “matte black,” are “ultra-lightweight,” made to blend, be buildable and crease-free.
“The heart of who I am is the classic neutrals,” Kardashian said. “I wanted Skkn to be everything that completely makes you look like your best self and that starts with your skin. So, we’re not going to be doing any bold colors or anything that I don’t personally use and wear,” she said. “The difference between this line and KKW Beauty is it’ll be all of the most amazing, even more elevated formulas from before, but it’s going to be all of our classic nudes and everything that just makes your skin its best self. So that starts with skin care, then that evolves into color cosmetics, and then it’ll evolve into fragrance and anything that you put on your skin.”
Fragrance is in the works, a category Kardashian dabbled in with KKW Beauty, as is complexion, including foundations, which is new territory.
“I just really hope that we can be super innovative and bring something I’ve never done before, which is foundations,” Kardashian continued. “And we are bringing back our concealers and powders and contours. Every product that I use, I want to bring that to the marketplace.”
That being said, there will be some differences, including in texture and finish. “My way of doing makeup — I don’t know if it’s time, I don’t know if it’s now with age — is just a different style than what I used to [do]. I used to be, like, extremely matte. Now, I like a little bit more dewy, lighter,” she said. “So, I’m bringing my newer techniques that I use. I’m excited for people to see my beauty elevation, still with all of the classics, but I’m just excited to bring more products out there.”
Bringing all of the beauty categories together under one master brand has always been the plan, Kardashian said. “If you think about it, I had KKW Beauty, KKW Fragrance, I would have had KKW Skin,” she added. “I wanted everything on one website, one brand, super cohesive.”
The current packaging for color isn’t the final version of what she has in mind, she said, but she was eager to drop it: “I’m just, like, you guys we are launching, and we will keep perfecting as we go.”
Her team in color is small, she said. At the center is a close friend, whom she doesn’t name.
“I have an amazing Armenian friend who is so knowledgeable and has been in the beauty business for 20-plus years,” Kardashian said. “We test colors all day long. She travels with me when I go to Milan and New York, and we go and look at all the factories. I love having a small team, because it’s just really important for people to know what you want and what you’re looking for.”
Kardashian is looking to focus on staying true to herself as she grows the brand, she said, and that’s reflected in this launch. These days she’s a big fan of lip liners: “It’s, like, the one thing I’ll put on. If I can’t get anything, I’ll just put a little lip liner and gloss, or even chapstick. If I had to take one thing with me would be lip liner.”
With some concealer perhaps? “I’ve been doing blush lately instead and just letting the dark circles go for a minute. It is what it is.”
She also pays close attention to the consumers and their needs, while working to surpass their expectations. “I’m so excited that our customer for Skkn is such a loyal, returning customer and the data just shows that the people that use it and use the full system really understand how amazing and strong the formulas are,” she said, of the nine-step routine. “So, I’m just super proud of that. My favorite thing ever is, even with Skims [her shapewear and clothing company valued at $4 billion in 2023 and said to be interested in an initial public offering], is when someone gets a product and it’s 10 times better than they ever imagined. That’s always the dream. You want to overdeliver.”
Looking ahead, when it comes to distribution, she looks to expand beyond her direct-to-consumer channel: “Our goal obviously is to be in retail and to be all over the place so it’s as accessible as possible,” Kardashian said. “That’s something that we’re always talking about and working on. That is a huge priority.”
Wrapping up, she revealed it was her first interview of the year.
“My first bit of work,” she said. “It felt good.”
Launch Gallery: Inside Kim Kardashian’s Launch of Skkn by Kim Makeup
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