When I first caught wind of the fact Harry Styles was launching a beauty brand, I had mixed feelings. Typically, I’m pretty against celebrity beauty brands because I don’t believe that the world of beauty needs any more products added to it. If you’d have asked me five years ago what I imagined a Harry Styles beauty line would look like, I would have assumed it would be the sort of thing you’d pick up three for two in Boots at Christmas and that it would come with a free sticker book.
But times have changed. It’s 2021, and Harry Styles is a style icon. A style icon with a great nail polish game, might I add. So when a big box of product with accompanying merch (a sweater that has garnered a lot of interest on social media but sadly isn't available to purchase) landed on my desk at the start of the week, I was actually kind of excited.
Introducing Pleasing. Comprising four nail polishes, an illuminating face serum and a dual-ended eye serum and lip oil, it’s clear that Pleasing showcases nonbinary beauty at its finest. Less of a celeb-endorsed cash cow and more of a celebration of beauty across the board, Pleasing is clearly no gimmick. In fact, the whole premise of the brand has the potential to flip the beauty industry on its head.
“Starting the brand with beauty felt exciting because creating great products is a unique way to make people feel good,” says Styles. “I didn’t want to make products to mask people, I wanted to highlight them and make them feel beautiful,” he adds. The brand encompasses the emotional connotations of beauty, tapping into the limitations and expectations that the industry as we know it sets, and it chucks out the rule book in an admirably simple way.
And then we move on to the aesthetics. The products are almost painfully pretty. From the marble-topped nail polishes to the iridescent pearls housed in the serum, they’re the sort of products you want to leave out on your dressing table as ornaments. In a recent interview with Dazed, Styles said, “I really think that the essence of Pleasing is finding those little moments of joy and showing them to people.”
From a beauty editor’s perspective, the products themselves are impressive. The nail polishes are long-lasting and need minimal coats, and the formula is made from plant-based solvents, making it much better for the planet in terms of disposal and removal. Designed to be worn alone or layered with Pearly Tops (a clear shade with an iridescent finish), they are notably beautiful.
The Pearlescent Illuminating Serum isn’t quite what I was expecting. It’s marketed as a hydrating serum, but I’d liken it more to an illuminating primer. With vitamin B and hydrating beta-glucan, it can be used on its own, but as a skincare aficionado, I’d recommend it as a post-skincare routine add-on. The results, however, are stunning. The finish isn’t dewy (hence I’d recommend a hydrating product underneath), but rather smoothing and blurring. The encapsulated synthetic mica pearls deliver a subtle glow and very minor shimmer that had people complimenting my makeup-less skin all day.
And finally, we come to The Pleasing Pen. And honestly, I’m a little miffed. The pen is dual-ended, housing an eye serum on one end and a lip oil on the other, dispensed through matching steel rollerballs. The eye serum is exquisite. Formulated with olive oil–derived squalane to hydrate, hibiscus extract to smooth and lingonberry to lift and tighten, it makes for the ultimate morning pick-me-up. It provides a refreshingly cooling result that wakes you up in seconds.
My only real gripe with the entire Pleasing range so far is with the lip oil. As someone who has very dry lips, I wanted it to be a super-hydrating formula that softened and plumped—but it’s not. The ingredients are all there (think vitamin E to nourish and marshmallow extract to soothe), but the execution isn’t. The rollerball doesn’t dispense enough product, and the formula is a little thin and watery. Having said that, if you don’t suffer from dry lips, you might disagree.
All in all, I think Pleasing is destined for greatness. Sure, I have a tendency to analyse every Harry Styles move as though I’m writing a thesis on his role in pop culture, but I genuinely believe that Pleasing is doing something that the beauty industry has overlooked for so long. It’s a forward-thinking brand that actually thinks.
It’s not claiming to be perfect—it’s open, honest and is trying its best to act inclusively and sustainably without getting hung up on nuances. Harry Styles, I loved you as the curly haired teenager in One Direction, but I love you even more as a style icon and game-changing beauty mogul.
Pleasing is available for pre-order now and will be shipped for the U.S. on the week of 29 November. Orders up to £135 will not incur duties.
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