To introduce its latest product on Thursday, acne patch brand Starface has partnered with musical artist PinkPantheress, driving home the brand’s status as an influential player in identifying marketable Gen-Z beauty talent.
The new product is Starface’s first hydrocolloid stick-on star with tea tree oil as a primary ingredient, and it comes in a new green color. The subsequent campaign amplifies tea tree oil’s “natural” element with a “supernatural” outer space theme. It features Vicky Beverly Walker, better known by her artist name, PinkPantheress, as the campaign model. Photos and teaser videos include Beverly Walker donning two star-shaped emerald stickers while standing against an emerald green backdrop, which offers a “spooky and silly” atmosphere, said Kara Brothers, president and gm of Starface. She added that Starface’s mascot, Big Yellow, is meant to be from outer space, making the campaign a throwback to the brand’s roots.
Beverly Walker is a quickly ascending English singer and record producer. In Dec. 2020, she began uploading clips of her music to TikTok, with light-hearted captions about posting a song every day “until someone notices it” or posting just because she was “bored.” The TikTok community did take notice, with her first video reaching over 750,000 views. She currently has 2.6 million TikTok followers. Her work spans several genres, including bedroom pop, alt-pop and drill. She recently collaborated with fellow newcomer Ice Spice on “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2,” which has seen 152 million views since it was posted on YouTube in February. PinkPantheress has 1.17 million YouTube subscribers and 1.5 million Instagram followers, despite posting infrequently. Her last Instagram post was in February, with Ice Spice, and she only has eight photos in her main page grid. Beverly Walker will post campaign assets on her TikTok over the next few days.
“I knew I wanted to participate in this campaign when I saw the supernatural concept. It’s such a fun take on their new drop and was the perfect opportunity to come together with a brand I’ve admired for a long time,” said Beverly Walker.
Starface launched in 2019 and is now distributed via DTC e-commerce, Walmart, Target and CVS. It will launch in Walgreens in August. In addition to the U.S., it is available in Canada and the U.K. The company has grown its revenue by 200% since last year, and its headcount has grown by 60% to approximately 40 people since 2021. Starface raised $2 million in outside capital in 2020, led by BBG Ventures.
It cannot be underestimated how Starface’s ability to work with leading Gen-Z public figures has helped generate a cool factor for the brand. Starface’s influencer team, led by Paige Kozak, director of social and content, is dedicated to spotting up-and-coming talent. A relationship with PinkPantheress has been ongoing since 2021, said Brothers. She said there are “countless DMs” between the influencer team and up-and-coming content creators and talent. With PinkPantheress, that’s included congratulating her on her first album debut in 2021 called “To Hell With It,” offering her free products and reciprocating affection via DM when she posts about the brand unpaid.
Starface has worked with other rising talent, including college footballer Kayvon Thibodeaux in 2022. In addition, its products have been spotted on unpaid celebrities like Justin and Hailey Bieber, Blackpink’s Rosé, and Nicola Peltz-Beckham. Beauty enthusiasts can recognize Starface’s distinct products when worn by people in the street almost as easily as they can identify the Nike swoosh or Apple’s fruit logo. That’s a rare feat for a young brand, let alone one operating in the popular zit sticker space.
“Wearing our Hydro stars is signaling that you’re part of a community; when you see somebody else wearing them, you say, ‘This is someone who’s kind of going through the same thing that I am,’ and they don’t care [that they’re showing acne in public],” said Brothers. “It’s not just an item to heal and soothe your pimple, but also an accessory and a part of your everyday life, making you feel great.”
Gen Z has gravitated toward an “acne positivity” marketing theme in recent years, though there are plenty of brands and products that still rely on aggressive tactics to catch customer attention. But even with products that decry the appearance of acne and promise to “eliminate” or “say goodbye to” acne, there’s no denying that acne’s appearance in public is more acceptably common or that brands like Starface have established a youthful and amusing approach to combatting the issue. Beverly Walker echoed this sentiment.
“Collaborating with Starface is really a full-circle moment for me,” said Beverly Walker. “Having things that make you feel more confident when you’re putting yourself out there is really important. I love that I can just put a star on my face instead of feeling stressed or worried about my skin.”