The merch scene of 2021 is becoming a multisensory experience as a wave of musical artists step offstage and tune into an ever-growing space for cosmetic entrepreneurship. Halsey’s About-Face makeup line, the glow-centric skincare by JLo Beauty, Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories, and of course Fenty by Rihanna all point to a trend in the market: When an artist is known for their look, the next logical step is packaging it for fans.
Twins Simi and Haze Khadra, whose time as DJs on the jet-set party circuit paved the way for Simihaze Beauty’s Capsule 1 launch today, count themselves similarly inspired by their own stage makeup. The duo, who use the portmanteau as their shared alias, have been moving in fashion circles since the days “before Instagram.” That’s how the Palestinian sisters describe their beginnings in a joint call from London, sounding like elder statesmen at the ripe age of 28. The Khadras live in Los Angeles, though they describe their sense of home as “portable,” thanks to years of global performances. “That’s when we really started having fun with makeup,” says Simi, recalling a time of ping-ponging appearances from Cannes to New York. Still, even the high points—holding court at Tom Ford’s spring 2019 runway and afterparty, say—register as “a distant memory,” says Haze. “We were like, ‘Okay, we’ve done the whole fashion thing, and now we want to evolve into a bigger space that’s more music-focused.” The pandemic’s halt on live performances shifted their focus toward another emotive opportunity. “It was a really natural evolution,” Simi shares. “Beauty became a part of our expression in addition to the sound, the music.”
Last month, the sisters teased an Eye Play Rave pack of peel-and-stick liner flicks that can be applied and removed without a smudge. It’s a format proven in the music world via Phyllis Cohen’s Face Lace, inspired by the London-based makeup artist’s work with New Romantics like Boy George; Cohen’s decals have been seen on pop stars Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga (who collaborated with the brand for Haus Laboratories’ Armor Masque No. 1).
“Both my guy and girlfriends love the eye stickers—they get so pumped to wear them out,” says Haze of Simihaze’s own collection of holographic and DayGlo decals, seemingly designed for nightlife lighting (or a Willow Smith music video). Meanwhile, the trio of understated Capsule 1 products—Velvet Blur matte lip balm, Sun Flush all-over tint, and Lip Trace liner—have found a similarly crowdsourced enthusiasm. “We keep [the samples] at our house, and some of my friends literally come over to use them,” adds Haze.
The cruelty-free, vegan formulas include ingredients like vitamin E–rich jojoba oil and hyaluronic-acid spheres for long-lasting hydration. Much of the appeal, though, arrives in the design: Velvet Blur glows in the dark, while Sun Flush comes in a chunky, bubble gum-colored case. “I want people to put the packaging on their counters,” Simi says of creating a product that looks “like a piece of art.” She mentions the joy found through daily moments of sensorial experience, something she considers “a practice of staying present.”