Exceptionally talented, fearless and ever so relatable musician, Halsey, is launching her second beauty brand, af94. In the extension of its initial line, flip-flop, which is more for cosmetic gurus… This new line, af94, is designed for beginners. Specifically, the Gen Z consumer. “af94 is inspired by the kids who show up to my tour dates with my makeup on but have to wipe it off before their parents pick them up,” Halsey said. Teen vogue. Halsey remembers being that kid once upon a time. Essentially, af94 is a manifestation of the singer’s nostalgia. From Drew Barrymore’s signature dark lipstick to Tyra Banks’ best eyeshadows, to the shimmery nail polish in this scene from The Parent Trap, af94 draws heavily on various iconic moments from the ’90s.
The brand name, a9f4, combines Halsey’s full name, Ashley Frangipane, and her birth year of 1994. Complete with vibrant shades, moody neutrals, eyeshadow pencils and matte lipsticks, the base of this launch is built on Halsey’s love for true authenticity. “Be yourself.” It sounds simple, but we know it’s not. Understanding who you are takes courage. af94 empowers consumers to break convention and become who they want to be. Even if you don’t know who it is yet, Halsey has created a safe space to explore all the possibilities. The eccentric artist’s path to fame was not linear but a marathon of different versions of themselves. Claiming to be “a different person every week,” Halsey has a closet full of personalities.
“As a theater kid, I was no stranger to self-expression. So af94 is definitely personal,” Halsey says. As an advocate for creative expression, they were sure to emphasize inclusivity as an important part of brand identity. Their first obsession with pop rock band Panic! At The Disco helped them realize that makeup has no gender. “I’ll never forget the Nothing Rhymes with Circus Tour, seeing guitarist Ryan Ross with the most intricate makeup I’ve ever seen – but as a man…” Halsey recalled. “I was literally blown away by those neon blue tips he pulled out of his eyes.” And as a result, they were desperate to buy their own electric blue eyeliner. After saving thirty dollars from babysitting gigs, the multifaceted entertainer was finally able to make her first makeup purchase. “I’ll never forget being 15 and saving up to buy my first eyeliner. It was electric blue. I took all my money, but the thrill of wearing such a bold color was worth every penny!” said Halsey. As they reminisced about their self-taught makeup journey, it became apparent that during the ’90s there was some sort of unspoken right of passage into the world of cosmetics. Thanks to the new technology, one could conclude that Gen Z has done it. Halsey described makeup in the 90s as “very tactile”, they said, “I think most of us millennials look at Gen Z amazed (and slightly jealous) at their skills and the access to professional tutorials – like, when are you awkward wrestling scene?!”
Early in their career, Halsey would wear makeup out of necessity. There was no budget for a makeup artist yet. They were doing red carpets, music videos and magazine covers with faces full of drugstore makeup. “From 18 to now, 27, every part of my journey is photographed online forever,” they say. “[And] although most of that time has been embarrassing. It was necessary for who I am today.” Halsey is finally comfortable with what they actually look like with no filters or super transformative looks. So for the sake of their own sanity and the sanity of their fans, they came out with their “janky brows and pimples.” Hoping to bring real people back into style and encourage experimentation, Halsey wants Gen Z kids and any makeup lover, moreover, have a safe and affordable introduction to makeup.