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Fragrance and personal care

Estée Lauder’s fourth generation follows in family’s beauty footsteps

January 8, 2020

Danielle Lauder has entered the family business. Image courtesy of Estee Lauder


Beauty brand Estée Lauder is helping consumers get ready for their close-ups through a makeup line inspired by the on-camera experiences of one of its founder’s descendants.

Estée Lauder's 26-year-old great-granddaughter Danielle Lauder has entered the family business with Act IV, a limited-edition line of cosmetics designed to help wearers look their best in different lighting situations. With the empowering message that women can be the star of their own lives, the millennial-driven line could help Estée Lauder further tap into the next generation of beauty buyers.

"Doing this with my family was just a perfect way to kind of combine two passions of mine and just to be creative," said Danielle Lauder. "And I got to learn so much more about how the business came to be and how Estée came to everything, because I never got to know her, so it’s been really special for me to be able to discover this stage in my life."

Camera-ready cosmetics

Raised in New York, Ms. Lauder moved to Los Angeles after college to pursue an acting career. She has since held roles in films including “The Stanford Prison Experiment” and “The Charnel House.”

Now, the actress is honoring her roots and her experience on screen by collaborating with Estée Lauder’s on a makeup line.

Act IV is inspired by Old Hollywood, with formulas designed to be ready for both cameras and reality. As an actress, Ms. Lauder has firsthand experience with needing to be ready for multiple types of lighting depending on whether she is auditioning or shooting.

Despite growing up in the Lauder family, the actress says she did not wear much makeup growing up.

"My grandparents [Evelyn and Leonard Lauder] really instilled a skincare ethic in me," she said.

Ms. Lauder's discovery of makeup happened while she was at college at Northwestern University, as she had to teach herself how to create a camera-ready look that was not over-the-top for LA-bound audition tapes.

"It started when I was trying to figure out doing three-point lighting in front of the camera for audition tapes," Ms. Lauder said. "But when you’re sending in an audition tape, you still need to look natural. You don’t want it to look like you’ve had your makeup professionally done.

"So I wanted to make products that were glamorous and helpful for any women to be able to catch the light in a nice way, but they were still subtle enough," she said.

Act IV Collection. Image courtesy of Estée Lauder

Some of the tools available in the collection are a makeup brush set, a four-color palette, a highlighter and a powder that blurs skin imperfections with a brightening coral shade.

Lip products range from a lip tint and balm for a more natural look to a lipstick in more saturated hues.

White marble and rose gold packaging differentiates the collection by diverting from Estée Lauder’s typical navy and yellow gold tones.

A launch campaign for Act IV begins as Ms. Lauder films a mock audition in a natural beauty look. Referencing bygone eras in cinema, she is also shown wearing pastel evening wear and tap dancing.

Act IV by Danielle Lauder campaign

“Be strong, be confident, be the star of your own life,” Ms. Lauder tells the camera.

Along with nodding to Ms. Lauder’s chosen field, the Old Hollywood theme for Act IV also honors Estée Lauder’s own childhood desire to work in film, which dates back before she launched her beauty house in the 1940s.

Family business

Ms. Lauder is not the only member of her family to join the business.

In 2012, Estée Lauder's granddaughter Aerin Lauder launched her own eponymous beauty brand. She also serves as the style and image director for the Estée Lauder brand.

Beyond highlighting the strong connection between memory and scent, a recent perfume campaign from beauty manufacturer Estée Lauder showcases the enduring strength of family and heritage values for luxury brands.

In the past, luxury brands have had very close relationships with the families that have founded and operate their businesses. A new fragrance from Estée Lauder's Aerin brand and the subsequent campaign is one of the many luxury marketer pushes that show heritage is alive and well today, despite trends to go modern (see story).

In recent years, Estée Lauder has cast numerous millennial models in a bid for the next generations of beauty buyers, including faces Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss and Grace Elizabeth (see story).

"I hope that I can be the beginning of a bridge to include and target more of the millennial demographic because –especially now I’m in my mid-twenties, people are still really busy at this time and women are working," Ms. Lauder said. "And if they’re going to go out of their way to buy an Estée Lauder product, they want it to feel like they know how to use it, they can use it. And I want it to feel like a collector’s piece.

"And I hope from now on, especially the fact that I live in LA, I can start to bring in some LA culture there, bring some Estée Lauder out to LA," she said.