The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Kacey Musgraves and Boy Smells Do It Again


Welcome back to Haul of Fame, the weekly beauty roundup of new products, new ideas, and new ways to stick it to the man (with non-sticky lip gloss, of course).

Included in today’s issue: Amika, Basma Beauty, Circcell, Corpus, Glow Recipe, Kulfi, L’Oréal, LYS Beauty, Mac Cosmetics, Monday Haircare, Oribe, Osāna Naturals, Nails Inc., Pacifica, Patrick Ta, Saltair, Seaweed Bath Co, Violette_Fr, Willy Chavarria and french fries.

But first…

Kacey Musgraves is careful when she talks about beauty. It’s partly because she’s a born writer, and the 35-year-old musician knows that her words have weight. Plus, Musgraves has a solid fan base of young women, and she knows when a role model says something is pretty — or not — girls can get hurt.

That’s why Musgrave’s four-year-old beauty partnership with Boy Smells is so smart. It’s focused entirely on scent, which means Musgraves can use the same emotional and aspirational movements of beauty, without mandating any particular look. It helps that the Texan has her signature style down feathered brown hair, an easy flick of black mascara, and velvety lips the colour of a millennial-beige couch — so she can focus on pure vibes instead.

Today (Feb. 23), Musgraves launches a new candle and scent for Boy Smells called Deeper Well. Named for her new song, the product marks her second collaboration with the California candle and fragrance company. Her first Boy Smells collab, Slow Burn, launched in 2020 and sold out in mere minutes; it was also one of the first fragrance items to be sold on a record label merch page.

When The Business of Beauty asked Musgraves why she went in for a sophomore album with Boy Smells, she gave a big smile. “Why would I not?!” she asked, laughing. “I mean, Slow Burn was such a hit and it was such a fun creative process. Making the scent was inspiring for me, creatively, and I wanted to bring that energy back up into my life.”

Another smart move? Musgraves harnessed her work with Boy Smells to create a full visual and emotional world for Deeper Well, and her creative process on the scent can also be seen in her music video and current cottage-core-but-cooler styling.

“I think creativity is multifaceted and multi-sensory,” she explained. “We hear sound waves and they hit our bodies in a certain way, and they elicit different emotions. We tie so many memories to sound and to scent. It makes sense to bring them together. So for ‘Deeper Well,’ I knew I wanted to bring the song into other dimensions besides sound. The Boy Smells project gave me a way to ask, ‘What would this song smell like?’ And then, ‘What would this song look like?’ It’s really fun to think about how a song can take on other mediums, different life forms,” including on YouTube and at Sephora.

The end result of Musgraves’ exploration is a scent with notes of beetroot, clary sage, mushroom, and salted amber. “I wanted it to smell like hugging somebody you love who just comes in from outside,” she said, noting that to her, it smells like “wet stone,” and corresponds with Musgraves’ current emotional state: “centred, grounded and more trusting of myself.” Boy Smells expects the scent will also correspond with big sales. Though the original collaboration literally launched when Musgraves sent an Instagram DM to the brand, it’s become part of the Boy Smells success story.

“We saw 50 percent of new user growth in first-time purchasers when [Slow Burn] launched,” said co-founder Matthew Herman, who noted that Musgraves’ involvement with the brand helped lead to a 400 percent growth in sales that year. “This allowed us to advance the launch of our fine fragrance category to spring 2021.

As for whether the Boy Smells smash hit propelled Musgraves to consider her own larger entry into the fragrance or cosmetics category, the answer is, probably not right now. “I’m just so immersed in this new chapter for myself,” she said “Staying in touch with friends and taking care of myself; getting these songs to a place where they’re ready to be heard by people. And of course, working on Boy Smells. That’s what’s taking up my time.”

On Feb. 24, Musgraves will perform on “Saturday Night Live.” It would be a great sales opportunity for Deeper Well, but let’s be real: The candle will likely sell out long before she even hits the stage.

What Else Is New?

French Fries

McDonald’s first-ever beauty partnership is here. On Feb. 20, it unveiled a collaboration with Nails Inc that includes a sparkly “I’m Lovin’ It” topcoat and an “I Speak French” artificial nail set. Everything is $8.99, which is approximately one box of chicken nuggets.


63 brands have signed up for The Every Body Campaign, which “unites across the beauty industry in support of reproductive justice for all.” The main sponsor is Saie, and the goal is to raise money for the nonprofit Sister Song while lobbying Congress for safe access to abortions and birth control. This is excellent.

Saltair dropped its new Island Orchid body oil on Feb. 16, marking the fifth new product in a month from influencer Iskra Lawrence and beauty incubation firm The Center. Do they need less caffeine over there or does the rest of beauty need more of it?

On Feb. 18, Circcell debuted a Tetra Acidic Facial Cleanser, which claims its “natural and gentle jojoba beads work harmoniously with the tetra acids to manually remove debris melted away by the acid cocktail.” Some people will be thrilled to see the phrase “acid cocktail” in a cleanser; I just want gentle bubbles.

Hair Care

On Feb. 16, Osāna Naturals debuted at Walmart; two days later, it was in Target. The brand was created by Monday Haircare founder Jaimee Lupton, and includes many of the same products — scented shampoo and conditioner — as well as body wash and lotion. Prices for everything are under $5.

Kulfi introduced its new Free the Brow wand on Feb. 19. The formula is a gel-meets-serum that’s inspired by “the South Asian tradition of hair oiling.” The creative is very good, and celebrates the less structured brow shape that many Gen-Z women have embraced.

Amika’s Smooth Over Frizz Fighting treatment launched on Feb. 20. It claims to reduce the appearance of frizz in just 5 minutes; when tested, it reminded me of a salon hair gloss that gets super-shiny when heat styled. If you want something for a more tousled look, Oribe debuted a new Gold Lust dry heat protection spray on Feb. 23 that’s great for a fast blow dry.

L’Oréal has repackaged its Silver shampoo and conditioner to look more like the rest of its EverPure line. Google searches for “Grey Hair” reached the top 10 of trending hair terms this week, too.

Feb. 22 brought the launch of Corpus, a hair line made in California at a solar-powered facility. It’s using the buzzy skincare ingredient, Tremella mushroom, as a hair hydration booster.


It’s a nice week for blush! LYS Beauty launched its Higher Standards glow blush sticks on Feb. 22, the same day that BASMA Beauty debuted six shades of cream blush. Patrick Ta dropped a new series of Major Headlines Double Take creme and powder blushes on Feb. 21. And on Feb. 19, Glow Recipe introduced Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops, which is a very long name for the tiny squirt needed for application.

And Finally…

Just after Willy Chavarria took his triumphant New York Fashion Week bow wearing a Mac Cosmetics hat, Violette_FR did its first big merch drop on Feb. 22. It includes hoodies and crewnecks now. Meanwhile, Tower 28′s baseball hat already sold out on Sephora after landing in early February, but you can still get Glossier’s socks for $14 online.

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