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EXCLUSIVE: Cover Girl Takes on Skin Care

The brand has entered skin care with a cleanser, three moisturizers and a priming mist.

Cover Girl has entered a new phase — and category — in its turnaround: skin care.

The brand, which Coty Inc. acquired from P&G Beauty along with 42 other brands in 2016, has quickly gained market share following a pivot to “clean” product formulations this year, and has now set its sights on skin.

“Cover Girl has been on a mission to make clean beauty more accessible to all,” said Andrew Stanleick, executive vice president of Coty North America and chief executive officer of Kylie Jenner’s beauty business. “It’s a natural extension for Cover Girl. Speaking to retailers, as well as consumers when we developed the products, it felt almost long overdue. We’ve come out of COVID-19, and the category is accelerating.”

The vegan skin care lineup’s formulations consist of 90 percent naturally derived ingredients. The range includes a cleanser, a priming mist and three moisturizers. They will launch online with retailers on Nov. 15 and in the brand’s robust  brick-and-mortar distribution network by January, with all stock keeping units priced below $15. Stanleick declined to provide sales projections, but noted strong support from the brand’s retail partners. “We have a brand with such high awareness and in such a significant category,” he added.

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Stanleick caveated that the range’s target was “broad,” given the scope of the concerns it addresses, which range from hydration to hyperpigmentation. “Skin care appeals to all ages, as Cover Girl does — it has a very broad surface as a brand.”

With that in mind, Stanleick said Cover Girl’s Simply Ageless foundation is the top product in the antiaging foundation segment, but he’s betting that the versatility of skin care will appeal more to younger consumers, too.

“We hear a lot from consumers that life in the last 18 months has been complex enough, so they’re looking for simple, clean beauty regimes,” he said. “When we look at what’s driving our clean business today, it’s consumers looking for clean products, and it’s Generation Z. They’ve been driving a lot of growth.”

In getting the word out about the launches, Stanleick said the brand is casting a wide net marketing-wise. “You can expect major support behind this launch of skin care across every channel and every medium, as it’s such a broad reach,” Stanleick said. “You can expect significant above-the-line investment. We’ll be announcing a new spokesperson later this week to support the launch. It’s going to be a great complement to our existing investment.”

To that end, on Coty’s most recent earnings call, CEO Sue Nabi said the company had doubled media spend year-over-year, while announcing a 22 percent increase in net sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30. “That’s the heart of what’s really driving this resurgence in the brand,” Stanleick explained.

Tapping into the brand’s heritage is a core tenet of Stanleick’s strategy, such as the reprisal of the brand’s partnership with spokesperson Niki Taylor. “The brand was founded on a clean foundation with Noxema for healthy, clean skin, so we focused on developing innovation around that, which proved to be the beginning of the turnaround with the Clean Fresh Milk,” he said. “It’s really going back to basics, and focusing on the core of the DNA.”

For more from WWD.com, see:

Catching Up With Coty Inc. at DKMS

Coty’s Andrew Stanleick on the Future of Cover Girl

Mass Market Beauty’s Climbing Categories