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MAC Veteran Victor Casale’s New Skin Care Brand Is Launching at Target

Seasoned beauty executives Joy Chen and Victor Casale have teamed up on an accessible approach to making custom products with Pure Culture Beauty.

Former MAC chief chemist Victor Casale has a new venture.

The industry veteran has teamed up with fellow beauty executive Joy Chen on Pure Culture Beauty, a mass-market skin care brand offering customized skin care formulations via its test kits. The kits range in price from $29.99 to $59.99, and are available at Target as well as the brand’s own website.

Consumers purchase the self-testing kits, upload results from those tests to Pure Culture Beauty’s website, and then have customized formulas for cleansers, serums or moisturizers shipped directly to them, based on their skin needs and concerns.

The brand’s goal is to take the guesswork out of picking the right products, Chen and Casale agreed. They both drew on their collective experiences in the industry: Chen, having led Yes To and H2O+ Beauty; Casale having worked on founding teams of both MAC Cosmetics and Cover FX.

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“A lot of our genesis started with some of the frustrations we had about the industry,” Chen, who serves as the brand’s chief executive officer, told WWD. “We realize how confusing this industry is to a lot of the consumers. If you ask anybody how they learned about the products they’re using today, it probably has not much to do with what is right for their skin, but what they heard was good from someone else.”

The concerns also had to do with supply chain pain points, Casale, the brand’s chairman, said. “One of the frustration points I had was that we didn’t want to build a skin care platform where we’re making hundreds of thousands of units and shipping them out to 2,000 points of distribution. It’s not a sustainable model for pumping out product.”

Sustainability is top of mind for the brand. The products come in recyclable glass and sugarcane-based packaging, housed in FSC-certified paper. Casale has also cofounded refillable makeup brand Mob Beauty, in addition to PACT Collective, a recycling coalition. MAC was an early adopter of recycling in beauty, and has long offered a take-back program for customers to turn in empty products at stores.

Pure Culture’s products contain a range of actives, ranging across niacinamide, vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acid, plant-based retinols, hydroxy acids, prebiotics and postbiotics. However, the brand also has a no-list of 2,700 ingredients it eschews.

“We’re not just selling you skin care,” Casale added. “It’s actually a platform where we get data. We marry the data up with all of the formula combinations we’ve made, and we offer over 50,000 possible combinations of solutions.”

From a distribution standpoint, Chen and Casale’s omnichannel strategy is resonating. “We want to make customization more accessible and approachable, and the Target distribution really allows us to deliver on that front,” Chen said. “The customer for Pure Culture shops at Target, and we want to make it approachable.”

Neither commented on sales expectations, although industry sources think Pure Culture Beauty could reach $5 million in net sales during its first year on the market.