Sephora Collection clean products

Sephora’s private label brand is jumping on the clean makeup bandwagon with a small assortment of products launching Friday.

The four new Sephora Collection products — Glowing Skin Foundation, Glossy Lip Oil, Liquid Lip Mousse and Bouncy Eyeshadow Palette — all have the Clean at Sephora seal, meaning they have been formulated without certain ingredients including parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, formaldehydes, coal tar and more.

The beauty retailer this year has significantly bolstered its clean makeup selection, adding brands such as Kosas and Tower28 and working with others such as Tarte and Bite Beauty to reformulate according to the Clean at Sephora standards. A key point of difference between these brands and those sold under the Sephora Collection label is price. None of the Sephora Collection clean makeup products are priced at more than $20.

“We thought it was important to bring clean makeup at a great value,” said Brooke Banwart, vice president of Sephora Collection. “It starts with what the clients are looking for and where the biggest demand is.”

The products are vegan, cruelty-free and formulated with natural ingredients such as matcha and rosehip oil. The packaging is said to have been designed using sustainable resources and vegetable ink. They are designed to impart a more natural, no-makeup look.

The foundation, priced at $20, comes in 20 shades, though it is formulated with a buildable coverage designed to work on a variety of skin tones. The lip oil, $12, is made with watermelon seed oil. The eye shadow palette, $18, offers six neutral shades with a “cushion-y” texture. It was developed using pearls for color — pigments used in conventional eye shadows are often touted as potentially harmful or toxic by clean beauty advocates. Finally, a lip mousse, designed for lightweight but long-lasting color and “smooth and blur” the lips, is priced at $15.

Prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, clean makeup was considered a small yet fast-growing segment of the broader prestige makeup category. While makeup sales have plunged amid weeks of store closures, the broader clean beauty category is still considered to be a bright spot.

Sephora is working to expand its two-year-old Clean program, most aggressively in skin care. Most notably, it is transitioning its entire Sephora Collection skin-care line to be Clean at Sephora compliant. Some old products have been reformulated, some are being phased out, and any new products launched in the back half of the year will all have the seal.

Clean makeup at Sephora is still a small category relative to skin care, and while the segment is “not for everybody,” it has potential to grow, said Banwart — though it will depend on how fast brands can release innovation that can compete with conventional makeup products. The category is not something Banwart sees the consumer compromising on.

“What happened over time with skin care is that being clean and eco-friendly became table stakes, she noted. “At the end of the day, clients need efficacy and high-performance. It’s a matter of technology and the pace at which that happens, but we’re looking to help push that innovation forward.”

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