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Clean & Clear Targets Gen Z With C&C Brand

Brooklyn McKnight and Bailey McKnight collaborated on product development.

Clean & Clear is growing up.

The Johnson & Johnson-owned skin-care brand in July is introducing a modernized offshoot, C&C by Clean & Clear. Targeted at Generation Z, C&C goes beyond Clean & Clear’s antiacne ethos to offer general skin-care items such as cleansers, wipes, masks and moisturizers, all targeted at young adult skin. Brooklyn McKnight and Bailey McKnight — 18-year-old identical twin YouTube vloggers — consulted on product development.

The line consists of 11 sku’s retailing from $8 to $16 and is set to launch on July 9 in Ulta stores, ulta.com and amazon.com.

C&C was developed over the course of a year by a seven-person incubator-style team within Johnson & Johnson’s Los Angeles-based office. The reason for developing the brand was twofold, said Rachel Behm, head of the beauty incubator at Johnson & Johnson.

“Internally, we decided we wanted to operate in a smaller, start-up-style way,” said Behm. “From an external perspective, we wanted to develop something with our consumers at the center in a new and different way — and actually talk to young adults from the beginning.”

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The C&C products are highly trend-driven compared to the base Clean & Clear line, taking cues on formulation and ingredients from social media — for instance, the Total Zen Calming Lavender Mousse Cleanser and Mask One Rubbery Peel-Off Mask. There are several antiacne items incorporated into the line, but the marketing doesn’t highlight the clinical ingredients included in the formulations — the Black Out Blackhead Clearing Coffee Scrub, for instance, is made with salicylic acid. The Over Zit Spot Patches, hydrocolloid patches infused with tea-tree oil, are a take on a K-beauty trend and a spot treatment alternative to Clean & Clear’s classic Persagel benzoyl peroxide treatment. There are plenty of grab-and-go items, like a pore stick and wipes.

Not much has changed about the antiacne market since Johnson & Johnson bought the brand in the Nineties and repositioned it to focus on acne, said Behm. For the most part, the challenges remain the same. “Have you ever tried to get a young adult boy to follow a routine?” said Behm. “One of the biggest challenges is establishing a routine that allows you to see the results and feel confident that the routine is working.”

Behm noted that C&C’s trend-driven designs were created with that problem in mind. “Part of what we’re trying to crack is how to make [acne and skin-care products] feel great, smell great and look great on your counter or when you take it out of your backpack.”

The core Clean & Clear brand has done some modernizing recently as well. Product launches last year included some K-beauty-inspired innovations, such as the Night Relaxing Jelly Eye Sheet Mask and Detox Clay Mask. The brand’s numbers are overall growing exponentially in the mass market — the brand’s acne products are up more than 270 percent, according to IRI data tracking the last 52 weeks ending April 22. But some individual franchises are lagging — the Clean & Clear Deep Action Facial Cleansers are down 15 percent, and the Advantage Acne treatments are down 25 percent.

This could be due to the overall mass market slowdown, said Behm. It’s why the brand is launching in Ulta and on Amazon, and adopting a digital-first marketing strategy.