The Los Angeles-based brand’s first topical skin-care product — the Plumping Jelly Serum, $58 — is rolling out to all Sephora doors and sephora.com on June 19. A second topical product — the Exfoliating Acid Potion, $39 — is set to launch on Moon Juice’s web site in August but will be available for pre-sale on June 19. Beauty Shroom Vegan Collagen Protection — $58 — a vegan collagen powder formulated with silver ear mushroom, tocos and hyaluronic acid to help prevent free radical damage — will also launch on moonjuice.com on June 19.
Moon Juice declined to talk financials, but industry sources estimate the brand is nearing $50 million in retail sales. Sources project the skin-care line could do $5 million in its first year.
Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon has gained a cult following for her brand of adaptogenic herbal mixtures cheekily named “dusts” — Beauty Dust, Sex Dust, Brain Dust and so on, based on a beauty-from-the-inside-out philosophy the brand promotes to its 200,000 followers on Instagram. The herbal blends are sold for $38 at retailers such as Cap Beauty, Net-a-porter, Urban Outfitters, and most recently Sephora, and they’re designed to be mixed in with smoothies and other drinks. They are used in actual recipes at Moon Juice’s physical locations — juice and smoothie shops in L.A.’s hip Venice, Silver Lake and Melrose Place areas.
Bacon is admittedly “the least likely person” to launch a skin-care line. Her intense devotion to adaptogens as a lifestyle — substances used in herbal medicine that are said to exert a stabilizing effect on the body and help it adapt to stress — spurred the launch of Moon Juice, which started as a celebrity-frequented juice and smoothie shop.
“People would always ask me to do skin care and I would be like, ‘No, I’m not really interested,'” said Bacon. “It really was because I took care of myself and was in good health — I never had acne or skin issues. I used a bar of soap and maybe a little moisturizer here and there.”
Then her mid-thirties hit. Bacon began to notice “small changes” in her skin.
“I didn’t even believe in skin care necessarily,” said Bacon. “I just wasn’t sure that topical things out there actually worked.”
She did find one product that proved efficacious — Biologique Recherche P50 — but the ingredient list didn’t live up to her standards. “We all know that a girl like me is not going to put that on her face every day,” said Bacon. “There was nothing out there that had that type of efficacy and was clean enough for me.”
Thus was born Beauty Shroom. The topical skin-care products are formulated with Bacon’s signature adaptogenic ingredients combined with those found in traditional skin care. The Exfoliating Acid Potion, for instance, combines glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids with reishi and tocotrienols.
Using nontoxic ingredients while retaining efficacy was important to Bacon, who stressed the effectiveness of her Beauty Shroom products. “If you asked me [when we started formulating] what I thought the skin-care products would be, it would have been really hippie-dippie oils that came from a farm, but in reality what has happened here, these are pretty hard hitting clean clinicals. We’re not shying away from science, but we’re keeping everything safe.”
Since its launch, Moon Juice has raised two rounds of funding from private investors. As part of the second round, Elizabeth Ashmun joined the brand as president in 2017. Ashmun is a beauty industry veteran — she formerly held chief marketing officer positions at Murad and Kate Somerville — and she has overseen the brand’s transition from the niche wellness space into more mainstream beauty, including a reformulation and price reduction of its signature Dusts and their rollout to all Sephora doors.
Bacon doesn’t see topical skin care ever eclipsing the brand’s ingestible business. She considers her own skin-care routine to be 80 percent about what’s going on internally and 20 percent applying products externally. “I don’t think the line will ever go crazy — we’ll still keep it in the vein of absolute essentials,” she said, noting she does see opportunity for adaptogenic remedies in other areas within beauty. Hair care is one.
Meanwhile, Moon Juice remains focused on launching ingestible products — most recently, its own line of protein powders and SuperYou, a daily stress management supplement, which launched at Sephora in May.