Sephora is preparing to up its clean beauty game. The retailer, which is turning 20 this year, is expanding the category with Clean at Sephora, an initiative aimed at increased transparency with customers about the ingredients present in their favorite products.
The campaign, launching June 1, will feature products formulated without SLS, SLES, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates and mineral oils. Sephora has identified more than 50 qualifying brands and 2,000-plus qualifying stockkeeping units as part of the initiative, which chief merchandising officer Artemis Patrick said was inspired by client demand.
“We know over 60 percent of women that buy beauty read the label before they do, and over 54 percent want to know if it’s natural or clean and what ingredients are in there,” Patrick said. “We have identified some common chemicals that are in certain products that our clients have asked about. It’s not about whether it’s good or it’s bad, it’s about being transparent. While this is not necessarily a new thing, what we have seen is that the efficacy of the products that are out there are at an all-time high, so you can actually get products without these ingredients if you so choose and still get the efficacy of the product that you want and love.”
Clean at Sephora comes at a time when the retailer is experimenting with different size stores, luxury and masstige products and new in-store services such as the Perk Hydrating Facial, which launched May 1. Spanning skin care, hair care, color cosmetics and fragrance, some of the brands included are: Drunk Elephant, Boscia, Supergoop, Caudalie, Tata Harper, Lilah B, Lawless, RMS, Reverie and 7 Virtues, which was a part of the 2017 Sephora Accelerate program. The initiative will also mark the arrival of new brands to the store, including Indie Lee and Go-To Skin Care.
Sephora previously launched a naturals campaign in spring 2008. It is not the first retailer to launch a clean beauty category, but given the scale of its campaign, it is sure to make a lasting impact.
In November, Neiman Marcus added 45 brands and 650 new products, most of which were billed as clean and nontoxic, to its beauty floor. In March, Barneys unveiled “Conscious Beauty,” a curated assortment of clean and natural makeup, skin care, hair care and ingestible beauty supplements. Last year, Bluemercury rolled out a naturals program that included lines like Indie Lee, One Love Organics, Tracie Martyn and Ilia Beauty. And with Kourtney Kardashian putting her star power behind the Environmental Working Group and the Personal Care Products Safety Act, and Hawaii making moves to ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens containing ingredients thought to be damaging to coral reefs, the demand for safe and eco-friendly ingredients has hardly reached its peak.
Sephora will merchandise its clean beauty products via in-store displays and online, a Clean at Sephora sticker will appear on every qualifying product page. The company is also equipping its beauty advisers with the information they need to help clients navigate the new format.
“It really came down to doing a ton of research internally with our Beauty Insider community, with our brands, a lot also with some external counsel and organizations that are out there talking about this,” Patrick added. “Our beauty advisers are not strangers to this kind of thing. I’m always shocked by their ability to remember so much, but this is not new for them to take in this kind of information and honestly, the clients have been asking. They are excited, they’re hungry to be able to share this information with our clients.”
Clean at Sephora launches June 1 in stores, online and on mobile.
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