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EXCLUSIVE: Maybelline Launches Cradle to Cradle-Certified ‘Green Edition’ Collection

The new range, which is launching with three products, is part of the brand's Conscious Together sustainability platform.

“Clean” beauty has gained a new competitor in the mass market — Maybelline New York.

The L’Oréal-owned brand, which WWD reported is makeup’s largest brand, is launching a new collection of color cosmetics, called “Green Edition.” The products are vegan, and are formulated without parabens, petrolatum, formaldehyde, silicones, the preservative BHT and mineral oil, and promise to keep a minimum of 70 percent natural-origin ingredients.

The debut assortment includes the Superdrop Tinted Oil, Balmy Lip Blush and Mega Mousse Mascara, and will launch in the U.S. in the first quarter, starting with the mascara and tinted oil by January 2022. The full line will be available in full distribution by March, which will include eight shades of the tinted oil and 10 of the lip blush. Prices range from $9.99 to $11.99.

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According to a statement from the brand, it defines “natural origin” ingredients as retaining 50 percent or more of the molecular structure from its original, natural state. The tinted oil’s glass bottle is made from 20 percent recycled material; the lip blush’s cap and base are made with 95 percent recycled plastic; and the mascara’s tube is made from 95 percent recycled plastic. They are made with 84 percent, 93 percent and 99 percent natural origin ingredients, respectively.

The standard is up to spec with external agencies. Trisha Ayyagari, Maybelline New York‘s global brand president, said that it was the first makeup collection to be certified by Cradle to Cradle, a nonprofit which includes guidelines around climate protection, social fairness and product circularity, per its website.

“It’s an external party that’s created this global standard which has really validated the product line that we’re bringing to market,” Ayyagari said, adding that the oil and lip blush received gold certifications from Cradle to Cradle, while the mascara received a silver certification.

The launch is part of the Maybelline’s larger sustainability efforts, which fall under the umbrella of its Conscious Together initiative. “We’re taking a look at all these different areas of production, packaging, disposal and formulation and we really wanted to make clear commitments with each of them. Today, 73 percent of the sites that produce Maybelline are carbon neutral, and by 2025, 100 percent of those sites will be carbon neutral. Since 2018, we’re replaced 600 tons of virgin plastic with recycled materials, and by 2030, our commitment is to make all of our packaging from 100 percent recycled plastic,” Ayyagari said.

Earlier this year, L’Oréal USA, the U.S. division of the manufacturer, announced that it had reached carbon neutrality for scope one and two emissions across all of its 25 sites. Part of its overarching sustainability goals include shrinking all emissions by 25 percent by 2030, and to hit total carbon neutrality by 2050.

Although “clean” product positioning and sustainably minded offerings have been winning strategies for capturing share of mind and wallet with Gen Z — Cover Girl announced a “clean” skin care range last month — Ayyagari said the launch was meant to appeal to Maybelline’s broad base of consumers. “From a demographic standpoint, with our scale to our advantage, we really want to speak to everyone with these products and they are broadly appealing. They can be loved by any particular age group or gender, and on top of that, we maintain this level of performance with our accessible price points.”

With that in mind,, performance was still a top priority for Ayyagari, which she said was integral to the strategy behind the launch. “It maintains the importance of performance that Maybelline delivers, but it really reaches out to that consumer who’s seeking a more natural offer,” she said. “If the consumer is seeking more naturally derived makeup today, she’s probably not looking at Maybelline. This is a great opportunity for us to address her with a product that meets our makeup level of performance.”

Relying on natural ingredients, however, didn’t mean the brand had to compromise on the products’ payoff. “Our tinted face oil is made with jojoba and marula oils to deliver fresh-looking coverage,” she said. “Right now, there’s a huge trend toward more fresh, no-makeup makeup looks, which Green Edition really tapped into with our tinted face oil and our balmy lip blush.”

She added that the lip blush also features mango oil, and the mascara combines shea butter with a brush of biofibers for maximum results. “We wanted to make sure that we carefully developed each one and that they met both our standards of performance and naturality. The remaining percentages that we have in the formula are ingredients that help deliver on that performance. Whether it be wear, pigmentation, or flake-free — that’s where the other remaining percentages of the formula are coming from,” she said. “These products are at the core of our portfolio.”

Ayyagari expects the mascara to be the range’s hero product, especially given Maybelline’s credit with consumers in the category. Last year’s Sky High mascara launch was the largest in the history of the brand, and just this week, it launched its Curl Bounce mascara in both waterproof and washable varieties.

She didn’t, however, rule out any other categories to expand the line into. “It’s about innovation, and our lineup starts with these three products but there’s a lot more to come.”

The launch is another step in the brand’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which beleaguered makeup sales in the mass market, particularly lip products. “The pandemic was a difficult time for us, makeup usage really slowed down. We’re not full out of it, but we’ve managed to really excite consumers on wearing makeup through innovation,” she said. “We’ve really pivoted our strategies and innovations to meet the needs of consumers, and we’ve managed to have great success.”

Although growth may be slow at first, “gradually, Green Edition will become a very big piece of our business,” Ayyagari said. “We want to make sure we can use the right vehicles to educate our consumers on all the different principles that make this a really important launch for us, and we see it being a big pillar for us moving forward.”

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