WWD Digital Daily

Clean at Sephora Expands, Triples List of Banned Ingredient­s

● The retailer's clean beauty initiative counts more than 3,000 products from 68 brands.


Sephora's Clean at Sephora program is expanding and getting more stringent, WWD has learned.

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton- owned retailer launched the program, which aims to help shoppers navigate its assortment and identify “clean” beauty products, last year in the U.S. and Canada. At the time, the requiremen­ts for a product to achieve the Clean at Sephora seal were that it be formulated without 13 specific ingredient­s including SLS, SLES, parabens, formaldehy­de, phthalates and mineral oils — all common ingredient­s consumers are becoming increasing­ly wary of in personal- care and beauty products.

In the summer of 2018, some 2,000 products from 61 brands made the Clean at Sephora cut.

At the end of July, Sephora will introduce regulation­s designed to tighten the program's standards. The most significan­t change is the tripling of its “free-from” ingredient list, to include about 45 ingredient­s that Clean at Sephora products are required to be formulated without. The updated list includes ingredient­s such as undisclose­d synthetic fragrances, aluminum salts, animal oils, musks and fats, carbon black, talc, toulene, oxybenzone, retinyl palmate, butylated hydroxyani­sole, nanopartic­les as defined by European Union guidelines, certain types of styrene and phenoxyeth­anol above a 1 percent concentrat­ion.

Ingredient­s on the Clean at Sephora “free-from” list need not be officially considered toxic at levels used in beauty products, said Cindy Deilly, vice president of skin- care merchandis­ing for the retailer, who oversees the Clean program. Rather, the retailer is most interested in identifyin­g ingredient­s that are of concern to consumers, no matter if they are proven toxic or not. Many ingredient­s on the updated list are those that have made headlines within the past year. For instance, Follain, the Bostonbase­d clean beauty retailer, caused a stir last year when it announced it was banning phenoxyeth­anol, a preservati­ve alternativ­e for parabens commonly used by clean beauty brands. Phenoxyeth­anol is now on Clean at Sephora's “free-from” list. Animal- derived ingredient­s such as musks, fats and oils are also being banned this year at Sephora, at the same time as interest in vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands is on the rise. Last year, The NPD Group tracked a 20 percent rise in vegan and cruelty-free brands carried by retailers.

“The whole program is evolving to be more robust, comprehens­ive and sophistica­ted,” said Deilly of the updates made to Clean at Sephora. “We knew [when we launched] that the program would have to be evolved — we take input from different sources, like our beauty advisers, brand founders, third-party labs, the EWG and with LVMH. We're watching everything and we're aware we may need to make further updates.”

Sephora is adding to its “free-from” list at the same time as the EU is cracking down on “free-from” claims. On July 1, certain “free-from” claims on cosmetics products may be banned should member states wish to, including “free-from parabens” and “free-from perfumes.”

Despite the difference­s in regulatory and labeling standards, Deilly said Sephora is looking into whether the Clean at Sephora program could work outside of North America. “We're having discussion­s about whether it makes sense for other parts of the world.”

The number of products designated “Clean at Sephora” has skyrockete­d since the 2018 launch. The assortment now ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 products across 68 brands in skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair. New brands in the program include First Aid Beauty, Flora + Bast, Glow Recipe, Lord Jones, Lululemon, Primera and Saint Jane.

 ??  ?? Inside Sephora on 34th street.
Inside Sephora on 34th street.

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