Sephora Said Tightening Clean Beauty Standards

Sephora is beefing up its clean beauty initiatives with a program called Clean Plus, sources tell WWD.

Several industry sources said the U.S.’s largest prestige beauty retailer will be introducing new parameters for brands to qualify as “Clean Plus,” which includes formulating without polyethylene glycol and other petroleum-based ingredients. Skin care, hair care and makeup brands are expected to comply by 2022; fragrance brands are given until March 31 of 2022, the sources said.

Sephora did not respond to WWD’s request for comment by press time.

Two sources said 30 percent of Sephora’s sales growth — which is nearing $3 billion in online sales for North America — is coming from the 92 Clean at Sephora brands, and Sephora is hoping to build out its assortment of clean hair care and color brands.

“A lot of these clean and sustainability initiatives are directed by consumers. It’s no longer Sephora doing above the call of duty, they’re responding to consumer demand,” said one source.

Although two of the sources described the upgrade as just updating the retailer’s standards, other sources allege that more rigorous standards around “clean” are meant to compete more directly with clean retailer Credo, which partnered last year with competitor Ulta Beauty. “Credo has become the gold standard,” one source said. “Credo is the destination for clean, but Sephora is the destination for prestige.”

There is a sustainability component to the certification process, a source said. “It’s actually very in-depth. They’re pretty strict,” one source said. “With this new program, you’re going to have some interesting brands come across.”

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