EXCLUSIVE: Beautycounter to Launch First Fragrances, Clean Eau De Parfum

With Gregg Renfrew back at the helm of Beautycounter as chief executive officer, the focus is on fragrance. The “clean” direct-to-consumer company is launching its first scents: Clean Eau De Parfum.

“One in four dollars that are spent on products are spent on fragrance, so we were missing 25 percent of the revenue opportunity of the industry,” Renfrew said of entering the new category. “Number two, I think it’s multigenerational.”

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There are five scents, with a range of floral notes — Sun Spill, Miles Away, Hyper Rose, Second Skin and Pacific Dreams — dropping DTC on March 26. A full-size bottle (50 ml.) is priced at $96, while rollerballs (9 ml.) are $35.

“We’ve been thinking about fragrance, I mean, probably for the better part of the last decade,” Renfrew said. “But tackling fragrance was not easy, is not easy.”

Founded in 2011, she first launched skin care before expanding into color cosmetics and personal care.

“What took us a really long time and then why it’s taking us a while to get this product into the market is that you have to drive performance. It is almost as if it’s someone’s personal brand, right? And it’s very subjective, and it’s very personal,” she went on, of fragrance. “We had to make sure that the product actually performed for people, so that took a really long time, minus all the chemicals. Then I think just figuring out how to do these formulations, minus all the chemicals of concern, was also incredibly challenging.”

Beautycounter screened for 23 health factors including hormone disruption, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity, according to the company. Using “natural fragrance” and “safer synthetics,” all ingredients are listed for transparency. The company screened more than 300 natural and synthetic ingredients during development, adding 60 ingredients to its “Never List” as a result. According to Beautycounter, questionable ingredients typically found in fine fragrance include methyl anthranilate, benzyl alcohol, dethyl phthalate, benzyl benzoate, styrene, BHT, coumarin, acetaldehyde and phenethyl alcohol. The Beautycounter fragrances are also Leaping Bunny certified, with no animal testing.

Gregg Renfrew
Gregg Renfrew

Beautycounter is looking to disrupt in the category with a “combination of performance and safety” and through complete transparency, under the wider lens of the company — known for putting words to action through advocating for safety measures on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve tried to be extremely transparent with everyone that I don’t have all the answers today, but I certainly have the vision and that I never intended to move away from Beautycounter, so I’m very excited to be back,” Renfrew said of her return.

Marc Rey had been appointed CEO in February 2022, replacing Renfrew a year after The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in Beautycounter in April 2021, valuing the business at more than $1 billion. Renfrew has taken on the role again as of February 2024.

“Our mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone, which was the reason I started the business in the first place, is as important today as it was, you know, in 2011 when I was concepting the business,” said Renfrew.

Today, Beautycounter has grown to include two brick-and-mortar locations in New York and Denver, and distribution at Ulta Beauty.

Moving forward, Renfrew sees opportunity in leveraging the omnichannel approach “to meet the needs of today’s consumer and to really evolve and disrupt from a channel standpoint or a business model standpoint as much as we’re disrupting and leading from the health and safety and performance of our products,” she added.

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