Revlon Jumps on the Clean Beauty Bandwagon, Releases EWG-Verified Primer

A new product from Revlon is rolling out to mass retailers this month, adorned with an EWG-verified seal.
The brand's PhotoReady Prime Plus Perfecting Smoothing Primer, $13.99, is the first product by Revlon and by a legacy cosmetics brand in the mass market to receive the marker, which indicates the product is compliant with the standards of the Environmental Working Group, the lobbying organization focused on ingredient safety for consumer products.
Revlon and EWG co-developed the primer, according to Revlon's chief scientific officer Keyla Lazardi.
"Their scientists came to our labs for brainstorming sessions, we looked at the performance levels we needed to deliver and the best way to deliver that performance while being compliant with their standards," said Lazardi. "We created different prototypes and picked the best one."
The partnership comes at a time when consumers are increasingly interested in clean beauty. The clean makeup category specifically is attracting attention from the finance community. Earlier this year, WWD reported that clean makeup brands Kosas and Ilia have both closed on new rounds of funding. Brands such as RMS Beauty and Westman Atelier, backed by celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman, have reported strong growth. Newcomer Saie Beauty, which offers an eyelash curler made from sustainable materials, in the fall attracted a round of investment that included Unilever Ventures.
The EWG-Verified seal is a new-ish program from the lobbying organization. It requires participating brands to reveal extensive certifications from manufacturers and suppliers, and is meant to be a real-life extension of its popular Skin Deep database, where consumers can search for beauty and household products and compare varying degrees of potential toxicity, as determined by the EWG's ingredient standards. Products that are deemed compliant with the EWG-verified standards receive a seal that is visible to consumers at retail.
The mass market is mostly devoid of makeup options that are considered clean. Pacifica's vegan and cruelty-free makeup sells at Ulta Beauty and Target. W3ll People, which also has products that are EWG-verified, is also sold at Target. Walmart in 2017 launched the private label clean beauty line Found, which includes makeup. Burt's Bees in 2017 introduced a makeup brand that is sold in Ulta, CVS, Target and other mass retailers. There's also Almay, the Revlon-owned brand, which positions itself as a clean choice, and Markwins-owned Physicians Formula, which relaunched its OrganicWear line, with new organic certification, over the summer.
Legacy makeup brands have lagged behind on the clean trend. Earlier this month, Cover Girl launched the Clean Fresh Collection, which is said to be vegan, cruelty-free and formulated without sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates or talc.
Because clean makeup is new to the broader mass retailer market, it is yet to be seen if it will resonate with the core customers of legacy makeup brands like Revlon and Cover Girl, which are generally older than the younger Millennials and Gen Z consumers these brands have struggled to attract.
Lazardi noted that the EWG partnership is meant to be a long-term one, and Revlon will continue to develop products with the EWG guidelines in mind.
"We believe that this will help us communicate better with consumers — it's a good tool to attract younger consumers who transparency in communication," said Lazardi. 
The introduction comes at a busy time for the firm, which is in the midst of exploring a sale of its brands — while technically everything remains up for grabs, the company is said to be focusing on selling off its portfolio brands, which include Almay and American Crew. Revlon's brands have struggled as the mass market in the U.S. has languished. Revlon brand sales were down 2.2 percent for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 21, according to Nielsen scanner data. And Almay's sales were down 2.6 percent, but in the last four weeks dropped dramatically, down 17 percent.
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