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The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Can Sex Sell Sun Care?

Shining light on the $12.3 billion SPF boom.
Sabrina Carpenter, whose “Espresso” video dropped on April 12 with a cameo by Supergoop’s Glowscreen.
Sabrina Carpenter, whose “Espresso” video dropped on April 12 with a cameo by Supergoop’s Glowscreen. (Instagram/sabrinacarpenter)

Welcome back to Haul of Fame, the weekly beauty roundup of new products, new ideas and one more reason to look at puppy pictures. (Yay!)

Included in today’s issue: About-Face, Acne Studios, Benefit Cosmetics, Boy Smells, Clean Beauty Collective, Drybar, Estée Lauder, Facetory, JECT, Jurlique, Lancôme, Neen, Phlur, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Rare Beauty, Sarah Happ, Stila, Tata Harper, Tower28 Beauty and my favourite model Ali Michael.

But first…

Sun care is the new beauty arms race, as Mintel reports market growth of 7.4 percent in 2023, bringing the market to $12.3 billion, with projections for 5-6 percent growth through 2030. This month, some big SPF bombs drop… sometimes in the form of actual drops. Kate Somerville’s new Hydrakate fluid (out April 16) has SPF 50, plus hydrators, plus illuminating pigment. It claims the formula feels “like skincare, not sun care.”

It’s part of the many Mighty Morphin’ SPF launches that tout skincare and makeup benefits along with protection from the sun, air pollution, computer lights and those ever-elusive “free radicals.” Other combatants include IT Cosmetics and their new Hello Sunshine sunscreen that launched April 15. It’s “clinically proven to hydrate the skin for up to 48 hours and make the complexion smoother, softer and brighter after one week.” Kosas has popped up at Goop with their Tinted Moisturiser Gel Cream “made with copper peptides to plump and firm.” And Dune Suncare — one of the few brands created by an actual avid surfer, Mei Kwok — is now appearing at Nordstrom with their new Mug Guard face gel, which stays water resistant for about 40 minutes and says it “improves skin elasticity.” Sun merch is also happening, thanks to Prequel and its $30 sun hat, which dropped April 17.

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The ultimate gladiator in the sunscreen arena could be Glossier, which unveiled Invisible Shield SPF 50 on April 15 — but not the usual way. Instead of a product launch party or press event, they had makeup artist Raisa Flowers use it on basketball pro Caitlin Clark for the WNBA draft. The sunscreen officially launched the next day, with claims that it’s also a makeup primer… and a way to “reinforce and nourish the skin barrier.”

But what’s one foolproof way to diffuse a bomb? A bombshell. Enter Sabrina Carpenter, whose “Espresso” video hit YouTube on April 12 with a cameo by Supergoop’s Glowscreen. (Notably, it’s the actual SPF that Sabrina name-dropped in a 2012 interview with Glamour, so at least the shoutout is authentic, though obviously it’s also #sponcon.) The launch wasn’t new, but it was a gauntlet moment for sun care, which has previously been framed as a wellness tool — not something to make you sexier and more likely to curry favour with the cool girls at lunch. Between this appearance and Sol de Janeiro’s new SPF 50 body oil, we can see where the category could go.

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As the kids, and the Sephora executives, say: choose your fighter.

SKINCARE

Is your email worth a sapling? Jurlique is betting on it. The “seed to skin” beauty company is celebrating its B Corp status with a new campaign, called “Make a Pledge for Conscious Beauty.” Give them your email and write some promise you never have to keep — they suggest “I plan to only use natural-based skincare,” which… like… LOL. In return, they claim they’ll plant a tree in an area needing more nature. Is this campaign good? I mean, it’s fine. But getting a B-Corp status is no joke, and the fact that Jurlique proved its rigorous standards around waste, emissions and fair labour practices is fantastic on its own. Now let’s see if their email acquisition costs go down by bribing us all with the vague promise of reforestation.

Meanwhile at Rare Beauty, the brand is celebrating their new Leaping Bunny Certification with a plush line of dog toys shaped like Rare’s most popular makeup. A Leaping Bunny designation means the line is completely cruelty-free, and using adorable puppies to mark the occasion on social media is genius. (Shoutout to chief marketing officer Katie Welch and her team for the buzz.) But — and you knew there was a “but” — there appears to be a lot of synthetic plastic in these dog toys, which can ultimately harm animals and the planet as a whole. Is this the fault of Selena Gomez or anyone at Rare? Absolutely not. The system is broken and the brand’s mindfulness around ingredient sourcing, upcycled packaging and ethical labour is great. But I hope we can all celebrate the wins around planetary health with the same ethos that got us those wins in the first place.

Okay, kvetch over.

On April 9, Dr. Alexes Hazen introduced five products including Longevity Drops, Milky Facial Cleansing Drops, Zen Essential Scar Cream, Zen Essential Scrub and Zen Hydration Bomb. They cost between $45 and $60 and come in very calming blonde wood and frosted glass packaging.

If you’ve been stalking Erewhon’s online shopping site lately, you may have noticed Facetory’s pimple patches and Dedcool lip balm, and even Kinship SPF 60, has hit the same place where you can buy jars of blue algae.

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Can you boogie board right after Botox? The derma-spa pros at JECT will tell you at their new Miami Beach location, which opened on April 15. (If you need extra lip filler before Art Basel, book early.)

HAIR CARE

Drybar’s new Liquid Glass High-Gloss Finishing Serum dropped on April 15. It follows the trend of super-shiny hair happenings, including other glosses by Ouai, Bread Beauty and Kerastase that keep braiding their way through TikTok.

COSMETICS

We love to see it. Ten days after The Business of Beauty executive editor Priya Rao and The Business of Fashion technology correspondent Marc Bain told fashion and beauty companies that female athletes were their future, multiple WNBA signees worked with cosmetics giants for draft day. Pairings included Liz Kitley and Aaliyah Edwards getting done up by Glossier, Cameron Brink working with Estée Lauder’s global director of artistry, Jocelyn Biga, and Alissa Pili partnering with Wyn Beauty, the new line founded by Serena Williams. Adjacent: Lancôme has signed tennis player Qinwen Zheng, who holds her racket in a new ad for Advanced Génifique Serum.

About-Face, the beauty line by Halsey, released new Coachella-ready formulas on April 17, including Holographic Eye Paint and six types of false lashes. To be honest, I can’t name any Halsey songs (sorry!) but I name-drop this product line often, and so do many founders of other beauty lines. (I was raving about it with Starface’s Julie Schott a few weeks ago.) It really is that good.

Neen released its Glisten Up Boss Gloss on April 12. The shiny shade is a satisfying deep raspberry. The name is a little corny. But since Neen was founded by Jeanine Lobell — founder of Stila Cosmetics and an OG Girl Boss in the beauty industry — the moniker actually tracks.

In actual Stila news, its Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner hit Ulta Beauty on April 15, with colours including pink, blue and purple.

Benefit Cosmetics has a new Splash Tint and Plush Tint lip colour for glossy and matte buildable pigment. The beauty corner of Reddit was very excited for its release, which happened April 15 — the same day that Monika Blunder Beauty launched her own new tinted gloss, Sweet Talk Lip Oil. Not to be outdone, Sarah Happ unveiled The Cherry Slip red tinted lip gloss on (you guessed it) April 15.

Oh wait, one more gloss! Tower28′s new Confetti Cake Lip Softie is a deep pink and launched April 16. I’m sure plenty of adults will want it, but let’s be real, this is a play for the Sephora tweens.

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FRAGRANCE

Clean Beauty Collective dropped its Rain Eau de Parfum on April 10. There’s some tie-in to snails and Earth Day (again… ehhhhh?) but Gen X and Old Millennials will likely love this scent because it’s a bit like the OG Gap Heaven.

Ralph Lauren Fragrances welcomed athletes Benjamin Cremaschi and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to the fold on April 11. The brand is calling them the “Polo 67 Playmakers,” which sounds like a community theatre group. If any dudes who did theatre with me in high school looked like these guys, I would have practised my lines for “Measure for Measure” a lot more.

On April 18, Boy Smells introduced three new “Farm to Fragrance” scents, including Crush (plum), Bramble (blackberry and basil) and Sweet Pits (apricot).

Phlur has two new body mists —Dragonfruit and Moonstone, which is loaded with apple and pomegranate notes — and rolled out on April 17. They are meant to scent both body and hair.

Acne Studios debuted its first-ever scent with master perfumer Frederic Malle on April 17. It has rose, violet and orange blossom notes, and was created with a millennial “nose” named Suzy Le Helley, who also helped Shakira develop a fragrance. Neat! Mr. Malle announced his departure from his namesake line on April 18. Will Ms. Le Helley step in in larger way, or are we over the era of singular perfume heroes?

AND FINALLY

Sky High Farms got a vaguely glowing write-up in The New York Times last week; on April 18, they introduced their first-ever beauty collaboration with Tata Harper. It’s a hand cream with strawberry seed oil and wild pansy extract. One-hundred percent of proceeds go back to the farm, and Ali Michael does some pretty heavy lifting in the modelling shots, to the point where I wondered if Dan Colen was gonna launch his own Goop apparel line instead of, like, lotion.

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