Revlon’s first certified ‘clean’ cosmetics launch under fire for ‘dubious marketing’ claims

By Becky Bargh | 11-Feb-2020

The beauty brand’s launch, certified by non-profit organisation Environmental Working Group, has been criticised by a former cosmetics formulator

The cosmetics sector has been readily catering for the increasing demand for ‘free-from’ products in recent years.

Fragrance-free, paraben-free, natural and vegan products have all grown in popularity and interest among consumers – and beauty brands have taken note.

A snowball effect has seen the culmination of this trend present itself in the form of ‘clean’ beauty, with the promise of so-called ‘less toxic’ formulas and ‘healthy’ alternatives to traditional beauty products.

Brands across the world have tapped into the movement, from Coty-owned Covergirl to No BS Skincare, and retailers have created categories dedicated to ‘clean’ products.

Revlon’s answer to ‘clean’ beauty

Revlon’s new ‘clean’ Prime Plus Perfecting + Smoothing Makeup Skincare Primer product has attracted unwanted attention from cosmetic scientists due to its accreditation.

The product was awarded the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) green Skin Deep score, meaning it has the ‘lowest hazard’ ingredients list possible.

Revlon’s first certified ‘clean’ cosmetics launch under fire for ‘dubious marketing’ claims

The product contains more than 25 ingredients, including butylene glycol, dimethicone and polysorbate.

In a statement for the launch of the new product, Revlon’s President and CEO Debra Perelman, said: “More than just buying differently, consumers want added assurances about the products they buy and their ingredients.

“Building on our longstanding partnership with EWG and commitment to health, Revlon understands the changing needs of consumers and is leading the way in bringing clean and transparent beauty to consumers at an accessible price point.”

Clean claims criticised

However, former cosmetics formulator and author, Perry Romanowski, called out the brand on social media for ‘dubious marketing’.

Speaking to Cosmetics Business he said: “I call the EWG fearmongers.

“Essentially, they attract attention by scaring consumers about products unnecessarily, passing along a lot of misinformation or biased information.

“Scary stuff gets more attention online, and the reality is that standard cosmetic products are perfectly safe, they’re safety tested, consumers don’t really have to worry the way they do about their products.

“But groups like the EWG campaign for safe cosmetics and, quite frankly, a lot of cosmetic marketers thrive on this fear marketing.”

He added that when it comes to ‘clean’ beauty, these products are no safer than other products, companies just imply that they are.

“The obvious thing is when you say yours is clean you’re implying that everyone else’s is dirty or somehow unsafe,” added Romanowski.

Fellow Twitter users also reacted to Revlon’s new ‘clean’ product launch and its EWG certification with similar concerns.

The EWG did not respond to Cosmetics Business’ questions.

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