Retail and consumers

Glossier reformulates iconic product, leaving customers wondering why

Dive Brief:

  • Roughly nine years after it launched, beauty brand Glossier announced it is releasing a reformulated version of its iconic lip product, the Balm Dotcom, according to a company Instagram post this week. The new formula is vegan and the cherry flavor will be discontinued.
  • The updated formula (with a new applicator tip) will officially be released in February, but some users on Reddit’s r/glossier forum posted last month about receiving Balm Dotcom’s in the mail that had a different formula than existing versions. The Balm Dotcom formulation currently listed on its website contains petrolatum, lanolin (a grease derived from wool) and beeswax.
  • Glossier also announced it is releasing its first deodorant product, which is formulated without baking soda, water, exfoliating acids or aluminum (aluminum is an ingredient used as an antiperspirant). The brand’s deodorant will launch on Tuesday in three scents, plus an unscented version, with the option to buy a recyclable refill container.

Dive Insight:

Glossier’s Balm Dotcom was one of the brand’s first product launches in 2014, and some customers are less than thrilled by the formula announcement.

On the company’s Instagram post, some of the top-liked comments include feedback such as “Glossier is doing everything backwards. People are literally begging for particular flavors to come back or to stay permanent and you’re not listening.” Another commenter said, “do you hate your customers or something? Because you never listen to what we do want and do what we don’t want.”

“At Glossier, we’re always improving our products based on community feedback, scientific advancements, and regulatory changes so we’re very excited to give Balm Dotcom a well-deserved upgrade! Our cult-favorite, do-everything lip balm now has a vegan formula (removed lanolin and replaced beeswax with lab-made synthetic beeswax) and (much requested!) applicator for easy, no-touch application,” Emily Trillaud, Glossier director of packaging and product development, said in emailed comments. “We’ve also taken the opportunity to swap out Petrolatum. Petrolatum is a really commonly used cosmetic-conditioning ingredient, and while there is nothing unsafe about this raw material, it is a by-product of the Petroleum industry and is non-renewable. We’ve replaced Petrolatum with Castor Jelly, a new cutting-edge, renewable, vegetable-based ingredient … This important change helps our new formula deliver clinical hydration to lips in a buttery, never greasy texture.”

Glossier announced in July that it entered a wholesale deal with Sephora — the first type of retail deal for the traditionally direct-to-consumer company. The brand will be sold at Sephora stores in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the retailer’s website and mobile app, sometime early this year.

Sephora has a green “Clean at Sephora” label for certain products it sells that meet a set of formulation criteria. Products with this label are formulated without ingredients such as aluminum salts, animal fats and oils, plastic microbeads and petrolatum. Sephora’s website says “when you see our Clean seal, you can be assured that the product is formulated without specific ingredients that are known or suspected to be potentially harmful to human health and/or the environment.”

A Glossier spokesperson told Retail Dive it could not share whether its products would receive the “Clean at Sephora” label, and if product formula changes were related to that.

The Federal Trade Commission is aware that consumers are seeking out products deemed more environmentally friendly, announcing in December that it was seeking public input on potential updates to its “Green Guides.” Those guides from the FTC are meant to help brands with their environmental marketing claims so that they don’t make deceptive or unfair statements that could mislead consumers. The FTC is asking for public commentary on the guides overall, such as input on any new guidance needed and claims about recyclable packaging as well as climate change.


Business Asia
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