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Exclusive: Another big-deal beauty store makes nontoxic products a priority


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Photo: Bluemercury

As a vegetarian since her 20s, Bluemercury CEO Marla Beck is all about plant power—which partly explains why she’s opted to carry natural skin-care and cosmetics brands in the luxury beauty boutique for a while now. But today, the chain is taking a huge nontoxic leap with a brand-new clean beauty initiative designed to meet the demands of its increasingly ingredient-savvy shoppers.

“We think there’s a unique turning point right now,” says Beck, who co-founded the company in 1999, sold it to Macy’s in 2016, and recently oversaw Bluemercury’s 100th store opening. “There’s a critical mass of consumers that are interested in the [natural] category. That, matched with the increasing number of indie brands that are meeting their needs, led us to offer an extensive selection to match what people are looking for.”

“There’s a critical mass of consumers that are interested in the [natural] category.”

The naturals pilot program starts today in 28 stores nationwide, with a large crop of niche, clean beauty brands—including such buzzy faves as One Love Organics, Indie Lee, Osea, and Raw is Everything—that mirrors industry-wide interest in better-for-you-brands, as seen at Target and Sephora. Bluemercury is also introducing an in-store fixture in eight locations (from California to New York) that’s separate from the other products and solely highlights options that are free of harsh ingredients.

“We’ve been plotting and planning over the last year to think about what natural means to us,” Beck says. “Our conclusion is that it’s just like food—some people are Paleo, some gluten-free, some vegan. There are so many different combinations, so what we want to do is offer the shopper enough options.”

As the first store to carry Ren Skincare in the US, Bluemercury prides itself on having its finger on the pulse of the natural beauty movement. (The retailer has also launched its own cleaner brands, M-61 and Lune+Aster.)

“It’s a really important category to test for us,” says Beck. “We’re looking to see what resonates with the client and what we’re missing. And we’ll continue to look at additional brands. But if a customer comes in today and asks for natural or organic, we’ll be able to walk them to a shelf and help them diagnose what they’re looking for, which is great for us.”

So, if making some skin-care swaps is on your to-do list (time to give you corner-store makeup bag a clean-beauty makeover?), you have more choices than ever for where to go—thanks to the onward march of the natural beauty revolution.

To start your own personal clean beauty revolution, the first step is to become an expert reader of beauty labels. And if you’re looking for some products to add to your makeup bag, these 12 nontoxic beauty products will give your dull winter skin some love

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