Algenist, the premium skin-care and makeup brand known for its algae-focused products, is updating its assortment with a vegan reformulation and wellness focus.
A new neck cream, which is a vegan reformulation of a hero product is available now for purchase on Algenist.com, and new supplement powders with an eye toward wellness will be available for purchase online in August before moving into retail partners like Sephora and QVC at a later date. An anti-pollution product, called AA Barrier Serum, will also debut by August. The three product launches represent how Algenist is adapting to changing consumer values around pollution, wellness and vegan beauty, and also finding its place in the clean beauty conversation, said Rose Fernandez, Algenist CEO. Algenist is not known as a clean beauty brand, but Fernandez sees a link between clean products and those with natural, plant-based ingredients like Algenist’s.
“This gives us a platform to say we are focused on ingredient-level innovation, through algae, and it’s important that is understood,” she said. “[Our customer] wants products to be clean, sustainable and vegan, but she also wants them to work and be sophisticated. It’s not necessarily a new phase but a continued evolution of the brand.”
In 2016, Algenist was sold to private equity group Tengram Capital for $20 million, according to WWD. The brand declined to state current sales or projected growth with these new launches.
In regard to its vegan positioning, Algenist’s original Elevate Lifting and Firming Neck Cream was created with milk proteins, which have now been replaced with sugar ferment. Vegan and cruelty-free brands represent 32% of the prestige makeup market in the U.S., according to The NPD Group, and brands like Hourglass Cosmetics and CoverGirl have championed their reformulations publicly. With this reformulation, Algenist can now claim it is 100% vegan, although it has no plans to make veganism a central focus of its messaging.
The AA Barrier Serum will help the brand establish an anti-pollution narrative. Urban dust is linked to causing blotchiness or uneven texture. As these are often the first signs of aging, Algenist intends for the product to resonate with younger consumers. Currently, the brand’s core customers are women over 40. The brand expects to reach women between 30 and 40 years old and has an eye on China, with its significant pollution issues. The product will launch there in February 2020.
But its entrance into the supplement category is perhaps the biggest change to Algenist’s portfolio. The brand will have three powders that are ingredient-focused, like its core offering.
“There’s a growing understanding that what you ingest impacts how beautiful your skin is,” said Shannon Shapiro, executive director of marketing for Algenist. “We think there’s a beautiful marriage for [our] products.” By 2024, the dietary supplements market is projected to generate around $57 billion, according to Statista.
Promotion for the supplements and AA Barrier Serum will follow a typical course of action for Algenist, which utilizes a combination of paid and unpaid influencers as part of an ambassador program. The influencers are gifted product ahead of a launch for reviews on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and will all post on the same day and time, so Algenist can get “maximum exposure,” said Shapiro. The brand declined to name influencers, as details for who is participating in the campaign have not been finalized. However, it has been trying to foster more organic relationships with influencers — it invited approximately 25 to the Algenist offices in Los Angeles in early June to see the serum and upcoming body-care launches firsthand, vote on their preferred formulas and provide feedback. Algenist also relaunched its Pinterest page, which it views as an alternative search engine for when customers search for specific anti-aging beauty remedies.
“From a brand storytelling perspective, these three moments tie back to algae and our innovation platform. It gives us the leeway to drive that home,” said Shapiro.