As Ellen DeGeneres wraps up the 19-year run of her daytime talk show, she’s officially moving into the world of beauty with Friday’s launch of her new skin-care brand, Kind Science.
Initially introduced on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on October 5, Kind Science officially goes on sale October 26 via its DTC website. With “age-positive” branding that aligns with the “anti-anti-aging” movement happening in skin care, the brand’s product lineup includes seven products ranging from $22-$48. Although it’s receiving publicity through the TV show, Kind Science is being promoted with an emphasis on digital marketing as the show is slated to wrap in 2022.
“I don’t see it as a brand that caters to one demographic,” said DeGeneres via email, who also noted that “Kind Science isn’t about anti-aging, because aging is a good thing.”
“We’re both very pro-aging; we’re aging, and we’re happy that we’re aging,” said Victoria Jackson, co-founder of Kind Science. A beauty industry veteran and friend of DeGeneres, Jackson began developing the line with the star two years ago. Jackson was previously the founder and CEO of Victoria Jackson Cosmetics, which was known for “no-makeup makeup” and was featured on QVC for 10 years.
“I think it’s important for the industry. When women are getting older, they think to put more and more makeup on their faces as somehow they’re going to look younger. As you age, you still want to look great, but [we’re about] changing some of those misconceptions.”
Kind Science doesn’t steer completely clear of the term “anti-aging,” as the word is used in Google search ads for the brand. According to the brand, clinical tests of the products showed a visible reduction of wrinkles and the promotion of plumpness, elasticity and hydration.
The brand launch will kick off with a segment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on October 26. Simultaneously, it will be promoted online in an influencer activation. The influencers who will attend the show will post backstage content on their accounts.
DeGeneres’ audience is currently 69% female, and over 50% are over the age of 35, according to statistics from the show.
“Traditionally, the core is 40-plus, but digitally, she ranges much younger,” said Miranda Koepke, general manager of Kind Science, of DeGeneres’ over 109 million Instagram followers and 38 million Facebook followers. According to her, the marketing strategy “was to make sure we’re digital-first,” and encourage the TV audience to join the brand’s social channels. The brand is focusing its digital marketing efforts on Instagram and Facebook, and it plans to expand marketing to TikTok and Twitter in the future.
The “Kind Science” branding is a continuation of DeGeneres’ TV show’s “be kind” motto, which she has embraced with frequent giveaways and charity donations throughout the show’s run. But in July 2020, she was met with backlash after Buzzfeed published allegations from employees of the TV show documenting racial discrimination, sexual harassment, firings for taking bereavement and medical leave, and a toxic work environment. DeGeneres issued apologies to the staff, as a result, stating she was unaware of the environment, and three top executives were fired.
While some social media and media commenters have questioned whether the name still fits with her personal brand, the founders believe it still works. “The way we really address it is how we define what Kind Science means to the brand: being eco-kind, skin-kind and animal-kind,” said Koepke, when asked whether the brand will address the recent controversy.
The brand states that all packaging apart from its serum pump is recyclable, and products are Leaping Bunny certified. Most are vegan, while those with honey in them are vegetarian. According to Jackson, the eco branding aligns with DeGeneres’ advocacy for animal rights and conservation through efforts such as her endangered species fund and work with PETA.
DeGeneres said via email that she uses the products daily as part of her own skin-care routine. They were developed specifically for sensitive skin, in response to her own skin sensitivity issues. They’re also fragrance-free, preservative-free and free of “harsh chemicals.”
The product collection includes a cleanser, a micro exfoliant, a firming serum, a hydration cream, an eye cream, a neck treatment and a face oil. The exfoliant uses AHA, while the serum, creams and neck treatment all feature retinol alternative bakuchiol as an ingredient. The brand also highlights the use of natural ingredients, with snow mushroom, sea buckthorn and boswellia listed for the moisturizer.