Following its Target launch in the U.S. in May 2019, Versed Skincare continues its push toward making clean beauty accessible.

On August 16, the skin-care brand launched 12 of its best-selling products in over 1,000 Shoppers Drug Mart stores, marking its first physical retail play in Canada. Products in the Shoppers Drug Mart collection include Versed’s Dew Point moisturizing gel-cream, Day Dissolve cleansing balm, Gentle Retinol serum, as well as the brand’s brightening, clarifying and firming serums. In addition to physical stores, the brand will also be sold on the Shoppers Drug Mart site. It was previously available for Canadian shoppers solely online through Cult Beauty and Revolve. 

“We’re always looking for what’s next,” said Kelly Jessop, vp for category management at Shoppers Drug Mart. “Beauty is always evolving and, as a retailer, we are evolving right along with it.”

Shoppers Drug Mart carries brands at a wide variety of price points, ranging from drugstore labels like CeraVe and Olay to luxury beauty labels, including Guerlain, Lancôme and Estée Lauder, through its more upscale BeautyBoutique stores. Clean beauty brands sold by Shoppers Drug Mart include Alba Botanica, Avalon Organics and Honest Beauty, while BeautyBoutique stocks brands including RMS Beauty and Pai Skincare.

Versed’s debut in Canada comes at a time when clean beauty is becoming more “democratized,” with chains including Ulta and Target stocking more affordable labels in the U.S.

“On the distribution side, we’ve always set the target to distribute through what’s now called ‘essential retailers,’” said Melanie Bender, the founding general manager of Versed. “It’s something that has always been a part of our plan and commitment to accessibility. It’s a trend that has now been accelerated as a whole during Covid, but it’s something that we saw the arrow going toward.”

According to Bender, Target has been an “incredible partner” for Versed’s brand-building, saying that Nielsen data shows for the one-year period ending July 4 that the brand contributed 8% of the entire U.S. market growth within the categories it sells in.

Compared to the U.S., marketing clean beauty in Canada differs in the fact that consumers have more general trust in ingredient safety. The Canadian government has a “Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist,” banning over 450 ingredients. 

“Clean beauty looks different in Canada compared to the U.S. because of how regulations differ,” said Bender. “The Canadian regulations really take a more forward approach to what ‘clean’ means, so there are less concerns around toxicity with products that are approved, which is incredible.” 

In order to appeal to Canadian consumers, she said the emphasis is on “vegan and cruelty-free,” as well as “a more holistic definition of clean to encompass ingredients that are problematic for skin, like silicones, artificial colors and fragrances.” Sustainability is also a big focus, including the use of recycled materials.

“Without a doubt, clean beauty is trending,” said Jessop, of the Canadian market. “We are listening to our customers, and they want more clean, natural and sustainable options in the beauty aisle. By launching brands like Versed, we are giving them the options they’re looking for. Consumers are becoming more conscious and becoming more mindful of their choices and the impacts they have.”