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You likely know a lot about Hailey Bieber, including that she’s the founder and creative director of 2-year-old Rhode skin care, a model, a style icon, the wife of Justin, and an Instagram star, with 50 million followers. But what you may not know is that she’s a marketer at heart.
On a recent Zoom call, 27-year-old Bieber told Glossy about Rhode’s first cleanser, Pineapple Refresh, including what makes up its formula, how she plans to market it and how she conceived of the campaign. Shot in the Bahamas, the campaign features models Ajok Daing, Candice Swanepoel, and Bianca Blakeney, as well as Bieber.
Though the cleanser’s launch was supposed to be kept under wraps until January 16, most of the internet already knows about it. Many influencers have posted videos featuring small white bottles marked “rhode cleanser sample.” Some have covered the text with emojis, but others have not.
“We launched the Rhode [influencer] testing panel last year, [for the launch of the] Glazing Milk [essence], and we were excited to bring it back for our cleanser launch. We have such an amazing group of customers and creators who are experts and thought-leaders in skin care, so we love to get their early read on our newness,” said Lauren Ratner, president and chief brand officer at Rhode. “We seed the product before launch to get their feedback and bring them along for the journey of what we’re working on. We intentionally send the product in its barest form — no branded packaging, just a sample in a white bottle with a paper label — so testers get to focus on the formula alone.”
The $28 cleanser, which launches on January 25, is Rhode’s fifth product, not including all the limited-edition flavors and hues of its popular Peptide Lip Treatment ($16). The brand also offers the $30 Glazing Milk essence, the $30 Peptide Glazing Fluid serum and the $30 Barrier Restore Cream moisturizer.
Bieber, who proved her chops in beauty via her YouTube channel (2.1 million subscribers) before launching the brand, said that, despite using and loving many cleansers, there wasn’t one she’d felt driven to repurchase. “When you run out of it, I want you to want more of it,” she said.
According to Bieber, the cleanser was supposed to be part of the brand’s starting lineup, but it wasn’t ready at the time. “With every launch we’ve put out, [we’ve] chosen the path of taking our time and staying focused on it, and waiting until it was completely ready,” she said. “It’s only served the customer in the end, [and] it’s served us in the end.”
The product, which goes from balm to bubbles during use, does a solid job of removing skin care and makeup from the day. “I love double cleansing; I think it is a great method,” Bieber said, referring to the practice of using an oil-based cleanser before a water-based cleanser to remove makeup. “I just haven’t felt the need to do it [with this cleanser],” she said. She added that she polled her team and friends and found that many prefer to not have to double cleanse.
For the cleanser’s formula, Bieber said she had her heart set on including one ingredient: polyglutamic acid, a super-hydrator known for being a more powerful humectant than hyaluronic acid. She said she consults on Rhode product formulations with her advisory board: Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of Beauty Stat, and dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali.
In addition, Bieber wanted the cleanser to “go one step further,” because, “I’m 27 — I’m not 20 anymore,” she said. That’s how she and her team landed on including pineapple enzymes, which serve to gently exfoliate without disrupting the skin barrier.
“We need that skin cell turnover, but I have really sensitive skin and I suffer from perioral dermatitis; for me, one of the biggest triggers of that is cleansers,” Bieber said. “Enzymes have always been great for my sensitive, perioral-trigger-happy skin, so that was how we came to the conclusion [to include] a gentle fruit enzyme.” The cleanser also features sea buckthorn oil, which gives it its yellow hue that inspired Bieber’s storytelling involving pineapple.
“These are ingredients that, if you are a skin-care consumer, you will recognize them,” Bieber said. “But in the way that we’re formulating [them] and putting them all together, [the product will still] stand out and be different.”