Daily Insights

Ulta’s Clean Slate

By: Mackenzie Baker | Aug 03, 2020

Ulta is facing reality with a new environmentally-friendly product initiative that highlights clean ingredients and sustainable packaging. 

The beauty retailer’s new Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty initiative will see it categorizing products under five new pillars: cruelty free, clean ingredients, vegan, sustainable packaging, and positive impact. The rebranding effort will officially launch this fall in-store, online, and on Ulta’s beauty app. The initiative also envelops Ulta’s “Made Without List” that certifies which products do not include harmful chemicals, such as parabens or phthalates. Ulta began rolling out portions of its new Conscious Beauty initiative in July, when it publicly pledged that at least 50% of packaging sold would be made from recycled or environmentally-friendly materials. The five eco-focused categories could make it easier for eco-conscious consumers to shop at the beauty megastore and could help sustainable beauty brands reach a new audience. 

To ensure it lives up to its eco-focused plan, Ulta created a Conscious Beauty Advisory Council, which will bring together experts from the clean beauty industry and tackle issues sustainable partners face in the business. Creating the council and announcing its presence to the public could help Ulta stay accountable for its part in becoming more environmentally aware. The brand has also enlisted aligning organizations to help keep it on track, including PETA and Choose Cruelty-Free, which will provide third-party certification for applicable clean beauty products. Each pillar’s certification will be obvious on the beauty packaging, which could allow customers to easily identify products that fit with their own values. Consumer desires for clean and sustainable products have exponentially increased in recent years, particularly with Gen-Z consumers, who listed Ulta as their favorite place to shop for beauty products, according to a Gartner report. With the introduction of Sephora’s “Clean at Sephora” program and Target’s expanding clean beauty offerings, it makes sense that Ulta would glow up its goals to compete in the beauty market and continue appealing to younger consumers. 

Ulta’s leading presence in the beauty industry means its introduction of a sustainable program could inspire other beauty labels to follow suit. Conscious Beauty’s arrival comes as more customers lean into clean beauty products, providing Ulta an opportunity to tap into a new audience and commit to a cause close to consumer hearts.