Sephora partners with EDF to bring safer prestige beauty products to the marketplace

The largest specialty beauty retailer replaces harmful ingredients with verified safer alternative as part of landmark chemicals policy

August 17, 2020
Natalie McKeon, 212-616-1338,

(NEW YORK, NY – Aug. 17, 2020) Sephora and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announce their partnership to advance the removal of toxic ingredients that are known to cause environmental and health impacts from products.

Sephora was the first major specialty beauty retailer to set a chemicals policy, a bold step forward in bringing safer products to the marketplace.The groundbreaking policy aims to remove chemicals of concern from private and third-party brands sold online and in-store. The collaboration with EDF will focus on meeting commitments to increase transparency around the ingredients used in products and replace hazardous chemicals with verified, safer alternatives laid out in the policy.

“Consumers should have access to safe products whether they shop at a local boutique or a big box store” said Boma Brown-West, senior manager of consumer health at EDF. “Sephora is leading the beauty and personal care industry to a future where all products are made with the safest possible ingredients for people and the planet.”

The beauty industry faces growing scrutiny around its use of harmful ingredients and the impact they have on human health. Beauty and personal care products are directly applied to the body and used at high frequency. This increases exposure to toxic chemicals like phthalates and formaldehyde releasers, which are linked to major diseases and disorders, including cancer, infertility and heart disease.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about what is inside the products they use and how the ingredients could harm their well-being. This awareness is driving increased demand for clean and safe products, with more shoppers, particularly Generation Z, millennials and Generation X, seeking out and supporting brands that are transparent about their ingredients.

Sephora committed to reduce the use of specified high-priority chemicals of concern in products it sells by 50% in three years, and replace these chemicals with safer alternatives. The company’s high-priority list consists of 49 chemicals. The policy also aims to provide information on intentionally added ingredients for 100% of formulated beauty and personal care products by end 2020, excluding fragrance components.

“We launched Clean at Sephora to better help our clients navigate the large assortment of product choices across prestige beauty. In partnership with our brand partners, Clean at Sephora prioritizes consumer health, by aiding our beauty community to make more educated choices regarding chemicals” said Carley Klekas with Sephora. “We’re working with Environmental Defense Fund to close the gap on safer products at Sephora.”

Last week, Sephora released a public report detailing progress made against these goals. Milestones include:

Increasing transparency around ingredient information. Sephora shared ingredient information for 95% of their products on, a 13% increase over the course of a year.

Reducing the number of products that contain high-priority chemicals. As of now, 94% of products sold on have no high-priority chemicals, representing a 14% year-over-year reduction.

Replacing high-priority chemicals with safer alternatives. Safer alternative assessment portfolios were developed in partnership with EDF and ChemFORWARD for four major cosmetic ingredient groups on the high-priority list - preservatives, benzophenones, ethanolamines, and cyclic silicones. To date, safer alternatives have been assessed for 73% of Sephora’s high-priority chemicals.

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