On Tuesday, July 14, skincare and technology pioneer Clarisonic announced on Instagram that they’re going out of business.
Come September 30, 2020, the brand will end permanently, ceasing all sales of devices, brush heads, and attachments. While supplies last, the brand is offering a massive sale – 50% off everything. If you’re in need of a replacement or have always wanted to try the infamous product, now’s the time.
For beauty industry professionals and consumers alike, the loss of this brand is monumental. Clarisonic was founded in 2001 by a team including Dr. Robb Akridge and current CEO David Giuliani, former co-founder and CEO of Optiva, the company that developed Sonicare toothbrushes. Since the brand’s launch, Clarisonic has sold over 15 million devices and expanded from a single product to a wide variety of specialties for different skin types and needs.
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When this product hit the market, skincare technology was a totally fresh and new idea. In under a decade, the brand grew astronomically, winning countless awards and eventually getting snatched up by L’Oreal in 2011 for an undisclosed major fee.
So why is this the end? The Clarisonic website provides a closure FAQ page with only a vague explanation: “This difficult decision was made so that L’Oréal can focus its attention on its other core business offerings.” Oh, how we wish Clarisonic was one of those offerings.
It’s easy to wonder why may this business have failed. It’s quite possible that the brand peaked several years ago, and was unable to top their original innovation. At full price, the initial buy-in—pre-major sale—was over $100 dollars, at minimum. That is certainly not an accessible rate. When the product was no longer new or fresh, it’s likely that the fees involved weren’t attractive to new Gen-Z consumers in the beauty market, who value sustainability and “clean” ingredients over gimmicky gadgets.
We also wonder if the brand and business were sustainable, in more ways than one. Was it difficult to maintain repeat consumers? Those who love the brand love it passionately, but often bought a single brush and didn’t feel the need to replace it as often as Clarisonic recommended. The business model was built with the hope that consumers would branch out and try new brush heads, which some certainly did, but many didn’t. And in the age of clean beauty and sustainable packaging, Clarisonic failed to update their brand in an eco-friendly way. The brush head filaments, the packaging, nor the brushes themselves are recyclable or biodegradable.
Trends may come and go, but our memories of this revolutionary product will remain—as will our brush heads, until we run out for good.