Beautycounter Nabs TPG Investment, Another Vote of Confidence in Safe Cosmetics

The private equity firm seems to think there's a market for chemical-free products.
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Eliza Brooke
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The private equity firm seems to think there's a market for chemical-free products.
Photo: Instagram/@beautycounter

Photo: Instagram/@beautycounter

The movement toward bringing safe cosmetics to the forefront of consumers' awareness added some fuel to its fire on Wednesday morning. The e-commerce site Beautycounter says it has received an investment from TPG Growth, a wing of the private equity firm TPG, to build out its own range of toxin-free beauty products. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it does give TPG a minority stake in the company, which launched in March 2013. 

It's a vote of confidence in a segment of the beauty industry that hasn't historically gotten much help from the government. Thanks to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, government oversight on cosmetic products is minimal, meaning the U.S. has banned way fewer potentially harmful chemicals than other nations — we're talking a scant dozen Stateside relative to thousands in Europe. So as Beautycounter founder Gregg Renfrew told Fashionista back in August, "it's going to take a real movement from consumers to actually move a market." 

We'd take TPG's investment in Renfrew's company as another sign that the pool of consumers interested in safe cosmetics is in fact coming together — because, hey, investors pick portfolio companies that they think have the potential to make a lot of cash. And TPG isn't the only one: In October, L'Oreal acquired the beauty brand Carol's Daughter, which boosted its "all-natural" offerings while giving it access to a more diverse shopper base.

We'll be looking to see how Beautycounter builds out its product range and business — which also includes a peer-to-peer sales network — in the coming months. Given how murky chemical testing is in the U.S., research and development can't be cheap.