Sephora’s Artemis Patrick on the State of Beauty: ‘Makeup Is Not Dead’

As the beauty industry enters a state of "weiji" (the Chinese word for "a critical moment"), JOMO (the joy of missing out) is key.
Artemis Patrick, Sephora's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, introduced the audience at WWD's BeautyVest to these two words, which she used to describe the current state of the beauty industry. Despite recent reports on the decline of U.S. makeup sales, Patrick declared that "makeup is not dead," forecasting a return to artistry brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Natasha Denona and Pat McGrath.
"Product isn’t enough anymore — it is also about how you educate, how you bring forth the content and transfer that knowledge to the consumer," said Patrick. "This isn’t just in makeup, it’s definitely also in skin care."
She referenced Sephora's We Belong to Something Beautiful campaign as an example of the retailer's "authentic" connection to its community. Authenticity is "the most overused word in the entire beauty industry," said Patrick, though the word is still an accurate description of the relationship brands such as Milk Makeup, Fenty Beauty and Drunk Elephant have to their various communities.
Transparency is a big focus at Sephora, which launched its Clean at Sephora campaign last year and recently tripled its list of banned ingredients. Patrick elaborated on the retailer's efforts to reduce GHD emissions — currently all of its U.S. stores are powered by 100 percent reusable energy — and its pilot program for empty containers.
"We believe that clean is a personal choice and it is our job as leaders of the industry to make that easier for our cast and for our clients," said Patrick. "This idea of ingredient transparency is so critical for brand and retailer success in the future. Sustainability is not a trend, it is not a movement, it is here to stay."
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