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Why Revlon Just Filed For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

by Charlotte Pointing

Jun 17, 2022

Cosmetics giant Revlon has filed for bankruptcy protection.

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Based in New York and founded 90 years ago, Revlon has long been a household name. But, amid new competition, changing beauty trends, debt, supply chain disruptions, and pandemic struggles, the company has been forced to apply for financial support. It's hoping to receive around $575 million from its existing lenders.

Reports have cited celebrity launches as a key issue; brands like Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics and Rihanna's Fenty Beauty (the former is certified cruelty-free, and the latter which is currently pending to be added to our cruelty-free list) prove stiff competition.

These brands are highly in tune with their target consumers. Their marketing spend is low due to their savvy use of social media.

A changing beauty industry

As a whole, the beauty industry is transforming. And Revlon has already shown historically it struggles to keep up with change. In the 1990s, for example, it was behind on the switch from bright red lipsticks to more muted tones.

Revlon isn't cruelty-free, but countless indie and celebrity brands are. And research shows that consumers want to buy from brands that don't test on animals: one 2019 study by GlobalData found that 35 percent actively look for "cruelty-free" claims on the products they buy.

Revlon hasn't officially cited competition from indie beauty brands or cruelty-free competitors as a factor in its bankruptcy. It has noted that pandemic changes, including a fall in lipstick purchases due to masks, have impacted sales. In 2020, the company's sales fell 21 percent.

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