In a conversation with Cherene Aubert, VP of Digital & E-commerce at ILIA Beauty, we ventured into the terrain of clean beauty, focusing on product innovation, marketing strategies, and the unique challenges brands face in this space.

ILIA Beauty stands out in the clean beauty industry for its approach to crafting skincare-powered makeup. Founded by Sasha Plavsic in 2011, the brand merges the care of clean ingredients with the performance and aesthetics of conventional makeup, offering products that not only enhance beauty but also nourish the skin.

ILIA's philosophy centers around the belief that clean beauty products should be made with pure, safe ingredients without compromising on performance. Their range includes multi-purpose items like tinted lip conditioners, highly pigmented eyeshadows, foundations with skincare benefits, and mascaras that promote lash health. These products are formulated with a mix of natural and organic botanicals, safe synthetics, and active skincare ingredients to protect and revive the skin.

Sustainability is another cornerstone of ILIA's mission. The brand is committed to responsible packaging, using recycled materials whenever possible, and ensuring their products are cruelty-free and formulated without harmful chemicals commonly found in traditional makeup.

ILIA Beauty has received accolades not only for its commitment to clean and sustainable beauty but also for its innovative approach to makeup. By offering products that cater to a wide range of skin tones and types, ILIA aims to be inclusive and accessible to all beauty enthusiasts looking for healthier beauty alternatives. The brand has effectively positioned itself at the intersection of skincare and makeup, appealing to those who prioritize both the health of their skin and the environment.

Here is what I learned from Cherene:

Conceptualizing ILIA's Base Face Milk: A Fusion of Inspiration and Science

ILIA Beauty's approach to product development combines creative inspiration with scientific rigor, a philosophy clearly embodied in the creation of their Base Face Milk. Cherene shared insights into the inception of this unique product, tracing its roots back to the founder's inspiration derived from a visit to Seoul, Korea.

"Yeah, it's the concept came about by our founder...she was inspired by the gel-like textures of their skincare, and some of them based on milk... It's refreshing, slightly cold, and a little bit different than the traditional American, you know, thick, heavy creams."

Cherene explained. This anecdote underlines ILIA's dedication to bringing innovative, texture-driven, and efficacious skincare solutions to the market, emphasizing a skincare-first approach even within their makeup offerings.

Targeting and Understanding ILIA's Audience

When discussing the crucial aspect of identifying the target market for ILIA's Base Face Milk, Cherene elaborated on the brand's broader vision of catering to a demographic that values quality clean ingredients and isn't necessarily driven by celebrity endorsements or fleeting trends.

"I think there's a consumer that is in the stage of their life where they can splurge on high-quality products. They want quality, they want clean."

Cherene pointed out, emphasizing ILIA's commitment to meeting the demands of discerning consumers who seek out beauty products that are both effective and ethically made.

Cherene spoke candidly about the challenges inherent in leading product innovation within the highly competitive beauty industry, especially in the face of imitation.

"You know I think it's an issue for any brand that's innovating, any brand that's doing anything new... there's clearly a demand there. So there's healthy competition."

she remarked. This perspective sheds light on the complexity of staying ahead in a market where success often leads to duplication, underscoring the importance of continuous innovation and brand differentiation.

Ingredients Selection: Balancing Efficacy and Clean Beauty Standards

In the realm of clean beauty, selecting ingredients that align with the brand's ethos while ensuring product efficacy is paramount. Discussing the unique choice of prickly pear flower extract for the Base Face Milk, Cherene underscored ILIA's commitment to sourcing nature-derived ingredients with proven benefits.

"This ingredient, in particular, supports skin renewal for a smoother, brighter complexion."

she explained, highlighting the brand's meticulous approach to ingredient selection that prioritizes long-term skin health over short-term gains.

Marketing and Launch Strategies: Embracing a 360-degree Approach

Cherene provided a comprehensive overview of ILIA's marketing and launch strategies, detailing a 360-degree approach that leverages influencers, digital advertising, and partnerships to create buzz and sustain interest in new products.

"We activate with influencers...We secured one of the top TikTok influencers, Addison Rae, to promote the product...We're really investing more energy and effort into TikTok this year and with this launch."

she shared. This strategy reflects ILIA's adaptability and willingness to explore new platforms and trends to engage with their audience effectively.

Future Concerns and Opportunities: Data Integrity and Customer Connection

Looking ahead, Cherene expressed concerns about data integrity and the challenges of navigating emerging e-commerce platforms that might limit direct customer interaction.

"The biggest headache is not having a central source of truth for all the company data and a way for people to access it and use it."

she admitted, pointing to the critical importance of building and maintaining a robust data infrastructure to support informed decision-making and sustain growth.

This conversation with Cherene Aubert from ILIA Beauty offered a rare glimpse into the meticulous processes behind clean beauty innovation, the strategic thinking guiding product launches, and the ongoing challenges of carving out a distinctive space in the competitive landscape of beauty and skincare.

Collab with brands and creators. Request your invite at