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Beautycounter in the Eye of the Beholder

Gregg Renfrew
The Beautycounter brand will live on thanks to Gregg Renfrew and a group of investors who purchased the entity’s name and assets, formulas, etcetera, at a deep discount. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for goop
Rachel Strugatz
April 24, 2024

Gregg Renfrew, founder and C.E.O. of Beautycounter, burst onto the scene in 2013 with a Mary Kay for the new generation. Instead of makeup parties and pink Cadillac prizes, Renfrew wanted to create a multi-level marketing beauty company for people who wouldn’t be caught dead buying lipstick from their neighbor’s floral couch-filled living room. Renfrew, a natural marketer, positioned Beautycounter as a chic Avon for millennials—more premium, more clean, more influencer-friendly, more Goopesque, etcetera. (Naturally, Renfrew is pals with Gwyneth Paltrow.) 

As she lobbied in Washington for more stringent cosmetic safety standards, Renfrew also modernized the direct-selling category. Meanwhile, investors like TPG and Mousse Partners, the family office of the Wertheimers, who own Chanel, put in close to $100 million to scale Renfrew’s vision. (Disclosure: TPG is an investor in Puck.) Then Beautycounter caught the attention of The Carlyle Group, which acquired a majority stake in the brand in 2021 at a $1 billion valuation.