Sephora Wars & Glossier’s Balm Drama

Heela Yang Sol de Janeiro
Nearly a decade after Heela Yang launched the Sol de Janeiro brand with three products, the line has single-handedly reinvigorated a niche within a wider fragrance category. Photo: Courtesy of Sol de Janeiro
Rachel Strugatz
May 29, 2024

As it turns out, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty may have bigger things to worry about than its impending blush war with pseudo-rival Hailey Bieber. Following last week’s Line Sheet dispatch, a handful of very in-the-know people reached out to tell me that Rare Beauty is no longer on track to be Sephora’s number one brand. That highly sought-after distinction now belongs to Heela Yang’s Sol de Janeiro, whose Brazilian Bum Bum cream and gourmand body splashes helped make it Sephora’s best-selling brand in January, February, and March of this year. In April, it was runner-up to the retailer’s private label Sephora brand, which accounts for a shockingly large part of its business.

The contest isn’t particularly close, either. According to YipitData, Sol de Janeiro’s Sephora sales in the U.S. are approaching $120 million year-to-date. (That’s retail sales, not revenue. Brands typically split their revenue with Sephora, although the retailer’s cut varies; Glossier, I’m told, gets a better margin than less desirable brands.) Rare, meanwhile, sold about $82 million through Sephora in the U.S. during the same period. That’s still impressive: Barbara Sturm’s skincare line, according to a confidential brand deck that I viewed, didn’t hit its projected net sales of $83.5 million in 2023, the year it was acquired.