Clove + Hallow Aims To Be The MAC Cosmetics Of Clean Beauty

Watch your back, MAC Cosmetics. Clove + Hallow is coming for you.

Atlanta makeup artist Sarah Biggers and her clients are huge fans of MAC’s intense pigments, diverse shade assortments, unapologetic artistry and not-so-exorbitant prices. Following a health scare, Biggers reexamined her beauty arsenal and discovered it lacked a natural brand with those qualities. She set out to create one in Clove + Hallow.  

“Not every woman has perfect skin. They don’t want a sheer flush. They want coverage, and they like the creative side of makeup, too. They want the ability to have a bold red lipstick and a graphic liner. That’s what we are trying to do,” she says. “The performance of MAC worked for everyday women, and it also worked for photo shoots and on runways. I think we’ve accomplished the same thing at Clove + Hallow.”

Clove + Hallow founder Sarah Biggers
Clove + Hallow founder Sarah Biggers

Biggers’ first priority at Clove + Hallow was to formulate products for a diverse audience. She told her manufacturer at the outset of the brand’s development about two years ago she was committed to getting the darkest foundation shades right. If she didn’t get them right, she didn’t want to launch. The toughest part was the undertones.

“People tend to just to make foundation darker for darker skin and lighter for lighter skin. But you really have to nail down whether they’re pink or olive and, if the base is too chalky, it’s going to go ashy or gray no matter what the color is,” says Biggers. “I was constantly tweaking the undertones and depth of the shades.”

Clove + Hallow’s $30 Pressed Mineral Foundation comes in 14 shades. Validating Biggers’ quest to have an expansive selection out of the gate, Essence magazine honored Clove + Hallow with a Best in Black Beauty award this year. Aside from the foundations, the brand’s $20 Lip Crème lipsticks have been popular items. The wearable nude Desert Rose is the bestselling shade.  

Biggers is determined to ramp up Clove + Hallow’s product portfolio well beyond the 15 stockkeeping units the brand launched with in March. Cheek and eye items are scheduled for release soon, and Biggers estimates the brand will have 40 skus by the end of the year. Next year, she plans to add another 30 skus.

“I want to hit it now and hit it hard, and I want retail buyers to see that I have a full line. We can become the clean, cruelty-free vegan cosmetics line that is a one-stop shop.”

“I want to hit it now and hit it hard, and I want retail buyers to see that I have a full line. We can become the clean, cruelty-free vegan cosmetics line that is a one-stop shop,” says Biggers. “There are a lot of brands out there that are just lips or just complexion, but we don’t want to be that.” She believes Clove + Hallow fits into store environments at retailers like Target or Ulta Beauty.  

Clove + Hallow may not be MAC yet, but it’s early sales are promising. During the brand’s initial 24 hours in business, it racked up $2,000. From June to July, it registered 400% sales growth. Monthly, Biggers revealed web traffic is increasing 15% to 20%. Millennials are a big customer base with nearly 70% of Clove + Hallow’s shoppers between 18- and 34-years-old. About 6% of sales are from Canada despite little effort to reach the country.

“I was surprised how willing people are to buy from an unknown brand,” says Biggers. “That’s a testimony to the power of green beauty as a whole, and that people are really looking for brands that give them the performance they are used to.”