Why Clean & Clear is joining a growing brand movement supporting mental health
The skincare-mental health connection isn’t entirely new. In 2014, Coty’s philosophy brand began donating 1 percent of sales to its Hope and Grace Fund for mental health causes. Now more brands are getting involved, including Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear, as the pandemic makes mental health a far more pressing concern.
Clean & Clear has enlisted mental health startup Frame for a series of Instagram chats with therapists. The first takeover of the brand’s Instagram account with Frame therapist Shevon Jones in late July drove more than 20,000 impressions without paid support. Further takeovers with Frame therapists on subjects that include "How to Stay Creative During Quarantine," "Navigating the New Normal of School" and "Feeling Your Feelings–What to Do with These Emotions" are coming in weeks ahead.
Clean & Clear joins other beauty and personal care brands taking on mental health, including Sephora's Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty, which last week launched its Rare Impact Fund, to which the brand pledged to donate 1 percent of sales toward mental health services for underserved communities—with a goal of raising $100 million in 10 years. Wander Beauty in March began shifting its Instagram Stories toward asking users how they’re doing and providing user-generated tips on staying calm.
A survey recently released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found nearly 41 percent of respondents aged 18 and up reported at least one adverse mental health condition during the pandemic through June. Nearly 26 percent of respondents aged 18-24 said they’d seriously considered suicide in the prior 30 days.
The response on Instagram to Clean & Clear’s session with Jones was a sure sign the timing was right, says Amrika Ganness, group brand director of Clean & Clear. “We really wanted to bring resources to learn how mental health and well-being can be beneficial self-care during these unprecedented times,” she says. The response, she says, “really cements the fact that the Clean & Clear community is looking to the brand for guidance on all things self-care, including mental health.”
Los Angeles-based Frame, launched in April, was an outgrowth of co-founder Kendall Bird’s own experience with therapy, which began at the encouragement of her parents when she was 15 and was dealing with self-esteem problems caused in part by severe acne.
Years later, the veteran of YouTube moved from New York to L.A. to work at Snapchat, found the move stressful and started looking for a new therapist. “The experience was very frustrating,” she says. “It took eight months, and I spent over $1,000 meeting with therapists who weren’t the right fit.”
But that also led her to reconnect with Sage Grazer, a licensed therapist and childhood friend who shared her experiences about the trouble therapists have building their businesses. They started working on the concept of Frame, whose therapy-matching service is “like Bumble for therapy,” Bird says. Users in California, where the beta test began, answer a series of six questions to be matched with therapists who meet their needs. Since therapists are licensed by states, expansion would have to take place state by state.
Digital discussions—the other part of Frame’s offerings—are livestream sessions between licensed therapists and volunteer participants, akin to what’s been happening on Clean & Clear’s Instagram Stories.
“We really want to change the way people think about and engage with therapy,” Bird says. Launching during COVID-19 wasn’t the plan, but in a sense it helps. Not only is the need for mental health services greater, but therapists have had to shift to telehealth, which they can do through the Frame platform.
“A majority of therapists are located in the most densely populated cities,” Bird says, “which means there are a lot of counties in America that don’t even have access to one therapist. This pandemic has forced therapists to shift to a telehealth model, so I think in the future we’re going to see a lot more people giving it a try.”
Frame is also trying to overcome cultural stigmas around getting therapy: One in five Americans are aware that they or family members need mental-health resources but have never gotten them, Bird says.
“It’s kind of a marketing problem,” she says, and one that Frame is trying to solve through marketing partnerships with companies including J&J.