Meaningful Beauty founder Cindy Crawford is well known for many things, her beauty being one of them, with her iconic chestnut-colored mane and golden highlights at the top of the list. But like many women, Cindy’s hair began to change as she got older. To that end, she and the experts at Meaningful Beauty created the new Age-Proof Hair Care System, a five-piece collection launching on this month, priced from $37 to $49. Here, we caught up with the supermodel and beauty business guru to talk about how Meaningful Beauty has evolved in the era of social media, building community and of course her new hair care range.


Beauty News: When you launched Meaningful Beauty over 15 years ago did you think it would be a viable business nearly two decades later despite all the competition and innovation in this industry?

Cindy Crawford: I had no idea. For me, I was 35, and I had been with Revlon for about 17 years. It was time for me to renew my contract—or not. I just felt it was the right time for me to take all that I had learned and do it on my own. I was passionate about skin care—my job as a model was to take care of my skin. I had connected with Dr Jean-Louis Sebagh and had been working with him and loving his approach to aging. I would jokingly say, ‘Can’t I just buy all these treatments?’ That was really the kernel for Meaningful Beauty. At that point I felt like it was the time.

We decided to create Meaningful Beauty and considered going mass or department store. I met with everyone, including Guthy Renker [Meaningful Beauty’s parent company], who did infomercials and direct to consumer. In the end, I partnered with them for many reasons, but the main reason was that I felt the opportunity was to really tell this authentic story of me and Dr. Sebagh and the melon super antioxidant, and that [a 30-minute infomercial] gave us the platform to introduce the brand in an organic way. It was risky, though. At the time, infomercials were like a dirty little word.


BN: The brand launched well before DTC and social media. How do you turn an existing brand into one that’s digitally savvy?

CC: We were slow to warm to social media. We were not a brand that was made on social media and Instagram. I think that’s a place where I definitely pushed Guthy Renker; it wasn’t something they were doing. So, we started small with our existing customers. Trying to get the messaging consistent was important, like not being one thing on Instagram and another thing on Facebook. I think in the beginning, Facebook was more native to us, it was more our consumer. Now, I like Instagram more. Instagram is pictures, I know pictures. And, it’s about developing relationships with influencers and people that we’ve done events with over the years and keeping those relationships and doing the right types of partnerships. It’s been fun.


BN: How have you leveraged your following and community to grow this brand?

CC: Facebook and Instagram make the most sense for us. We do paid social, we do organic. My personal account, which is handled by Alyssa Reeder, helped me do my own social media since I launched my book when I turned 50. The idea was 50 pictures with 50 essays to celebrate turning 50. That’s when I got serious about growing my Instagram following, because I knew it’s a great platform to launch a book and to tell people about it. Alyssa now also works on Meaningful Beauty.

So the two accounts, my personal Instagram and Meaningful Beauty, have more similar messaging. It’s not like Cindy Crawford is this and Meaningful Beauty is something different. ‘Meaningful living’ is really what I want to share with the world. [The beauty line] is just a tool to help all of us live meaningful lives. I don’t worry about having the latest thing. I want to take care of myself, and then get on with it. That’s my overall message, and I think that it has a nice synergy with what we’re doing with Meaningful Beauty.

When it comes to social media, I’m more concerned about staying authentic than I am about being relevant. For my consumer, that’s more important than trying to be the flashiest page.


BN: Are you a majority shareholder of the brand?

CC: I am, that was really important to me. I’ve had amazing relationships with brands for many years where I’m a spokesperson and it’s great, but in doing Meaningful Beauty I wanted to have real skin in the game. Guthy Renker has been an incredible partner in that way. They let me make mistakes, and I learned to trust what they know and where their expertise is. I always say, ‘I may not be an expert on this or that, but I am the world’s number one expert on Cindy Crawford.’ If I say that it doesn’t feel on brand for me, then it’s not on brand for me, and no one can argue that.

I’ve learned to trust my own voice on that a little bit more. This brand has been around now for over 15 years, and so much in the beauty industry is newness, more sku’s and marketing, which is important but it’s not the whole story. Part of the story of Meaningful Beauty is, ‘Hey ladies, we’ve got you covered.’ We’ve got something to use at night to help repair and restore your skin, we’ve got something for the day to help protect it and hydrate it. And then, don’t worry about it. So it’s this constant battle between newness, but I don’t want to confuse our customer—I don’t want to make her life any more complicated.


BN: Can you talk about the range’s hero product?

CC: I’m asking our customer to use one new product, the Restorative Scalp Treatment. In a way I’m like, ‘Oh ladies, I’m sorry I’m adding one more thing to your routine.” But it’s not an extra five steps, it’s something I believe that’ll be worth it because they’ll see great results.

I noticed after using it on my hair, it’s stronger, even my ponytail is thicker. Less breakage, less shedding of my hair. I love the way it feels, it’s easier for me to brush through after I shower, and then apply the scalp treatment. It gives me a little extra volume when I blow dry my hair. It’s not heavy or greasy and you can use it every day and not worry that it’s going to weigh your hair down because I want women to want to use it. You do need to use it every day though or you’re not going to get results.


BN: What inspired the new Age-Proof Hair Care System?

CC: After I had children, I noticed my hair change. Look, as women we know we’re going to get wrinkles, laugh lines, and crow’s feet. And we know we’re going to get a few gray hairs and if we want we can color our hair. No one prepared me for the fact that my actual hair itself was going to change and it was going to be more brittle. I started noticing these things after I had my kids and it really never came back. Well, it came back a little, but I saw that it was harder for hairdressers to get my hair to behave. I thought about Meaningful Beauty and could we do something for hair? Would the melon super antioxidant do anything for hair? That turned into the Meaningful Beauty Age-Proof Hair Care System.


BN: How long has this collection been in the works?

CC: We first started talking about it three years ago and the pandemic did delay the development of the formulation, packaging, and then also shooting the commercial because everything was shut down.


BN: Can you talk about how the brand has been innovative?

CC: At one point we realized we needed to get women more SPF in our daily products. We also wanted to introduce the melon leaf stem cell and the peptides into a serum, [because our research and development team] is always innovating.

When I grew up, my mother used hot water and soap on her face and never wore makeup, so I didn’t grow up around [a beauty regimen.] Once I got into this world and understood that there really are ingredients, such as retinol and vitamin C, that make a difference, I thought why wouldn’t someone want to give themself that little extra help? I don’t sit in the sun anymore, I sit under an umbrella. Where Dr. Sebagh is amazing is he’s so ahead of the curve. We actually  have to slow him down because the market isn’t ready for all of his ideas. I love that he wants women to feel good about their skin so they don’t have to wear makeup and have confidence in the skin they were born in, and love it.