By  on December 3, 2004

NEW YORK — Talk about dumb luck. When the marketing team behind the indie skin care brand NuGlow cast Nicollette Sheridan as its spokesperson two years ago, little did they know they’d have a Desperate Housewife on their hands. Prior to enlisting as the scheming sexpot Edie Britt on the sizzling ABC drama, Sheridan hadn’t had a bona fide hit in years. And now, with the simple dropping of a plush white towel in a recent TV promo for Monday Night Football, Sheridan has moved onto “public outrage” turf.

But if the 41-year-old blonde beauty is red-faced at the uproar over her locker room antics, it’s a condition she’s all too familiar with. While she’s blessed with killer cheekbones, Sheridan is cursed with an ultra-touchy complexion.

“I have extremely sensitive skin,” Sheridan said, dialing in on her cell phone between recent stops at “Live With Regis and Kelly” and “The Tony Danza Show.” “I can’t do anything to my face. No glycolic acid. No Retin-A. Basically I can’t do what all the girls do these days, like dermabrasion and peels.”

Enter NuGlow, an antiaging system steeped in skin-firming copper peptides. “I’ve never endorsed a product before,” said Sheridan. “But NuGlow was brought to me, so I did quite a bit of research about it. And I started using the product to see if it was something I liked.”

As it turns out, she did. “It really is quite amazing,” said Sheridan. “I’ve used it for a year and half now, and I really do get a lot of compliments on my skin. I have to attribute that to NuGlow because I’m terrible. I’m an outdoorsy person. I do all sorts of sports and I’m constantly in the sun. I do everything you shouldn’t do for your skin. So thank God I can do this.”

Developed by California-based entrepreneur Steve Dworman, an authority in direct-response television, NuGlow is a multistep treatment range designed to help both sexes turn back the hands of time. After studying the skin care market for a few years, Dworman seized upon GHK copper peptide, an ingredient complex with scores of U.S. and international patents attached. With the help of Dr. Howard Maibach, chairman of the dermatology department at University of California, San Francisco, Dworman was able to connect the dots to the holder of the patents. Thus, the birth of NuGlow.“I didn’t want to go through this whole exercise of launching something unless I knew it could really work and benefit people,” said Dworman, who is a managing partner in NuGlow Cosmaceuticals. “But this product performs so well that to really cite the tremendous benefits it provides, you’re almost getting into drug claims.”

In total, there are five products in the collection: Copper Peptide Eye Therapy, $40; Copper Peptide Serum with Antioxidants, $85; Deep Therapeutic Cleanser, $20; DayTime Therapy with SPF 9, $55, and NightTime Therapy, $65.

Bypassing traditional retail channels, Dworman opted to sell NuGlow via its own Web site and a 15-minute direct-mail DVD hosted by Sheridan. Although NuGlow has been testing the direct-mail waters for the past year, the official launch starts in earnest at the beginning of next year. Throughout 2005, more than six million U.S. homes will receive the DVD, along with a sample of the product.

Despite the unorthodox launch vehicle, Dworman is bullish on direct mail. And for good reason; in an earlier beauty venture, Dworman successfully marketed a women’s fragrance, called Curiosity, via an infomercial. “It was in 1994 and no one really thought selling a perfume on television could be done,” Dworman recalled. “But it generated close to $10 million in sales.”

While Dworman declined to discuss figures for the NuGlow project, sources forecast a first-year retail sales volume of $16 million for the collection.

Featuring a slew of “before-and-after” testimonials and images photographed 57 days apart, the NuGlow DVD will surely spark interest in youth-seekers sniffing around for the next big wrinkle decimator.

“We shot the DVD at this incredible mansion in Malibu overlooking the ocean with a lot of the girls who had been doing the testimonials,” said Sheridan. “I saw the before-and-after shots and spoke to them about their experiences with the line. And nothing was tampered with in production, which was so great. Everything you hear on that DVD is the truth.”

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