NEW YORK — Cloth wipe technology revolutionized everything from cleansing products to sunless tanning. Now Skinvitals hopes the concept will clean up in skin care, too.

Skinvitals is a collection of cloth facial treatment masks launched by Australia’s Beauty Direct and distributed in the United States by Bonne Bell Co. CVS was first to market with six stockkeeping units in America.

With success in more than 20 countries, Skinvitals’ marketing director Lynne Meaney thinks the technology is ripe for greater U.S. penetration. The wipes have been fast movers in Boots in England and European Sephoras. Wipe technology has also been rapidly accepted throughout Asia and is seeping into Western markets, but until now, primarily in the prestige channel. Mass market stores, however, have found shoppers quickly adapt to wipes for cleaning, leaving many to agree the time is right for beauty.

“These are high-quality cloths that provide a very effective way to deliver the benefits of the products,” said Meaney. “They have the best ingredients such as hyaluronic acid in all masks and coenzyme Q10 in our lift products. The eye brightener features a licorice extract which tones and soothes.” All masks also feature Hydrolite 5, a patented ingredient that is designed to boost moisture levels.

In addition to the effective delivery system, Meaney said the single-use packets are portable and the perfect size for travel.

Although the total range is much larger, the six items selected for America include H-Revive, a hydrating moisturizing softening mask; Q-Lift, a firming and nourishing antiwrinkle mask; C-Brighten, a radiant moisturizing mask; Eye Brightener, an anti-dark circle brightener and invigorating mask; Eye Lift, an antipuffiness, antiwrinkle mask, and T-Purify, an antispot cleansing mask. The 0.83-oz. packets sell for $2.99. The company can also offer boxes of multiple packets. Meaney said Skinvitals expects to launch other products in the U.S., including those for specific problems.

The items are aimed at all age ranges and Meaney believes the eye products will be many shoppers’ first try at the masks. Since the message is slightly different than conventional skin care, Meaney said education and word of mouth will propel sales. To help Americans understand the concept, new packaging will start shipping shortly that features a woman using the mask versus the colorful splash package currently available throughout the world.

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Skinvitals caught the eye of Bonne Bell’s chairman and chief executive officer Buddy Bell Jr. during a Cosmoprof show. Bell later formed a partnership with Beauty Direct to distribute the line in the U.S. Meaney acknowledged that the teamwork helps her company understand the intricacies of dealing with U.S. chains. Meaney, however, needs no introduction to the beauty business. She was a founder of Red Earth, a natural beauty line from Australia created in 1989. Red Earth was eventually sold to Esprit and exists today mostly as a cosmetics range.

The packet form makes merchandising Skinvitals ideal for end-of-aisle displays, or in line. Meaney believes Skinvitals fits well in skin care, but also has many applications for cross-merchandising in cosmetics. “What’s great is that these are additional sales. They aren’t instead of another product, so you don’t lose a sale. And, many consumers buy multiple products,” explained Meaney. She added that despite the high-intensity skin care capabilities, the 10-minute masks can be used daily if desired.

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