NEW YORK -- Estee Lauder is riding the alpha-hydroxy marketing craze by taking exfoliating acids to a new category: sun care.
In mid-March, the company will expand its Self-Action line by introducing SuperTan, two acid-based self-tanning items.
While the new products will not have the exfoliating and anti-wrinkle properties of Lauder's Fruition, which reportedly did over $30 million at wholesale last year, the alpha-hydroxy acids are said to help deliver smoother, more natural-looking artificial coloration.
"The acid prepares the skin for the self-tanner," said Dianne Osborne, vice president of skin care marketing for EstÄe Lauder USA. "It then helps facilitate even dispersion and quicker penetration of the tanning ingredients. SuperTan also dries faster because it absorbs more quickly, which means the color develops more rapidly."
"Self-tanning continues to be a very fast-growing category," said Peter Lichtenthal, executive director of treatment marketing for Lauder USA. "As the interest grows, expectations grow as well. People are demanding more naturalness and evenness and a quicker drying time. The alpha-hydroxy acid helps with these goals."
With the additions, the self-tanning category should account for nearly 15 percent of Lauder's treatment business, Osborne said.
"We've been seeing consistent double-digit growth in the last few years," she said. "SuperTan could do almost one-third of our self-tanning business this year."
The executives would not discuss specific figures, but industry sources have estimated Lauder's treatment volume to be over $250 million at wholesale. Using that figure, the two SuperTan items could have combined sales of over $11 million in 1994.
A 4.25-oz. bottle of SuperTan for Face will retail for $18.50. SuperTan, intended for use on the body, will retail for $25 for the same size. Each will be available in medium and dark shades.
According to the company, the new products contain a small amount of lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy, that balances the skin so that DHA, the ingredient that produces the tan, can be more efficacious.
Lauder stocks six other products in its Self-Action line: Two shades of Self-Action Tanning Spray, priced $19.50 for a 4-oz. bottle, and four shades of Self-Action Tanning Creme, $16.50 for a 4-oz. tube.
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