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Mary Kay Rebuilds Foundations

NEW YORK -- Mary Kay is about to overhaul its foundations.<BR><BR>After two years of research, including use of a computer program to categorize the range of human skin tones, Mary Kay has come up with a line it says will match up accurately with...

NEW YORK — Mary Kay is about to overhaul its foundations.

After two years of research, including use of a computer program to categorize the range of human skin tones, Mary Kay has come up with a line it says will match up accurately with nearly anyone.

It will replace Mary Kay’s existing foundations, but will retain the name Day Radiance. The line will be available starting in mid-July through the company’s 325,000 direct sales consultants, along with a toll-free number.

“We did this upon request from our consultants, who said the existing shades weren’t covering everyone’s needs,” said Loren Winter, manager of global product marketing. “The old line was outdated. The shades weren’t accurate enough, and they also weren’t natural-looking. The trend today is for a very natural look.”

According to Cheryl Halpern, Mary Kay’s vice president of global product marketing, greater accuracy with foundation shades will mean much greater volume.

“We’re expecting to move over 11 million units in the promotional period, which will be July through September,” said Halpern, adding that the unit goal translates to close to $100 million at retail.”This would mean tremendous growth over last year,” she said.

In 1993, Mary Kay foundations generated around $150 million at retail.

The modified Day Radiance will be available in three formulations: cream, liquid and oil-free.

The cream formula is intended for dry skin and includes a Sun Protection Factor of 8. The liquid version is for normal and combination skin, and also has an SPF of 8.

The oil-free items are water-based and provide sheer, light coverage.

Each formulation will be sold in 18 shades, ranging from Pure Ivory, the lightest, to Mahogany Bronze, the darkest. An individual foundation will retail for $10.

The arrival of the new foundations will be heralded in July in Mary Kay’s “direct support brochure,” a catalog distributed to some 4 million women.

The new items will also be showcased in Beauty Magazine, a joint venture between Mary Kay and New Woman magazine, while print advertising will appear in New Woman, Self and Essence.

To coincide with the launch, Mary Kay will introduce a handful of new products designed to be used in conjunction with the foundations.

To camouflage imperfections, the company will sell two concealers for $7.50 apiece.

A new loose powder will sell for $12.50 and a pressed powder for $7.50, while a new refillable compact, designed to hold foundation, concealer and powder, will be available for $8.

Samples of the powders will given away with foundation purchases during the promotional period.

“Finding the right foundation is exceedingly important,” concluded Halpern. “If [customers] find the right shade, they’ll go for the rest of these products.”