By and  on June 24, 2011

Whoever wins the battle for best “do-it-yourself” beauty regimen gets first prize.

Mass beauty’s latest mantra, while straightforward, keenly reflects beauty trends in the second half of 2011, which lean heavily on consumers seeking innovative DIY items to achieve and maintain a professionally styled look at home — from long eyelashes, to glittery manicured nails, to smooth, acne-free skin. In turn, manufacturers are ramping up their pipelines with wares that aim to make the average shopper look like a Kardashian. Or, at the very least, a Hilton.

“The goal is for simple application with professional results. Getting people to look like they had a makeover but they did it themselves in 15 minutes is what everyone is going after,” said Stu Dolleck, president of NuWorld, a leading cosmetics contract manufacturer. He said second-half mass beauty trends will focus on shadows that create ease of application, face primers with luminizing effects and under-eye products that brighten and de-puff.

“Eye shadow manufacturers are trying to figure out ease of application to create a look, whether it’s major brands coming out with a simple three-stroke effect or treatment items. It’s easier to achieve a makeup artist effect with product that creates definition, color and highlight benefits,” he added.

Retailers, to keep up with demand, are back on a buying spree, as most of the stockkeeping unit slashing from the recessionary years has ceased. Good timing, it would seem, as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ annual Marketplace meeting kicks off Saturday and runs through Tuesday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

This year’s meeting will once again feature “Meet The Market,” which arranges pre-scheduled meetings between manufacturers and retailers; more than 8,000 are planned for this weekend. During this year’s Marketplace, there are more than 230 retail companies representing 145,000-plus retail outlets with more than $500 billion of buying power in goods and services.

The products on buyers’ lists include the aforementioned DIY beauty items, as well as advanced skin care, multicultural products and the occasional luxury item. One top chain representative said she is also looking for men’s grooming products for an enlarged section in her chain, while the Walgreens team said it will be looking for products that offer a fusion of health and wellness as it rolls out more Look Boutiques. Industry sources said Look Boutique concepts could be hitting more than 600 additional stores.

“I think the mood should be cautiously upbeat,” said industry consultant Kathy Steirly. “It appears that some retailers are opening up their assortment options a little more.”

One goal of drug store and mass market buyers will be to continue to offer quality products on par with department stores, but priced in the range most Americans are willing to pay. Robert Wallner, vice president of sales at Milani, agreed business is good for brands priced right. “With our business, we have enjoyed incredible growth during the height of the recession with consumers trading down. We picked up a considerable amount of new users and have not lost them.”

The first half of the year has proven successful in both the cosmetics and skin care categories, with gains driven by specific segments, especially those that capitalize on innovative DIY trends.

“There are certain categories that lend themselves to more creativity than say, lip, in terms of design and application,” said Dolleck of the hot skin, nail and eye sales trends. “Once you get past long-wearing and pigmentation, there isn’t a lot more you can do.”

According to Symphony/IRI, for the calendar year ended May 15, cosmetics saw the biggest sales increases in the nail segment, with nearly 15 percent gains to $308 million, due mainly to sales of nail polish (plus 16 percent), nail polish remover (plus 23 percent) and nail polish accessories (plus 1,080). Sales of eye products jumped 5.3 percent to $483.5 million with the help of mascara (plus 6.83 percent) and eyeliner (plus 6 percent). And facial cosmetics items jumped 4.87 percent to $417 million, driven by gains in body accessory sales (plus 38 percent), bronzer (plus 12 percent) and makeup combo (plus 17.59 percent). All data excludes Wal-Mart.

Steirly expects skin care to be strong in the second half, following the first half’s lead, where skin care sales gains of 2 percent were posted for the period to $894.4 million, driven by sales of facial cleansers (plus 6 percent) and moisturizers (plus 8.8 percent).

Some of the hottest second-half DIY beauty items come from beauty’s leaders and innovators.

To deliver smooth, hair-free skin at home, Procter & Gamble is entering the acne and depilatory categories, broadening Olay’s reach into areas it doesn’t already play.

“We wanted to take time to crack the code on skin transformation, not about just treating acne and removing hair. We wanted to leave beautiful skin behind,” said Joe Arcuri, vice president, North America Female Beauty, Procter & Gamble Co.

Olay Pro-X Clear, the new acne range, uses salicylic acid and includes a three-step daily skin care regimen: Pore Clarifying Cleanser, Skin Clearing Treatment and Complex Renewing Lotion. There’s also an SPF 15 Moisturizer and an Intensive Refinishing Sulfur Mask. P&G said clinical studies revealed that after four weeks, the items help treat red blemishes while minimizing the look of pores and uneven texture. The kit retails for $42, while the moisturizer and mask are $29.99 each. Pro-X Clear enters stores in July.

Olay Smooth Finish, the depilatory, is an obvious DIY beauty ritual, and P&G put a spin on theirs.

“Usually [hair removal] is a harsh process, so we made a kit that starts with an innovative Skin Guarding Balm to prep skin for hair removal by providing a thin guarding layer, and the treatment is put on top. It’s an unmet need for occasional hair removal,” said Arcuri.

The balm contains a wax blend of sefa cottonate and beeswax, modified Chinese wood and canola extract and soy and cotton seed esters. The hair removal cream is water-based and is built on standard high pH calcium thioglycolate technology. The duo aims to significantly reduce redness and irritation and removes fine to medium hair on the lip and jaw line in six to eight minutes. It will sell for $24.99 beginning in September.

Both Pro-X Clear and Smooth Finish will be merchandised in the skin care aisle.

“[Retailers] recognize it is about skin care, so it won’t be along with the other depilatory and acne items. When we talked to women, it’s really about getting the skin back to perfect, so having it in the skin care aisle signals it that much more directly,” said Arcuri.

In makeup, Revlon’s global artistic director, Gucci Westman, is continuing her push to provide consumers with tools to get a backstage look, like the ones she is so famous for crafting for designers and the pages of Vogue. Beginning in October, Expressionists by Gucci Westman for Revlon will hit stores, the makeup artist’s first Revlon collection that will bear her name on advertising, on in-store promotional displays and in digital efforts. To make sure consumers get the full DIY experience, Westman will participate in Q&A’s on Revlon’s Twitter and Facebook pages. The collection includes four new shades of ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, three new shades of Super Lustrous Lipstick, new Luxurious Color Diamond Lust Eye Shadow (five shades), four sparkle and texture nail enamels and a limited edition lip gloss palette, called Bordeaux in the Snow, that includes four glosses and one lip shade. Inspired by “the use of Abstract Expressionist color,” Westman said the line uses fall’s most sought after shades — silver, plum, violet and pink — and combines texture, shimmer and highlighting effects.

Not to be outdone, Hard Candy is looking to take a bite out of professional lash growth sales with the first liquid eyeliner/lash growth serum duo, Walk the Line + Growth Serum, to hit the mass market. The quick-drying midnight black liquid eyeliner infused with Growth Serum formula aims to grow lashes all day long, while a clear nighttime treatment on the opposite end of the wand provides 24-hour lash therapy. It hits Wal-Mart in September and will sell for $7.

“This industry is always about what’s next. The level of creativity is more sophisticated in terms of formulas, but they trust that the consumer can do it at home if it’s in an easy-to-apply delivery system,” said Dolleck.

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