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Uemura Hopes for Shu-In With Mascara

NEW YORK — Shu Uemura plans to go to new lengths with its upcoming mascara launch. <BR><BR>FiberXtension Lengthening Mascara, coming in May, makes lofty claims: that it will deliver a lash-lengthening formula with a complement of compatible...

NEW YORK — Shu Uemura plans to go to new lengths with its upcoming mascara launch.

FiberXtension Lengthening Mascara, coming in May, makes lofty claims: that it will deliver a lash-lengthening formula with a complement of compatible brushes. But at least one makeup artist swears it delivers. Polly Osmond, who plans to use the mascara backstage at runway shows including Tuleh, Cynthia Steffe and Rebecca Taylor this week, quipped Wednesday, taking a break from preparing for the shows: “The only thing this mascara doesn’t do is the ironing and the washing.”

The formula comprises of flexible fibers, which are said to emphasize the lashes’ curl, and adhesive firming fibers that attach to the tips of lashes, intended to build length without flaking, said Chris Salgardo, general manager of Shu Uemura.

The formula is complemented by the brand’s patented Triple Stroke Brush, a low-density spiral brush designed to layer the mascara on each individual lash without clumping, said Salgardo. However, he added, the tube is compatible with five additional Uemura mascara brushes, each $10: an 18-mm. version for precision application; a 20-mm. model for magnifying corner lashes, complementing almond-shaped eyes; a 25-mm. one to help create soft, moderate lash curl on the eyes’ inner and outer corners; a straight brush to emphasize lash curls, and corn, with long center bristles to intensify the middle of the lashes for a wide-eyed look.

FiberXtension will be available in five shades — Xtra Black, Pearly Grey, Aqua Blue, Ivy Green and Shiny Bronze. Each will retail for $23.

While Salgardo wouldn’t comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the new mascara could do $4 million at retail in its first year on counter. In the U.S., the brand is currently in 13 doors — mostly Neiman Marcus stores — and sold via its own e-commerce site, shuuemura.com, although additional doors will roll out throughout 2005, said Salgardo.

Also this spring, the brand will launch Velvet Perfect Adjusting Powdery Foundation SPF 14, a foundation that can do double-duty. That’s because it’s packaged with a two-textured sponge — one side spongy, the other a puff. The sponge side is for a more opaque finish, while the puff side is intended for sheer coverage and for touch-ups, he said. The applicator can be used either wet or dry for varying degrees of coverage.

Velvet Perfect also has a high-tech formula, noted Salgardo. A combination of fluoric polymer and silicone polymer-treated powder pigments gives a finish that is “waterproof, sebum-resistant and nearly fade-proof,” he said. The foundation will be available in eight shades, each packaged in reusable compacts. The compact with one sponge will retail for $45, while refills will cost $32.50.