By  on July 31, 2009

When the chief executive officer of a beauty company says something as profound as “airbrush is at the heartbeat of what every consumer wants” — expect change to ensue.

Coming in September to about 100 Sephora stores nationwide is the first made-for-mass airbrush system, Temptu Airbrush Makeup System and Air Pods. The system includes a portable airbrush machine and patent-pending pods that contain specially formulated liquid makeup that are designed to pop in and out of the makeup gun. Selling exclusively at Sephora through at least next year, Temptu’s effort looks to offer consumers the flawless makeup look they have become accustomed to seeing on HDTV and in magazines.

Temptu, the New York-based professional makeup company founded in 1981, specializes in airbrush technology for film and print. Though almost exclusively used by professional makeup artists, the firm has had its eye on the everywoman for several years. Temptu’s ceo, Michael Benjamin, said the system is a first for the beauty industry, as the airbrush tools that are currently for sale — MAC Cosmetics, Luminess and Temptu’s own — are really meant for professionals, and require a high amount of maintenance including assembling and disassembling between formula changes, not to mention cleaning.

“I never felt that [these items] were right for the consumer. It’s too complicated. I have always envisioned a system where there is no cleaning, where self-contained pods pop onto a handle. This is a breakthrough with its simplification,” said Benjamin.

Each makeup pod contains one to two months worth of makeup and is available in blush, foundation and highlight shade formulations that pop on and off the gun. Formulas are made of cosmetic-grade silicone for long-wearing coverage and feature ingredients including ceramide 3, olive oil, vitamin C, squalene and marine-derivatives for moisturization.

Each airbrush retails for $225; the makeup pods sell for between $30 and $55, depending on the pod.

To ensure that the introduction of the new airbrush to consumers is flawless, Temptu and Sephora have partnered to create a Temptu-branded educational and experiential lab for the Sephora shopper in the newly launched Sephora Beauty Studio. (For full story, see page 7.) Sephora beauty experts will offer airbrush product training and “express services” to consumers to encourage learning and experimentation with the new Temptu Airbrush technology.

In addition to the airbrush and pods, Temptu has created Retouch, a traditional product line meant to complement the airbrush makeup application for touch-ups.

Allison Slater, vice president of retail marketing at Sephora, said the new system for the masses “is a true makeup revolution. Through Temptu, our clients can experience unparalleled application technology with professional results from the comfort of their home.”

“The sky is the limit,” said Benjamin of his expectations for the airbrush system’s sales. “We think we are bringing in something that is great for beauty. The tools sector is the fastest-growing area in beauty, with products such as Clarisonic (the electronic face brush) doing extremely well. No one has brought out a color cosmetic tool that is truly innovative.”

Slater agrees: “There’s a real ‘prosumer’ trend in the beauty market right now. With the arrival of the high-definition digital age, we are confident our clients will be as excited to join the Temptu airbrush revolution as we are.” And, she added, the system is easy enough to use.

“We tested the unit with consumers of all levels of beauty ability and anyone can use it, and use it easily. The system includes a how-to DVD.”

“If the consumer market is anything like the professional market, well, we have seen over 300 percent growth in professional in the past five years,” said Benjamin. “Even though this is the toughest year for any company out there, our pro line is showing growth and it’s because of airbrush makeup. The talk is airbrush everywhere. It’s the heartbeat of what the consumer is wanting.”

The systems will be available online at sephora.com beginning Aug. 1, and in stores Sept. 15. It is currently previewing at Sephora’s new Times Square concept store.

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