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Kanebo Upgrades Formulas; Offers $450 Face Item

Sensai's Cellular Performance brand has reformulated several of its face makeu so that products focus as much on treatment as they do on hiding skin flaws.

Sensai’s Cellular Performance brand, which is marketed by Kanebo Cosmetics, has reformulated several of its face makeup items so that products focus as much on treatment as they do on hiding skin flaws. It has also added a selection within its Intensive Recovery Concentrate Series skin care range, a $450 ampoule set — a new price high for the Cellular Performance brand — as a quick fix to dull skin.

Cellular Performance, the entry point skin care line by Kanebo, which is owned by Kao Corp., was introduced to the U.S. in 2000. Within Cellular Performance is the Intensive Recovery Concentrate Series, which offers a more concentrated skin care solution for a faster result. That’s where the 14-day Cellular Performance Recovery Concentrate Ampoule Treatment program falls. It has a water-based formula designed to “promote energy metabolism for all cell functions,” according to the company, which aims to ultimately improve skin firmness and dullness.

Each ampoule contains enough serum for two daily applications. The system is especially recommended to be used for when there is a drastic change in weather. Active ingredients include Kinginka Complex, which uses kinginka extract, also known as golden Japanese honeysuckle. Kinginka contains tannin, caffeine and luteolin, a flavonoid known for its antioxidant activity.

All Cellular Performance products also contain CPX Vital Extract, which targets what Sensai believes to be its five basic holistic actions: firming, moisturization, fine line minimalization, wrinkle and discoloration defense. The ampoules are recommended for usage as the Series’ third step, after double cleansing and double lotion application. (Sensai is known for its Japanese “Saho” ritual of doubling cleansing and double moisturizing.)

It has “40 times the power of the Intensive Recovery Concentrate,” which the ampoules will take the place of during the 14-day ritual, said the firm’s new marketing manager, Maiko Kitagawa. The Ampoule set will sell for $450.

The skin care brand is also relaunching its treatment makeup Foundation Series into one that has been designed to moisturize and firm skin. The items in the line are made with Fuji Sensui water and Koishimaru silk extract.

To start the makeup application process, there is a Smoothing Water Make Up Base ($45), which is meant to smooth and firm skin prior to makeup application and contains Pure Moist Smoother, a proprietary complex that includes cellulose.

Then there is Fluid Finish moisturizing foundation ($50), a light formula foundation available in nine shades.

Following the foundation is Loose Powder ($60), which is translucent and aims to add a radiant look.

For those needing extra coverage for dark circles or blemishes, there is Concealer with a brush applicator. For sheer, natural highlights, there is Silky Highlighting Powder ($45) to complement foundation.

The Concealer ($33) and the Loose Powder ($65) are being considered the line’s hero items, said Kitagawa, since they are getting a lot of attention from makeup artists who are using them in Europe and Asia.

Sensai will be phasing out its existing liquid foundations.

The range and its application process were inspired by the code of etiquette for the Japanese tea ceremony, which starts with water and ends with silk, hence the Smoothing Water Makeup Base to begin the makeup process and the Silky Highlighting Powder, to end the ritual.

Japanese makeup artist Hisano Komine, who is based in Paris, worked closely on all aspects of product development for the Sensai Foundation Series, from concept to formulations.

Color has traditionally been a small part of Kanebo’s overall business, but it is being seen as a hook to lure consumers to the brand since it is formulated and positioned as treatment makeup. Next year, Kanebo plans to launch a reengineered color range for spring, which will include, lip, eye, mascara and cheek items.

The brand maintains a tight distribution network, with only 37 U.S. stores carrying it, including selected Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Takashimaya locations.

For 2007, Kanebo U.S. sales were estimated at $10 million. Sales increases for 2008 are estimated to be between 5 percent and 10 percent, according to industry sources.�