Critical Mass: Sally Hansen to Launch Miracle Gel

The brand believes it can bring shoppers back to shelves with the new product, a lacquer that produces the shine and durability of gel manicures.

NEW YORK — The mass-market nail business needs a miracle.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

After celebrating 20 percent category sales gains in 2013, retailers watched their nail-care business plummet 14 percent in the first half of this year, according to Nielsen data. They applied a full-court press on manufacturers to bring innovation to deliver shoppers back to shelves.

Category leader Sally Hansen believes it has the solution with Miracle Gel, a lacquer that produces the shine and durability of gel manicures without the need to cure the color with an LED or UV light. Moreover, Miracle Gel eliminates the number-one issue with gels — the time-consuming and damaging removal.

“This is the big one,” said Derek Bowen, senior vice president of marketing for Coty Beauty U.S., who hopes Miracle Gel earns a spot with other Sally Hansen blockbusters, such as Crackle and Salon Effect Nail Polish Strips. The 47 shades will be available nationwide in August priced at $9.99 each for the Gel Color Coat and Top Coat. “Sally Hansen and the nail business needs another Crackle,” said one buyer. “The market was flooded with too many polishes and consumers have not been replenishing.”

Admitting there are other “gellike” products, Ralph Macchio, senior vice president and chief scientific officer for Coty, said Miracle Gel is distinguished by its photoinitiator in the top coat that forms with the oligomer in the color polish producing the shine resembling a gel manicure that lasts up to 14 days. Packaged in an opaque bottle to avoid light exposure, the top coat cannot be used with other nail colors. Only two steps are required — two coats of the color followed by the top coat. It can be removed with regular nail-polish remover.

Calling the line a “game changer,” Laura Weinstein, vice president marketing for Sally Hansen and NYC New York Color, said Miracle Gel will bring users back who are looking for newness. “There’s still plenty of opportunities for greater household penetration,” she said. She feels the product appeals to consumers who have been reticent to try gels for fear of nail damage from removal.

To demonstrate the two-step concept, a dual pack will be available, which combines a top coat and a color for $15.99. Advertising kicks off in August including television and tutorials online and at point of sale.

Retailers said the gel should help put a jolt in sales and could make up for less-than-expected movement in at-home gel products, including one of Sally Hansen’s own entries, Salon Insta Gel Strips, which several retailers said would be edited to clear space for the new line.

Miracle Gel was developed in Coty’s recently opened research and development facility in Morris Plains, N.J.