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Critical Mass: Consumers Responding to IlluMask

A quirky product that calls to mind Daft Punk is the latest success in beauty devices at retailers Ulta, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

A quirky product that calls to mind Daft Punk is the latest success in beauty devices at retailers Ulta, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

The illuMask Anti-Acne Light Therapy Mask and illuMask Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask shipped into mass doors in February. According to illuMask parent company La Lumiére, some chains have sold out initial shipments. Wal-Mart is boosting distribution to 4,200 doors from 3,000. Target, as part of its upgraded skin-care presentation, has moved up its launch date for the product to May 1 with a commitment for a two-month endcap.

“What makes this product different is its price and the fact you don’t have to hold the device to your face [as is required with many products in the luxury market],” said Jay Tapper, founder and chief executive officer La Lumiére. IlluMask’s patented design allowing for “wearable” treatments isn’t the first twist on traditional products for Tapper. The entrepreneur and inventor transformed other categories including toothbrushes with The Spinbrush and home draught beer with Tap King.

With a suggested retail of $30 for 30 uses, illuMask is significantly less expensive than upscale devices, such as the Tanda Clear+ Acne Treatment model, which retails on HSN for $195.

IlluMask’s design incorporating glasses affixed to the mask offers hands-free use. “I wanted to create a device that would give everyone the opportunity to experience advanced skin-care technology from the comfort of his or her home,” said Tapper.

The masks are designed to distribute precise LED light waves evenly across the face during daily 15-minute treatments with red and blue light to treat and prevent acne and redness and infrared to stimulate skin-cell turnover and regeneration.

“The illuMask treatments are based on the same technology you’d get from a dermatologist, but are designed for safe and easy use at home,” said Z. Paul Lorenc, a board-certified plastic surgeon who conducted clinicals on the tools.

Sales of at-home beauty devices across all markets exceed $800 million across all retail channels, according to research from Kline & Co. Sales of beauty tools within the mass market are growing at double-digit rates, according to retail buyers. Light therapy devices are a newer entry into the mass market, and join a growing category comprised of power cleansers, hair-removal appliances, hair-growth tools and electronic facial toners. So powerful is the potential of the category that Target’s new beauty departments have a special device area. Ulta executives called at-home beauty tools a category with “tremendous potential.”