Critical Mass: Sally Hansen Returns to Cosmetics

Sally Hansen is going the natural route and bringing a friend.

Select items from the upcoming Sally Hansen Natural Beauty line.

NEW YORK — Sally Hansen is going the natural route and bringing a friend.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Rather than just introduce a natural collection of cosmetics, Del Cosmetics partnered with Carmindy, the resident makeup artist on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” Carmindy is known for her knack for highlighting women’s natural assets. Natural Beauty marks Sally Hansen’s second stab at color cosmetics — the brand launched the now defunct Healing Beauty line in 2003.

“Like everyone else, we felt it was the time to look at natural,” said Harvey Alstodt, president of Del Cosmetics, which is now owned by Coty Inc. “We teamed up with the best manufacturers in cosmetics and used the top natural ingredients for this line and, in conversations with Carmindy, we found that our direction was like her bible…how she sees cosmetics and application.”

“This is the collection of makeup that I always wanted to create,” Carmindy said of Natural Beauty. “Finally, a natural line of makeup that enhances women’s natural beauty.”

The result was Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy, which will be available in mass market stores this spring. Alstodt said it is a true collaborative effort. “She is not only a spokeswoman, but will use the items on ‘What Not to Wear.’ The line features easy-to-use cosmetics designed to enhance a woman’s best features and to allow her natural beauty to shine through — much like Carmindy accomplishes on the show,” he said.

Although the mass market is currently being inundated with lines with natural claims, the use of Carmindy and the quality of formulas sets Natural Beauty apart from the crowd, buyers said. “This line is department store quality developed by a makeup artist with the customer in mind. The goal with the line is to educate and assist consumers in the application and choice of makeup they use,” said Sherry Saffert, divisional merchandise manager for beauty at CVS Pharmacy.

The 140 stockkeeping units are formulated with minerals, natural extracts and active botanicals like soy, bamboo, papaya and mango. The formulas also are 100 percent paraben-free. There are many double-duty items, including the Luminizing Face Primer, which is designed to smooth and refine skin texture while hiding pores and fine lines. The product is intended to be worn under makeup. The Comfort Care Lip Color features high-impact color teamed with moisturizing properties.

“This is a full color line with face, eye, lip, bronzer, mascaras and liners,” noted Alstodt. “We also think it lends itself to multiple sales because the products work so well together.” Prices range from $7.95 for an eyeliner to $12.95 for Truly Translucent Powder.

The company is asking retailers for 2 linear feet of space for Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy, preferably in the color cosmetics section near Neutrogena and other health-positioned beauty brands, versus the Sally Hansen nail care set. Buyers said shelves are tightly packed as they reset departments for spring, but Natural Beauty offers a point of differentiation that they hope will pay off in return for the space invested.

Unlike other “green” brands flowing into the market, packaging for Natural Beauty is subtle in its natural message. Packaging colors are a soft green and pale gold. There is even glass used in select items — the only glass thought to be used in a mass beauty line.

When Sally Hansen rolled out Healing Beauty in 2003, retailers said the line was slow to take off, but that some sku’s had a huge fan base. “It was ahead of its time…now we all talk about beauty with benefits. I think the company is better timed with Natural Beauty,” one buyer said of the collection.

Sally Hansen has ambitious advertising plans for Natural Beauty, including the possibility of infomercials. Print advertising kicks off in April magazines. There is also an 800 number for more information featured on store displays and packages, which Alstodt said consumers can call in the store from cell phones while standing near the display for tips. There will be direct conversation capabilities on the Web site with Carmindy as well as styling videos.