By  on January 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Lamas Beauty is positioning itself to ride the wave of the green movement into the mainstream beauty market with new packaging and products meant to appeal to consumers beyond the natural retail niche that has embodied the hair, skin, bath and body care brand since its founding.

“We have always had a cult following,” said Lamas Beauty president Daniel Sanders, who established the Los Angeles-based company with hairstylist Peter Lamas in 2001. “To reach a broader audience, we needed to put more work into branding with a cohesive look. We have grown organically, and we felt that our packaging story wasn’t as sophisticated as it needed to be to live up to the ingredients and product quality.”

Lamas Beauty, which uses certified organic ingredients, is updating its Chinese Herbs collection with green and brown packaging, powered-up formulas and expanded product offerings. The hair growth-oriented collection will be expanded next month from two to five items: 8.5-oz. Stimulating Shampoo for $22, an 8.5-oz. Stimulating Conditioner for $20, the 4-oz. Revitalizing Styling Cream for $20, the 6-oz. Revitalizing Nutrient Mist for $20, and the 1.7-oz. Regenerating Scalp Serum for $38. In addition to a staple blend of Chinese herbs, the collection is getting a formula boost with apple-derived stem cells and plant-derived Swertia to aid hair growth.

“The only competitors we have [faced] in the past that are well known are Nioxin and Rogaine,” said Lamas, the firm’s chief executive officer, speaking of the hair growth category. “They use a lot of chemicals. These [Chinese Herbs products] are very natural, even the Swertia and apple stem cells are from nature.”

In Lamas Beauty’s Naturals collection of hair care products the brand is introducing garnet packaging and several new products. Avocado Olive Ultra Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner are scheduled to launch in February, and Wheatgrass Purifying Conditioner and Bamboo Nectar Shine & Protect Shampoo and Conditioner in April, all at $18 for 12 oz. The avocado olive items are meant to remedy dry and brittle hair; the bamboo nectar items to enhance glossiness; and the wheatgrass items are intended to detoxify hair damaged by swimming, smoking or environmental irritants.

Peter Lamas’ signature is prominently displayed on the refurbished packaging as part of Lamas Beauty’s strategy to connect customers with Lamas. The 64-year-old, whose interest was piqued in natural ingredients after one-time client Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has worked with the likes of Diana Ross, Kate Winslet, Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor and Cindy Crawford during a hairstyling career that has spanned 40 years.

“Any company with a person [at the helm] who is educated, trained and has validity to be able to formulate and communicate — I think it is so different and unique. That is why Paul Mitchell, Vidal Sassoon and Frédéric Fekkai have a certain credibility with the public,” said Lamas. “There is a real person behind this company, and that is important.”

Lamas Beauty generated $5 million in sales last year at roughly 1,500 doors, including Whole Foods, according to Sanders. He projected that sales would increase at least 30 percent this year with the addition of 600 to 1,000 doors. Lamas Beauty is set to debut this month or next at Pharmaca, Drugstore.com and Elephant Pharm. The brand’s skin care and bath and body lines will be revamped later this year.

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