By  on May 8, 2009

While the skin care category showed some growth last year, it was substantially less than the year before. In 2008, sales grew by 1.1 percent to reach 8.3 billion units; the year before, growth clocked in at 5.5 percent.

According to Virginia Lee, analyst for EUROMONITOR, the antiaging category was particularly strong, led by the 40-plus age group. As far as premium skin care sales, 2008 saw 0.3 percent growth, versus 5.1 percent the year before; in mass, sales grew 1.5 percent in 2008 compared with 5.6 percent from the year before. “Consumers are more cost-conscious—instead of buying products before they run out, they’re now squeezing out the last drop of moisturizer before going to the counter,” says Lee.

Karen Grant, NPD senior beauty industry analyst, notes that as budgets tighten, the masstige market thrives. “People are trading less, making fewer purchases,” says Grant. “The higher end of the mass category is showing the strongest growth.” Established brands performed better than new ones, according to Grant, who says 2008’s top sellers included CLARINS and LANCÔME in France, CLINIQUE and Lancôme in the U.S., COLLISTAR and SHISEIDO in Italy and Lancôme and ESTÉE LAUDER in China. “Eighty percent of skin care users say when they find certain brands work for them, they stick with them,” says Grant. When it comes to future growth, Lee says an untapped demographic is women in their 20s. “Women are starting to invest in skin care at an earlier age,” says Lee. “By getting them early, you’re more likely to have a consumer that will stick with you,” agrees Grant.

This month the cheeky London-based brand SOAP AND GLORY will expand from bath and body into antiaging skin care with the launch of an 11-item line. “This is our first time doing facial care products,” says Victoria Woodhead, global sales and marketing manager. With retro images and pun-laden names like The Fab Pore for a facial peel and Make Yourself Youthful for a rejuvenating facial serum, the line takes a witty approach to serious skin care. “We are building on a heritage of bringing great products to the masses in an affordable way,” says Woodhead, who adds the products offer “a little sunshine” and “sass” to the antiaging category. Priced from $6.99 for a pack of cleansing cloths to $19.99 for a serum, the range, available at Target, is expected to garner $6 million to $7.5 million in its first year at retail.

In July, DIOR’s L’Or de Vie skin care line, made from antioxidant-rich ingredients extracted from the vines of the Château d’Yquem vineyard in France, gets eco-friendly with luxe refillable packaging. “Offering a refi llable option was an organic concept for the brand,” says Lisa Hawkins, senior vice president of marketing for Christian Dior North America. The L’Or de Vie refills range includes an Eye Creme, $165; Extrait, $315, and Creme, $295, with heavy gold packaging that Hawkins says is an homage to the line’s luxe ingredients. Industry sources expect L’Or de Vie refills to generate $5 million in 2009.

When Olympic gold medalist Louise Dobson and magazine editor Sue Smethurst couldn’t find a full-coverage foundation with a high SPF, they decided to make it themselves. This month, the Australian duo will introduce HISSYFIT, a four-sku line that offers antiaging and sun protection benefits. Its key ingredient is cehami, the Australian daisy. “The goal was a makeup that did a multitude of things with the highest possible protection for skin,” says Smethurst. “We wanted feel-good packaging, calm colors, something that would catch your eye and look like nothing else on the market.” The range, which has been available in Australia since 2008, includes a hand cream, lip balm, body cream and a foundation, all with SPF 30 and above. Hissyfit is launching at Beauty Collection in Los Angeles, Studio BeautyMix in Santa Monica and; prices range from $20 for lip balm to $49 for foundation.

In March, BULGARI’s skin care line, Gem Essence, which features formulations with sapphire, tourmaline, malachite and citrine, launched in the U.S. at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. “We want to offer our clients the same qualitative level and spirit of excellence that characterizes every Bulgari creation,” says Francesco Trapani, CEO of the Bulgari Group. The range, which has been available in Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and Asia since 2007, is expected to generate first-year U.S. sales of close to $3 million. “The aim was to create a skin care line based on the latest scientific discoveries and most effective active ingredients that can address women’s needs today,” says Trapani. Within the Gem Essence range are three lines, the Precieuse line, the Lumiere line and the Cleansing line. Prices range from $50 for a cleanser to $320 for a serum in the Precieuse Line.

The eyes have it this season, with an abundance of new products. CHANTECAILLE is launching Nano Gold Energizing Eye Cream, $260, featuring apple stem cell technology and 24-karat gold to stimulate cell regeneration and collagen production around the eyes. “It does all the restructuring, soothing and rebuilding with absolutely no swelling,” says Sylvie Chantecaille, president and CEO of Chantecaille Beauté. June will see the debut of 365 Cellular Elixir, $35, from LANCASTER. A blend of green coffee, rosemary and Mediterranean plant complex claims to neutralize free radicals, while extract of natural sweet orange is said to improve microcirculation. Also in June, PHILOSOPHY will launch Eye Hope Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream at Nordstrom, Sephora and, $48, featuring green tea and coffee bean extract to battle thinning skin and create greater elasticity and firmness. In July, FRESH will launch its first eye cream in over seven years. Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Cream, $65, combines firming black tea extract with collagen-stimulating lychee seed and blackberry leaf extract to preserve elastin. An active complex of peptides and antioxidants helps reduce puffiness, while illuminating  microspheres provide an immediate brightening effect.

In March, KORRES launched its first EcoCert certified organic skin care line, Materia Herba. “The whole idea goes back to the brand’s heritage of homeopathic pharmaceuticals,” says Robert DeBaker, CEO of Korres America. “It’s all about finding the right individual or combination of herbs that can treat whatever your malady.” Ranging from $27 for a cleanser to $46 for a night cream, the 9-sku line is exclusive to Sephora and will roll out in the coming months to Whole Foods and other retailers. Industry sources estimate first-year U.S. retail sales could reach $5 million.

The ever-growing organic category gets a boost this summer with new lines from the U.K. and Hungary. Botanics Organic, the first organic line from U.K. power retailer BOOTS, hits Target shelves this month. “The goal is to deliver cost-effective organic skin care,” says Sandra Gabrielle, vice president of marketing and communications. Eleven unisex products, ranging from a hand wash for $6.99 to a $22.99 gift set, will roll out in packaging made from recycled materials. Botanics Organic, whose products range from 77 to 100 percent organic, features such ingredients as cranberry seed, avocado oil and murumuru butter. Meanwhile, the Hungarian brand ÉMINENCE ORGANIC SKIN CARE looks to take sustainability a step further with the April launch of its Biodynamic Collection. Nine products, priced from $48 for a tonic to $70 for an eye cream, were created with ingredients sourced from self-sustaining biodynamic farming. “Regular agriculture uses artificial fertilizers,” says Boldijarre Koronczay, president and master trainer, who says Éminence is one of the first brands to achieve a biodynamic classification in the U.S. Koronczay says crop rotation, composting, natural pesticides and harnessing wind power make biodynamic farming even greener than organic. “It’s a more nutritious, more effective farming system.”

BIORÉ addresses transitional skin with the March debut of its five-sku Skin Preservation line, specifi cally formulated for young adults. “For teenagers there are acne products, then it jumps to antiaging,” says Nina Cornwell, brand manager. “There was nothing for people passing acne but concerned about wrinkles.” The line, which ranges from $6.99 for a gel cleanser to $14.99 for an eye cream, features a proprietary Botanimide technology, which blends botanical antioxidants to strengthen the skin’s barrier and blue lotus and white tea to neutralize free radicals. “At age 25, cell turnover starts to slow down,” says Cornwell, who says 21 million people in the U.S. have in-between skin.

The higher the SPF, the better—that’s the idea behind summer’s newest batch of sun-protection products, including NEUTROGENA’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100. At play in the product is Helioplex technology, which claims to protect against sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer. Priced at $11.99, it launches in May. Also in May, OLAY will add to its Regenerist collection with its highest SPF to date. UV Defense Regenerating Lotion SPF 50, $29.99, unites vitamins, green tea extract and aminopeptides to replenish moisture and tackle fine lines and wrinkles. LA ROCHE-POSAY unveils Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, $27.50, one in a three-sku range, which protects skin at the cellular level. The items use Cell-OX Shield technology to deliver SPF 60 from a patented combination of sun filters and senna alta, an antioxidant-rich tropical leaf extract.

It’s all about the apple, with three summer launches showcasing the fruit’s unique benefits. In March, CLARK’S BOTANICALS unveiled Cellular Lifting Serum, $355. The product utilizes stem cells from the Uttwiler Spatlauber apple to protect skin cells and preserve skin’s youthfulness. “This particular kind of apple has been picked almost to extinction because it is continually repairing itself and never goes bad on store shelves,” says Francesco Clark, founder. The serum also contains high concentrations of algae, ginseng and centella extracts, as well as hydrolyzed sesame protein to provide immediate moisture and a quick-lifting effect. Industry sources expect it to generate $2 million in global retail sales. AMERICAN BEAUTY’s Ultimate Diamond Restorative Antiaging Cream fuses apple-root extract with diamond powder to brighten and illuminate skin while restoring firmness and elasticity. The cream, $49.50, launched in Kohl’s in March. L’OCCITANE is launching its Almond Apple Skincare line this month. Comprised of Velvet Eye Gel, $33, Velvet Face Fluid, $35, and a Velvet Face Fluid with SPF 40, $39, it features organic apple extract, almond proteins and natural-based micro pearls.

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