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3Lab’s Technology to Hit Specialty Stores

Skin care brand u3Lab expands distribution and will introduce two new products, Super “h” Serum and Perfect Lite Sunblock, this year.

The fledgling skin care brand 3Lab is looking to crank up its business with expanded distribution and the introduction of two new products later this year.

The six-year-old niche brand is trying to develop a specialty for fusing cutting-edge ingredients and futuristic technology. As part of this drive, 3Lab will introduce a $300 antiaging product, Super “h” Serum, and a $55 Perfect Lite Sunblock SPF 55 PA+++, bringing the company’s product roster to 23 stockkeeping units.

“We are always looking at the most technologically advanced developments,” said company co-founder Erica Chung, who created 3Lab with her husband, David, in 2003. “If better ingredients exist, we will reintroduce a product to incorporate them.”

The new Super “h” Serum is an improved version of 3Lab’s original “h” serum and centers on three key ingredients: a bioengineered growth hormone, Nano-Claire GY, which acts as a type of hormone replacement therapy for aging skin by stimulating cell renewal; stem cells from an extremely rare type of Swiss apple, which have shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the skin, and EUK 134, a powerful antioxidant that mimics natural skin enzymes, known to protect skin from sun damage.

The serum will launch exclusively at Barneys New York in May, followed by a nationwide rollout in June before bowing in Germany, Turkey, Selfridges in the U.K. and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong this September.

3Lab’s new sunscreen, The Perfect Lite Sunblock SPF 55 PA+++, will hit counters everywhere in June and uses the Japanese rating system to measure UVA protection. It aims to combat the signs of premature aging while defending against UVA and UVB rays.

“The brand overall is doing really well for us” said Bettina O’Neill, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for women’s cosmetics and fragrances at Barneys New York. “Their growth has been tremendous — over 70 percent for the year.”

3Lab executives declined to discuss sales figures, but industry sources estimate first-year combined sales projections of $4 million at retail for both products.

The company did say it plans to ramp up international distribution while strategically targeting new channels in the U.S.

“We’re looking at quality independents in the U.S. and taking a hard look at the spa business here,” said 3Lab’s senior vice president, Robert Stein. “We also want to open a narrow and limited distribution in countries where we don’t currently have any — the key is conservative and proper distribution.”