By  on May 9, 2008

Estée Lauder hopes to disprove the theory that you can't mess with perfection this fall — with the relaunch of its best-selling Perfectionist antiaging facial serum.

"Perfectionist is not only our largest franchise in skin care, but in the entire Estée Lauder brand," said Elana Drell-Szyfer, senior vice president of global marketing for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. Industry sources estimated that the Perfectionist franchise garners upward of $150 million in retail sales yearly on a global basis. The U.S. is said to account for more than 30 percent of that figure. "Lines and wrinkles are a crowded category, and we have had a highly performing product. We would not go out there and invent something that we didn't feel had a really different, better claim."

This formula is the third for Perfectionist, which was originally launched in 2002. It was updated in 2004 as Perfectionist CP+, a name it still carries. "We update this formula as we discover new technology," said Daniel Maes, senior vice president of global research and development for Estée Lauder — adding that the new key ingredient is the proprietary Wrinkle Lift Restructuring Peptides complex, said to help skin boost its natural collagen production. "This product helps to restructure collagen and laminins, so the skin's inner structure becomes stronger. Laminins are what bind the dermis and the epidermis, and gravity has a negative affect on them. And because this new complex is a peptide fragment that is six times smaller than traditional peptides, it can penetrate to the deepest surface layers of the skin."

The formula also includes flexible elastomer technology, said to visually reduce the depth of wrinkles, and light diffusers, intended to blur the appearance of wrinkles. "This technology is a good combination of biology and optical effects," said Maes, adding that this formula is intended for women 35-plus.

The updated serum will be on counter in July in about 2,000 North American department and specialty stores, said Drell-Szyfer. The price will not change; the new version will also retail for $55 for 1 oz.

Perfectionist's packaging has also been overhauled, in a continuing effort to "streamline skin care architecture," said Drell-Szyfer. Like Idealist, another top-selling Lauder serum which was repackaged last July, Perfectionist will now be offered in a glass bottle in a similar size to Idealist's. "It provides uniformity at counter, and the glass is a much more luxurious statement than [the previously offered] plastic."The newest Perfectionist will be launched in September in 2,200 North American department and specialty store doors.

National advertising, featuring Elizabeth Hurley and shot by Craig McDean, will begin running in August fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. "Elizabeth will be the face of Perfectionist going forward," said Drell-Szyfer. Model Carolyn Murphy previously appeared in Perfectionist ads. "We are developing a very sophisticated new media campaign featuring Elizabeth that will run globally, which is "new for us, and a big piece of the launch," she added.

Perfectionist will also be heavily sampled in North America, Drell-Szyfer added — about two million BeautiSeal samples are planned.

While executives declined to discuss first-year sales estimates, industry sources estimated that the new formula could do $50 million in the U.S. in its first year on counter, with about $8 million to $9 million to be spent on advertising and promotion in that time frame.

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