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Liquid Gold: Fortified Drinks Broaden Beauty

A downtrodden economy - and the worries it brings - can wreak havoc on one?s beauty, deepening frown lines and cultivating crops of gray hairs.

Nestl??'s Glowelle beauty drink.

Nestl??'s Glowelle beauty drink.

Courtesy Photo

A downtrodden economy — and the worries it brings — can wreak havoc on one’s beauty, deepening frown lines and cultivating crops of gray hairs. It’s enough to prompt beauty devotees to put down their lipsticks and surrender.

But amidst the hopelessness, an enterprising group of marketers is working to widen the scope of beauty to wellness. Wielding an inside-outside approach, they are touting ingestible supplements — pills, candies and drinks — as an integral, but lacking, part of women’s daily beauty routines.

A number of beauty firms have helped to establish the category,

including Murad, PerriconeMD Cosmeceuticals, Dr. Brandt, Kinerase and Borba.

Their success at getting retailers’ attention has also inspired companies outside the industry.

In September, the Nestlé Co. will introduce Glowelle, a dietary supplement billed as a beauty juice formulated with antioxidants, vitamins and botanical and fruit extracts. A daily serving of the juice, or its alternative powder packet form, is said to help stave off aging by nourishing and hydrating skin from the inside out, according to the company.

“Stress and poor diet affect the skin, hair and nails,” said Kimberly Cooper, chief beauty officer of Nestlé’s Glowelle. “Wellness, to most women, is looking and feeling good.”

It’s part of a small but growing segment of beauty. Sales of oral beauty supplements in the U.S. are projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2011, up from $898 million in 2006, according to data from the London tracking firm Datamonitor, as provided by Glowelle.

Glowelle will launch first at Neiman Marcus, and later roll out to additional upscale department stores, said Cooper. A bottle will retail for $7, with a seven-day kit of powder packets available for $40, and a 30-day supply for $112.

The concept got the attention of Bergorf Goodman, which has yet to carry supplements or beauty waters. The luxury department store will add Glowelle to its assortment this fall.

“We have been very interested in the category, but until now had never found any products that were quite right for our customers,” said Patricia Saxby, vice president of cosmetics for Bergdorf Goodman, adding she views beauty supplements as an emerging trend. “Glowelle will be the first product we carry. We thought it did an excellent job on the packaging and product presentation. The research and development seemed very thorough as well, and we love the fact that the Glowelle brand is part of the Nestlé family — the company’s experience speaks for itself.”

The beauty juice will steer clear of food retailers. “Glowelle is for beauty insiders so high-end department stores are a better fit,” said Cooper, adding Glowelle has introduced Nestlé to new retail territory, which the company plans to expand its presence in over time.

Nestlé has already dabbled in supplements, said Virginia Lee, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, a market-intelligence firm. The food company partnered with L’Oréal to develop a range of supplements for the European market called Inneov, which includes skin care, hair care, body care and anticellulite products.

Beauty supplements are not the easiest sell, Lee cautioned, because they require women to add another step to their beauty routines. It’s a lesson some well established beauty firms have already learned. In 2003, Procter & Gamble Co. inked a licensing deal with nutritional supplement maker Pharmavite to make a comprehensive line of vitamins under P&G’s Olay brand. A Pharmavite spokesman said the two companies mutually agreed to not renew the license agreement, and Pharmavite stopped shipping Olay vitamins in 2006.

Beauty waters and juices may have a better go at it, said Lee, since women already reach for flavored waters.

In recent years, waters touting beauty benefits have emerged, including the London-born Sip, billed as “the original skin drink;” Nutrisoda, which offers The Spa Multipack that includes the sparkling beverages Renew, Calm, Radiant and Slender, and Borba Skin Balance Water, which last summer signed a distribution agreement with Anheuser-Busch, which last week agreed to be acquired by InBev NV. Visitors to borba.com are greeted with the tag line, “Drink your way to more beautiful skin.”

But Nestlé executives are careful to remind that Glowelle is not a water. It’s a beauty juice, designed to fit into women’s grooming routines as easily as day and night cream.

Dr. Susan Beck, Glowelle’s scientist and nutritionist for research and development, agreed. “Juice is an easy delivery system. It feels easier to drink something, and it’s less work for the digestive system [than a pill],” she said. “Juices easily cross the intestinal layer.”

She added that antioxidants taken orally are metabolized and then reach the inner and outer layers of the skin, unlike topicals and creams that sit on the skin’s top layer.

Beck, who holds a doctorate in nutritional sciences and has a master’s degree in Chinese medicine, noted there’s increasing evidence that antioxidants work synergistically, naming vitamin E and vitamin C in particular. Beck explained that by itself, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects skin cells from free radicals. But once it has disarmed a free radical, vitamin E becomes spent, or inactive. Enter vitamin C, which can regenerate vitamin E.

She continued that, in two separate human studies, researchers found that vitamins C and E worked better to protect the skin against the harmful effects from free radicals generated from the sun when taken together than when taken individually.

In the U.S., beauty supplements, most of which are designed to improve the appearance of skin and hair, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, because they do not claim to change the structure or function of the body, as drugs do, said an FDA spokeswoman.

Cooper of Glowelle said taking the daily juice, women should feel good fairly quickly. “Our motto is, ‘Fall in love with your skin in 30 days.’”

She acknowledges the inside-outside beauty concept may have been a harder sell several years ago.�