By  on March 9, 2007

Florence Sender is bringing her 30 years of experience in the food business to the beauty industry with the launch of Befine, a skin care line designed to bring health benefits from food to the skin.

Based in Newton, Mass., the new skin care marketer is teaming up with drug store retailer CVS to introduce the 14-item line. Designed to cleanse, moisturize and tone all skin types, Befine aims to provide consumers with a daily skin care regimen. Although the line started rolling out in about 3,000 CVS stores in January, the company plans to reach 6,100 stores by April.

"We're taking the wisdom of food and using it in a way to promote clean and healthy skin," said Sender. "We're not trying to change the aging process. We're creating products that help the skin's everyday damage and stress."

The paraben- and allergen-free line is marketed like a meal to simplify the process. For starters, customers begin with a gentle cleanser, exfoliating cleanser and firming toner. The main course includes a daily moisturizer with SPF 15, night cream and pore-refining treatment scrub. The line's final course features a neck cream, warming clay mask, eye brightening treatment, lip exfoliator, lip serum and cooling peel-off mask kit. Morning and evening samplers containing an item from each of the three courses are also available.

From the cleansers and toners, each $15.99, to the eye treatment, $26.99, each product contains a "hero food ingredient," which is prominently featured on each product's packaging. Each food ingredient is designed to provide the skin its own specific benefit, such as cleaning, toning or moisturizing. For example, the neck cream is composed of mushrooms that firm the skin, iris flowers that tighten the skin and caffeine designed to even out and smooth the skin. Along with a mix of the line's 14 main ingredients including coconut, pomegranate and cocoa, each product contains a blend of rice, wheat and oat proteins.

"Your skin is like a stomach. It digests what you put on it," said Sender. "Since our company is socially responsible, we wanted to have the ability to offer consumers products that were good at a fair price."Sender, who was executive director of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, opened her start-up Food Logic in 1999 with a mission to develop natural and organic packaged goods. Food Logic has since grown into a $10 million business; its products are sold in Kroger, Fred Meyers, Ralphs and Target.

Sender plans to expand Befine's distribution domestically and internationally. Starting in July, Befine will be available in masstige and independent health food stores, and by December, the collection will be launched in upscale specialty stores in Japan. Next year, Befine plans to expand into the body category by focusing on specific body parts, according to Sender.

"We expect to be broadly available in all mass channels," said Sender, who hopes Befine will be in about 15,000 U.S. doors by year's end.

Although executives wouldn't comment, industry sources estimated Befine could generate between $15 million and $20 million in first-year retail sales.

Befine will be supported by a print advertising campaign and will break in about 10 April magazines, including In Style; O, The Oprah Magazine; Allure; Glamour; W, Cosmopolitan and Gourmet. More than 50,000 samples will be distributed through promotional activities.

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