By  on August 2, 2012

Sally Hansen is clawing its way into the $2.6 billion gel nail market with not one, but two new products.

With total sales eclipsing that of lipstick volume, the nail care category is the hottest segment in beauty. Sally Hansen is the number-one nail brand in food, drug and mass, and retailers think the firm’s entry into gels will encourage many women to consider doing their own gel nails at home.

“Sally Hansen is the leader in bringing innovation to the mass market and we are thrilled to introduce the next generation of at-home gel nail color,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing at Coty Beauty. The two systems are Salon InstaGel Strips and Salon GelPolish. While Coty executives admitted they aren’t the first to the gel category, they feel the two options address some of the obstacles women have encountered with existing home products including difficulty in removing them.

“This is a game changer,” said Derek Bowen, senior vice president of marketing for Coty Beauty U.S. “We are not only bringing users over from salons, but we are trading shoppers up, too. We are the number one nail brand and we feel it is the perfect time to launch these products.”

According to industry sources, Coty is backing the two debuts with between $30 million and $40 million including traditional advertising and a digital campaign. To help teach women how to use the systems, Coty tapped nail expert Tracylee whose clients include Natalie Portman, Emma Watson and Salma Hayek. “I am [pleased] to be working with Sally Hansen — they are truly the nail color authority and it’s really exciting to be at the forefront of their latest innovations and breakthroughs,” said Tracylee. “You don’t have to be an expert to get a gel manicure at home now.”

Coty expects the two systems to continue the momentum-building from the success of Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure and Salon Effects and industry sources believe sales will exceed those items by delivering between $60 and $80 million in first year retail sales.

There certainly is the potential, said a buyer for a drug chain who said she’s totally revamping her nail care department to clear space for more gel products. Currently, it is estimated that 22 percent of women are getting salon gel nails at an average of about $30 per application. Forty four percent of women do their nails at home — opening up a big market to court with the gel products.

The Salon InstaGel Strips are aimed at women who want a quick gel manicure and features UV-cured real nail polish appliqués. The two-step process requires the nails to be cleansed and then the polish strips are applied followed by a gel top coat and curing from the LED light. According to Ralph Macchio, chief scientific officer of Coty Global, an added benefit is the polish is infused with Vitamin E to help nourish the nails. Salon InstaGel is available in 16 solid colors and eight fashion designs. Buyers said the designs help separate Sally Hansen’s line from the rest of the competitors on the market. The starter kit retails for $29.99 and the items are also available separately.

The other launch, Salon GelPolish, is targeted at a slightly older woman who wants a professional grade system for home. Also using an LED light, this is a three step process. The starter kit retails for $69.99 and has enough product for 10 manicures. “That’s the message we need to convey,” a buyer said. “You can get all those manicures for the same price as two at a salon.”

While consumers have embraced the home gel trend, there are complaints of difficulty removing the nails. Macchio said the technology used in the products has eliminated that issue,” We’ve taken care of the disappointment. You can remove these in minutes,” he said.

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