NEW YORK — Clinique is out to put a new face on the foundation category this spring.

With Perfectly Real Makeup, a new 20-stockkeeping-unit foundation lineup launching in March and the brand’s largest foundation launch in nearly 10 years, Clinique plans to reach its largest customer range yet.

“Perfectly Real is not as much about covering up as it is about perfecting the skin,” said Eunice Valdivia, president of Clinique North America. “It’s a phenomenal product that creates a very natural look.”

“The name really describes what we want to do with this range,” added Julie Howard, vice president of makeup marketing for Clinique. “Women want flawless skin with a natural look — something that doesn’t look like a mask. And that’s what we deliver with Perfectly Real.”

Janet Pardo, executive vice president of product development for Clinique, noted that the key feature behind Perfectly Real is the brand’s proprietary Micro-Mirrored Pigment Technology.

“It works by tricking the eye, much the way that a two-way mirror does,” Pardo explained. “In that case, when the room is dark on one side, the other side creates a reflection so you can’t see what is in the room. Similarly, this formula gets more opaque in the places on your skin that are discolored, making the dark spots appear to be the same shade as the rest of your skin, without being mask-like in the clear parts of the skin.”

Other key proprietary ingredients, added Scott Miselnicky, director of global product development for makeup for Clinique, include Micro-Pigment Technology, smaller particles intended to produce clear, true color; Light-Adjusting Technology, pigments intended to shift the overall shade slightly, producing a true color regardless of lighting, and Capillary Shell Technology, which is intended to respond to changing skin conditions — producing moisture and controlling excess oil, whichever is needed.

Miselnicky added that the foundation’s color range was composed after evaluating the skin tones of more than 1,200 women across the U.S. After the survey was completed, he said, the team determined the 20 shades that best met the needs of the brand’s consumer base.The shades range from a pale alabaster to a deep mahogany. Rather than bearing names, each foundation sku is numbered according to its shade and intensity. “This is the largest sample group we’ve done as a corporation,” noted Pardo, who added that Simply Real is best suited for combination and oily skin.

Each sku will retail for $22.50 and will be available in Clinique’s 2,200-door department and specialty store lineup. While none of the executives would comment on projected sales and advertising spending, industry sources estimated the foundation range would do upward of $25 million at retail in its first year on counter and about $3 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

Advertising, shot by Irving Penn, will break in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, noted Howard. These ads also will include dual-shade packet samples that will invite consumers into stores for precise shade matching. In addition, about 100,000 mailers — also with the dual-shade packets and offering free samples of Clinique cleanser — also will be distributed, as will 750,000 samples on a dedicated retailer mailer.

In total, said Howard, more than eight million packet samples will be distributed. As well, a new foundation tester unit for stores also is being launched with this product range.

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