By  on May 18, 2007

NEW YORK — PepsiCo is thirsty for its share of the $1.8 billion (excluding Wal-Mart Stores Inc.) mass market skin care business. The beverage company teamed up with beauty firm Added Extras of New York to launch Aquafina Advanced Hydration RX, which is set for an August debut on drug, food and discount store shelves.

Aquafina, the top-selling national brand of water, licensed its name to Added Extras last year to introduce a line of lip exfoliators that have "done well in premium lip care," according to Michael Kaplan, senior vice president of marketing of Added Extras, a company best known for flavored lip items as well as proprietary beauty lines.

Will the Aquafina nameplate whet shoppers' interest for skin care, especially when major skin care powers such as Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Unilever are pumping big dollars into the business?

Kaplan believes the success of the Aquafina line stretches beyond the brand name. Nine months in development, the 10 stockkeeping-unit collection includes cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, under-eye creams and wrinkle-release and hydrating sprays. Prices range from $4 to $20. What separates the Aquafina line from the hundreds of contenders on the shelf, Kaplan said, is the use of QuSomes technology.

Invented by Brian Keller, co-founder of BioZone Laboratories, the QuSomes technology is a patented delivery system that is said to enable ingredients to work better, faster and over a longer period of time.

The QuSomes are like microscopic balloons that are thinner than strands of hair and made up of multiple layers. Each time a layer is absorbed by the skin, another layer is exposed. In those layers are millions of molecules of water and nutrients. Instead of sitting on the surface of the skin, the QuSomes deliver nutrients to deep layers. Research shows the QuSomes improve penetration of ingredients, deliver a greater concentration, provide prolonged release of the action of ingredients and protect against any encapsulated materials within the formula from breaking down. The target audience is 25- to 45-year-olds, especially those interested in health and fitness. The products can be used as a regimen or just as items for specific needs such as cleansing and toning. Keller hopes to see Aquafina merchandised near other major mass brands such as Olay and St. Ives.The launch will be supported by more than $1 million in print advertising as well as cross-promotions in-store between water and skin care. There will also be a dedicated Web site and sponsored events.

Beverages and skin care are being linked more and more in today's health- and wellness-conscious world. Next September, Sephora will unveil in France a new, in-store beauty concept featuring nutritional supplements and drinks. If it works, the good-for-you products could roll into America, too. The Sephora department consists of a "healthy and beauty bar" stocking 10 brands of nutritional supplements and drinks. The lineup includes Fushi, Dr. Perricone and Dr. Murad, plus the house brand called 24H Slimming Program.

The concept of being healthy on the inside to have outer beauty is not new. Olay tried vitamins a few years ago with mixed success in the U.S. Boots has a new line being offered by Target based on the vitamin and improved skin concept. Coca-Cola and L'Oréal are working on a beverage to improve the skin called Lumaé. Whole Foods has been merchandising beauty and supplements side by side for many years. Another new concept is Danone's Essensis, vitamin-rich yogurt positioned as an oral beauty supplement.

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Several months ago, Diane Kimball, category buyer for West Coast supermarket chain Raley's, wasn't happy with a recent hair coloring experience. Talk about good timing — Developlus' Edward Geopfert was scheduled to meet with Raley's to discuss a new item called Color Oops. The pitch was simple: If it worked, Raley's would put it in. "I gave her the product and said a little prayer," added Geopfert.

There are two forms, an extra conditioning and an extra strength with a suggested retail of $12.99. The process works by using hydrosulfites, special ingredients that reverse the hair color process by shrinking the color molecules so small they simply wash away.

"I was shocked to see the bad color was gone and my hair felt great," recalled Kimball. Developlus got the sale and the two sku's of Color Oops are being placed on more and more food, drug and mass market doors including Walgreens, Longs, Rite Aid and Duane Reade. At Walgreens, a company official confirmed that the line is getting consumer attention. The company estimates Color Oops is now available in about 14,000 doors with a goal of surpassing 20,000 by the end of 2007.That's all music to the ears of Philip Agrey, vice president, research and development at Developlus, which created the technology two years ago to help women (and men) who have bad coloring experiences. "We don't only think it will help when someone isn't happy, but we think it will encourage more women to change their hair coloring more often, which will lift sales for retailers," he said. Currently, mass market hair color sales, excluding Wal-Mart, total just over $1 billion and are rising less than 2 percent per year — even at a time when Baby Boomers are turning gray.

"Women can go red one week and blonde another," Agrey said. It is estimated that 100 million American men and women color their hair — 70 million do so at home.

Developlus isn't satisfied to only serve a major need in the hair color market to correct color. According to Agrey, the firm is working on other solution products including those to tackle the issue of coloring gray hair.

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